Getting Drift …The Right Way

The issue of spray drift is not going away any time soon. It is certain to remain a hot button management and policy issue for the foreseeable future.

When carried out under appropriate conditions and management practices, spray application is a safe, economical, and effective tool for growers. Nonetheless, drift happens. Although infrequent, drift can result in damage to off-target crops, environmental exposure to water, and a lower than intended application rate, reducing pesticide effectiveness. Drift can also involve neighboring properties, leading to emotionally charged concern and debate.

Further, because no clear EPA risk management policy or guidance exists, enactment of strict regulations on spray drift is a top priority of activist groups. As a result, a serious potential for negative economic impacts on agriculture exists from unrealistic and unwarranted restrictions or bans on pesticide use. Consequently, it is crucial that we be proactive in addressing the drift-related challenges facing agriculture.

The absence of effective EPA guidance has resulted in a multitude of differing state regulations on drift. Some state regulators and activist groups are taking advantage of this “policy void” to pressure EPA to adopt enforceable label language that prohibits any pesticide drift (zero drift). Because zero drift is unachievable, this is tantamount to a ban.

Neither Congress nor EPA ever intended to subject the application of pesticide products to the Clean Water Act’s (CWA)/National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements. All sources of environmental exposure including water and air from either direct application, runoff, or spray drift of pesticides have been regulated by EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Under FIFRA, Congress empowered EPA to set nationwide safety standards for agricultural pesticide applications that protect both the environment and public health. These comprehensive federal requirements cover all U.S. pesticide applications.

Managing Drift

Despite the outcry from environmentalists, millions of applications of our products are used safely every year, with only a handful of complaints ever recorded. Still, the pressure to regulate is substantial, and the unachievable “zero drift” policy was proposed by EPA in a 2001 Public Record notice in the Congressional Record. While never finalized, it is still being written into pesticide labels. Activists have also won in court their claim that pesticide applications on, over, or near water require an NPDES permit under the CWA. It’s obvious to see that the activist goal is to stop pesticide application. Period.

CropLife America continues to work with its commodity and grower group allies to replace the zero drift regulatory approach. We believe that label language should state that spray drift should cause no adverse affects. This statement acknowledges that there is going to be drift with each application and establishes a reasonable enforcement level.

Custom applicators have a huge role in helping achieve reasonable drift policy by making sure they work to minimize drift. The reality is that it only takes one highly-publicized incident to result in onerous and unnecessary regulations on our industry. Make sure your applicators select the proper nozzles, avoid spraying in excessive winds, and consider the use of drift retardants. Perhaps the most important thing is to educate your community about your application business. The neighbors around the field need to understand the safeguards built in to ensure products can be applied safely and that there is someone available to answer their questions.

Dealing with drift management and community outreach is an important component of our industry’s public policy efforts. With support from you, we can work to achieve a new and better EPA policy approach to drift.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Legislation Stories

Roy Blunt
LegislationARA Recognizes Blunt, Heitkamp For Legislative Efforts Supporting Agriculture
February 17, 2017
Agricultural industry continues to face federal regulatory challenges. Thankfully, agriculture’s allies in the U.S. Senate stepped forward. The Agricultural Retailers Read More
LegislationThe Fertilizer Institute Commends Senate On Confirmation Of New EPA Administrator
February 17, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn issued the following statement on the Senate confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Read More
Trump, Senate, Cabinet
LegislationBREAKING: Trump EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Confirmed by Senate
February 17, 2017
Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma’s attorney general spent years suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its efforts to regulate various Read More
LegislationARA Fly-In: Ag Retail Descends on Capitol Hill, Lawmakers
February 15, 2017
More than 100 agricultural retailers, distributors and suppliers headed to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning for the Agribusiness Congressional Fly-in, according to a Read More
Trending Articles
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Latest News
Soybean Plant closeup
HerbicidesRegional Listening Sessions Give Farmers A Voice In The…
February 27, 2017
Both scientists and regulators have had a lot to say about the growing problem of herbicide resistance and how weed Read More
Greystone Construction built the tension membrane fertilizer storage building (left) and steel seed treater building (right)
CropLife 100Pinnacle Announces Successful Exchange Offer Results An…
February 27, 2017
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC has announced today the early tender results of its previously announced offer to exchange (the “Exchange Read More
IEI Barge Fertilizer Potash Port Terminal
EquipmentLegacy Building Solutions Receives Design-Build Merit A…
February 27, 2017
When IEI Barge Services needed a building capable of storing and loading fertilizer, they turned to Legacy Building Solutions to Read More
ManagementSouth Africa Update and the New New Leader G5
February 24, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Dan Jacobs discuss the recent visit to South Africa by sister magazine AgriBusiness Global and the Read More
Fall Creek Watershed
StewardshipUpdate: Nutrient Stewardship In Indiana Requires Cool, …
February 24, 2017
Update: The application deadline for NCRS funding has been extended to March 17, 2017. Green leaves sparkle in the sunlight. Trees Read More
Greenleaf Technologies TADF03-D Dual Fan Nozzle
NozzlesSix Greenleaf Nozzles Approved For XtendiMax With Vapor…
February 22, 2017
Greenleaf Technologies has announced that six of its TurboDrop D Series nozzles have been approved for use with Monsanto’s XtendiMax Read More
Winter Wheat
Industry NewsTiger-Sul Hires Manitoba And Eastern Canada Account Man…
February 22, 2017
Tiger-Sul, a global leader in sulphur fertilizers and crop performance products, has announced that sales veteran Trevor Loewen has joined Read More
NFMS 17 Hagie Sprayer
Eric SfiligojThe Read From Louisville: Uncertain
February 22, 2017
By the time this column appears across the country, the annual Commodity Classic will be in full swing. This means Read More
SprayersApache 1000 Series Sprayer Earns 2017 EquipmentWatch Hi…
February 21, 2017
ET Works has been named a winner in the 2017 EquipmentWatch Highest Retained Value Awards program, the industry’s only award Read More
Measuring Bulk Tanks
StewardshipMeister Media Among 2017 Award Winners Presented By The…
February 21, 2017
The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA) held its annual conference in San Diego, CA, earlier this month where three awards were Read More
John Reifsteck
CropLife 100GROWMARK’s Reifsteck Earns NCFC Director Of The Y…
February 21, 2017
GROWMARK Chairman of the Board and President John Reifsteck has earned the prestigious Director of the Year Award from the Read More
Roy Blunt
LegislationARA Recognizes Blunt, Heitkamp For Legislative Efforts …
February 17, 2017
Agricultural industry continues to face federal regulatory challenges. Thankfully, agriculture’s allies in the U.S. Senate stepped forward. The Agricultural Retailers Read More
LegislationThe Fertilizer Institute Commends Senate On Confirmatio…
February 17, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn issued the following statement on the Senate confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Read More
Trump, Senate, Cabinet
LegislationBREAKING: Trump EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Confirmed by S…
February 17, 2017
Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma’s attorney general spent years suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its efforts to regulate various Read More
ManagementFebruary Road Trip Edition
February 17, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent visits to Indiana and Kentucky. Read More
Heritage Cooperative Finished Building Aerial
ManagementHeritage Cooperative, Agland Co-op Approve Merger
February 17, 2017
Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative stockholders have both approved the merger agreement between Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative. Now begins Read More
LegislationARA Fly-In: Ag Retail Descends on Capitol Hill, Lawmake…
February 15, 2017
More than 100 agricultural retailers, distributors and suppliers headed to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning for the Agribusiness Congressional Fly-in, according to a Read More
Untreated soybean seed Heartland Coop
Seed/BiotechMarrone Bio Innovations, Groundwork BioAg Bio-stacked M…
February 13, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. and Groundwork BioAg, Ltd have announced successful seed treatment field trials of the world’s first all-biological Read More