The IR-4 Project Commodity Liaison Committee (CLC) has elected Todd Scholz with the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council and Keith Pitts with Marrone Bio Innovations as the committee’s new chair and vice chair, respectively.
The CLC is a stakeholder group that provides guidance to the IR-4 Project on ways the organization can best assist specialty crop growers with their pest management needs. Members represent growers who produce fruits, vegetables, nuts, horticulture and nursery crops, and other specialty crops. Members also advocate for IR-4 to elected officials and decision makers.
“I’m honored and excited to be in this position and continue the important work we are doing for specialty crop growers,” said Scholz. “It is my goal to build upon the congressional support we have established for a funding increase for the IR-4 Project so that necessary research can move forward.”
In his role as CLC chair, Scholz will serve as a voting member of the IR-4 Project Management Committee, which is IR-4’s board of directors. He will be eligible to serve up to three consecutive two-year terms. Scholz replaces outgoing chair Dr. Michael Bledsoe of Village Farms who has served as chair for six years and will remain a member of the committee.
Scholz has represented growers, processors, exporters, food manufacturers, and warehouse workers in the pulse industry with the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council since 2000. He has also served on multiple national and international working groups aimed at expanding international harmonization of pest management tools. Scholz has been a member of the CLC since 2005 and most recently served as vice chair of the committee.
In his role as vice chair, Pitts will support the chair and ensure CLC meeting minutes and updates are shared with the entire committee. He will also manage CLC meetings in the event the chair is unable to attend.
Pitts has been with Marrone Bio Innovations since 2008 and currently serves as the chief sustainability officer and senior vice president of regulatory affairs. Prior to his career with Marrone, Pitts held multiple positions in food safety, pest management, and agricultural policy, including with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology. He has been an active member of the CLC since 2015.
In addition to the election of Scholz and Pitts, several members were re-elected to the CLC including Dr. Armando Monterroso with Brooks Tropicals; Kam Quarles with the National Potato Council; Maggie Elliot with the Washington Hop Commission who will replace outgoing member Ann George from USA Hops later this year; and Dr. Michael Martin with the Horticulture Research Institute. Jonathan Sarager with the Western Growers Association and Kevin Kudsk with L&L Ag Productions representing onion growers were also elected as new members of the CLC.
About the IR-4 Project
The mission of the IR-4 Project is to facilitate regulatory approval of sustainable pest management technologies for specialty crops and specialty uses to promote public well-being. By working directly with local crop growers across the country, IR-4 conducts research and develops data necessary for the registration of pest management tools, ensuring that they are safe for use.