Agriculture groups, including the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) and American Soybean Association (ASA), are applauding a recent ruling from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals that upholds sound science by vacating the U.S. EPA’s rule that essentially banned the use of chlorpyrifos, a product Minnesota farmers use to protect their crops from insects and other pests.
“This is great news and a big win because we were struggling last year to find a chemical to control our crops and keep them free of insects and pests,” MSGA President Bob Worth said. “We took on the big dogs, used sound science and we won.”
The decision, in which the court found EPA disregarded its own scientists’ findings by ending numerous uses of chlorpyrifos they determined were safe, vacates the rule and restores agricultural uses of the tool. MSGA was able to sign onto the lawsuit thanks to its membership support. Worth said the organization’s ongoing legal efforts are another way MSGA advocates for its members.
“This why it’s important to become a member of MSGA,” President Bob Worth said. “We’re fighting for farmers, not only in St. Paul and D.C., but in the courts.”
Worth said Executive Director Joe Smentek, an attorney, has been instrumental in increasing MSGA’s advocacy in the court system.
“We’re very fortunate to have Joe on our team,” Worth said. “Joe understands these rules and he’s pushing us to make sure we’re doing the right thing for our farmers.”
ASA, MSGA and fellow agriculture groups brought a lawsuit against the agency in February 2022 seeking to restore farmers’ ability to use this tool to protect crops. The groups highlighted that, in EPA’s own records, agency career scientists have found at least 11 high-benefit, low-risk agricultural uses of chlorpyrifos that can be maintained safely.
“(This) ruling is a win for agriculture and science-based regulation. Federal agencies cannot be permitted to ignore their own science at the expense of America’s farmers,” said Illinois farmer Daryl Cates, president of the American Soybean Association. “This ruling will restore safe, effective uses of a tool needed by many growers to protect crops from damaging pests and help preserve an affordable food supply.”
Though quantities may be limited, growers are eager to have uses of chlorpyrifos restored for the 2024 growing season. Many producers have suffered with the loss of the tool during the 2022 and 2023 seasons, with many needing to apply more pesticides to control an increasing number of pests. Other farmers lost the only effective tool they had to protect their crops from certain economically damaging pests. The groups look forward to engaging with EPA during the chlorpyrifos registration review process to ensure critical and safe uses of the tool can be retained in the years ahead.
“We’re very excited to have this product back,” Worth said. “It’s a win-win for us and proves that we’re doing our jobs to protect farmers and their products.
To support MSGA’s legal and political advocacy, mnsoybean.org/msga/invest/