Agriculture is one of the few industries where America remains the world leader. Our country is blessed with fertile lands, and capable hands to work the fields. I am a farmer and own an agribusiness so I know firsthand how difficult farm life can be. So many factors are constantly working against you weather, pests, weeds. Farmers aren’t immune to the challenges facing the economy, including the COVID shutdowns, and the supply-chain crisis.
But despite all these challenges, farmers still get up with the sunrise and go about putting food on the table for their families and for all Americans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), due to the vital role that farmers play in our lives, should not change regulations relating to certain pesticides or herbicides. This would only cause harm to both farmers and the environment. The EPA is seeking to amend its regulations regarding certain pesticides because they want to go beyond the statutory minimums set by Congress. This would only exacerbate an already unstable supply.
Many farmers have already planned the 2022 growing season, and any disruption to the products farmers can use would require farmers to engage in drastic changes to save their growing season; even resorting to outdated practices that are not the most environmentally friendly practices. Missouri Soybean Association and other groups involved in agriculture around the state are committed to maintaining access to these pesticides.
Farmers must be aware of the environmental effects of their land-use decisions when they work it. We must be. We depend on the land for our sustenance and we care about how we impact our neighbors and friends. We must also remember that farmers need tools to fight the weeds or pests that could destroy crops. This is why so much research is being done to make pesticides and herbicides more effective and environmentally friendly. Pesticides as well as herbicides have become so effective that farmers are now able to avoid practices that could be harmful to the environment over time, such a tilling.
For those of you who may not know, tilling is the process by which the soil is turned the nutrient-rich bottom soil is moved to the top (its what you use a garden hoe for). It can also be used to remove weeds from the soil. There are some drawbacks to tilling. It can contribute to soil erosion and can exhaust the soil’s nutrients. It was only because of modern agriculture products such as the pesticides the EPA is now threatening to take off the market that farmers could transition away from tilling. These pesticides are already safe for the environment and meet the statutory requirements. However, the EPA is now trying to regulate the bureaucracies to ruin the 2022 season.
The irony is that the EPA, in trying regulate these pesticides to protect the environment for farmers, would encourage them to use outdated practices such as tilling in order save their growing seasons. The EPA should rely only on the research available and acknowledge that these pesticides have many benefits, which outweigh any harms they may cause. We must preserve the scientific status-quo in order to protect our farmers and our environment. We must also forgo any bureaucratic changes that would disrupt our supply chain and cause further harm to our environment.
In 2020, Sen. Jason Bean was elected as a senator representing Butler, Carter, Dunklin and Mississippi. He also represents New Madrid, Pemiscot and Shannon counties. He is a fifth-generation Missourian who was raised in the Boothel. He still lives on the farm where he learned to farm.