Will The EPA’s Decision on Popular Insecticide Mean No More Cherries?
It isn't like we did not suspect it was coming, but the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) August 30, 2021 revocation decision on chlorpyrifos will have an impact on consumers and farmers! Chlorpyrifos is a popular insecticide that farmers know as Lorsban. Mare than 80 agriculture groups joined together objecting to the EPA's revocation decision. "Stakeholders, by law, can object to pesticide changes or cancellations and the EPA Administrator must then respond."
Chlorpyrifos is the only insecticide left for farmers to use that is effective on many insect pests. For example, if you like sweet and tart cherries, it is the only insecticide that controls trunk bores that can kill cherry trees. "Without this product, our growers risk losing a lot of cherry trees, potentially jeopardizing their family farms," said Mike VanAgtmael, a Michigan cherry grower and chairman of the Cherry Marketing Institute. So, for consumers, if you enjoy eating cherries, if any are available in the grocery store they will be a lot more expensive.
"Chlorpyrifos is a critical tool in the toolbox for Minnesota farmers, especially in the fight against pests such as soybean aphids and spider mites," Minnesota Soybean Research Director David Kee said. Many soybean aphid populations have developed resistance to the pyrethroid class of insecticides. If soybean aphids reach treatment thresholds in my field next August, there are no insecticides available to control them. Next time you are at the grocery store take a look at how many items have soybean oil in them. Lower soybean yields will mean higher food prices.
Another example is sugar beets. Chlorpyrifos is the only insecticide that effectively controls the sugar beet maggot. In this case alternatives are available but they are not as effective and will require many more applications. I mentioned we knew the ban was coming as some environment activist groups have been trying to get chlorpyrifos taken off the market for some time. I am not sure if they considered some of the unintended consequences of getting their way. Be careful what you wish for?
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