Growers Commend Chlorpyrifos Restoration, EPA Commitment to Science-based Process

Washington, D.C. Dec. 19, 2023. In response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest announcement that it will restore uses of chlorpyrifos and commit to a science-based review of the pesticide, Alan Meadows, American Soybean Association director and soybean grower from Halls, Tennessee, commented on behalf of the soy industry and echoed sentiments felt by other grower groups pleased by the decision.

“U.S. soybean growers welcome the announcement that chlorpyrifos tolerances and uses will be restored and EPA will commit to a science-based review of the pesticide in the days ahead, as ordered by the Eighth Circuit Court. EPA’s own science has repeatedly found there are at least 11 high-benefit, safe uses of chlorpyrifos, including for soybeans—a fact of which we will continue to remind the agency throughout this process,” said Meadows.

EPA’s announcement is consistent with the Nov. 2, 2023, ruling from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in which the court found EPA disregarded its own scientists’ findings by ending numerous uses of chlorpyrifos they determined were safe. The court vacated the EPA rule and restored agricultural uses of the tool.

Farmers rely on access to pesticides like chlorpyrifos to protect crops from destructive pests and maintain important conservation practices. Congress has established clear science and evidence-based processes to ensure these tools can be used safely and that they will not result in harm to people or the environment.

Grower groups in addition to ASA have voiced their concerns over blanket bans on chlorpyrifos and shared the detrimental consequences to their crops and farmers’ livelihoods when agencies disregard the intended approval process.

Nate Hultgren, president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association and grower from Raymond, Minnesota, said, “Sugarbeet growers welcome the return of chlorpyrifos for the upcoming growing season. While we appreciate that EPA has taken the necessary steps to ensure access for the upcoming growing season, it can’t undo the economic harm that resulted from its previous revocation activity. Growers need tools like this to reduce economic harm stemming from pest and disease. We are committed to strong stewardship and safety principles and as such look forward to engaging with EPA in future rulemaking around chlorpyrifos to ensure robust grower input and science-based decision-making rule the day.”

Meadows concluded by saying, “This announcement is not only about restoring uses of chlorpyrifos, but also protecting these essential, congressionally directed procedures that ensure fair, appropriate, science-driven review of pesticides. ASA likewise looks forward to working with EPA in the months ahead to ensure further review of chlorpyrifos meets these important standards and that safe uses supported by the agency’s own career scientists are retained.”