Mississippi’s senators have written EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy asking the agency to move swiftly on making a determination for emergency use requests of Transform, an insecticide they say is critical to the success of cotton production in Mississippi.
Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker said an emergency use request from Mississippi for sulfoxaflor or Transform has been pending with EPA since March 10. Cotton farmers, particularly in Mississippi, will be susceptible to significant cotton crop losses unless EPA processes the request in a more timely manner.
“Farmers in Mississippi face economic hardship because of bureaucratic delays,” said Cochran. “The Environmental Protection Agency has already exceeded its normal schedule to approve insecticide use. It should act soon to allow our cotton farmers to carry out their growing season.”
“EPA has heard from farmers and stakeholders on this important issue, yet it continues to put off making a decision,” Wicker said. “The planting season is almost here, and our farmers need to be able to treat their crops. The agency should provide farmers with the certainty they deserve regarding this urgent request.”
“Cotton growers in the Mid-South are getting dangerously close to when applications must be made to treat for the tarnished plant bug,” their letter said. “Without Transform in their toolbox soon, growers of these crops are destined for significant crop losses that are otherwise avoidable. Time is of the essence for farmers to have access to this critical tool.”
Earlier this year, Texas farmers were confronted with a similar emergency situation in which EPA took 129 days to approve Transform for the state’s sorghum crop. These requests have typically been approved within 50 days of the initial submission in previous years, the senators noted.
The current Mississippi request for cotton is standing at 60 days with a comment period that started on May 5.
“We have been told that a number of state requests for cotton are pending before EPA,” the letter said. “We are particularly concerned about the status of the cotton Section 18 request from Mississippi, which was submitted to EPA on March 10th.
“In previous years, Transform requests have been approved in a timely fashion, which we consider to be within 50 days of the initial submission, as is indicated on EPA’s Pesticide Emergency Exemption webpage.”
The letter asked McCarthy to respond with an update on the status of the requests by May 17, 2016.
For more information on the registration status of Transform, visit http://bit.ly/1VTTjOI.