TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – It’s been a pretty good season for Kansas farmer Ben Marple. His soy beans are top notch and he’s got some pretty nifty new gadgets to navigate his fields. But there’s one thing that’s got him and other Kansas farmers nervous: Atrazine, an inexpensive weed killer that’s used on corn and sorghum, may disappear from farmers’ lists of useful herbicides.
“It won’t work properly unless you use the right amount,” he says. “There is approximately five dollars an acre. You’re allowed by law to use 2.5 pounds but when you’re applying it you don’t want to use more than two pounds.”
Over the summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ran a risk assessment on the herbicide and recommended reducing the allowable levels. According to the EPA’s review, atrazine may do more harm than good to the environment and may pose health risks.
The problem according to Marple is that it’s still a useful herbicide and reducing atrazine to the recommended EPA levels render the herbicide useless.
That’s why multiple farmers groups are urging farmers like Marple to submit a comment on the EPA’s assessment.
Some farmers groups argue that this could drive down production and with low commodity prices right now, some farmers are at a disadvantage.
“Some farmers would be weeded out, that’s for sure.”
The EPA has asked farmers to comment about atrazine and those comments will be added to an EPA review.