Rule-making notices
Notice of Hearing
Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
(Reprinted from 9-15-04 Register)
The state of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announces that it will hold public hearings on a proposed amendment to chapter ATCP 30, Wis. Adm. Code, relating to the use of atrazine pesticides. The hearing will be held at the time and place shown below. The department invites the public to attend the hearings and comment on the proposed rule. Following the public hearing, the hearing record will remain open until October 22, 2004, for additional written comments.
Written comments should be sent to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Division of Agricultural Resource Management attention Randy Zogbaum, 2811 Agriculture Drive, P.O. Box 8911, Madison WI 53708. Written comments can be submitted via email to
You may obtain a free copy of this rule and the environmental impact statement by contacting the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Division of Agricultural Resource Management, 2811 Agriculture Drive, P.O. Box 8911, Madison, WI 53708. You can also obtain a copy by calling (608) 224-4524 or emailing Copies will also be available at the hearings. To view the proposed rule online, go to:
Hearing impaired persons may request an interpreter for these hearings. Please make reservations for a hearing interpreter by September 24, 2004, by writing to Randy Zogbaum, Division of Agricultural Resource Management, P.O. Box 8911, Madison, WI 53708-8911, telephone (608) 224-4524. Alternatively, you may contact the Department TDD at (608) 224-5058. Handicap access is available at the hearings.
Hearing Location:
Tuesday, October 5, 2004, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Adams County Library
569 North Cedar Street
Meeting Room
Adams, WI 53910
Handicapped accessible
Analysis Prepared by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection ("DATCP") regulates pesticide use to prevent groundwater contamination. Current rules restrict the use of atrazine pesticides, and prohibit atrazine use in areas where groundwater contamination has exceeded state enforcement standards established by the Department of Natural Resources ("DNR").
This rule update expands one current atrazine prohibition area in Adams County, based on new groundwater data showing atrazine contamination in excess of DNR enforcement standards. This rule adds 1,280 acres to the current prohibition area. This rule does not eliminate any prohibition areas.
Statutory Authority
Statutory authority: ss. 93.07 (1), 94.69 (1), 160.19 (2), and 160.21 (1), Stats.
Statutes interpreted: ss. 94.69, 160.19, 160.21, 160.23 and 160.25, Stats.
DATCP has broad authority, under s. 93.07 (1), Stats., to adopt rules to implement programs under its jurisdiction. DATCP has authority to adopt pesticide rules under s. 94.69 (1), Stats. Under ss. 160.19 (2) and 160.21 (1), Stats., DATCP must regulate pesticide use, as necessary, to prevent groundwater contamination and restore groundwater quality.
DATCP currently regulates atrazine use to protect Wisconsin groundwater. Atrazine is an agricultural herbicide that has been widely used for many years. Atrazine has been found in groundwater in many areas of the state. Current DATCP rules do all the following:
Specify maximum atrazine use rates. These rates are about half the rates normally allowed under the federal label.
Limit the timing of atrazine applications. Under current rules, atrazine applications are allowed only from April 1 through July 31.
Prohibit atrazine use on 1.2 million acres of land. Current rules prohibit atrazine use in 102 designated areas where contamination has been found at or above groundwater enforcement standards adopted by DNR. Current rules also prohibit atrazine mixing and loading operations that are not conducted over a spill containment surface.
Current rules spell out standards for the creation and repeal of prohibition areas. DATCP updates its atrazine rules each year, based on existing regulatory standards and new groundwater findings. This rule is a routine annual update to DATCP's current atrazine rules.
Rule Content
This rule expands one current prohibition area in Adams County, based on existing regulatory standards and new groundwater findings. This rule adds 1,280 acres to the current prohibition area (this rule contains a map showing the expanded prohibition area). This rule does not repeal any existing prohibition areas.
Environmental Impact
This rule will help to protect and restore groundwater quality in Adams County. The attached Environmental Impact Statement provides background information related to DATCP's overall regulation of atrazine pesticides. This rule is consistent with the state groundwater law, and with the overall protocol for atrazine regulation that has been in effect since 1991.
Fiscal Impact
This rule will require some additional department expenditures for groundwater testing and informational services related to the expanded prohibition area. The department expects to absorb these expenditures within the department's current budget. For more information contact Randy Zogbaum at (608) 224-4524.
Business Impact
This rule will have affect 2 to 4 farmers located in the expanded atrazine prohibition area created by the rule. However, those farmers have other pesticides available for weed control. This rule will not have a significant economic impact on farmers or other businesses, and is not subject to the delayed small business effective date provision in s. 227.22(2)(e), Stats.. For more information contact DATCP small business regulatory coordinator Dennis Fay at (608) 224-5031 or email at
Federal Regulations
Pesticides and pesticide labels must be registered with the federal Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"). Persons may not use pesticides in a manner inconsistent with the federal label.
The current federal label for atrazine suggests that atrazine should not be used on permeable soils with groundwater near the soil surface. Wisconsin has clearer, more definite restrictions on atrazine use, based on actual findings of groundwater contamination in this state.
EPA is proposing federal rules that would require states to create a pesticide management plans for pesticides that have the potential to contaminate groundwater. Wisconsin's current regulatory scheme for atrazine pesticides would likely comply with the proposed federal rules.
Adjacent State Regulations
Wisconsin atrazine regulations are stronger than those in adjacent states:
Iowa restricts atrazine application rates to 1/2 the federal label rate in 23 counties (7 with county-wide restrictions and 16 with restrictions in some townships).
Minnesota has a program of voluntary use limitations when surface water or groundwater contamination exceeds a level of concern. This program suggests pesticide use restrictions or management practices to reduce surface water or groundwater contamination. To date, this program has not been implemented anywhere in Minnesota.
Illinois and Michigan have no atrazine regulations.
Businesses Affected
The changes to ch. ATCP 30, Wis. Adm. Code, Appendix A will affect small businesses in Wisconsin. The greatest small business impact of the changes will be on users of atrazine -- farmers who grow corn. The proposed prohibition area contains approximately 1280 acres. Assuming that 50% of this land is in corn and that 50% of these acres are treated with atrazine, then 320 acres of corn will be affected. Between 2 and 4 producers would be affected, depending on their corn acreage and their reliance on atrazine products. These producers are small businesses, as defined by s. 227.114 (1) (a), Stats. Secondary effects may be felt by distributors and applicators of atrazine pesticides, crop consultants and equipment dealers. Since the secondary effects relate to identifying and assisting farmers in implementing alternative weed control methods, these effects will most likely result in additional or replacement business and the impacts are not further discussed in this document.
Specific economic impacts of alternative pest control techniques are discussed in the environmental impact statement for this rule.
Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other Procedures Required for Compliance
The maximum application rate for atrazine use in Wisconsin is based on soil texture. This may necessitate referring to a soil survey map or obtaining a soil test. While this activity is routine, documentation would need to be maintained to justify the selected application rate. A map delineating application areas must be prepared if the field is subdivided and variable application rates are used. This procedure is already required under the current rule.
All users of atrazine, including farmers, will need to maintain specific records for each application. This procedure is already required under the current rule.
Atrazine cannot be used in certain areas of Wisconsin where groundwater contamination exceeds the atrazine enforcement standard in s. NR 140.10 Wis. Adm. Code.
Professional Skills Required to Comply
The proposed changes affect how much atrazine can be applied and on which fields. Because overall use of atrazine will be reduced in Wisconsin, alternative weed control techniques may be needed in some situations. These techniques may include different crop rotations, reduced atrazine rates, either alone or in combination with other herbicides, or combinations of herbicides and mechanical weed control measures.
While alternative weed control techniques are available, adoption of these techniques on individual farms will in some cases require assistance. In the past, this type of assistance has been provided by University of Wisconsin Extension personnel and farm chemical dealers. In recent years, many farmers have been using crop consultants to scout fields, identify specific pest problems and recommend control measures. The department anticipates these three information sources will continue to be used as the primary source of information, both on whether atrazine can be used and which alternatives are likely to work for each situation.
Links to Admin. Code and Statutes in this Register are to current versions, which may not be the version that was referred to in the original published document.