The EPA has announced a reexamination of the chemical atrazine, which is central to modern farming, while US farm production is forecasted to be the worst in decades.
The Trump administration set the acceptable level of the chemical at 15 parts per billion (ppb) for aquatic environments. The current administration wants to decrease that number to 3.4 ppb.
This could dramatically decrease crop yields as atrazine is found in over 90 commonly used herbicides used in modern farming techniques for weed control. If the EPA moves forward with its threat, it will add another factor for food producers to battle amid already tough challenges.
Drought conditions exist throughout the United States, with areas of Nebraska being designated as natural disasters. Other parts of the country, like North Dakota, are dealing with flooding which is also impacting farming.
On the international front, the war in Ukraine has resulted in sky-rocketing fertilizer prices. Russia is the world’s largest fertilizer exporter, responsible for almost 15% of total exports.
Fertilizer is not the only fixed cost for farmers that is rising. Diesel fuel, which runs most farming equipment, is approaching all-time highs.
These factors create an environment where the possibility of food shortages is quickly becoming a reality. President Biden warned the country about this possibility back in March.
Even if farmers can overcome these obstacles to produce enough food, it may be too expensive for consumers to buy. Americans have been seeing prices at their local grocery store continue to rise month over month, with no signs of stopping.
The EPA’s regulatory attacks on farmers are not limited to atrazine. It is also pursuing regulating farms based on fine dust and soot emissions.
Farmers are overwhelmingly conservative. A democratically controlled Congress and executive branch do not naturally align with the people who produce the food in this country.
Much like his attacks on the American energy sector, President Biden has no problem hurting Americans who do not share his politics.
The EPA continues the administration’s utopian approach to policy that is resulting in unintended consequences on the ground. If the government is not careful with its regulatory policy, there may be serious consequences for the food supply — which means serious consequences for Americans.