Proposed budget changes could curtail critical research for pesticide labeling for specialty crops
OFA—An Association of Horticulture Professionals and the American Nursery & Landscape Association are encouraging growers to weigh in on proposed changes to the IR-4 Project.
The IR-4 Project was established by Congress in 1963 to assist domestic growers of fruits, vegetables, herbs, nursery and greenhouse plants, and other specialty crops by facilitating the registration of safe and effective technologies, through U.S. EPA, to protect these high value crops from insects, plant diseases, weeds, and other pests.
IR-4 research has supported registration of over half the crop protection tools now labeled for nursery and greenhouse use. Many of these tools and technologies—traditional chemicals, biopesticides, and other reduced risk materials—were also successfully labeled for landscape uses.
In the current federal budget, Congress provided about $15 million for the IR-4 effort. However, President Obama's 2013 budget plan eliminates separate line-item funding for Minor Crop Pest Management (IR-4) and proposes to consolidate IR-4 Project funds with funds for other pest management programs into a single new project called Crop Protection.
OFA has joined the American Nursery & Landscape Association, along with many other organizations representing specialty crop producers, in the belief that budget consolidation will eliminate the activities of the IR-4 Project, which supports critical research for pesticide labeling for specialty crops.
Given IR-4's critical role for the green industry, OFA and ANLA are urging growers to contact their U.S. Senators and Representative to ask that the IR-4 Project be maintained as a separate budget line item in the USDA budget. For more information, visit www.saveir-4.org.
Growers can contact congressional representatives by following this link.