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

Location: Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory

2019 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 (environmental horticulture). ARS and State cooperators attended the IR-4 Project (formerly named Interregional Project #4, a national minor use pesticide program headquartered at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey) sponsored workshops with growers, specialty crop representatives, and research and extension personnel that set priorities for the 2019 food and ornamental (environmental horticulture) programs. A planning meeting at IR-4 Headquarters at Rutgers University in Princeton, New Jersey, was attended by the ARS Program Coordinator, Regional State Coordinator counterparts, customer stakeholder liaison chair, and IR-4 Headquarter staff to develop the 2019 field and residue laboratory program. ARS field researchers at five sites were assigned field food projects for study at their locations. Research protocols, field data books, and residue sample shipping bags were provided to researchers at each site, and the field projects were initiated. Also, five ARS researchers and one state cooperator were provided a list of assigned ornamental projects and protocols to be conducted at their locations, and the trials were initiated. The two ARS residue laboratories accepted crop samples as they were completed in the field and continued to analyze the FY 2018 and earlier sample sets that were received during the year. The 2018 reports from the field and laboratories were reviewed and forwarded to IR-4 Headquarters where petitions are being developed to send to EPA to establish tolerances for the food uses. The ornamental data developed by ARS were submitted to IR-4 Headquarters where it was packaged and submitted to the potential registrants for amending their labels with the new ornamental uses. The ornamental research contributed to development being discontinued for one fungicide compound because of plant damage.

1. Chemical pesticides for growers of nursery and floral crops. The Environmental Horticulture Minor Use Pesticide Program (ornamentals) supports an industry valued at over $11.7 billion in annual sales; the crops are grown under various conditions such as nurseries, greenhouses, and tree farms. These plants have a very high value per acre, but the small acreage compared with row crops can be a major deterrent to pesticide registrants to label their products for these uses. An ARS scientist 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 96 pesticide/crop combinations in the field to treat ornamental plants with pesticides to evaluate them for crop safety in 2019. In 2018, ARS data supported the registration of 151 crop uses with 4 fungicides and 1 herbicide that are now available to growers of florist and nursery crops to reduce losses from pathogens and weeds, respectively.

2. Chemical pesticides for food crops. The Food Minor Use Pesticide Program contributes to an increase in $7.8 billion dollars annually to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product and supports over 100,000 jobs. An ARS scientist coordinated the development of data by ARS researchers at Charleston, South Carolina; Tifton, Georgia; Salinas, California; Wapato, Washington; and Wooster, Ohio. The location in California experienced a Field Facility Inspection by the Environmental Protection Agency that resulted in no negative findings. Two of the five USDA-supported residue laboratories are at ARS facilities (Tifton, Georgia and Wapato, Washington). In support of the residues studies in the 2018 food residue research program, there were 55 USDA-ARS field trials. The two USDA-ARS analytical laboratories performed research on 5 studies and 40 sample sets of food projects involving analysis of residues samples. The trials provide a pipeline of data in support of registering pesticides to address grower needs for specialty food crops.