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Fertilizer Preemption
The majority of states have not passed legislation explicitly prohibiting counties, cities, towns or other local entities from regulating the registration, packaging, labeling, sale, storage, distribution, use and application of fertilizers. Special interest groups and others are mounting campaigns urging local governments to restrict or ban the labeling, sale, storage, distribution, use and application of fertilizers within their borders. Absent state-level regulation of fertilizer, such local restrictions would make it difficult to comply with a patchwork of fertilizer regulations within states and across the country. States seeking to address fertilizer sale, use and environmental issues would be hard pressed to demonstrate measurable progress using a patchwork approach.

Key Messages:
  • Uniformity ensures state goals can be met by all stakeholders within a recognized regulatory system, avoiding a hard-to-measure patchwork of rules and regulations.
  • Individual municipalities lack the scientific and regulatory expertise available at the state level. Also, municipalities lack broader regulatory perspectives about how regulations interact with and impact other state and federal laws.
  • Uniformity ensures fertilizers remain available to farmers and consumers.
  • The United States Environmental Protection Agency has completed its risk assessment of fertilizers and concluded no federal regulation is needed for these substances.
  • States currently regulate fertilizer through departments of agriculture to ensure products are sold and used properly.
  • States have access to scientific and other resources necessary to properly regulate fertilizers within their borders. Also, states have the means to properly enforce such regulations.
Uniform state fertilizer preemption legislation must be adopted as soon as possible by each state to ensure such products remain available for farmers and consumers, and that the most current science and other relevant information is available and considered in all fertilizer-related regulatory decisions. Special interest groups have already succeeded in passing local fertilizer restrictions in the Midwest and Northeast.

Restrictions initially passed for consumer use on the lawn and garden will eventually impact farmers. The Association of American Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO), an organization comprised of state fertilizer regulatory officials, works to promote consensus for uniform state-level fertilizer regulation. AAPFCO supports state fertilizer preemption legislation and opposes local regulation.

Click here to download a PDF version of this Issue Card.

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