EPA makes it difficult to grow teff in the U.S.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has banned pesticides from being used on teff in the U.S. making it difficult for farmers in Oregon and other states to grow it. Teff, a cereal that is native to Ethiopia, is becoming popular in the U.S., because it is glutton free and rich in nutrients.

The following is an EPA regulation that is posted on Oregon’s Department of Agriculture’s web site.

Pesticide Use on Teff

Teff is a relatively new crop in Oregon and in the USA. Teff is an animal feed and human food crop that is grown for forage, hay and grain.

For any pesticide product to be legally applied to a food or feed crop, a tolerance for the pesticide active ingredient on a specific crop must be established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prior to authorizing its use. A tolerance is the maximum amount of a pesticide allowed to remain in or on foods at harvest.

Only EPA has the authority to establish the classification of a crop and to establish pesticide tolerances. Currently, the ONLY tolerance on teff is for glyphosate (found in products such as Round-up Power Max and Buccaneer Plus) and uses are limited.

There are no broadleaf herbicides, fungicides or insecticides labeled for use on teff. Specifically, there are no pesticide tolerances, or labeled uses, for 2,4-D, dicamba, or other broadleaf weed control products on teff. Therefore, any use of products containing 2,4-D or dicamba on teff is not legal. (Weedmaster and Latigo are examples of products that are combinations of 2,4-D and dicamba). This situation is likely to change in the next one or two years when EPA plans to include
teff in one or more of the crop groups indicated below.

Teff is currently classified by the EPA as a MISCELLANEOUS COMMODITY. At this time, it is NOT classified by EPA in Crop Group 15 (Cereal Grains); Crop Group 16 (Forage, Fodder and Straw of Cereal Grains); or Crop Group 17 (Grass Forage, Fodder, and Hay Group).

Unless there is a tolerance for a particular chemical on a specific food or feed crop, use of that pesticide on that specific crop is not legal. When tolerances are granted for teff, it does not automatically mean that it is legal to use any product that may have cereal grain or hay on the label. The crop teff must still appear on the label. If you do not see use directions for a specific crop on a pesticide label, then that use is NOT allowed.

Questions: Call Janet Fults or Rose Kachadoorian at (503) 986-4635.

9 comments on “EPA makes it difficult to grow teff in the U.S.

  1. Gabra on

    I take this as good news for Ethiopian farmers. As far as I am concerned all teff needs should be imported from its legitimate source, the Ethiopian farmers. Good riddance!!!!

  2. Mike on

    We say No to include Teff in the global grain market! Teff is widely eaten in Ethiopia (a population of 80 million), Eritrea, and some parts of Sudan. Nice technique to dominate the farmers: if u don’t get the land , get their crops and improve it and label IP (intellectual property) protected for teff, and other indigenous crops. Farmers can not use teff or maize with IP labeled without paying, or what ever. This global grain market is so damn for African nations. We have to say NO to IP,or what ever… on food we grow on our own land!!!! this is stupid. Can any body tell me whether Teff used to grow in the US or other western country, was it imported to the US (Nebraska) from Ethiopia? If so who gave them the right to grow it? Right now they are replacing some indigenous crops with their modified ones, and eventually they are asking their IP right. What is the stand of the Ethiopian government and scholars on this field?

  3. Cyber Gang on

    After all it doesn’t require a right or license to grow a grass in the USA. If you are jealous because of some westerners start selling grass called Teff, then try to get over it. I hate teff, by the way!

  4. Anonymous on

    Does the outside world recognize and appreciate the valuable contribution of Ethiopia to human beings? Almost 50% of the present crops and medicinal plants including coffee are discovered and given to other people for free. But still few people are ridiculing Ethiopia by repeatedly showing drought, starvation and all other bad things. Some countries also exacerbated poverty by supporting the current criminal organisation/government, TPLF which is continuously sucking the blood of our people.


  5. Gabra on

    Mike…You hit it right on the nose. These speculators have doing everything they can to dominate the grain market. They do this out of sheer greed. They have been doing this to the Ethiopian famer for more than 100 years now. When ever visitors went to our country during the 1900’s, 1910’s, 1920’s and 1930’s the most important thing they for among other items is seeds of our indigenous crops. I have quite a few very old collections of travel books written by various travelers. They used to ask to see the king and ask the king for crop seeds and other indigenous fauna. These are conniving speculators overwhelmed by incessant greed. Mike..I am with you on this one. We tell them – bug off!!!!

  6. Mike on

    The WB, IMF are pressuring developing nations inlcluding Ethiopia to follow the neoliberal policies. The WTO is full of rules one has to adhere inluding intelectual propoerty rights on modified grains using technology. For example they constantly preach to have a private seed agency, why? …farmers can not breed seed which they got from these agencies if labled Intellectual property rights protected (I am against it on food to developing nations). It is an indirect way of controlling the land. The state owned seed agencys should continue to be owned by the state as 80 percent of Ethiopians are agrarian. Some scholars advocate the importance of joing WTO and neoliberal policies while recently a growing number of reports srictly object the neoliberal policies. It is just a new way of dominating the resources by few foreign richs with the help of some local elit or officials. In addition it destroys the existing culture, family and social ties, way of living and relegion. It focuses only on money and disregards human dignity which we appreciate and respect in Ethiopia. What we need in Ethiopia is not to create few rich people but cooperation, to grow together and get out of the viceous cirlcle of poverty.

  7. Gedlu metafria on

    I believe that EPA is right, The EPA is established for the protection of the environment to benefit all of us living in America. They should have taken the same step for other non-endemic grains to the region and is not directed against teff only per se. The protocol for not using pesticides I believe is the same for other introduced plant species. May be, we need a comment from agriculturists and botanists on this issue.

  8. Solomon on

    Sometimes I can not understand people”s argument point. The EPA policy said because the crop Teff is an exotic crop in the USA and the EPA do not have the necessary comprehensive data regarding thr teff crop that is why EPA do not registered this crop until some imprtant field trial information gained. This is important to keep the environment and humanbeing as well as animals (domestic). Beyond this point all arguments have GUNCHE ALFA characters.

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