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Ag chemical update

Gil Gullickson 12/15/2010 @ 2:13pm Crops Technology Editor for Successful Farming magazine/Agriculture.com

Traits garner the crop headlines these days – with less attention being paid to agricultural chemicals.

Still, there’s lots going on with the ag chemical side. CropLife America (www.croplifeamerica.org) represents major manufacturers, formulators, and distributors of crop-protection and pest-control products.

Here are some of the crop-protection issues CropLife America is currently monitoring.

Chinese Pesticide Quality

China is a hotbed of agricultural chemical activity, with around 600 independent firms that have the capacity to synthesize pesticide molecules. China has world-class manufacturing facilities and joint ventures with some members of major U.S. chemical manufacturers, says Jay Vroom, CropLife America president.

However, Vroom notes that there have been instances where some products from some Chinese companies didn’t meet U.S. specification or quality standards. 

“We are talking with EPA about how we can pay more attention to this from a regulatory standpoint,” says Vroom. “We don’t want to create a crisis of confidence within EPA. But our responsibility is to work with others in the industry to have a higher level of resources devoted to this. We need people to visit those plant sites on the ground.”

Special Atrazine Review

CropLife America is monitoring the special review of atrazine and other triazine herbicides by EPA. The majority of scientific analysis is overwhelmingly in favor of atrazine’s continued use, says Vroom. 

However, there’s a chance atrazine could be lost, says Vroom. “Farmers and their farm organizations need to take this seriously and be active,” he says.

Local Foods Movement

Some in agriculture tend to suspiciously view the local foods movement and farmers markets. However, Vroom views it more as an opportunity to communicate with consumers.

“Most organic producers use organic crop-production products, some of which are supplied by our members,” he says.

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