Atrazine ban would cost thousands of ag jobs, economist says

Banning the agricultural herbicide atrazine would cost up to 48,000 jobs from corn production losses alone, according to Uni?ver?sity of Chicago economist Don L. Coursey.

Coursey announced his findings at a briefing sponsored by the Triazine Network last week in Washington.

Coursey estimates atrazine?s annual production value to corn alone to be between $2.3 and $5 billion.?Atrazine?s value to sorghum, sugar cane and other uses increases these totals.

?The economic data on atrazine are very clear,? he said. ?As a first-order estimate, banning atrazine will erase between 21,000 and 48,000 jobs related to or dependant on corn production, with additional job losses coming from both sugar cane and sorghum production losses.

?The range is wide because we have never before banned a product on which so many depend and for which suitable replacements have a wide variety of prices and application regimes.?

Atrazine has been a mainstay of corn, sorghum and sugar cane production for 50 years.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency re-registered atrazine in 2006 based on the evidence of nearly 6,000 studies and more than 80,000 public comments.?It began an additional, unscheduled review of atrazine in late 2009.

The cities of Hillsboro and Marion are part of a class-action lawsuit against Syngenta and five other companies that manufacture, formulate or market products containing atrazine.

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