An updated jobs analysis by Don L. Coursey, Ph.D., Ameritech Professor of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago Harris School, shows atrazine annually supports up to 85,000 American jobs. The 50-year-old herbicide continues to be a popular choice of farmers for controlling weeds.
Coursey's new estimate is based on 2010 price and production figures and new research by a team of ag experts, who calculate atrazine's value to the U.S. economy at up to $9 billion. It represents jobs related to atrazine in corn, grain sorghum, sugar cane and other production crops.
"We put this data about atrazine into a jobs perspective because people want to know the impact on the average consumer," said Coursey.
A suite of new research showcases the importance of atrazine in employing people, protecting the environment and increasing crop yields to feed a world population now topping 7 billion people.
Syngenta, principal registrant for atrazine, commissioned the broad assessment of atrazine's value. It includes five papers as well as Coursey's report:
1) A biological analysis of the use and benefits of chloro-s-triazine herbicides in U.S. corn and sorghum production," David C. Bridges, Ph.D., president, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College;
2) Economic assessment of the benefits of chloro-s-triazine herbicides to U.S. corn, sorghum and sugar cane producers" and "Estimating soil erosion and fuel use changes and their monetary values with AGSIM: A case study for triazine herbicides," Paul D. Mitchell, Ph.D., associate professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison;
3) Efficacy of best management practices for reducing runoff of chloro-s-triazine herbicides to surface water: a review," Richard S. Fawcett, Ph.D., former professor of agronomy, Iowa State University.
"The importance of atrazine in the integrated management of herbicide-resistance weeds," Micheal D. K. Owen, Ph.D., professor of agronomy, Iowa State University.
"If atrazine were to become unavailable, and all atrazine-dependent jobs were taken solely from the agricultural sector, its unemployment rate would increase by as much as 3.8 percent," Coursey added.
The report details the economic, environmental and food production benefits of crop protection products, including pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides as well as biotechnology products.
Coursey's previous jobs report, which only measured atrazine's relationship to corn production jobs, was released July 2010.
For more information about atrazine, visit www.atrazine.com.