LINCOLN, NEB – Nebraska Farm Bureau submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strongly opposing the agency’s efforts to eliminate the availability of atrazine; the removal of which is estimated to cost $13,269 per Nebraska corn farm. President of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Steve Nelson, also urged the agency not to ignore the thousands of good scientific studies that show atrazine does not cause “an unreasonable adverse effect on human health or the environment.”
According to Nebraska Farm Bureau’s estimates, the loss of atrazine for weed control on corn would cost Nebraska farmers almost $315 million based on per acre figures published in private economic studies. If broken down further, $315 million totals 5% of the total value of corn production in our state in 2015. This would equate to a cost of $13,269 per Nebraska corn farm. With net farm income decreasing 40 percent over the past three years, the loss of atrazine would be another significant financial hit to Nebraska farmers.
“Nebraska currently ranks third nationally in corn production producing and Nebraska’s farmers, diligently and sparingly use atrazine,” Nelson said.
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality’s 2015 Nebraska Groundwater Quality Monitoring Report indicates Nebraska groundwater samples have been collected and examined for atrazine since 1974, with an average atrazine concentration of 0.81 parts per million, compared to the EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level of 3 parts per million. The latest numbers from 2014 showed that none of the 126 samples collected that year even showed a concentration above the reporting limit.
“Atrazine is one of the oldest and thus most studied crop protection products on the market having first registered for use in the United States in 1958. It has been subject to intense scrutiny, investigation and scientific evaluation with some placing the number of studies dedicated to atrazine at nearly 7,000. Unfortunately, it appears that EPA has allowed policy prejudices to overtake scientific judgments. Farm Bureau believes that science should drive policy, not the other way around,” Nelson said.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau is a grassroots, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskan’s through a wide variety of educational, service and advocacy efforts. More than 61,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit www.nefb.org.