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NPMA, USDA Reach Agreement on Definition of ‘Urban Rodent Control’

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In May, the National Pest Management Association and U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services reached agreement on the definition of the term "urban rodent control," which, for the first time, establishes meaningful parameters as to the work WS can and cannot perform.

Brad Harbison | June 14, 2013

USDA-WS Letter

Click here to view a letter WS wrote to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma outlining the agreement. NPMA will continue working with Members of Congress and Wildlife Services to codify and implement the definition.

WASHINGTON — In May, the National Pest Management Association and U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services reached agreement on the definition of the term "urban rodent control," which, for the first time, establishes meaningful parameters as to the work USDA-WS can and cannot perform. USDA-WS wrote a letter to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma outlining the agreement (link at right).

The issue stems from a 1987 law that authorized USDA-WS to work at non-agricultural settings. Although the primary intent of the legislation was to permit WS to control birds at airports and engage in rabies control initiatives, the language was written very broadly and authorizes almost any type of vertebrate work imaginable, including "urban rodent control."

NPMA had long sought to have an official, enforceable definition of the term “urban rodent control.” Earlier this year, NPMA turned to a legislative solution, as defining “urban rodent control,” became one of two key components of the Pest Elimination Services Transparency & Terminology (PESTT) Act (H.R. 730), legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in February by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Rep. Kurt Shrader (D-Ore.)

Gene Harrington, vice president of Government Affairs, NPMA, said, “Essentially the PESTT Act gave us leverage and standing to be able to negotiate an administrative solution to the competition issue.” Harrington added that as a result of this agreement the PESTT Act (H.R. 730) will go dormant.

Harrington said NPMA will continue working with Members of Congress and Wildlife Services to codify and implement the definition, but the WS letter provides the broad framework for what NPMA was working towards.

“Certainly this is just the beginning steps, but the deal itself is notable, and it would not have been possible if PMPs hadn’t come to Legislative Day and raised awareness," he said. "Really we went from a nice comfortable jog to a full-out sprint as a result of Legislative Day. We built up a great deal of momentum and it made sense for Wildlife Services to reach out to us.”

In the coming weeks, Harrington said USDA-WS will be publishing a federal register notice making this definition part of the public record.

 

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