USDA Disappointed with EPA’s ‘Incomplete Analysis’ of Neonic Seed Treatments

May 07, 2015

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) expressed disappointment regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) incomplete analysis on neonicotinoid seed treatments for soybeans and the burden it’s created for growers.

In October 2014, EPA’s report indicated there are no clear or consistent economic benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments in soybeans—a conclusion USDA said is not only false, but has again put growers in a position where they must defend their pest management decisions.

“As a whole, USDA disagrees with that assessment,” USDA states in a letter sent to EPA in April, “We believe that pest management  strategies are made in consideration  of pest pressures,  climate, landscape  and numerous  other factors.”

USDA stressed that growers should have the ability to use the best tools available to manage pests, including choice in seed treatment and pest management tactics based on what works for individual situations.

“Unfortunately, EPA's conclusions are not supported by complete data nor analysis. EPA's analysis does not include potential labor and management savings afforded by seed treatments,” USDA states in the letter. “Moreover, it does not consider cases when timely foliar applications are not possible or as effective due to general field and weather conditions. EPA's calculation does not include any additional regulatory expenditure by landowners, such as costs to revise pesticide permit applications, or costs to submit new applications for foliar spraying.”

USDA also points out that EPA’s analysis does not consider other benefits of using neonicotinoids, including protection from the wide range of pests or minimizing the exposure of non-target insects.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) is grateful for USDA’s support and thanks them for underscoring how critical neonicotinoids are to certain soybean operations.

Click here to read USDA’s entire letter.