About Food Crops – draft

picture of tomatoes

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

The IR-4 Food Crop Program develops data to support specialty crop food growers. Research activities include 1) determining residue levels after application of products, mostly conventional/chemical active ingredients, 2) performance of products for their efficacy and crop safety with recommended use patterns, and 3) integration of conventional and biopesticides to reduce residues and improve resistance management.

IR-4 can best help the specialty food crop industry if you:

Residue Studies

The IR-4 Food Crop Residue Program establishes 40 to 50 research projects a year throughout the US and Canada to support domestic crop growers. The placement of these studies are based on EPA regions and where crops are typically grown. There are between 3? and 12? assigned for outdoor field trials and another 4? for greenhouse studies for crops grown under cover, such as tomatoes. After products are applied according to planned use directions, samples of the crops are collected, frozen, and sent to analytical labs to determine the amount, if any, of residues found at the time of harvest. Final results are submitted to EPA which reviews the data and then establishes tolerance levels.

Identify grower needs through project requests
Hold registrant meetings to determine support of potential projects
Prioritize projects at annual workshop
Conduct residue studies with GLP trained researchers throughout the US and Canada
Analyze harvested crop samples for residue levels
Validate research processes and results with IR-4 Quality Assurance and EPA inspections and audits
Communicate results by compiling trial data, writing final reports, and submitting registration documents to EPA
Track impacts of these research activities
Network with growers, researchers, registrants and regulatory officials

Over 4,000 crop uses have been registered since 1963. Pathogen, pest, and weed management tools are readily available to minor crop farmers and specialty crop growers. Growers and consumers benefit by having more tools for Integrated Pest Management systems and resistance management strategies. Pest management programs are based on strategies to deliver a safe food supply.

Performance Studies

The Food Crop Performance Program fills the gap when residue data have been gathered but there is not enough information on efficacy or crop safety for specific crops to place that use on the label.

More than ## performance studies have resulted in ## registrations. Growers and consumers benefit by having more tools for Integrated Pest Management systems and resistance management strategies

Integrated Solutions

The Food Crop Integrated Solutions program serve the needs of the IR-4 stakeholders by integrating conventional and biopesticide products to develop season-long management program. Efficacious biopesticides are increasingly playing a more significant role in both conventional and organic agricultural production systems.

This program will:
1. Focus on Integrated Solutions research to screen conventional products and biopesticides singularly
and/or in rotation to fill a pest management voids;
2. Provide a greater focus on ways to manage pest resistance in conventional systems;
3. Look at the use of biopesticides and/or short-residual low risk products near harvest to reduce residue levels to assist specialty crops for export markets (residue mitigation), and reduce dietary exposure;
4. Maintain priorities to address needs for organic production systems.
5. Provide support for organic production programs.

The 2019 research program will be a transition year with 5 research priorities for the Integrated Solutions program and 6 research priorities for the Biopesticide and Organic Support Program.

Crop Grouping & Global Harmonization Activities

Crop grouping enables the establishment of residue tolerances for a group of crops based on residue data from a representative crop or a few crops within that group or subgroup. It saves time and money. For example, conducting ## residue trials on potato will allow establishment of a tolerance – or maximum residue limit (MRL) – on ## other crops such as aosdig, paowiert, and paworigj, reducing the required trials from about ## down to ##.

Crop grouping supports international competitiveness of US specialty crop producers by using IR-4 data and resources to harmonize US pesticide tolerances with international MRLs to eliminate pesticides as regulatory barriers to international trade. An example of this is hops. There are two countries which produce ##% of the world’s hop supply, a key ingredient for brewing beer. Germany and the United States have developed hops varieties with characteristics to grow well and develop distinctive flavors. Beer is brewed in almost all countries of the world, and brewers have to import hops because there is no local supply. Each country can establish their own MRL, but it is better for growers and regulators to adopt the same MRL. Importing and exporting is easier when growers have a single standard MRL and don’t have to worry about different MRLs in different countries. IR-4’s International Efforts to harmonize MRLs across countries has opened up the international hops market for US growers, along with other many export opportunities.

Hops in bloom

“No IR-4 -> No Hops
No Hops -> No Beer”

— Ann George, US Hop Industry Plant Protect Committee