National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson has submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the proposed pesticide National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System general permit. A Court of Appeals stay expires on April 9, 2011 and NFU is concerned the general permit will not be finished by the deadline and farm operators making legal pesticide applications will face legal jeopardy if they lose the protections of EPA's 2006 rule and have no access to the new state PGPs.
Johnson wrote that there needs to be sufficient explanation and definition of application types so producers understand if they are covered. In the meantime Johnson suggests the agency should petition for an extension to provide regulatory agencies adequate time to develop and implement the complex permit procedures and farmers adequate time to understand and work within the permit structures that will differ from state to state.
NFU policy supports continued prudent use of approved chemicals for crop production to maintain viable agriculture operations and a secure food supply. Until effective biological controls or other alternatives to chemical controls are available, NFU calls for greater cooperation among producers, chemical companies and government agencies to ensure advances continue to be made in best practices, pest-control research initiatives and less chemically intensive farming practices.