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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory

2013 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
To provide national leadership in coordination of the minor use pesticide program in ARS; to ensure compliance with all Federal GLP directives; and to review, evaluate, and coordinate the development of data on efficacy, phytotoxicity, and residue data and ensure that these data are acceptable toward obtaining registrations for minor crops.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Interact with state and federal scientists and attend IR-4 and related meetings to determine minor use pesticide needs. Conduct meeting with ARS scientists to develop tentative annual programs, identify scientists to conduct studies, and review progress in meeting objectives. Recommend specific actions to Administrator's Office, to Area Directors, and to ONP to strengthen program activities.

3. Progress Report:
This report documents the coordination of research to develop the data that is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to register pesticides on food crops and ornamentals. ARS and State cooperators attended the Interregional Research-4 (IR-4) sponsored workshops with growers, research and extension personnel to set priorities for the 2013 food and ornamental programs. A planning meeting at IR-4 Headquarters was attended by ARS/IR-4 chemists, the ARS/IR-4 Coordinator and State counterparts to develop a 2013 field and residue laboratory program. The six ARS field cooperators were provided with a list of projects to be conducted at their location. Research protocols, field data books and residue sample shipping bags were provided to the cooperators and the field projects were initiated. The two residue laboratories accepted crop samples as they were completed in the field and continued to analyze the 2013 and earlier sample sets that were received during the year. The 2013 reports from the field and laboratories were reviewed and forwarded to IR-4 Headquarters where petitions were developed and sent to EPA to establish tolerances for the food uses. The ornamental data developed by ARS was submitted to IR-4 Headquarters where it was packaged and submitted to the potential registrants for amending their labels with the new ornamental uses.

4. Accomplishments
1. Development of data to support the registration of pesticides for minor use and specialty crops. Growers of specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables, mint, hops, herbs, spices and other minor acreage crops generally lack the pesticides to control pest problems available for major crops such as corn, wheat and other small grains, soybeans and cotton. Pesticide manufacturers do not have the economic incentive to develop the data for labeling these minor acreage crops which are grown on less than 300,000 acres per crop whereas the major crops are grown on 12 to 72 million acres. ARS participates in a State-Federal program known as Interregional Research-4 (IR-4) to assist in the development of data to support pesticide residue tolerances that are established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and used by the pesticide registrants to add the crops to their labels. In 2013 ARS researchers at Charleston, SC, Prosser, WA, Salinas, CA, Tifton, GA, Wapato, WA, and Wooster, OH established 112 pesticide/food crop combinations in the field to treat with pesticides. ARS researchers at Tifton, GA and Wapato, WA will analyze 69 pesticide/crop combinations in the laboratory for pesticide residues on treated crops. In 2013, ARS contributed data from earlier years for tolerances on 28 crops and 18 pesticides to be used by registrants to label these uses to make them available to specialty crop growers. Crop value data were available for 14 of the 28 crops and they were valued at 16.9 billion dollars. Data on treated acreage were available for 13 of the 28 crops and if we assumed the new chemical would replace 10% of the treated acreage and there was a 10% yield savings on the acreage treated for these 13 commodities, growers would save $358.6 million.

2. Chemical pesticides for growers of nursery and floral crops. The Ornamental Horticulture Program supports an industry valued at over $11.7 billion in annual sales and crops are grown under a number of conditions such as nurseries, greenhouses, and tree farms. The plants can be in beds, containers, or in-ground. The growers are involved in a number of diverse markets including flowers, bulbs, houseplants, perennials, trees, shrubs, nonbearing fruit trees, and others. These plants have a very high value per acre which can be a major deterrent to pesticide registrants labeling their products for these uses. The enormous number of plants and varieties present a challenge for crop safety when treated with pesticides so considerable effort must be spent in developing phytotoxicity data so that pesticide manufacturers will add these crops to their labels. ARS researchers at Charleston, SC, Corvallis, OR, Prosser, WA, Tifton, GA, Wapato, WA, and Wooster, OH and University of Maryland and Rutgers University cooperators supported by ARS funds established 140 pesticide/crop combinations in the field to treat ornamental plants with pesticides to evaluate them for crop safety in 2013. A select number of these combinations were also evaluated to see how well the pesticide performed against the target pest. In 2012, ARS contributed data toward the registration of uses for 77 crops and 8 pesticides that are now available to growers of florist and nursery crops to reduce losses from pests.

3. Expanding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) crop grouping scheme to assist pest control for minor crops. The current EPA crop grouping approach allows data developed on a few representative crops to suffice for many crops thereby increasing the efficiency of obtaining EPA tolerances. Crops are grouped according to their taxonomic classification as well as other factors including geographical distribution, cultural practices, pest problems and residue levels on edible portions of the crops. An ARS scientist served as the USDA member of the EPA/Office of Pesticide Programs Rule Making Workgroup for the Crop Grouping Regulation providing advice and peer review of crop grouping technical documents developed by the Crop Grouping Coordinator of EPA. Two new crop groups have been completed this year and include the Tropical and subtropical – edible peel crop group 23 and the Tropical and subtropical – inedible peel crop group 24. The Tropical and subtropical – edible peel crop group 23 will include 108 new minor use commodities. The Tropical and subtropical – inedible peel crop group 24 will include 104 new minor use commodities thus providing additional tools for the development of integrated pest management practices for the revised groups. All of the representative commodities for these two new groups are grown in the U.S. An ARS scientist also served on the IR-4 International Crop Grouping Consulting Committee. This committee provides input to IR-4 in the determination of the crop-grouping scheme which is proposed to EPA and subsequently results in a regulation for each crop group proposed. A draft crop grouping IR-4 petition for the Root and tuber vegetable crop group 1 was reviewed before submission to the EPA. Crop grouping adds about 4 crops for each crop tolerance obtained by IR-4 which results in a savings of about $450,000 per tolerance.

Last Modified: 05/28/2017
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