Ag News: Assessing Ag Impact of COVID-19 and New ESA Evaluations
**As public health officials grapple with the impacts of the coronavirus, farmers and agricultural marketers are assessing the impact on their businesses.
Analysts say slower economic growth, reductions in travel and trade slowdowns caused by reactions to the virus could contribute to declining demand for certain farm products.
Also, some agricultural trade missions and conferences have been canceled or postponed.
**The EPA has announced a new method for conducting biological evaluations under the Endangered Species Act to assure pesticide registration review actions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act do not jeopardize endangered species.
Administrator Andrew Wheeler says EPA’s improved methodology will better protect and promote the recovery of endangered species while ensuring pesticide registration review decisions are conducted in a timely, transparent manner, based on the best available science.
The updated method ensures, when available, the agency will use high-quality historical data that reflects where and how certain pesticides are used.
**The EPA wants to work with state pesticide regulators on its review of dicamba herbicides as the registration deadline approaches for new formulations.
EPA’s Alexandra Dunn says we need to have certainty for our growers, calling dicamba-tolerant seed and accompanying herbicides "a valuable tool for America's farmers."
As far as when EPA would make a decision, Dunn says, "We want to finish well before the December 20 expiration date.