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Integrated Pest Management

Minor Crop Pest Management (IR-4)

The Minor Crop Pest Management (IR-4) Program is the principal public effort supporting the registration of crop protection products and biological pest control agents for approximately $40 billion minor crop industry. This industry represents 40 percent of the total farm crop value in the United States. IR-4 is a highly effective effort between the state agricultural experiment stations, NIFA, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

This national effort identifies needs by a network of users, commodity groups, and state university and federal researchers. IR-4 provides the national leadership, coordination, and focal point for obtaining data to support the regulatory clearance through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for crop protection chemicals and biological control agents for specialty food crops such as fruits and vegetables as well as nonfood crops like turf and ornamentals. In most cases, the agricultural chemical industry cannot economically justify the time and expense required to conduct the necessary research for products with limited market potential. With assistance from IR-4, registration-related costs are manageable, and producers of a large number of small acreage crops such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, herbs, and other specialized crops have access to necessary pest control products.

For 2002, IR-4 submitted 117 data packages to EPA that supported 400 new minor food-use clearances. The Food Use component of IR-4 continues to have a high productivity which, according to EPA, supports more than 50 percent of all EPA pesticide registrations. Since the program's inception in 1963, IR-4 has been granted more than 6,500 food-use clearances.

For ornamental crops in 2002, IR-4 obtained 482 ornamental clearances for crop protection chemicals. Since 1977, IR-4 has assisted with the registration of more than 9,920 crop protection chemicals and biological pest control agents on nursery stock, flowers, and turf grass. The ornamental industry accounts for more than 25 percent, or $12 billion, of the total minor crop value in the United States.

Biopesticides have been an important IR-4 thrust since 1982. EPA granted 21 IR-4 supported biopesticide food-use clearances in 2001 (more than 220 since the program began).

 

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