An agricultural industry coalition consisting of the American Soybean Association, CropLife America, the American Seed Trade Association, the Ag Retailers Association, the National Cotton Council of America, the National Association of Wheat Growers and the National Corn Growers Association, asked a federal court on March 16 to allow them to join the lawsuit Anderson v. McCarthy, case no. 4:16-cv-00068 (N.D. Cal. filed Jan. 6, 2016).
The suit, brought by a number of plaintiffs including environmental activists, requests a court order requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate seeds treated with neonicotinoids as pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which provides authority to EPA to regulate pesticides. The ag coalition seeks to join the lawsuit to defend EPA's current regulation of neonicotinoid seed treatments and to ensure that the court and EPA understand the vital importance of treated seeds to American agriculture.
"Treated seed provides ASA's members with an economical means for managing risk and protecting seeds from early-season insects, pests, and diseases, improving plant vigor and increasing crop yields," said ASA President Richard Wilkins in his declaration before the court. "Without the ability to plant treated seed, ASA's members would suffer reduced farm income from crop loss and incur hundreds of millions of dollars in added costs from larger and more frequent foliar applications of less effective pesticides, requiring extra passes over each field and additional time, energy and capital. Some ASA members may also be forced to engage in costly higher-density seed planting of more seeds per acre than they currently are planting to offset inevitable stand loss caused by increased pest pressures."
Higher cost to farmers and lower yield are the major arguments—along with a contention that neonicotinoids used properly are not a concern to the environment or pollinators, according to argument from all the organizations.