Crop Protection

LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY

Crop Protection Materials – Opposed
Neonicotinoids became a crop protection material of intense interest this  year.  There  were  two bills  aimed  at restricting the use or requiring significant notice. The Almond Alliance joined a coalition to oppose the  measures  SB 1282 (Leno and  Allen) and  AB 1259 (Levine). After intense  discussion with the authors, SB 1282 was defeated on the Senate floor and AB 1259, which passed  the  legislature and was signed by  the  Governor last  fall was  amended into  a measure  to help  bees  by  opening up  state  owned lands  to apiculture to assist in diversifying bee diets  and grazing opportunities.

REGULATORY ADVOCACY

Crop Protection Materials: 
Over the last year the Almond Alliance has engaged in three separate legal  actions to protect crop  protection materials where there  have been proposals to cancel  registrations or implement use requirements that make  the  tools  virtually impossible to use.  Additionally,  the  Almond  Alliance has engaged at the  state,  federal and  international levels  to keep crop  protection materials available and usable.

Belt (Insecticide)

Joined Bayer  in opposing the  United States Environmental Protection   Agency’s  (EPA)    proposal  to  cancel flubendiamide (Belt) by  representing  almond  growers  as part  of  an  amicus  brief  that was  submitted to the  EPA’s appeals  board. The amicus  brief  contended that U.S. EPA’s Proposed Cancellation Approach Unlawfully Circumvents Required Statutory  Process  and  Deprives the  Growers of an Opportunity to be Heard  and that U.S. EPA’s Regulatory Determination Misstates  and  Ignores Substantial Benefits of  Flubendiamide.  Almonds are the  largest  user  of  Belt  in California. U.S. EPA made  the  decision late this  summer to cancel  registration of  Belt  and  it won’t be  available after the  current supply runs  out.  After contemplating all legal options and anticipated outcomes Bayer has decided not to pursue  any additional legal action.

Lorsban (Insecticide)

Joined DOW  Agrosciences in opposing EPA’s tolerance revocations and  cancellation of  Chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) by representing almond growers as part   of  an  amicus  brief that was submitted to EPA to educate the agency regarding (i)  chlorpyrifos’ vital   importance  for  almonds; (ii)   the significantly negative impact of  EPA’s  proposed action to revoke all tolerances for chlorpyrifos; and (iii)  the  need  for EPA to have  more  time  to complete its  scientific analysis. Leaffooted bugs  and stink  bugs  are “critical use”  pests  for which there   are  no  or  very  few desirable alternatives to chlorpyrifos.

Round Up (Herbicide)

The Office of Environmental Health  Hazard  Assessment (OEHHA),  a  division  the   California  Environmental Protection Agency ( Cal EPA)  recently published a notice of  intent to list glyphosate  (Round Up) under  Prop  65  as a chemical “known to the  state to cause cancer” based  on one  international study that went against  the  state’s  own conclusion that glyphosate  is  “unlikely to pose  a  cancer hazard   to  humans”. Environmental Justice groups have filed  a legal  intervention on behalf of OEHHA;  the  Almond Alliance has joined Monsanto’s fight and is participating in a legal  intervention on behalf of almond growers as almonds are the largest user of Round  Up in California.

1,3‐D (Soil Fumigant)

Following a consumer investigative report three  years

ago DPR began  a risk assessment to update the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) California Management Plan for 1,3-D (a component of Telone), a critical crop  protection tool for which no viable alternatives exist to combat nematodes. We advocated that DPR should continue to allow  growers to use up to 180,500 lbs per township per year where necessary (this will fumigate only  about 2% (540 acres) of the total acres in a township). Use of up to 180,500 lbs is supported by options available in DPR’s risk assessment so we strongly encouraged DPR to stand  behind their  data  and not adopt extreme risk assumptions being pushed on them. DPR recently determined township caps will be set at 136,000 lbs per township which is a mixed bag for almond growers. This represents an increase  from the baseline cap of 90,250 lbs that some townships had reverted to, but  a cut back from current use levels of up to 180,500 lbs for most townships in the Central Valley.  Even at the 180,500 level, there  wasn’t enough product to meet demand in some townships. DPR also banned use of 1-3, D in December and will no longer allow  “the bank” which is an accrual mechanism within a township that allowed townships to accrue  pounds not  used for future use. We appreciate DPR relying on newer  scientific data  in the risk assessment indicating that the concerns are not  as great as assessed 20 years ago when  the township cap system was first implemented. Although, the cap will still mean some growers will be doing without this valuable soil pest management tool.

Chlorpyrifos, Diazinon, and Malathion:

The EPA has accepted comments regarding the draft biological evaluations for key crop protection materials chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion proposed for use in the registration review process for these pesticides. Both chlorpyrifos and diazinon have traditionally played key roles in controlling the two main insects of concern in almonds: NOW and PTB. The Almond Alliance, working with the Almond Board of California, has advocated for the EPA to request more time from the Courts to allow for good science and a good public process to occur to obtain credible results.

Sulfoxaflor and Tank Mixing Ban

The EPA is completing a proposal to re-register sulfoxaflor with a primary focus on potential risk concerns for pollinators. Within the proposal is a prohibition on tank mixing sulfoxaflor with other pesticides as a requirement to protect bees, for which there is no scientific basis that there is a risk of concern. The Almond Alliance, working with the Almond Board of California, has advocated for EPA to not prohibit tank-mixing unless there is a clear danger to be mitigated.

Iprodione (Fungicide)

Canada is proposing to cancel all registered uses for the fungicide active ingredient iprodione (Rovral), as well as remove all established maximum residue levels (MRLs), in order to reduce dietary risk and to align with the proposed decision to cancel all registered uses. Iprodione is a significant fungicide product that is used throughout U.S. agriculture, including on almonds grown in California; it is a crop protectant against various fungal diseases, including Alternaria, Brown rot, and Shot hole. The Almond Alliance of California, working with the Almond Board of California, requested that the Canadian MRL for iprodione on almonds be maintained at its current level to ensure the continued facilitation of trade and alignment with international standards.

Endocrine Disruptors

The European Union is considering criteria to identify endocrine disruptors. Assessing whether compounds have the potential for disrupting endocrine-related processes in humans and other species is not easy. Several governments have struggled to come up with relevant criteria. The Almond Alliance has requested that fundamentally the same criteria be used whether it is in the US, EU, OECD, CODEX, etc. However, the current EU legislation requires that any plant protection compound with endocrine disrupting properties be disallowed for use within the EU; the legislation does not account for whether the exposure or the levels at which endocrine disruption are seen are actually of concern. The Almond Alliance supports the EU taking a risk-based approach, and has encouraged the EU to work closely with the US and other governments to ensure the EU policies on endocrine disruptors do not hinder trade.

DPR: Pesticides Near Schools Regulation

On September 30, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation released a proposed regulation that would impose extensive restrictions on almond operations within one quarter-mile of public schools and licensed child care centers.

In the proposed regulation pesticide application restrictions will apply Monday through Friday, during the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., depending on the distance from the treated area to a school site, the application equipment used, and type of pesticide applied.

During these time periods, the operator of the property and the applicator shall assure that an application is not made within the distance of the schoolsite as specified below. (a) There must be a minimum ¼ mile distance restriction for applications using a: (1) Aircraft. (2) Airblast sprayer. (3) Sprinkler chemigation equipment. (4) Dust or powder except as provided in subsection (c)(3). (5) Fumigant.

The Almond Alliance has concerns that because fumigants are included that stockpiles and other post harvest fumigation could be impacted.

Click Here to read more in AgAlert

The Almond Alliance and other industry groups are encouraging our industry members to voice your concerns about this ruleExisting rules already provide many layers of protection, have been carefully developed by DPR to provide safety and have been used without incident for many years. On the other hand, the DPR proposal is extremely restrictive and would delay or prohibit pesticide applications without improving safety.

The Almond Alliance worked with the Almond Board to draft comments that were submitted December 9th.
View Comments HERE