Atrazine

Mikhayla) Atrazine recently seems to be under some fire from the EPA. What are your thoughts on that? (Ken) Well, it seems like the EPA has decided that all the studies that we’ve done for the past 40 years don’t matter. So they want to study it again. And Atrazine is the most studied herbicide that’s ever been made. And the studies have never changed. They’ve always shown the same thing. So, the way I look at it is, they just are continually looking under every rock to see what they missed. And we continually provide all those things for them to come back and say, “Oh, I guess you were right.” But as far as what happened on our farm, Atrazine is probably one of the most important things we use today. It enhances every other corn herbicide that we use. It makes it more valuable. It makes it more potent. It helps us use less of everything else. When you go back to 1960 when I remember using Atrazine, when Dad started using it, we used a lot of it, because there wasn’t anything else. And as things changed, we ended up using less and less and less. And today we’re using it in a micro fashion to where we put on some in fall, we put on some in the spring and we watch every little bit that we use. We monitor it constantly. And that’s why I feel we can continue to use it because we aren’t using it in the same fashion. We’re using precision technology to take care of all those things. There’s not any of it leaving. If you look at our no till fields all that stays in place. It helps us stay profitable, where we wouldn’t be able to stay as profitable with the new technology. We need the new technology herbicides but Atrazine enhances them too. So, when you look at the big picture EPA has opened the door for everybody to say, we want to do it again. And I think it’s just pure ridiculous, that they can do that. But when you look at the government as a whole, they continue to look under every rock for everything else, so I guess they figure farmers are you know, fair game also. (Mikhayla) If Atrazine was no longer available, what would that mean for farmers? (Ken) I think we are in a low profit situation today. This would just add one more expense to what we do and actually have less effect on the weeds. So, when you look at it, you’re going to have to pay more and get less results. Back in the ’80s we quit using Atrazine because we thought there was other ways to do it. And it was a wreck. We had different kind of weeds show up because it was suppressing and keeping weeds out that we had no idea we even had. So, we immediately went back the other way and started using it in the new modern ways we’ve adapted since the ’80s, to use less and less, keep our soils balanced, use all those things and actually we’re better off for it. So, when you look at what’s happening today and what could happen, it could be a giant step backward and actually be less productive on the farm, less productive to feed all of our customers around the world. And actually raise the cost of corn, cost of feed, cost of everything and lower the profits in the meantime. So, it would be a negative all the way around.

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