The EPA has announced the new, two-year label for dicamba formulated for over-the-top (OTT) usage in soybeans and cotton, as well as guidance on air emissions from animal waste at farms. These positive announcements help provide regulatory certainty to Virginia’s row crop and livestock producers.
The EPA’s dicamba announcement provides a two-year registration for dicamba approved for over-the-top (OTT) use. As weed resistance becomes an increasing challenge for farmers, it is important for them to have tools they need to manage their crops responsibly, efficiently, and economically.
Several out-of-state complaints surfaced the new dicamba formulation was first employed last year. While the number of complaints subsided somewhat this past growing season, the new labels announced by EPA put further restrictions on these products to address concerns on endangered species and volatilization. Some of those restrictions may prove challenging, but we recognize that EPA has legal obligations it must meet, and the agency has sought to meet those obligations while considering the needs of agricultural producers. The new label provides the following updates and guidelines:
- Two-year registration (until December 20, 2020)
- Only certified applicators may apply dicamba over the top (those working under the supervision of a certified applicator may no longer make applications)
- Prohibit over-the-top application of dicamba on soybeans 45 days after planting and cotton 60 days after planting
- For cotton, limit the number of over-the-top applications from 4 to 2 (soybeans remain at 2 OTT applications)
- Applications will be allowed only from 1 hour after sunrise to 2 hours before sunset
- In counties where endangered species may exist, the downwind buffer will remain at 110 feet, and there will be a new 57-foot buffer around the other sides of the field (the 110-foot downwind buffer applies to all applications, not just in counties where endangered species may exist)
- Clarify the training period for 2019 and beyond, ensuring consistency across all three products
- Enhanced tank clean-out instructions for the entire system
- Enhanced label to improve applicator awareness on the impact of low pHs on the potential volatility of dicamba
- Label clean up and consistency to improve compliance and enforceability
We know Virginia’s farmers take their environmental responsibilities seriously and respect the need to use these products strictly to the label. We commend EPA for making this decision with enough lead time for farmers to make planting decisions for the next growing season.
EPA has also released a proposed rule clarifying that farms are not required under EPCRA to report air emissions from animal waste at farms.
In May 2017, the D.C. Circuit court vacated EPA’s 2008 regulatory exemption for livestock reporting under EPCRA. Following that court action, the Trump EPA issued guidance stating reporting still does not need to occur from livestock producers based on EPA’s interpretation of EPCRA.
On October 30, the EPA’s Acting Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, signed a proposed rule to amend the emergency release notification regulations under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) to make clear that reporting of air emission from animal waste at farms is not required under EPCRA. This proposed rule is intended to make it clear to the regulated community that animal waste emissions from farms do not need to be reported under EPCRA. This action provides much-needed certainty and clarity to America’s farmers and ensures our emergency response officials are focusing their time and resources on hazardous waste emergencies and not routine animal waste.
Once published in the Federal Register, a 30-day comment period will open for all stakeholders to comment on the proposal. Virginia Farm Bureau will work with AFBF and other agricultural organizations in drafting comments for the record.