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Research Project: Coordination Activities for Research to Register Minor Use of Pesticides

Location: Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory

2016 Annual Report

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.

Interact with state and federal scientists and attend IR-4 and related meetings to determine minor use pesticide needs. Work with ARS scientists to develop tentative annual programs, identify scientists to conduct studies, and to assign projects to ARS scientists. Review progress in completion of projects and in meeting objectives. Provide the IR-4 program with data developed by ARS scientists to be used for the establishment of tolerances by EPA and for the use of pesticide registrants to add new uses to their labels. Recommend specific actions to Administrator's Office, to Area Directors, and to ONP to strengthen program activities.

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 that set priorities for the 2016 food and ornamental programs. A planning meeting at IR-4 Headquarters at Rutgers University Princeton was attended by ARS/IR-4 chemists, the ARS/IR-4 Coordinator, and State counterparts who attended the meeting to develop the 2016 field and residue laboratory program. The five ARS field cooperators were provided with a list of food-field 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 five ARS and one state ornamental cooperator were provided with a list of ornamental projects and protocols to be conducted at their location. The two residue laboratories accepted crop samples as they were completed in the field and continued to analyze the 2016 and earlier sample sets that were received during the year. The 2016 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.

1. 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. These plants have a very high value per acre which can be a major deterrent to pesticide registrants labeling their products for these uses. An ARS scientist at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center coordinated the development of data by ARS researchers at Charleston, South Carolina; Corvallis, Oregon; Tifton, Georgia; Wapato, Washington; and Wooster, Ohio and ARS State cooperators at Rutgers University. These researchers established 152 pesticide/crop combinations in the field to treat ornamental plants with pesticides to evaluate them for crop safety in 2016. In 2015, ARS contributed data toward the registration of 679 crop uses with 6 pesticides that are now available to growers of florist and nursery crops to reduce losses from pests.

2. 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. An ARS scientist at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) serves 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 and also reviewed the final rule for amending five crop groups: leafy vegetable and Brassica vegetable crop groups, as well as establishing new crop groups, including: stalk, stem and leaf petioles; tropical fruit, inedible peel; and tropical fruit and edible peel, and includes over 300 specialty crops. Public comments for the rule were also reviewed as part of the workgroup contribution and in preparation for the final rule. The rule was published on May 3, 2016. An ARS scientist at BARC also served on the IR-4 International Crop Grouping Consulting Committee and reviewed a draft crop grouping IR-4 petition for four new crop groups that included Herb group 25, Spice group 26, Root and Tuber Vegetables group 1, and Leaves of Root and Tuber Vegetable Group 2. 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.