EPA approves 10 pesticides for hemp production

Hemp farmers will have the option to use new crop protection tools for the 2020 season after federal regulators’ approval of pesticide products to the hemp production arsenal.

In a major step toward making the newly legal crop a national commodity, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday approved the use of 10 products to control insect pests and diseases – nine biopesticides and one conventional pesticide.

“EPA’s actions today help support American farmers’ efforts to grow hemp just in time for the first growing season,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement.

The EPA regulates pesticides to ensure they don’t unduly damage the environment and are safe to use on plants that people later eat.

EPA pesticide registration for hemp is a watershed moment for the entire cannabis industry.

Although marijuana remains illegal – and, therefore, no pesticides are legal to use on marijuana – the EPA’s hemp announcement signals the first time the federal government has deemed any chemical safe to use on cannabis.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) called the EPA announcement “the first step to provide crop protection for U.S. hemp farmers.”

The 10 approved hemp products are now cleared for use under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The act was enacted in 1947 to protect farmers by requiring pesticides to work as advertised and to use accurate labels.

New hemp production tools

Biopesticides are derived from biological ingredients, while conventional products are typically derived from chemical substances.

Registered biopesticides are:

  • EPA registration number: 70310-5. Applicant: Agro Logistic Systems. Active ingredients: Azadirachtin and neem oil. Product type: Insecticide, miticide, fungicide and nematicide.
  • EPA registration number: 70310-7. Applicant: Agro Logistic Systems. Active ingredients: Azadirachtin and neem oil. Product type: Insecticide, miticide, fungicide and nematicide.
  • EPA registration number: 70310-8. Applicant: Agro Logistic Systems. Active ingredients: Azadirachtin and neem oil. Product type: Insecticide, miticide, fungicide and nematicide.
  • EPA registration number: 70310-11. Applicant: Agro Logistic Systems. Active ingredient: Neem oil. Product type: Insecticide, miticide and fungicide.
  • EPA registration number: 84059-3. Applicant: Marrone Bio Innovations, doing business as Marrone Bio Innovations. Active ingredient: Extract of Reynoutria sachalinensis. Product type: Fungicide and fungistat.
  • EPA registration number: 84059-28. Applicant: Marrone Bio Innovations, dba Marrone Bio Innovations. Active ingredient: Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain F727. Product type: Fungicide.
  • EPA registration number: 91865-1. Applicant: Hawthorne Hydroponics, dba General Hydroponics. Active ingredients: Soybean oil, garlic oil, and Capsicum Oleoresin extract. Product type: Insecticide and repellent.
  • EPA registration number: 91865-3. Applicant: Hawthorne Hydroponics, dba General Hydroponics. Active ingredient: Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain D747. Product type: Fungicide and bactericide.
  • EPA registration number: 91865-4. Applicant: Hawthorne Hydroponics, dba General Hydroponics. Active ingredient: Azadirachtin. Product type: Insect growth regulator and repellent.

The registered conventional pesticide product is:

  • EPA registration number: 91865-2. Applicant: Hawthorne Hydroponics, dba General Hydroponics. Active ingredient: Potassium salts of fatty acids. Product type: Insecticide, fungicide and miticide.

Progress for legal crop

The EPA began the pesticide approval process in August to ensure growers would have time to plan for their crop input purchases for the 2020 production season.

The agency received applications from 10 companies seeking label approval for use in hemp production and opened a 30-day public comment period.

Approving pesticides for hemp production was made possible by the legalization of the crop under the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp and its derivatives from the Controlled Substances Act.

The EPA cannot approve pesticide products for marijuana, which is still listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

“Collaboration will be key as we work to provide a full tool box of solutions, including biopesticides, to the emerging hemp industry,” NASDA CEO Barbara P. Glenn said.

Federally approved hemp pesticide options eliminate a hurdle that farmers have faced since the crop was cleared for research production in 2014.

Until now, some state agriculture departments had approved lists of products suitable for hemp cultivation, though farmers have experienced heavy pest pressure and called for federal pesticide approval to help alleviate the issue.

“We’ve learned a lot about hemp since the establishment of the pilot programs in 2014, and we’re continuing our progress to ensure hemp is treated just like every other legal commodity,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky who was pivotal to the inclusion of hemp legalization in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Laura Drotleff can be reached at [email protected]

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One comment on “EPA approves 10 pesticides for hemp production
  1. Johnathan Aluitious Hempseed lll on

    Warning , Danger Will Robinson ,Any Azadirachtin , or Neem tree oil products can leave an odor and aftertaste on product.So can potassium salts of fatty acids(insecticidal soaps), and horticultural oils that are sprayed on the plant.These must be use only in the vegetative stage of growth to prevent the telltale odor and flavor contamination.This is especially important if the flower product is to be used for human consumption.I suppose a CBD topical application , washed processed and cold pressed hemp-seed or hulled seed, may be an exception.

    Reply

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