A total of 42 agricultural organizations including the Agricultural Retailers Association, all the major commodity crop associations and the American Farm Bureau this week submitted a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency to postpone a meeting scheduled for next week related to the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

In the letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the organizations argue that the Science Advisory Panel meeting, scheduled for April 19-21, was "hastily called" and is an attempt by EPA to "fundamentally alter its process for evaluating potential risk and regulation of pesticides."

Terminated registration of chlorpyrifos for crop production would have major impact. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide contained in more than 50 products, according to a search on the Greenbook.net website; several of those are for use with turf, ornamentals and golf courses. The most common crop protection brand name is Lorsban. 

Even the EPA notes on its website that “chlorpyrifos is currently used on a wide variety of crops, such as corn and soybeans. According to USDA data, there are approximately 1.2 million crop producing farms in the U.S. EPA estimates that more than 40,000 crop producing farms currently use chlorpyrifos to control a wide range of insect pests.”

To read the full letter submitted to the EPA administrator, click here.

The National Corn Growers Association was the first to issue a news release that the letter had been sent. “NCGA supports transparent, science-based oversight of pesticides. NCGA and other groups argue that the EPA is not basing its decisions on science, while also trying to change its longtime review processes. In January, NCGA submitted comments to the EPA reiterating support for chlorpyrifos.”

The NCGA also pointed out that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has expressed deep concerns over the EPA’s registration review process and EPA's departure from decades of science-based processes.

Taking crop protection tools off the table isn’t a wise move by the EPA said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a Maryland farmer. "Effective pest management requires access to a variety of treatments, including chlorpyrifos. If we become too reliant on a single tool, it can start to lose its effectiveness, and that's how resistance develops. Farmers need access to many crop protection tools to ensure all tools can remain effective."