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Jul 07

TSTA Weekly Update, 07/07/2022

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association
Member News
The TSTA Board of Directors will hold a meeting beginning July 18, at Horseshoe Bay Resort. Among agenda items is updating the TSTA strategic plan, review of staff performance, Review of board performance, membership outreach & engagement, and winter growouts. If you have items you feel need to be considered by the board please contact a board member or reply to this issue of the Weekly Update and TSTA staff will pass them along.
What to do when science conflicts with political agendas - an Editorial
Editorial by TSTA staff
On June 17, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, headquartered in San Francisco, California, ordered the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reassess the health risks for glyphosate. The court ordered the EPA to reassess the cancer risks of glyphosate as well as impacts on endangered species.
In 2020 the EPA issued a "finding" that glyphosate did not pose unreasonable risks to human health or the environment. Evidently that was not the result environmental activists and the ninth circuit were looking for. Plaintiffs argued the EPA did not follow established protocol for the evaluation of cancer risks and the three judge panel of the ninth circuit agreed while ruling the herbicide active ingredient can stay on the market while the reassessment is underway. The court's deadline for the reassessment results is October 2022 which constitutes a much quicker than usual review period.
California state courts have not generally allowed scientific findings and opinion to be entered into evidence in court cases involving alleged cancers caused by exposure to glyphosate. Agricultural groups have expressed disappointment that the United States Supreme Court refused to hear Monsanto vs. Hardeman which would have resulted in a decision about aspects of pesticide law enforcement from state labeling versus federal labeling to the admissibility of scientific evidence into court proceedings. The Biden justice department advised the supreme court not to take up the case. It is not known how much influence the recommendation of the justice department had on the supreme court's decision not to hear "Hardeman."
FYI - in 1985 the Environmental Protection Agency classified glyphosate as a Group C Carcinogen, meaning it has “suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential.” In 1991 EPA changed carcinogenic classification to Group E, meaning "evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans." 
In a major victory for plaintiff Hardeman, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court verdict that found Roundup was a “substantial factor” in causing his NHL and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act does not preempt state law claims. Thus the same appeals court that upheld the settlement for Hardeman, determined federal law does not preempt lawsuits filed in state courts, and affirmed the opinion that glyphosate is responsible for Hardeman's cancer, is the same court that is ordering a "re-review" of glyphosate by the EPA. Little surprises us coming from the ninth court of appeals; this is a blatant request for "scientific" substantiation of a politically-motivated decision - after the fact.
The Biden administration has, as is their right, placed its chosen bureaucrats in "leadership" positions at the EPA. Anyone care to wager how the court-ordered reassessment of glyphosate will turn out?
Editor's Note: Bayer is a valued member of the Texas Seed Trade Association
In an effort to update and maintain our membership records we request you take a few moments and fill out the very brief info request at the following link.
The link is secure and the information will be used internally by the Texas Seed Trade Association and never shared without your permission. This request is on behalf of your association's board of directors and officers and we greatly appreciate your cooperation. Thank you!
7/7/22 - If you have not updated your information please take a moment and do so now. We appreciate it! We continue to update this database and need your input!
If you are a certified wheat seed producer and have an interest in participating in re-certification procedures this season please contact Jerrett Stork, Certified Seed Coordinator, Texas Department of Agriculture, at the Giddings Seed Lab as soon as possible. Jarrett can be reached at 979-542-3691. Plan on contacting your local TDA inspector concurrently as it may expedite the process.
US EPA determines neonicotinoids likely to harm most endangered species
TSTA staff
The EPA has determined that neonicotinoids (neonics) are not just harmful to bees but are likely to be harmful to fully three quarters of all identified, and listed, endangered species. This is the conclusion of the EPA issued June 16, 2022.
The three most commonly used neonics: clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiammethoxam, have been important and useful tools for agriculture and have been used as effective seed treatments in many applications.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) and the American Farm Bureau have both stated their disappointment in the "finding" alleging the EPA grossly overestimated the amount of neonics used annually. According to ASA president and Arkansas farmer, Brad Doyle, growers have repeatedly pointed the EPA in the direction of real world data to improve their endangered species assessments but the agency has chosen to disregard the better processes. For their part environmental groups are also dismayed that only three quarters of endangered species made the cut citing that aquatic mollusks and giant garter snakes were left out.
A plethora of environmental groups are urging the EPA to cancel all registrations and tolerances for all neonics with lawsuits sure to come. The EPA is now consulting with the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to determine what endangered species are in jeopardy from neonics. The agency plans to publish mitigation measures next year updating those released in 2020, by the previous administration, which obviously did not go far enough in the view of the current administration.
By Margy Eckelkamp, The Scoop magazine
On June 30, EPA released proposed revisions to the Agency's September 2020 atrazine interim decision.
The agency is proposing the following five changes to the atrazine herbicide labels in order to decrease atrazine runoff from treated fields:
Prohibit application when soils are saturated or above field capacity (i.e., the soil's ability to retain water); Prohibit application during rain or when a storm event, likely to produce runoff from the treated area, is forecasted to occur within 48 hours following application;
Prohibit aerial applications of all formulations; and
Restrict annual application rates to 2 pounds of active ingredient or less per acre per year or less for applications to sorghum, field corn, and sweet corn.
An additional "picklist" to labels requiring growers to select a combination of application rate reductions and/or runoff control measures when using atrazine in certain watersheds
The picklist method is said to help growers select runoff control practices that are the least burdensome.
The watersheds where growers must adhere to the picklist requirements are those watersheds with atrazine concentrations that exceed the CE-LOC of 3.4 μg/L-the EPA says this is approximately 18% of total watersheds nationwide. The number of mitigation practices required increases with the higher predicted atrazine concentration and depends on crop, geographic region and field topography. It does not apply to fields in watersheds with atrazine concentrations below 3.4 μg/L.
To continue reading article, click here
Source: Triazine Network news release
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- In an unprecedented move, EPA today announced it is reopening the finalized reregistration of atrazine, putting this key crop protection tool and today's carbon-smart farming practices at risk. This is according to the Triazine Network, a coalition of agriculture groups that have been involved in regulatory issues related to triazine herbicides since 1995.
At issue is the aquatic ecosystem concentration equivalent level of concern (CE-LOC). In a published decision that concluded the registration review of atrazine in 2020, EPA set the atrazine CE-LOC at 15 parts per billion (ppb). Environmental activist groups retaliated with a lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This opened the door for EPA to shift tactics and alter its decision. Today, EPA proposed an ultra-low CE-LOC of 3.4 parts per billion, which would have devastating impacts on farmers.
"To say growers are frustrated is an understatement. The science hasn't changed since 2020, when EPA set the level of concern at 15 parts per billion. EPA is playing politics with this decision and should not adopt this ultra-low level of concern," said Greg Krissek, Triazine Network co-chair and Kansas Corn Growers Association CEO. "We are urging farmers to oppose EPA's regulatory tricks and submit comments to EPA during the 60-day comment period this summer."
EPA floated the 3.4 ppb number in a draft proposal in 2016 and received over 30,000 comments opposing the ultra-low level. In 2019, the agency stated in a regulatory update it would use the 15 ppb CE-LOC and solidified that number in the published 2020 Interim Registration Decision. In today's news release, EPA claimed it had always intended to use the ultra-low 3.4 ppb level instead of the 15 ppb level published in the 2020 decision.
"EPA is saying that while it published the decision for the reasonable 15 ppb level, they didn't mean it," Gary Marshall, Triazine Network co-chair and former Missouri Corn Growers Association CEO said. "Now they are saying we should ignore what was published in the Federal Register, claiming it's always been 3.4 ppb, a level based on flawed studies thrown out by a previous Scientific Advisory Panel."
Farmers rely on atrazine's long-lasting weed control, and it is especially important as an aid to help farmers successfully use sustainable farming practices like conservation tillage and no-till. Placing severe limits on atrazine will have broad implications considering that atrazine is a key component in over 90 herbicide mixtures farmers rely upon. Atrazine has been on the market for over 60 years. No herbicide has been studied more or has a longer safety record.
"EPA's proposal would render atrazine unusable for many farmers and force them to abandon carbon-smart no-till practices in key areas of the Midwest," Krissek said. "While EPA is proposing mitigation measures for farmers to use in areas that would exceed the CE-LOC, our farmers are already concerned many of those methods won't be viable on their farm. For example, one suggested method is to incorporate atrazine into the soil, which would end years, if not decades, of no-till practices on those fields."
In today's announcement and in the docket, EPA stated it "intends to seek external peer review of the risks to the aquatic plant community that underlies this proposed risk management strategy."
Before any part of this proposal is implemented, EPA must stand by its promises to convene a formal FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel to specifically explore the scientific basis for the proposed CE-LOC revision and ensure high-quality research supports the proposal.
"EPA personnel told us the agency would convene a formal SAP to provide guidance on this matter. However, the news release and docket documents refer only to an 'external peer review.' That is not the same thing," Krissek said. "We urge EPA to publicly commit to convening a formal FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel to advise the agency on this matter. This SAP incorporating the latest peer-reviewed studies is key to ensuring EPA's proposed CE-LOC is supported by valid scientific evidence."
The Triazine Network is encouraging farmers to submit comments to EPA during the upcoming 60-day comment period.
The public comment period is now open for the Proposed Revisions to the Atrazine Interim Registration Review Decision in the atrazine registration review docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0266 at Public comments will be accepted for 60 days upon publication of the Federal Register notice.
After considering comments on the proposed revisions to the atrazine ID, EPA will determine if any changes are warranted to the proposed revisions and then release its decision on this re-evaluation. The Agency also intends to seek external peer review of the risks to the aquatic plant community that underlies this proposed risk management strategy. This is in line with the Agency's commitment to science and scientific integrity, and will incorporate the feedback it receives into its final revisions to the ID.
More information on the registration review process is available here
Editor's Note: It may seem we are conspiring against the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in this issue of the Weekly Update. Just so happens the timing is rather a perfect storm as the court has been busy lately. Busy challenging the way you make your living and the way we feed the world.
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