EPA is warning farmworkers of “significant health risks to pregnant individuals and their developing babies” from exposure to the herbicide DCPA (dacthal) and said, “it will be pursuing action,” including possible suspension of the product’s registration, the agency said Monday.

“EPA is taking this rare step of warning farmworkers about these concerns while it works on action to protect workers because of the significant risks the agency has identified,” EPA said in a news release.

The agency said a mitigation proposal submitted by DCPA registrant AMVAC does not adequately address the agency’s risk concerns for handlers and post-application workers.

Among the elements of that proposal, the company said it would limit DCPA’s use to onions, radishes, and Brassicas except turnips and reduce application rates. Brassicas include broccoli and cauliflower.

AMVAC did not respond Monday to a request for comment. Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said EPA “should have taken action to cancel DCPA uses 10 months ago, when it first released these findings, and must now act immediately to protect farmworkers and others from this dangerous weedkiller.”

EPA said Administrator Michael Regan can issue an order of suspension that would be effective immediately “if he determines that an emergency exists such that an administrative hearing cannot be held before suspending. Any final order of suspension would remain in effect until cancelation proceedings end.”  

Korea trade mission yields results, Taylor says

Agribusinesses participating in a trade mission to Korea reported $67 million in projected 12-month sales as the result of meetings with potential importers and buyers, Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor told reporters Monday on a call recapping the trip.

The U.S. delegation included 36 businesses and 12 ag associations, Taylor said, as well as representatives from states including Arkansas, California, Indiana, Kansas and North Dakota.

Indiana Agriculture Department Director Donald Lamb said the biggest potential for an increase in exports from the U.S. is in the area of beef, pork and poultry, but also mentioned eggs, noting the presence on the trip of Rose Acre Farms, the second largest egg producer in the U.S.

Lamb said he found the trip “eye-opening,” mentioning a trip to the Korean Demilitarized Zone and the opportunity to see first-hand the “strong bond that we have. There's a lot of admiration, I think both ways.”

Two nations added to those with bird flu, APHIS says

The announcement by federal and state agencies on Monday that the second case of bird flu transmission to an individual in the U.S. came the same day the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service added two countries to the list of those “affected” by highly pathogenic avian influenza.

The official addition of Kosovo and Mozambique brought to 67 the number of countries subject to trade restrictions, which were imposed in those two countries in the fall. More countries are under temporary restrictions, including those in the European Poultry Trade Region – excluding the United Kingdom.

A person in Texas who was in close contact with dairy cattle has been infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza. Meanwhile, federal agencies reported that dairy cattle in states beyond Kansas and Texas had been infected. New infections were detected in Michigan, New Mexico and Idaho.

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Ag, environmental groups seek $1.2B for NRCS

Dozens of agricultural and environmental groups are pressing House and Senate appropriators to include in the fiscal year 2025 appropriations bill at least $1.2 billion for conservation operations at the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a category that encompasses conservation technical assistance as well as soil and snow surveys, water supply forecasting and plant materials centers.

Funding for conservation technical assistance is “now more important than ever,” the groups said in a letter to committee leaders, pointing to the additional conservation program dollars provided by the Inflation Reduction Act.

The groups also called for appropriators to maintain “full authorized funding” for farm bill conservation programs. They specifically mentioned oversubscription for two of these programs — the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program.

The National Association of Conservation Districts, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the American Soybean Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Farmers Union, USA Rice, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Soil and Water Conservation Society were among the groups that signed onto the letter.

Read more in our story on the Agri-Pulse website.

AGCO, Trimble form joint venture to create precision ag company

Ag equipment manufacturer AGCO and ag technology company Trimble closed a joint venture transaction that will create a new precision-ag focused company, both companies announced Monday.

PTx Trimble, the joint venture, “enhances AGCO's comprehensive technology offering around guidance, autonomy, precision spraying, connected farming, data management and sustainability,” the companies said in a release

AGCO holds an 85% stake in the joint venture, while Trimble holds a 15% stake, the companies said.