Recently released proposals from the Environmental Protection Agency regarding its Endangered Species Act commitments under the pesticide program are causing great concern among soybean farmers.
To provide scope for the potential detriment to soy, just one of the proposals alone could significantly hinder or eliminate pesticide use on close to 13 million acres of cropland, including more than 5 million acres of soybeans.
“Soy growers are fully supportive of EPA taking care to assure the pesticide registration process, including usage parameters, will not harm our wildlife or the environment, but the broad approach EPA is suggesting in the Vulnerable Species Pilot Project (VSPP) would negatively impact millions and millions of acres of valuable farmland. What’s more, we know the agency intends to expand the pilot project to include much larger areas in the future,” Alan Meadows, soybean farmer from Halls, Tennessee, and American Soybean Association board member commented.
Under the VSPP proposal, growers would be required to make unwieldy efforts intended to protect specific endangered species in predetermined areas to achieve ESA compliance without waiting indefinitely for individual species evaluations. The agency proposed these VSPP areas based on 27 endangered species ranges, all found in the continental United States. EPA says it has suggested small ranges, but additional species with larger ranges will likely be added in a future pilot expansion.