NPPC Leads Coalition Asking EPA to Scrap Proposed Rodent Rule

What happened: NPPC led a coalition of poultry and livestock groups in filing comments with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its proposed regulation of rodenticides to control vermin on farms. The groups urged the agency to scrap the proposed rule and conduct studies “needed to develop sound and appropriate mitigation measures that effectively and efficiently reduce the potential for harm for non-target species from unintended exposures to rodenticides.”

To protect animals other than mice and rats – the target species – EPA wants to limit the purchase and application of rodenticides to certified applicators and, in some states, individuals supervised by certified applicators. It also wants additional, detailed record keeping for rodenticide use on farms.

NPPC’s take: In their comments, the organizations pointed out that requiring the hiring of certified applicators or training and certifying farm workers in rodenticide application will add costs to producers, won’t improve rodent control, and likely would have no effect on “non-target species.” Likewise, more record-keeping will add costs.

Additionally, the groups said, “The use of outside, contracted certified applicators … would for many producers present unacceptable levels of biosecurity risk, as well as a risk that the provision of essential rodent control services would be disrupted should there be disease outbreaks at other operations in the area.”

Why it matters: Rodenticides are an important part of the agriculture industry. Uncontrolled mice and rats have a detrimental effect on the environment and farms and ranches. Along with crop destruction, rodents transmit bacteria and viruses that can infect and cause animal diseases. They also consume and spoil feed, which increases the environmental footprint of farms and food. Fewer rodents mean less fuel, fertilizer, and water are needed to raise animals and crops, reducing a farm’s environmental footprint and lowering costs for farmers.