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The Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP) was created by the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 in response to grower concerns about the implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA). By 1998 statute, and as reauthorized in the Agricultural Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-79), OPMP “shall be responsible for
- the development and coordination of Department policy on pest management and pesticides;
- the coordination of activities and services of the Department, including research, extension, and education activities, regarding the development, availability, and use of economically and environmentally sound pest management tools and practices;
- assisting other agencies of the Department in fulfilling their responsibilities related to pest management or pesticides under the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and other applicable laws;
- perform other functions as required by law of by request of the Secretary;
- ensure coordination of interagency activities with EPA and FDA and other Federal and state agencies;
- consult with agricultural producers that may be affected by pest management or pesticide-related activities or actions of the Department or other agencies.”
WHAT WE DO
Currently the OPMP is actively working with EPA on pesticide registration review issues that will help them meet their statutory deadline for reviewing all pesticides registered as of October 1, 2007 by October 1, 2022 while ensuring that the needs of growers are represented. OPMP also provides leadership in the adoption of the National Road Map for Integrated Pest Management (IPM); represents USDA at the Honeybee Health Coalition and the Monarch Collaborative; responds to national needs related to alien and invasive pest species; works with the EPA Office of Water on the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Pesticide General Permits (PGPs) as needed; and represents USDA’s interests during meetings of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol to defend the need and use of methyl bromide.
In addition, OPMP:
- Serves as the Departmental portal for responding to EPA regarding pesticide regulations and policy.
- Provides the EPA and other regulatory agencies with the most accurate data available to help assure that pesticide regulatory decisions are based on modern, realistic agricultural practices.
- Reviews and responds to proposed risk mitigation strategies developed by EPA as part of the pesticide registration review process.
- Communicates with stakeholder groups regarding changes to and new EPA regulations and policies.
- Maintains active communications with food, feed, and fiber crop commodity associations, grower groups, and other stakeholders in order to keep abreast of current and upcoming pest management issues of importance to those groups.
- Provides support to organic growers and handlers in development and implementation of sustainable pest management strategies in organic production and handling systems including guidance in seeking approval of pesticides that meet organic criteria and addressing emerging pest management issues.
- Works with pest management professionals, food processors and handlers, the grain storage and handling industry as well as exporters and importers to support and facilitate the application of advanced integrated pest management techniques while maintaining registrations of pesticides for use in the food processing, storage, and distribution system.
- Communicates across agencies to promote the development of IPM strategies that reduce the economic, environmental, and public health risks from pests as well as the tactics used to control them in agricultural and natural resource environments.
- Works actively with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as they update and revise support programs related to IPM practices and guidelines.
- Communicates regularly with federal and state research scientists regarding IPM needs and assist with technology transfer where feasible.
- Coordinates with the four U.S. Regional IPM Centers for the collection of information and data to inform pesticide registration review.
- Provides representation from OPMP to serve on advisory and steering committees of the Regional IPM Centers.
- Promotes communication and coordination among Federal Departments with IPM programs to help assure efficient interdepartmental activities and reduce duplicative programming efforts through the Federal IPM Coordinating Committee (FIPMCC) and Core Group (CG).
- Coordinates and provides leadership for the FIPMCC and CG.
- In related activities, OPMP also interacts with the Office of the Secretary and other decision makers in USDA, other Federal agencies, and Congress on the development, coordination, and implementation of biotechnology policy. This includes, among other things:
- Providing both technical and policy information on biotechnology to the Office of the Secretary including the internal Biotechnology Coordinating Committee.
- Representing USDA at national and international scientific and policy fora and advances public understanding and support of Department policies and programs