IFB's Lurkins part of U.S. EPA Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee

By Ashley Rice

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC) held its first meeting of 2020 virtually.

Topics discussed included COVID-19 activities, emergency preparedness, emerging technologies and economic risk assessment procedures.

In addition, updates were provided on substantive issues, such as registration review status, drinking water assessment, reduced animal testing and the Endangered Species Act. Chlorpyrifos, dicamba over-the-top use in cotton and soybeans, glyphosate, neonicotinoids, pollinator protection activities, worker protection standards, and certification of applicators were also discussed.

Lauren Lurkins, Illinois Farm Bureau director of environmental policy, currently serves as the American Farm Bureau Federation representative on the PPDC.

“I would say, overall, the issues that we’re working on in Illinois are very much on the table for all these other groups, including the federal government,” reflected Lurkins in an RFD Radio Network interview. “It was really good to know on the pollinator habitat and pesticide use, a lot of the environmental groups are asking EPA to consider, ‘What about reducing the amount of pesticides that can be used?’ And they (EPA) are coming back saying, ‘We’re working with our federal partners at USDA to figure out how to put more habitat on the ground, but also allow farmers to have access to these tools that we spend a lot of time registering for use.’ And that is something that you couldn’t read from a distance, from press releases or announcements. But you really get to hear a little bit more of the details here (in meetings).”

The PPDC is a federal advisory committee comprised of 40 individuals representing a wide stakeholder network. The committee meets twice a year with EPA staff inside the Office of Pesticide Programs to discuss pesticide regulatory, policy and program implementation.

This story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.