Category Archives: Top Topic

Honeybee Population Isn’t ‘Crashing’

Here’s Why

In recent years, articles on honeybees have often started with a sentence like this: “Populations of honeybees have crashed in recent years, and many researchers have pointed the blame at a class of widely used insecticides called neonicotinoids.”

In fact, that’s how an otherwise excellent article in The Scientist summarizing a recent USDA study on honeybees’ molecular responses to neonicotinoids began. The narrative that honeybees, which are not originally native to North America, face mortal danger––has been advanced by environmental groups for years and echoed in the media, in casual blogs and the mainstream science sites alike. This twist on the news is so pervasive that it’s often accepted without question: bee populations are rapidly declining as a result of pesticide use, particularly the use of neonics, and the crucial pollinators could be edging towards extinction, plunging our entire food system into chaos.

  • “Declining honeybee population could spell trouble for some crops,” blared a headline on Fox News last year.
  • “Death and Extinction of the Bees,” was the banner claim on the activist Centre for Research on Globalization.
  • “Honey Bees in a Struggle for Survival,” claimed a guest columnist writing earlier this month for a Tennessee newspaper.

The only problem is that it isn’t true.

Myth of Honeybee decline

Honeybee populations haven’t “crashed” in the United States or elsewhere. Honeybees are not going “extinct.” Crops are not “in trouble.”

To read the full articles, Click Here

 

 

FDA Finds No Glyphosate Residue in Food

FDA testing of glyphosate residues in food found no detectable amounts of the herbicide in over half of commodities tested and minimal amounts in corn and soybean samples, the agency said today.

Those results were included in the FDA’s 2016 Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program, which tested for 711 pesticides across 7,413 samples. The annual survey found that more than 99 percent of domestic and 90 percent of imported food samples were in compliance with federal pesticide standards, which the agency said “were consistent with previous years’ findings.”

“The findings in this report demonstrate that overall levels of pesticide chemical residues measured by the FDA are below EPA’s tolerances, and therefore at levels that are not concerning for public health,” the agency said in a news release.

The study marked the first time glyphosate and glufosinate were tested by the FDA. Researchers examined the presence of the chemical in corn, soybeans, milk and eggs. The agency discovered that more than 53 percent of samples had no detectable pesticide residues, and all the residues found in the corn and soybean samples were below the tolerance levels set by EPA. No amounts of glyphosate or glufosinate were found in milk or eggs.

Glyphosate, a chemical herbicide found in the popular weedkiller Roundup, has received heightened public scrutiny from some advocacy groups after the World Health Organization’s cancer research institute issued a finding that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The EPA and other international regulatory bodies, however, contend that the chemical is safe for human use.

EPA’s conclusions vary from a controversial report from the Environmental Working Group that revealed glyphosate residue on popular foods such as cereal and granola bars, but the threshold for detecting pesticides was much lower than the standard employed by EPA. EWG followed up with the report by asking EPA to reduce the tolerance level for glyphosate in oats.

Article by Politicopro.com

Importance of Glyphosate to Soil Health – One Farmer’s Mission

“They wanted to cart me off to the funny farm.”

Andrew Ward, a farmer in Lincolnshire, England made a surprising decision back in 2002. He adopted a practice known as conservation tillage. This meant no more breaking up the soil or disturbing underground microbial life to remove weeds. Instead, he would allow organic matter left after the harvest to provide a protective layer for the soil. His fellow farmers looked on with skepticism—to this day, cultivation remains a traditional practice for controlling weeds. Andrew on the other hand, saw limitations in tillage.

THE OPTICAL ILLUSION OF TILLAGE

In Andrew’s view, the process of tilling fields to control weeds is visually misleading. On the surface, you see a nicely manicured field with rows of soil ready for planting. But what is happening underneath is another matter.

Every soil disturbance can elicit an array of consequences: carbon stored in the soil is released into the atmosphere, local insects and microbial life are affected, the soil loses moisture and seedlings of weeds can spread, which only compounds the weed problem. Nearly two decades ago, Andrew was ready to test a less invasive approach.

To read the full article by Modernag.org/soil-health, Click Here

Trump admin appeals ruling ordering EPA to ban chlorpyrifos

The Trump administration is appealing a federal court ruling ordering the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Justice Department attorneys said that the San Francisco-based Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit violated both Supreme Court precedent and the underlying law when it ruled that former EPA head Scott Pruitt improperly rejected a petition in 2017 to ban a pesticide that has been linked to developmental and neurological disorders.

The administration is asking the full 22-judge court to rehear the case and overturn the ruling that came from a three-judge panel.

The August ruling was a major victory for environmentalists and food safety advocates, who have been pushing for years for the EPA to crack down on chlorpyrifos. The Obama administration proposed banning use of it on food products, but Pruitt reversed course.

While it was one of a growing list of environmental policy court losses for the Trump administration, the Ninth Circuit’s decision was nonetheless aggressive in ordering EPA to completely ban the substance.

Instead of ordering the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos, the court should have overturned the EPA’s decision and sent it back for reconsideration, attorneys said in their Monday filing.

Further, under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, the court’s finding that there is no safe level of exposure to chlorpyrifos via food should not have necessitated that the EPA ban the substance, attorneys said.

“The important thing here is that courts are not supposed to operate this way,” EPA spokesman Michael Abboud said in a statement.

“This opinion nullifies the FIFRA process, violating a congressionally mandated statute. EPA takes science and health issues very seriously, but we must work within the legal process established by Congress.”

The ruling “conflicts with Supreme Court precedent holding that where an agency’s order is not sustainable on the record, a court should vacate the underlying decision and remand for further consideration by the agency, rather than directing specific action.”

Further, under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, the court’s finding that there is no safe level of exposure to chlorpyrifos via food should not have necessitated that the EPA ban the substance, attorneys said.

Attorneys also argued that the Ninth Circuit did not have the authority to rule in the case, and that it should have gone to a lower district court first.

Dozens of agriculture groups and companies sent letters to the EPA asking it to appeal, saying a chlorpyrifos ban would be detrimental to growing crops including cotton, soybeans and sugarbeets.

If the Ninth Circuit either rejects the Monday request for a full-court rehearing — known as “en banc” — or the full court agrees with the previous ruling, the Trump administration could appeal to the Supreme Court.

—Updated at 7:30 p.m.

This article was written by: BY TIMOTHY CAMA – 09/24/18 06:03 PM EDT

It was posted on  “The Hill” website, Click Here 

Glyphosate One of the Most Effective Herbicides in the World

In the last few weeks it’s received lots of media coverage following a legal case in California, USA where the jury found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit filed by a man who alleged the company’s Glyphosate products caused his cancer. The media coverage of this case has raised lots of questions, so we hope that the following information and brief video helps you to understand glyphosate and the issues around it. 

 There have been lots of headlines about Glyphosate causing cancer and calls to ban glyphosate, does this mean it is not safe to use?

Let’s look at the facts; There isn’t a single regulatory authority around the world that has banned glyphosate for agricultural use.  Glyphosate has been around for more than 40 years, and it has been widely studied and approved as safe to use by many regulatory authorities around the world who have strict safety approval standards.  The regulators also review registrations on a regular basis.  In short, if it doesn’t meet these stringent standards it will not be approved for sale and use.

So why do people think it might cause cancer?

In 2015 one of the World Health Organization’s agencies, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a monograph which stated that Glyphosate was ‘probably’ carcinogenic to humans. For context, other compounds and activities that fall into this category include drinking very hot beverages, frying, hairdressing and red meat.

IARC is not saying that Glyphosate causes cancer, it is saying that it is probably carcinogenic. The conclusions of more than 800 scientific studies, regulatory agencies around the world and the World Health Organization (WHO) Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) none of whom have found that Glyphosate is carcinogenic when used in accordance with the manufacturers safety instructions.

Will there be any more court cases like the one in California?

We believe that there will be more court cases, and some are already scheduled to start, however we don’t necessarily think that the outcomes of the other cases will be the same as the recent case in California. The recent case in California is not finalized and we expect there to be further legal processes and reviews related to this case.

Will Glyphosate still be sold?  

Yes, Glyphosate will still be sold. It is registered for use by regulatory authorities and there are a variety of manufacturers that have EPA registrations allowing them to actively sell it.  The industry will continue to work with regulatory authorities around the world to maintain the scientific database for Glyphosate at the level required by the regulators. The manufacturers of Glyphosate are confident that the weight of existing scientific evidence will continue to be recognized by regulators around the world to keep the registrations for Glyphosate products.

Where can I find more information?

As one of Glyphosate’s major manufacturers, Nufarm has put together a Glyphosate factsheet which is available here ​along with links to more information about Glyphosate.

More Information on Glyphosate

You can find more information about the World Health Organization (WHO), regulatory authorities positions on glyphosate and other information and reports below.

USA (Environmental Protection Agency)

Investigation showing that IARC participant was paid £120,000 by cancer lawyers: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/weedkiller-scientist-was-paid-120-000-by-cancer-lawyers-v0qggbrk6

Reuters investigation on non-carcinogenic findings “edited out” by IARC: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/who-iarc-glyphosate/

Investigation into concealment of draft 2013 Agricultural Health Study findings by IARC chair:https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/glyphosate-cancer-data/

Links to reviews by regulators around the world since IARChttps://monsanto.com/company/media/statements/glyphosate-report-response/

Agricultural Health Study Background — largest epidemiological study ever on pesticides and cancer: https://aghealth.nih.gov/about/

2018 Agricultural Health Study In Journal of the National Cancer Institute showing no link between glyphosate and cancer :https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/29136183/

 

Beekeeper Notification Legislation

Keith Bennett, CGCS
Grass Roots Turf Products, Inc.

There have been a lot of questions asked regarding the beekeeper notification legislation.  Below is a set of guidelines that will hopefully help detail some of the responsibilities of the pesticide applicator and help them to navigate through the requirements of the legislation.

1) Read the legislation. It is not long and has information that you should be aware of.  Two examples being an exemption for applications less than 3 acres and provisions for emergency applications. It can be found at this link: http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/pcp/regulations/Subchapter%209.pdf 

2) Have a pollinator plan in place and be prepared to share it with beekeepers in your area. This can be as simple as creating a policy to not spray weeds while flowering and not spraying in high winds where spray may drift into non-target areas. These management practices can greatly decrease the chance that pollinators will be affected and may be practices that are already utilized. Explaining these policies to beekeepers may help to correct the perception that many lay people have regarding the dangers of chemical applications.

3) Find your local beekeepers and reach out to them. Look through the state list of registered beekeepers and figure out who is within 3 miles of the application site. If there is doubt whether a beekeeper falls within the range or not, err on the side of caution and add them to your contact list. Sifting through the list and determining who falls within your contact zone will be the most challenging and tedious part of the entire process. A link to the list follows: http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/pcp/bpo/2017DEPNotificationList.xlsx

Once you have formulated a list, reach out to each beekeeper individually for an initial introduction. Explain who you are, what you do, and what your plan is to keep their pollinators safe. If the beekeepers choose to not be contacted prior to each regulated application, there is a standard waiver detailed in the beekeeper legislation that stays in effect until withdrawn by the beekeeper.

Inform your beekeepers that they will be notified via email prior to all applications in accordance with the legislation. This is generally the most convenient of approved methods of communication and provides a documented history in case any questions arise later.

4) Read your labels! Notification is only needed for products that are labeled to be toxic to bees. In general this includes all your commonly used insecticides. Note that granular insecticides are not labeled as toxic to bees and therefore do not require notification.

5) Notify everyone on your list at least 24 hours prior to applications in accordance with the legislation. As mentioned earlier, there are provisions to include emergency applications that may arise. Set up all your apiarists on a group email. This will save time prior to  applications, especially if you have a lot of hives around you. Be sure to include all recipient email addresses as a blind carbon copy (BCC). BCC’s hide who is on the email list and make it impossible for someone to send a message back to all other recipients.

The Landscape Newsletter – June 2017

New Jersey Green Industry Council Dedicates This Issue of The Landscape in Memory of
Joseph A. Turchi, Sr. August 19, 1938 – June 20, 2017

President’s Message

Good day everyone,

I hope everyone had the opportunity to enjoy an extended weekend over the Memorial Day Holiday. Please let’s not forget to remember
the men and women that sacrificed to allow us to enjoy this Freedom that we hold dearly!

What amazes me about the Green Industry in the Tri-State area is that it can be running smoothly throughout most of the year as if on
cruise control, and suddenly hit potholes and speed bumps that seem to come out of nowhere. The main goal of the New Jersey Green industry Council (NJGIC) is to be your voice in Trenton, regarding any Legislative Actions that effect our Industry. In addition to being your voice, we look to communicate and educate our members and Allied Associations as well. I’ve recently dubbed this ACE, meaning Advocacy,
Communication, and Education. It is extremely important for our members to know how our actions help to preserve their livelihood in this great Industry.

Getting back to my original statement about the smooth running encountering potholes, we have been relatively quiet in Trenton thanks to the efforts of State Street Associates and in particular, Ed Waters. Ed keeps us informed as to what’s happening in Trenton that effects the New Jersey Green Industry. It seems like at the snap of a finger we are faced with a number of issues that the NJGIC is suddenly involved in.

To read the full newsletter, Click Here