Last Friday, Congressman Jason Smith joined Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler at a round-table with farmers to discuss the importance of regulatory certainty for the agricultural community. As part of the event, Wheeler and Smith announced the EPA’s decision to approve continued use of several herbicides important for Missouri farmers, including atrazine. Atrazine is a well-studied herbicide and is the second most widely used herbicide in the United States; it is used on more than half of the nation’s annual corn crop and roughly 75 million acres of land.
The timely approval was welcomed by farmers across rural America who were used to the Obama – Biden Administration dragging their feet on these types of approvals. Requirements for new regulatory and red tape hurdles for well-studied and historically used weed control measures farmers rely upon to feed the world were common practice for the previous administration.
“Atrazine is a critical tool, well-known and trusted by producers,” said Congressman Smith “This decision allows continued access for Missouri farmers to a trusted and effective herbicide. As our nation continues to deal with the effects of COVID-19, Missouri farmers need certainty now more than ever,” Smith continued “Whether it’s their work to allow for continued access to critical herbicides like atrazine, or their efforts to support the RFS by closing loopholes in the small refinery exemption, the Trump Administration continues to work on behalf of Missouri farmers during this difficult time.”
“Today’s decision is another example of the Trump Administration taking action in support of America’s farmers—one of our strongest allies in our mission to protect public health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Friday. “The benefits of atrazine in agriculture are high, so these new protections give our nation’s farmers more clarity and certainty concerning proper use.”
Smith and Administrator Wheeler also discussed upholding the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) which helps Missouri farmers remain successful. Congressman Smith has been an outspoken voice in favor of the RFS. In a letter to the President earlier this year Smith urged him to refuse any requests to issue blanket waivers from the 2020 RFS blending requirements.
During the roundtable, Congressman Smith also took the opportunity to share with the EPA Administrator many of the discussions he had with farmers during his annual summer tour of Southern Missouri agriculture. President Trump’s efforts to ease burdensome regulations for rural America was a frequent topic. Since his election to the United States Congress, Smith has been an outspoken critic of government red tape hampering Missouri farmers. He has introduced proposals to repeal burdensome and duplicative regulations and worked with the Trump Administration to remove some of the most devastating Obama-Biden era regulatory measures levied on Missouri farmers. The Trump Administration continues to cut regulations at a historic rate of eight regulations eliminated per each new significant regulation imposed. This will add $53 billion per year in real income for Americans.
Congressman Smith noted, “Farmers are already the best stewards of their land, because their livelihood depends on it. Since my very first day in office, I have been working to get the government off the backs of farmers and small businesses. Every summer I travel all 30 counties of my congressional district to visit with different farmers. After those visits in 2016, I gave the incoming Trump Administration a long list of regulations our area farmers wanted to see repealed including things like the Water of the United States (WOTUS) rule. In President Trump’s first year in office, he directly repealed, suspended, or removed more than half of those regulations. He always asks what I’m hearing from farmers and how his Administration can help, and he listens to our concerns.”