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A P R I L 2 0 1 6 POTATO GROWER 9 ing. Vermonts mandatory labeling law could go into effect in July unless Congress steps in and passes a national labeling law. Pollinator Health EPA is being urged by environmental activists to limit the use of neonicotinoids in agriculture claiming they are responsible for declining health in pollinators. Neonicotinoids are a valuable pesticide tool for potato growers and restricting it could bring negative impacts to grower operations. The scientific communi- ty has reviewed extensive studies carried out by registrants on possi- ble impacts on the pollinators and there is no scientific evidence when used according to the label that they pose a threat to the bee popu- lation. Potato growers noted this fact to EPA officials and said that the biggest threats were coming from other areas such as habitat condi- tions and the Varroa mite. The EPA is still evaluating study data and we believe that grower participation on this issue will help inform the agencys deliberations. WOTUS In March of 2014 the EPA revised the definition of what con- stitutes the federal jurisdiction over waters of the U.S. WOTUS. The new WOTUS rule developed by EPA is the subject of litigation seeking to vacate the rule. At a meeting with EPA officials growers expressed their concerns that the new rule will subject additional areas of their farms to regulation by the federal government. EPA officials believe that the exemptions contained in the rule for normal farming prac- tices will protect farming opera- tions. Both the court challenges ini- tiated by agriculture interests and the interests in Congress to void the WOTUS rule indicate that many do not agree with the EPAs positon. The common theme at the conclu- sion of every meeting at the 2016 Potato D.C. Fly-In was the deep gratitude expressed by lawmakers and regulators to potato industry professionals who chose to take the opportunity to engage with mem- bers of Congress and government officials who impact public policy. By joining with others in the indus- try and making their voices heard through personal stories from the farm attendees made a real differ- ence for their industry. The grass- roots power shown at the 2016 Potato D.C. Fly-In will help create the momentum to have a positive impact on the outcome of these and other issues during the last 10 months of the 114th Congress.