EPA and USDA Join Forces on Conservation

Feb 13, 2024

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the USDA to protect endangered species.


Regulatory compliance: The MOU applies to pesticides, insecticides, and other crop protection chemicals registered with the EPA to ensure they don’t negatively impact habitats—a measure that helps the EPA comply with the Endangered Species Act by reducing runoff and pesticide drift.



Conservation credits: The MOU aims to ensure farmers implement practicesoutlined by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). It will also allow farmers to receive credits for voluntary conservation practices.

Voluntary measures like buffer strips that absorb runoff and other conservation practices will help farmers meet relevant requirements on pesticide labels.



Soundbite: “This initiative should give pesticide registrants and users more flexibility to meet label requirements to protect endangered species while directly contributing to recovering those species.” — EPA Assistant Administrator Michal Freedhoff.



Farmers will not be required to enroll in any NRCS programs due to the MOU.


Farm groups like the American Soybean Association say the MOU will help farmers increase their conservation measures—but that the EPA’s risk assessment process might overstate the risks farming poses to species.

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