Citrus growers told Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials why they want the insecticide aldicarb registered for use in Florida citrus, and discussed their problems with citrus greening. EPA cancelled the use of Temik, the Bayer brand name for aldicarb, on citrus at the end of 2011.
Mike Aerts of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) said the Oct. 22 grower meeting at a Frostproof grove was designed “to establish and solidify communication bridges between the citrus industry and our regulatory partners.” Aerts is FFVA’s director of science and regulatory affairs.
“Discussions during the event of course encompassed citrus greening, but many other components of the industry involving the potential registration of (aldicarb) also became conversational highlights,” Aerts reported. “The management opportunities of the product well beyond the Asian citrus psyllid were brought out, such as the material’s capabilities in managing multiple species of nematodes, rust mites, mealybugs, etc., and the product’s historical abilities to increase various tree vigor components were noted as well.
“Also discussed were things such as the specifics of the Florida aldicarb rule and the stewardship program that would automatically accompany any citrus registration. The planned stewardship program would include all the components of the previous Temik stewardship program, plus some additional safeties such as an increase in the distance between wellheads and where the application would actually take place. Stewardship discussions also touched on things such as the planned approaches with the product in ways that minimize and prevent off-site movement and non-target exposure, and increased safety to workers, pollinators, birds, animals, other wildlife, the environment, etc.”
Aerts said approximately 40 people attended the meeting, including about 30 citrus growers representing more than 100,000 acres of citrus production. Aerts and about nine growers spoke. EPA representatives at the meeting were Carrie Vicenta-Meadows, agricultural advisor to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, and Susan Park, agricultural advisor to EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary Walker in Atlanta.
“Other regulatory partners in attendance included Kelly Friend and Amy Brown from FDACS (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services),” Aerts said.
Florida Citrus Mutual CEO Mike Sparks was not at the meeting but said, “We lost a very valuable tool that used to be in the toolbox” when aldicarb’s use in citrus was cancelled nine years ago. Sparks said aldicarb has “a wide range of attributes” for citrus.
“The next regulatory decision schedule for aldicarb is anticipated in mid-December,” Aerts stated.
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