Several bills regarding pesticide regulation in Illinois general assembly

The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association is keeping a close eye on a handful of state bills regarding pesticide regulation.

President KJ Johnson tells Brownfield most of the legislation simply needs clarification, so farmers are not robbed of important pesticides needed to protect their crops. He points to HB 4558 which would ban the use of neonicotinoid products on state owned land like universities- which would directly affect research trials.

“We will try and work through some of the other issues, but because of the impact to university field research we will be opposed.”

While IFCA supports protecting pollinators, another bill- HB 4237, as written, would ban the spraying of any pesticide considered toxic to bees within in a mile of any registered apiary between 8am and 6pm.

“I have looked at the Enlist label and it states that it is moderately toxic to bees. As the bill reads, Enlist could not be sprayed and I would say Enlist technology in soybeans is going to have a pretty good share of the market this year. How do farmers and retailers control weeds if that type of language is out there?”

He says HB 4711, which would set fines to applicators for each person directly exposed to pesticide application, also needs to be clarified for IFCA to support it.

“If there are 30 people in a field and an aerial applicator sprays over the top of them, there should be fines. Our biggest worry is what if there are one or two guys out in a field that we don’t see? We are negotiable because we don’t want to see anybody get exposed to pesticides being applied in a field. We just need a better understanding of what that definition is at the end of the day.”

He says there are also bills that, if passed, would ban the use of dicamba (HB 4363) and glyphosate (HB 3370), but Johnson says those issues are being reviewed by the US EPA and he does not expect them to move at the state level.

Interview with KJ Johnson

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