Banning atrazine could wipe out 21,000 to 48,000 agricultural jobs

Banning atrazine could wipe out 21,000 to 48,000 agricultural jobs

By Melissa Coon

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, July 8 - Banning the agricultural herbicide atrazine would cost between 21,000 to 48,000 jobs from corn production alone, announced University of Chicago economist Dr. Don L. Coursey yesterday at a briefing sponsored by the Triazine Network.

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The range is wide because we have never before banned a product on which so many depend on for which suitable replacements have a wide variety of prices and applications,” said Coursey, who estimates atrazine's annual production value to corn to be between $2.3 billion and $5 billion. Atrazine's additional value to sorghum, sugar cane and other uses increases these totals.

If all of that job loss were concentrated in the agricultural sector, its unemployment would grow by as much as 2.6 percent. Replacement costs for corn farmers could reach as high as $58 per acre,” he said.

Atrazine has been a mainstay of corn, sorghum and sugar cane production for 50 years. The second-most herbicide in the U.S., it controls a broad range of yield-robbing weeds, is safe for crops and supports a variety of farming systems, including soil-saving conservation-till agriculture.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) re-registered atrazine in 2006 based on the evidence of nearly 6,000 studies and more than 80,000 public comments. It began an additional, unscheduled review of atrazine in late 2009.

Atrazine is essential to U.S. agriculture. We appreciate Dr. Coursey's findings and will distribute them to our members, the EPA and to our elected representatives. With unemployment still painfully high across the nation, we can't afford to lose as many as 50,000 jobs and the corn yield that sustains them,” said Triazine Network chairman and executive director of the Kansas Corn Growers Association Jere White.

To read Coursey's statement, go to:

To listen to Stewart Doan's audio on the issue, go to:

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