By: Pat Wolff, MDFB senior director of national affairs
Maryland Farm Bureau has joined over 350 organizations to support new federal legislation that would ensure uniformity of labeling standards for pesticides that are backed by sound science and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The bipartisan bill, H.R. 4288, the Agricultural Labeling Uniformity Act, was introduced in Congress last week by Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and Jim Costa (D-CA).
Farmers depend on pesticides to manage pests and control plant diseases that can destroy crops and threaten a reliable and affordable food supply. If farmers lose access to crop protection tools due to a patchwork of state or local labels, it will not only reduce their ability to protect crops and maintain important conservation practices, but will erode confidence about the safety of science-based EPA-approved products.
Under current law, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) governs pesticide use, sales, and labeling. FIFRA gives the EPA exclusive authority to determine labeling and packaging requirements. Under FIFRA, states have the ability to regulate the sale or use of pesticides; however, they are prohibited from imposing their own labeling requirements that are different from the EPA’s science-based labels.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture enforces federal laws on the sale and use of pesticides, administers Maryland’s Pesticide Applicator’s Law, approves training courses in the handling, storage and use of pesticides, conducts examinations to determine that pesticide applicators are competent to follow prescribed pest control practices, and investigates pesticide accidents or incidents and consumer complaints on pesticide misuse.
Here is Rep. Johnson’s news release about the introduction of the legislation: https://shorturl.at/pvJSX