Loss of Atrazine Would Cause Loss of Jobs


Banning the agricultural herbicide atrazine would cost between 21,000 and 48,000 jobs from corn production losses alone according to University of Chicago economist Don L. Coursey, Ph.D.

Estimates of atrazine’s annual production value to corn alone are between $2.3 billion and $5 billion. Value to sorghum, sugar cane and other uses increases the dollar value.

“If all of the job losses were concentrated in the ag sector, its unemployment would grow by as much as 2.6 percent. Replacements costs for corn farmers could reach as high as $58 per acre,” according to Coursey.

“Atrazine is essential to U.S. agriculture,” said Jere White, Triazine Network chairman and executive director of the Kansas Corn Growers Association. Atrazine has been a mainstay of corn, sorghum and sugar can production for 50 years. The second most used herbicide in the U.S., it controls a broad range of yield-robbing weeds, is safe for the crop and supports a variety of farming systems.

The EPA began an unscheduled review of atrazine in late 2009 apparently in response to a media report and an anti-atrazine group. Previously, the EPA approved atrazine on nearly 6,000 studies and over 80,000 public comments. The unscientific basis for the new review is causes concern for drastic ag industry impacts if atrazine were to be banned.

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