Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court opted not to review an EPA decision on carbofuran domestic tolerances. Farm groups were unhappy with this decision as the revocation of carbofuran has a lot of repercussions that we’re not sure the EPA has thought about.

In layman’s terms, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit decided that carbofuran, a chemical used to control corn rootworm and other pests, was safe for U.S. consumers if applied to imported food, but the EPA determined it unsafe to use here in the U.S. Once again, the EPA has made an arbitrary ruling that has no basis in science.

Why am I still surprised?

This time, the EPA used a backdoor approach to ban the chemical from use. There was no comment period, no public notice and actually, farmers will still be able to use the chemical according to its label and be in complete accordance with the law. The only problem will come when the domestically grown food has any traces of carbofuran. Of course, traces of carbofuran on imported food are still perfectly safe.

Does this raise any red flags for anyone?

But all the underhanded, secretive unscientific banning of products aside, what are the repercussions of the decision that the EPA didn’t care to find out about?

  1. Farmers now have fewer options when it comes to controlling pests on their farms. Fewer options means less competition and less competition means higher prices for the few pest control options that are available and approved. Higher prices to produce a crop means higher food prices. I wonder if the EPA is ready for the consumer backlash?
  2. Because farmers have fewer options to control pests, pests will have a natural tendency to develop resistance to the fewer chemicals being used. Pests with resistance mean less food grown and less productivity means higher food prices. Anyone seeing a trend here?
  3. Farmers paying higher prices to plant a crop and realizing lower productivity will find it more and more difficult to maintain their farms and will contribute less to the economic activity in rural areas and the taxes funding our schools. Perhaps Americans would rather the EPA regulate practices and products that are actually scientifically proven to cause harm?
  4. The decision that imported food grown with carbofuran is ok but domestic food grown with carbofuran is not obviously makes imported food more competitive here in the U.S. Are consumers excited about paying farmers in other countries instead of paying farmers in our own? And right in the middle of an economic recession?

All in all, farmers are concerned about this sort of a dangerous precedent and disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t review the decision. Why should the EPA be allowed to propagate regulations that potentially cause so many problems without even the benefit of a public debate?

Lindsay Mitchell
ICMB/ICGA Marketing Director

About corncorps

As Illinois' corn farmers, we're proud to power a sustainable economy through ethanol, livestock and nutritious food. We love agriculture, the land and CornBelters baseball.See or follow us on Twitter,
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