Chlorpyrifos Sales to End in California by February 2020

Brian German Agri-Business, Regulation

Chlorpyrifos Sales

An agreement was reached between the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and product manufacturers prohibiting chlorpyrifos sales in California beginning in 2020.  The agreement will allow farmers to continue using their existing supplies until the end of next year, afterward, the possession or use of chlorpyrifos products will no longer be permitted.  DPR and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will be continuing to work toward finding an alternative product that will be as effective as chlorpyrifos has been for California farmers.

The agreement reached between DPR and chlorpyrifos’ manufacturer Corteva Agriscience will forgo years of administrative hearings and appeals. All chlorpyrifos sales in California will officially end on February 6, 2020. In a statement to the Associated Press, Corteva indicated that the agreement would serve the “best interests” of those who will be impacted by the absence of the product.

“Through recent actions, the State of California has improvised and implemented several uniquely challenging regulatory requirements for chlorpyrifos,” the statement read.  “These new, novel requirements have made it virtually impossible for growers to use this important tool in their state.”

More than $5 million has been budgeted for DPR to work with CDFA on the development of a chlorpyrifos alternative.  More than $2 million will be awarded by DPR for the purpose of identifying and developing sustainable alternatives to chlorpyrifos.   Another $2 million will be granted by CDFA to expand outreach for biologically integrated farming systems.  CDFA will also be funding approximately $1.5 million in other research and development of chlorpyrifos alternatives.

The process of banning chlorpyrifos in California began earlier in the year after being labeled a “toxic air contaminant” by DPR.  Farmers who continue to use chlorpyrifos until the December 31, 2020 cutoff date, will still need to comply with all existing restrictions.  DPR has stated that the agency will be aggressive in its enforcement of the regulations.  Chlorpyrifos has been used in multiple different crops including almonds, walnuts, citrus, grapes, and cotton to control pests.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West