Jun. 21, 2019
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Monday it has granted emergency exemptions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) for use of sulfoxaflor on cotton and sorghum. The exemptions were originally granted earlier in 2019 and in late 2018 for the 2019 growing season. National Sorghum Producers Chairman Dan Atkisson, a sorghum producer from Stockton, Kansas, released the following statement in response to the EPA's decision:
"We are grateful the EPA is standing by U.S. farmers and listening to science, granting these exemptions for sulfoxaflor, which is crucial to crop protection in sorghum.
"The invasive sugarcane aphid, first confirmed in the U.S. in 2013, has had a devastating impact in many sorghum-producing states. In just the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension calculated sugarcane aphid infestations reduced farmer profit by $20.39 million, or $64.29 per acre, in 2014 and $11.21 million, or $36.17 per acre, in 2015.
"Sulfoxaflor is vital to control of this invasive pest and is our best tool to avoid devastating impacts. Without effective controls for sugarcane aphid the viability of sorghum production is questionable.
"This chemical has minimal impact on beneficial insects and is a safe option for integrated pest management systems. EPA's own assessments published in the agency's October 2016 response to comments found that, 'sulfoxaflor clearly is a better compound for non-target organisms than nearly all of its alternatives,' and 'poses little risk to fresh or saltwater fish and invertebrates.' NSP is encouraged by sulfoxaflor's well documented improved environmental profile, coupled with its highly effective control of sugarcane aphids.
"Again, we appreciate EPA's approval of this year's emergency-use request. However, we look forward to an eventual registration for sulfoxaflor on sorghum, so we have certainty that this vital tool is available in the future and can avoid the yearly emergency-use request process."
The EPA first acknowledged this emergency exemption in 2014 and has approved the use of sulfoxaflor in grain sorghum each subsequent year. Emergency-use exemptions are effective in 2019 for use of sulfoxaflor in grain and forage sorghum in Alabama, California, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia as well as Tennessee for forage and syrup.