NEFB Submits Comments in EPA Pesticide Proposal 

The comment period for the new Draft Herbicide Strategy from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) closed on Sunday, October 22. We appreciate everyone who was willing to join the cause and push back against the EPA’s unreasonable proposed rules. Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) submitted an official comment, reminding the EPA that Nebraska is a primary player in the agricultural economy of the United States, and thereby the world. The shift over to a points-based system that this rule would create would be a massive wound to agriculture, especially in Nebraska.  

This rule would tighten restrictions on herbicide use by requiring a producer to score points: the amount required depending on the crop. Not only is there a general number of points required per crop, but there is also a higher point requirement in “Pesticide Use Limitation Areas (PULAs),” of which Nebraska is almost completely covered. These PULAs are based on very old, outdated research, and are overly broad targeting zones where a protected species or their habitat “may occur.”  A drastic change like this should be based on current and thorough scientific research. 

The EPA offers significantly too few options to gain the required points in order to use pesticides. Due to our natural conditions, and our farming methods, many farmers in Nebraska will be unable to meet the required points, preventing their use of herbicide at all under these new rules. This could lead to massive detriment such as toxic weeds in pastures and forced tillage of soil. NEFB reminded the EPA that more voices should be brought to the table when planning such a large change, and NEFB would be happy to stay in contact with them to shape the final rule. 

With the comment period closed, the EPA will review comments submitted, and will prepare a final rule. Their settlement that started this draft specifies that they will release a final rule by May 2024. NEFB plans to stay in contact with the EPA until then in hopes they will work with us to create a final rule that protects species listed in the Endangered Species Act while still allowing farmers and ranchers to supply the world with affordable food, fuel, fiber, and energy. 

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