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North Dakota Department of Agriculture rejects acceptance of recently revoked pesticide

The Environmental Protection Agency, not the North Dakota Agriculture Department, is responsible for disposal of stocks of unusable chlorpyrifos products, Doug Goehring, North Dakota Department of Agriculture Commissioner said.

EPA.jpg
The EPA has revoked use of chlorpyrifos product with food use.
Michelle Rook / Agweek
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BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Project Safe Send program does not have the resources or funding to accept large quantities of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide for which the Environmental Protection Agency revoked food tolerances, Doug Goehring, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner said.

The EPA recently told users and distributors of the pesticide to contact the North Dakota Agriculture Department pesticide disposal program, called Project Safe Send, for chlorpyrifos disposal.

Project Safe Send annually has about a dozen sites around North Dakota where farmers can dispose of pesticides. In 2021, Project Safe Send collected 258,115 pounds of pesticide from 347 participants, the North Dakota Agiculture Department said. Since 1992, the department has collected more than 5.7 million pounds of pesticides from 11,124 participants.

Chlorpyrifos is used to manage a variety of insects in several different industries including agricultural crops production, greenhouse and nursery production and on cattle, in the form of ear tags. The agency announced in August 2021 that food tolerances for the pesticide would expire in six months.

The six-month time frame did not allow for the “vast amounts” of chlorpyrifos in the supply chain to be used up, Goehring said.

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The EPA, not the North Dakota Agriculture Department, is responsible for disposal of stocks of unusable chlorpyrifos products, he said.

“We request that the EPA cease directing North Dakota chlorpyrifos users to and distributors to Project Safe Send as we will not be able to accept it,” Goehring wrote in a Feb. 23, 2022, letter to the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs.

In Minnesota, anyone with unused chlorpyrifos products can dispose of them through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's MDA's Waste Pesticide Collection Program , said Allen Sommerfeld, Minnesota Department of Agriculture interim communications director.

The department requests that if volumes exceed 300 pounds, users contact the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The Waste Pesticide Collection program is available in every Minnesota county for disposal of unwanted agricultural pesticides through county household hazardous waste facilities, mobile events or by attending MDA scheduled events, Sommerfeld said.

Waste pesticide volumes have increased in recent years and current funding can support annual increases for the next several years, Sommerfeld said.

In 2021, there were 859,610 of chlorpyrifos sold as crop pesticides in Minnesota, according to unverified data, he said. The department does not know how much of that was unused.

The MDA Waste Pesticide Collection Program sites, dates and times are available at https://www.mda.state.mn.us/wastepesticideschedule.

In South Dakota, it would not make sense to dispose of the products through the state's waste pesticide program because there are non-food uses for products with chlorpyrifos, said Brian Walsh, South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources public affairs director.

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Discussions the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources has had with South Dakota cooperatives indicate that the chlorpyrifos products that were used on food crops will be returned to the distributor for distribution in other areas of the United States where it is labeled for non-food uses, Walsh said.

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