Glyphosate was reapproved for use for 18 months in June 2016, rather than the expected 15 years, following political wrangling centred on concerns over its safety. That decision was made despite the science and evidence overwhelmingly showing glyphosate poses no risk to human health or the environment when used correctly.
The European Commission has now put forward a proposal to reapprove glyphosate for use for ten years – even though the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published its long-awaited report on glyphosate earlier this year which further reinforced its safety, and even though there is no regulatory reason why glyphosate should not be reapproved for 15 years.
Therefore, it is vital that the NFU and its members continue to make the case for glyphosate to be reauthorised for 15 years, both to MEPs and on social media.
Members across the country have already written to their MEPs outlining the importance of glyphosate on their farms. Others have taken to social media to highlight the importance of glyphosate and show why it is vital to their business. The work we've helped members with has already been picked up in a story by Farmers Weekly.
But it’s important that we continue to make the case. We don’t want to issue a template letter but would ask members to write a personal letter explaining a bit about you and your farm, outlining how glyphosate works for you and what it allows you to do.
MEPs, MPs and the Commission have raised concerns that individual farmers are not speaking up.
Here's how to help
Think about what glyphosate enables you to do on your farm and what the impact of a ban on its use would be. This personal element should form the main part of your letter.
Check out the NFU glyphosate infographic (here's the print-friendly version) and see which facts are relevant to your farm. Check the glyphosate section on NFU Online which contains lots of useful facts and information that can be used in letters or on social media.
With Twitter, use a picture of you on farm and a simple, easy-to-understand statement that explains why glyphosate is vital to your farm business. Include the hashtags #glyphosate and #glyphosateisvital. The social media work we’ve helped members with so far has helped to ensure farming’s voice in the debate is being heard more loudly and clearly. The more individual farming voices that get involved in the debate, the louder farming's voice will be, and the more impact it will have.
If possible, get your MEP out on farm. Invite them to come and look at your soils, weed burden, any cover crops, no till/ min till systems and explain how glyphosate allows you to farm. Find out who represents YOU here.
It looks likely that a decision on glyphosate’s reauthorisation will be made in early November. That is why it is vital as many farmers as possible get involved in the debate over its future and highlight the benefits it brings, as well as it safety.