Missouri Corn Growers Reject EPA’s Atrazine Assessment

Posted on: June 2, 2016

(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.)–Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its draft ecological risk assessment on the herbicide atrazine. The following is a statement from Missouri Corn Growers Association President Morris Heitman of Mound City.

“Today’s announcement from the EPA is based outside the realm of sound science. For decades, atrazine has been a basic herbicide used by a majority of Missouri corn growers. The proposed application levels released will effectively require growers to stop using a compound proven safe in over 7,000 credible scientific studies.

“Atrazine is economical and extremely effective for weed and grass control. It allows farmers to apply fewer chemicals and make fewer trips across the field. Many farmers can implement no-till soil conservation practices in their field thanks in part to atrazine. To effectively eliminate a product that helps improve conservation practices, is cost-effective, safe and efficient sets a dangerous precedent moving forward.

“If the numbers included in the report are implemented, farmers who are already struggling to break even will face further economic strain. It is estimated the loss of atrazine on the market could cost farmers between $29 and $59 per acre. In our area of northwest Missouri, we estimate the price tag of replacing atrazine with another product would be $35 an acre over current production costs – without the guarantee of effective weed management. In today’s market, that is enough to take the ledger from black to red.  

“We believe EPA should be forced to follow federal law and rely on sound scientific evidence when evaluating the safety of atrazine and all other weed management tools. Farmers will be weighing in with EPA when the public comment period opens and will push for the continued use of a product with a proven track record.”

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