The IR-4 Project announced on November 17 that the organization’s North Central Regional analytical laboratory at Michigan State University will close, effective July 31, 2022. Closing this laboratory will not adversely impact local field trials or other IR-4 services provided to specialty crop growers and stakeholders in IR-4’s North Central Region. All field research scheduled for 2022 will proceed as planned.
The laboratory, which has been open since the mid-1970’s, is part of IR-4’s national pool of laboratories that identify the amount of pesticide residue remaining on specialty crops after application as part of IR-4 sponsored magnitude of the residue studies. The IR-4 Project also has analytical laboratories at the University of Florida and the University of California, Davis, and partners with two laboratories operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service. The IR-4 Project also works with additional laboratories to perform residue analysis on an as-needed basis. Studies at the North Central Region Analytical Laboratory will be reassigned to other IR-4 analytical laboratories.
The recommendation to close the North Central Region analytical laboratory was approved by IR-4’s Project Management Committee in response to long-term funding challenges. IR-4’s funding from the federal government has stayed at the same level for 12 years while costs continue to rise. Next year, IR-4 will start paying its host universities approximately 11.5% of total funds in indirect costs/service fees, resulting in a reduction in funding.
“Following 12 years of flat funding, a reduction in funds for research cannot be offset by further reductions of studies and field trials,” said IR-4 Project Executive Director Jerry Baron. “By closing this lab, IR-4 will be able to maintain its commitment to specialty crop growers and better prepare for the future of pest management research.”
The ten North Central Region employees impacted by this decision have been notified of the closure. The IR-4 Project is committed to working closely with Michigan State University to secure new employment opportunities for these staff members.
About the IR-4 Project
Established in 1963, 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. To learn more, visit our website at ir4project.org.