Bureau makes plea
Marion County Farm Bureau sent the following letter to the cities of Marion and Hillsboro:
As the leaders of the Marion County Farm Bureau organization, we seek to bring to your attention an effort with potentially significant economic ramifications in our area.
As you’re aware, we are a grassroots, non-profit agricultural advocacy organization, with approximately 465 farmer/rancher members in Marion County.
A big part of our responsibility in Farm Bureau is to advocate for farmers and ranchers in the halls of government, in Washington, Topeka, and right here at home, with our friends and neighbors who represent us on locally-elected municipal and county governing bodies. A group of trial lawyers based in Texas have met with other local governments in Kansas about the potential to join a class action lawsuit that, if successful, would essentially halt the use of an effective, commonly-used tool on farms in our county.
The lawsuit is based on the notion that acceptable levels of the chemical atrazine in drinking water are not adequate. This contention flies in the face of extensive science-based research and subsequent regulation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The consensus from the scientific and the government regulatory community in the U.S. is that atrazine poses no threat to human health or the environment at the limits established by the EPA. In addition, best management practices implemented by farmers in our county do a great job of keeping atrazine out of water supplies.
For no-till systems, atrazine is one of the most widely used and effective herbicides. No-till farming keeps the soil in place, increases water infiltration, and improves soil quality.
Loss of atrazine as a tool in no-till farming would be a step backward for efficient and safe crop production in an environmentally-conscious manner.
If the Texas trial lawyers succeed, it would force farmers to seek replacement chemicals, which would inevitably increase costs. This would mean an economic ripple effect both ways — potentially higher food prices for consumers and less disposable income for local farm families. We respectfully ask you to reconsider your decision and back out of the atrazine lawsuit.
Thank you for your attention and your consideration. If we can be of further service, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Marion County Farm Bureau Board of Directors