EPA Proposes Rule to Revise Pesticide Crop Grouping Regulations for Herbs and Spices

This original announcement was published by the EPA on August 27, 2019. You can access more information here

EPA is taking public comment on a proposed rule to expand and revise the pesticide crop grouping regulations.

With these revisions, EPA seeks to:

  • Enhance our ability to conduct food safety evaluations on herb and spice crops for tolerance-setting purposes;
  • Promote global harmonization of food safety standards;
  • Reduce regulatory burden; and
  • Ensure food safety for agricultural goods.

The proposed rule and related documents are available in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2006-0766 atwww.regulations.gov. Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted until October 28, 2019.

EPA sets tolerances, which are the maximum amount of a pesticide allowed to remain in or on a food, as part of the process of regulating pesticides that may leave residues in food.

Crop groups are established when residue data for certain representative crops are used to establish pesticide tolerances for a group of crops that are botanically or taxonomically related. Representative crops of a crop group or subgroup are those whose residue data can be used to establish a tolerance for the entire group or subgroup.

EPA is proposing two new large groups — “Crop Group 25: Herb Group” and “Crop Group 26: Spice Group” — as well as several other technical amendments to the crop group system. We anticipate that lower-risk pesticides could come forward for group tolerances and registration on herb and spice crops because of the proposed crop groups. Additionally, fewer field trials would be needed for regulatory decision-making on many similar herb and spice crops.

This proposed crop group rule is based on petitions submitted to EPA by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Interregional Research Project Number 4 and is the fifth in an ongoing series of revisions to the crop grouping regulations.

EPA Seeks Public Comment on Pesticide Applications for Hemp

The original announcement was published by the EPA on 8/21/19 and can be found here

LEXINGTON, Ky. (August 21, 2019) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the receipt of 10 pesticide applications to expand their use on hemp. The 10 requests are the result of the December 2018 Farm Bill provisions that removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, legalizing hemp for commercial use and production.

“EPA is taking the next step toward registering crop protection tools for hemp in time for use during the 2020 application and growing seasons,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The Agency is announcing a 30-day public comment period on ten existing pesticide product applications for industrial hemp. We hope this transparent and public process will bring hemp farmers and researchers increased regulatory clarity in time for next growing season — something they have asked for since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the legalization of commercial hemp.”

“Given the strong economic forecasts for hemp production in the United States, it comes as no surprise that we are beginning to see pesticide registrants intensify their interests in gaining crop protection approvals for use on hemp,” said Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention at the Hemp Production Field Day at the University of Kentucky. “EPA is committed to helping hemp growers obtain the tools needed to support and increase commercial production. This step recognizes that innovation in pesticide use is critical to the success of our strong and vibrant agricultural sector.”

“I am grateful to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn for selecting the University of Kentucky’s hemp field days to announce new pesticide applications for hemp,” said Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. “With about 1,000 Kentucky growers licensed to grow hemp this year, farmers need every tool in the toolbox to increase yields and protect their crops from harmful pests. This announcement proves the EPA is listening to the needs of hemp growers in Kentucky and around the nation.”

“Today’s announcement is a welcome first step on the path to registration of safe and effective crop protection agents for a rapidly expanding hemp enterprise,” said Dr. Bob Pearcehemp researcher at the University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment.  “My colleagues and I have already identified a number of weeds, insects, and plant diseases that pose a potential threat to economically viable hemp production.  We will work closely with EPA to identify and evaluate best management practices for the use of crop protection agents to help control pests in hemp crops.

“As one of the original proponents of legalizing hemp, I’ve continued to advocate for the success and growth of this budding industry. I’m glad to see EPA Administrator Wheeler taking comments on pesticide applications for hemp, and I’m excited this announcement is being made at the Hemp Production Field Day at UK. Kentucky has been and will continue to be a leader in the hemp industry, and it’s been my honor to advocate for this industry since I came to the Senate in 2011,” said Senator Rand Paul.

“I commend EPA for recognizing the significance hemp has in our nation’s agriculture economy, particularly in the state of Kentucky,” said Rep. James Comer (KY-01) “Getting these registrants approved prior to the next growing season is a tremendous help to our farmers. Thanks to Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn for helping provide the necessary tools our producers need to ensure they have the opportunity to produce the best crop.”

To ensure transparency and improve EPA’s process for considering pest management tools for the emerging American hemp industry, EPA is seeking public comment on these applications. The list of pesticides can be found in the Federal Register notice. Comments are due 30 days after the notice publishes in the Federal Register.

Once public comments are received, EPA anticipates deciding about the possible use of the specified products on hemp before the end of 2019 to help growers make informed purchasing choices for the upcoming growing season. Moving forward, EPA will review, approve or deny applications for use on hemp as the agency would for any other use site.

The enacted 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than 0.3% on a dry-weight basis. Thus, the 2018 Farm Bill allows for expanding cultivation of hemp, but not marijuana.

UMASH Farm Safety Check Worker Protection Standard AUGUST 2019

Working with pesticides is a regular occurrence for many individuals involved with agriculture.

While working with pesticides may be inevitable, incidental exposure and injury does not have to be. The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) requires that both agricultural employers and workers take active steps to prevent incidents from occurring by complying with minimum safety requirements.

Click here to view resources and download a safety checklist today!

NPSEC Services and Revenue Sharing

Attached is a memo from Tom Smith to clarify NPSEC’s role regarding pesticide safety education that explains some of the ways NPSEC serves and supports extension PSEPs and, as importantly, explains what NPSEC will not do when working with PSEPs.

NPSEC Services and Revenue Sharing memo

In a related development, the NPSEC Board of Directors adopted a resolution at the June 11, 2019 board meeting that clearly defines NPSEC support for extension PSEPs. This resolution is also attached.

NPSEC Resolution in Support of PSEPs

EPA Registers New Uses for the Insecticide Sulfoxaflor

This announcement was originally published by the EPA on July 12, 2019. You can access more information here.

Registration provides benefits to growers and is supported by strong science that shows minimal risks for pollinators

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a long-term approval for the insecticide sulfoxaflor  ̶  an effective tool to control challenging pests with fewer environmental impacts. After conducting an extensive risk analysis, including the review of one of the agency’s largest datasets on the effects of a pesticide on bees, EPA is approving the use of sulfoxaflor on alfalfa, corn, cacao, grains (millet, oats), pineapple, sorghum, teff, teosinte, tree plantations, citrus, cotton, cucurbits (squash, cucumbers, watermelons, some gourds), soybeans, and strawberries.

“EPA is providing long-term certainty for U.S. growers to use an important tool to protect crops and avoid potentially significant economic losses, while maintaining strong protection for pollinators,” said Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Today’s decision shows the agency’s commitment to making decisions that are based on sound science.”

Sulfoxaflor is an important and highly effective tool for growers that targets difficult pests such as sugarcane aphids and tarnished plant bugs, also known as lygus. These pests can damage crops and cause significant economic loss. Additionally, there are few viable alternatives for sulfoxaflor for these pests. In many cases, alternative insecticides may be effective only if applied repeatedly or in a tank mix, whereas sulfoxaflor often requires fewer applications, resulting in less risk to aquatic and terrestrial wildlife.

EPA’s registration also includes updated requirements for product labels, which will include crop-specific restrictions and pollinator protection language.


In 2016, following a 2015 decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacating the registration of sulfoxaflor citing inadequate data on the effects on bees, EPA reevaluated the data and approved registrations that did not include crops that attract bees. The 2016 registration allowed fewer uses than the initial registration and included additional interim restrictions on application while new data on bees were being obtained. Today’s action, adding new uses, restoring previous uses, and removing certain application restrictions is backed by substantial data supporting the use of sulfoxaflor.

For additional information, please visit: www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/decision-register-insecticide-sulfoxaflor-limited-uses-and.