The Agribusiness Association of Iowa supports the availability of atrazine as a critical weed management tool for Iowa agriculture. Below is an excerpt of the letter submitted during the EPA comment period.
The proposed mitigation measures come with costs, complicated record keeping, and confusing responsibilities. Conservation practices are not the responsibility of a commercial pesticide applicator who would bear the liability of following a more complicated label. In Iowa, a majority of the cropland is owned by non-operator landowners. Tenant farmers rent the land, often relying on services provided by agribusinesses for crop protection and nutrient management. These are delicate relationships that are important for increasing conservation practices on the land. Label requirements will only complicate these relationships.
Increased costs and complications will discourage the use of atrazine with consequences for the environment. In Iowa, EPA has strongly encouraged our state’s development and implementation of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy to reduce nutrient loss to Iowa waters and the Gulf of Mexico. We have made great progress as a state to reduce tillage and decrease phosphorus losses compared to our 1980-1996 baseline. If atrazine is less practical, profitable, or effective, the use of tillage for weed control will increase, leading to increases in soil erosion, phosphorus losses, and greenhouse gas emissions while decreasing soil health and water quality.