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Posted: 01/31/2023

URGENT: Proposed Rodenticide Law Changes That Affect Farmers

We want to make our customers aware of a potential law change regarding the use of rodenticide that may soon impact your operation. In November, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released proposed changes that could cancel popular rodent-control products and certain usage, add extra label requirements, and even reclassify some widely used products as Restricted Use Pesticides.

The specific chemicals under review include:

  • Acute Rodenticides (bromethalin and cholecalciferol)
  • Anticoagulant Rodenticides (chlorophacinone, diphacinone, warfarin, brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, and difethialone)
  • Zinc Phosphide
The EPA is accepting public comments regarding this decision until February 13, 2023. We’ve compiled important details around the possible changes below, as well as provided resources to help you create a letter and make your voice heard. This will change your operation and impact your bottom line like never before.

Rat hiding in crack of wall

Rodents Spread Health Issues and Damage Property

When you raise animals for a living, you’re bound to find rodents, and if you’re reading this, chances are you’ve experienced damage from rodents firsthand. You’ll find it out in the field, in the tack room, or even your own home and you’re not alone. This amounts to billions of dollars in damage annually, including property loss from dangerous structural fires. Rodents also repopulate quickly – one mouse can bear 150 babies each year! When you consider how just one rodent’s urine and feces can contaminate livestock food, imagine how a multiplying population can wreak havoc on a farming operation.

Whether you scatter bait in and around agricultural buildings, or place targeted traps to catch unwelcome rodents in specific locations, the limitation of rodent-control products will add a lot more to your plate.

Proposed Rodenticide Law Changes

The agency has considered how rodenticides create risks with food, drinking water, residential and human exposures, non-targeted wildlife, and others, citing they’ve been found to be involved in numerous incidents, including some involving young children. To limit potential exposure that could result in negative effects and concerns, the EPA proposes the following changes:

  1. All rodenticides greater than or equal to 4 pounds would be classified as Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs). Only state-licensed certified pesticide applicators may purchase and use these products. Plus, they must have specific education/training and keep additional records of applications.
  2. Consumer rodenticide use will be limited to just disposable bait stations with 1 pound of bait or less.
  3. Rodenticide application for ground squirrels or voles on lawns and recreation areas, as well as other places children and pets can access, will be prohibited.
  4. The personal protective equipment (PPE) label requirements would change from regular gloves to chemical-resistant gloves.
  5. Applicators must now wear an elastomeric half-mask respirator (PF10) to apply loose bait. This requires additional expenses and training.
  6. New label statements about mandatory or advisory carcass search, disposal, and reporting.

Farmers Rely on Rodenticide

Instead of controlling your rodent population – as you’ve done for years – these proposed changes will require farmers to hire professional exterminators, or rely solely on 1-pound and under bait stations (which simply can’t cover all the rodent-control needs of an animal operation).

As if the challenges of finding qualified veterinarians in remote locations isn’t great enough, now you’ll be tasked with also securing state-licensed rodenticide applicators. Much like many service industries post-covid, we also expect them to have staffing shortages that result in consequential wait times. The proposed changes also require specific training and equipment for applicators, which could drive prices up for you, too. Simply put: these changes will add more strain to your wallet, your watch, and the well-being of your animals.

Write to the EPA

Your input matters! Key industry organizations are working with the EPA to explain how these proposed changes will impact you directly. Livestock producers' personal explanations about how these changes will hike up business costs, create more problems inside facilities, and reduce efficiency of overall rodent control will help improve that dialogue.
Please consider writing to the EPA about how these changes put public health and food safety in jeopardy. Remember to be professional (not attacking or vulgar) to ensure the reviewer reads your letter in its entirety.

Industry Resources Available to You

Ready to share your opinion and personal experience directly with the EPA? Along with other producers and industry professionals, your collective effort can make a difference. These industry groups can provide additional resources regarding this rodenticide situation, including letter templates and instructions to submit your comments. To fully understand the situation, instructions, and templates for commenting on these decisions:

Make Your Voice Heard Before February 13, 2023

HURRY: February 13 is the LAST DAY to submit your comments to the EPA. Craft your letter and submit it today to make your voice heard. Also, feel free to share this information with industry colleagues who may also want to submit comments. After the deadline, check back at the PBS Animal Health Learning Center where our team will keep you updated every step of the way through this process.

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