IFB advocates for neonicotinoid pesticides

Comments submitted to EPA address rhetoric surrounding the substances' alleged impact on pollinators, detail IFB commitment to proactive stewardship.

By Deana Stroisch

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Illinois Farm Bureau urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue to grant farmers access to four critical neonicotinoid pesticides.

IFB submitted comments to EPA as the agency conducts registration review of imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam and dinotefuran.

“The agriculture community in the United States, and in Illinois in particular, has welcomed neonicotinoid chemistry as an additional tool to assist them in managing pests that have the potential to damage their crops, and as a result, their livelihood,” wrote Lauren Lurkins, IFB director of natural and environmental resources. “Their continued availability to farmers and ranchers is critical.”

Lurkins also addressed rhetoric surrounding the substances’ alleged impact on pollinators. She pointed to the National Academy of Science and others, which found multiple factors affect honeybees and other pollinators. She also explained IFB’s efforts to share the importance of good stewardship when using pesticides.

“We are committed to this proactive approach because farmers need access to crop-protection tools,” Lurkins wrote.

Using neonicotinoid-treated seeds has promoted low- or no-till farming, which in turn helps reduce soil erosion, she said. They also remain a “critical tool” in integrated pest management systems.

“At the same time, this class of pesticides is widely employed in a manner that more accurately targets specific pests and has potentially less impact on non-target organisms,” Lurkins concluded.

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