ILLINOIS (WCIA) — When the Legislature is in session, all issues are on the table — and agriculture tries to keep a low profile.
Pesticide issues make both national and state headlines, and lobbyists for farm groups work hard to minimize regulatory initiatives in the General Assembly.
“Of course we have tried every year to manage dicamba effectively,” says Jean Payne, President of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Assoication. “This year the Department of Agriculture is going to rule-making to establish a June 20 cut-off and again an 85 degree temperature restriction.
“But because they couldn’t do it with the U.S. EPA’s blessing, the rule-making process kicks in, which is new for us in Illinois.”
Payne says state-based rule-making for pesticides is much different than federal rule-making.
“But long term, having to amend pesticide labels using your state regulatory authority poses some problematic scenarios,” says Payne. “We are going to be working very hard on stewardship in the 2021 application season so we don’t end up with more legislative battles over how we use pesticides in Illinois.
“We truly want the Department of Agriculture to be the oversite agency and the U.S. EPA labels to be the ones that are the law for applicators in Illinois.”
Jean Payne says dicamba herbicide became controversial because farmers were divided over its use.
“We often have our common enemies that people think of anti-agriculture, anti-pesticide groups; but the truth is there are many people within agriculture that are not happy about how these scenarios are played out. So that is what concerns me because our history in Illinois is that agriculture sticks together; and with dicamba you have the possibility of that not being the case.
“So we are going to work very hard to make sure we don’t have legislative issues to deal with relative to dicamba use, or other pesticide uses including 2, 4-D, and the neonicotinoid insecticides, all the things that make the headlines in the national media every day.”