Food Crop Program

picture of tomatoes

To facilitate regulatory approval of sustainable pest management technology for food crops to promote public health and wellbeing.

The Food Crop Program facilitates the regulatory approval of safe pest management solutions for specialty crop growers. This work is necessary as insects, diseases, weeds, invasive species, and resistance to existing tools continue to increase. Thanks to the efforts of the Food Crop Program, growers have more tools for safely and effectively managing pests on fruit, vegetables, herbs, nuts, and other specialty crops.

How Does the Program Work?

Specialty crop growers and commodity groups work with their local IR-4 regional field office to identify potential solutions for their pest management needs. These can include new uses of tools already approved for other crops.

Once identified, growers submit a request for assistance to have their potential solution studied and necessary data collected. There are three types of requests:

IR-4 does not have enough resources to respond to every request. Requests are prioritized at the annual Food Use Workshop held in September.

Priority studies are scheduled for the following year and conducted at a network of IR-4 field research centers and analytical laboratories across the country.

After data has been collected, reviewed, and audited, IR-4 submits all required information to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with the goal of registering an effective product to manage the target pest(s). The process can take up to five years from the time a request is submitted to the time a commercial product label has been updated.