“Respect EPA’s Dicamba Decision & Protect Farmers’ Livelihoods During Growing Season”
Grower Coalition Files Amicus Brief to Defend Continued Use of Existing Stocks
Washington, D.C. June 17, 2020. A coalition of national grower trade associations that represents farmers, ranchers, and their families nationwide is urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reject an NGO call to invalidate EPA’s dicamba existing stocks order for three dicamba products whose registrations were immediately vacated by the court earlier this month.
American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Cotton Council of America, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, and National Sorghum Producers have filed an amicus brief supporting EPA’s position against the NGO petition that seeks to invalidate EPA’s dicamba existing stocks order and hold the agency in contempt, citing the catastrophic consequences that could result if the NGO’s request is granted.
The grower coalition’s brief, filed June 16, makes a case for farmers caught in a highly frustrating and costly situation amid prime planting season and the narrow weed-control window: “Neither a midseason cancellation nor a vacatur unplants a seed, retroactively tills a field, or clears a storehouse of products purchased for lawful use under the prior registration.”
Immediately banning use of existing stocks of Xtendimax, Engenia, and FeXapan would financially devastate America’s soybean and cotton growers, who have invested an estimated $4.28 billion in seed and hundreds of millions on herbicides. An estimated 64 million acres of dicamba-tolerant seed is already in the ground—importantly, with no viable weed control alternative that can realistically be deployed over the next several weeks. Expected yield loss for soy and cotton is as high as 50%, with respective losses estimated at as much as $10 billion and $800 million.
If the court chooses to grant the NGO’s emergency motion, it will add financial insult to sustained injury. The economic damage that would be caused would exacerbate an already tenuous economic situation for America’s farmers, who face depressed market prices and increased uncertainty in commodity markets due to ongoing trade tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further, granting the petitioners’ requested relief would (1) plunge the agricultural community back into the widespread uncertainty and confusion it experienced in the period between the court’s vacatur and EPA’s Cancellation Order and, even more critical to the long-term viability of the agriculture industry, (2) set a damaging precedent, short circuiting the proper administrative and judicial review framework that Congress prescribed for existing stocks under FIFRA. Farmers use countless FIFRA-regulated pesticide products, including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. This decision could set a disruptive precedent with profound, long-term consequences for all farmers and ranchers for years to come.
Investments and planting decisions have been made, and most planting has been completed—all based on the realistic expectation that over-the-top application of these dicamba products would be possible through the growing season. The court should respect EPA’s expertise in managing existing stocks of these formerly registered pesticide products and deny the emergency motion pending against EPA.
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The American Soybean Association (ASA) represents U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international policy issues important to the soybean industry. ASA has 26 affiliated state associations representing 30 soybean producing states and more than 300,000 soybean farmers. More information at soygrowers.com.
As the unifying force of the U.S. cotton industry, the Memphis-based National Cotton Council (NCC) has a mission of ensuring the ability of all industry segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad.
Founded in 1957, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) represents nearly 40,000 dues-paying corn farmers nationwide and the interests of more than 300,000 growers who contribute through corn checkoff programs in their states. NCGA and its 50 affiliated state associations and checkoff organizations work together to create and increase opportunities for their members and their industry.
National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at the national levels. From their offices in the Wheat Growers Building on Capitol Hill, NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members, Administration officials and the public.
American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is an independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization governed by and representing farm and ranch families united for the purpose of analyzing their problems and formulating action to achieve educational improvement, economic opportunity and social advancement and, thereby, to promote the national well-being. Farm Bureau is local, county, state, national and international in its scope and influence and is non-partisan, non-sectarian and non-secret in character. Farm Bureau is the voice of agricultural producers at all levels.
National Sorghum Producers (NSP) serves as the voice of the sorghum industry from coast to coast through legislative and regulatory representation and education.
Wendy Brannen, American Soybean Association, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marjory Walker, National Cotton Council of America, email@example.com
Mike Tomko, American Farm Bureau Federation, firstname.lastname@example.org
Caitlin Eannello, National Association of Wheat Growers, email@example.com
Liz Friedlander, National Corn Growers Association, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Blackburn, National Sorghum Producers, email@example.com