ND ranchers can again use prairie dog bait

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said North Dakota ranchers again have use of a valuable tool to control prairie dogs.

“The Environmental Protection Agency has revised the labeling of Rozol Prairie Dog Bait®, and the product is now registered in North Dakota and nine other western states,” Goehring said. “Retailers are free to sell the product, and users are free to use the product between Oct. 1 and March 15.”

Goehring said when the use of Rozol was being challenged by environmental activists in 2010, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe led a group of EPA officials on a tour of Morton and Sioux counties to see the extent of prairie dog damage and to meet and hear from area ranchers.

“The tour allowed the EPA people to hear firsthand from ranchers about the difficulty of managing prairie dogs,” Goehring said. “They also heard from state and federal wildlife officials about their concerns.”

After a federal court ordered EPA to withdraw the registration for Rozol, EPA worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to amend the label for the pesticide.

“We offered comments on the draft amended label for Rozol, suggesting changes in the label to make it easier to understand,” Goehring said. “We also offered our assistance to EPA to discuss a common-sense approach for any new regulatory requirements for Rozol.” 

Goehring commended the North Dakota Stockmen's Association for offering comments on both the draft FWS biological opinion and the draft amended label for Rozol.

“It's important for agriculture groups to weigh in on public dockets like this,” he said. “Public comments provide valuable information to EPA, allowing the agency to make decisions based on best-available information.”

Goehring also reminded user to carefully read the product instructions, especially those dealing with carcass removal.

He credited the EPA with seeing the need for effective tools for land managers to control black-tailed prairie dogs.

“The agency stood firm against a lawsuit and petition to cancel the registration for Rozol,” Goehring said. “After a court eventually ordered them to cancel the use, they issued revised labeling, so our livestock producers could regain use of the product.”