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Austin Scott

10/27/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/27/2020 17:41

Rep. Austin Scott: EPA’s Expansion of Dicamba Registrations Gives Farmers More Certainty in the Midst of COVID-19’s Negative Impacts

TIFTON, GA- Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08), a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, today released the below statement upon U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announcing that EPA is approving new registrations for two dicamba products and extending the registration of an additional dicamba product. All three registrations include stringent control measures to protect the environment, including non-target plants, animals, and other crops not tolerant to dicamba.

The announcement coincides with Administrator Wheeler and Regional EPA Administrator Mary Walker today visiting Cromley Farm in Brooklet, Georgia. Rep. Scott, as well as Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, and U.S. Representatives Rick Allen (GA-12), Buddy Carter (GA-01) and Doug Collins (GA-09), joined the EPA officials for the visit. Click here to read more.

'Our farmers make the fiber, food, and fuel for the world, and without close partnerships with agencies like the EPA and risk management tools to plan operations, they would be unable to do so. I'm very glad to see this MOU between EPA and the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and the announcement to allow new registrations of dicamba products for cotton and soybeans - two important crops in rural Georgia. This will balance environmental concerns while giving our farmers impacted by the effects of COVID-19 more certainty as they plan for the upcoming crop year. This move will better help farmers recover from market losses and collapses associated with the pandemic, and I look forward to seeing the positive impacts of this change for the industry and our rural communities who support agriculture,' said Rep. Austin Scott, Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit.

'With today's decision, farmers now have the certainty they need to make plans for their 2021 growing season,' said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. 'After reviewing substantial amounts of new information, conducting scientific assessments based on the best available science, and carefully considering input from stakeholders we have reached a resolution that is good for our farmers and our environment.'

The United States is the world's leading soybean producer and second-leading soybean exporter and also serves as the world's third-largest cotton producer and the leading cotton exporter. Today, there are limited cost-effective options to control herbicide-resistant weeds affecting these commodities. In 2018, approximately 41 percent of U.S. soybean acreage was planted with dicamba-tolerant (DT) seed and almost 70 percent of U.S. cotton acreage was planted with DT seed in 2019. Relative to alternative herbicide programs, postemergence dicamba may reduce weed control costs for some growers, possibly by as much as $10 per acre, or over five percent of net operating revenue, not accounting for all measures growers will have to take to control off-field movement of dicamba.

Through today's action, EPA approved new registrations for two 'over the top' (OTT) dicamba products - XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology and Engenia Herbicide - and extended the registration for an additional OTT dicamba product, Tavium plus VaporGrip Technology. These registrations are only for use on dicamba-tolerant (DT) cotton and soybeans and will expire in 2025, providing certainty to American agriculture for the upcoming growing season and beyond.

The move was informed by input from state regulators, grower groups, academic researchers, pesticide manufacturers, and others. EPA reviewed substantial amounts of new information and conducted scientific assessments based on the best available science, including making an Effect Determination under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). With this information and input, EPA has concluded that these registration actions meet Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) registration standards. EPA believes that these new analyses address the concerns expressed regarding EPA's 2018 dicamba registrations in the June 2020 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. After completing its Effects Determinations for dicamba uses on DT cotton and soybeans, EPA concluded that with the control measures now required on labels, these actions do not affect endangered or threatened species.

In September, Rep. Scott joined several colleagues in requesting the extension of dicamba product registrations to help farmers better plan operations in the midst of COVID-19's negatively economic impacts. You can click here to read the letter.

You can click here to read more on the announcement and Administrator Wheeler's visit to Georgia.

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