USDA's Research to Support Registration of Pesticides for Minor Crops

RCED-92-190BR: Published: Jun 22, 1992. Publicly Released: Jun 22, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) the status of the research that the Interregional Research Project No. 4 (IR-4) coordinates to support the registration of pesticides for use on minor crops; (2) the uses that IR-4 makes of its resources; and (3) actions that the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has taken to ensure the availability of pesticides for use on minor crops after 1997.

GAO found that: (1) IR-4 will not complete the research and analysis necessary to support the registration and reregistration of high-priority pesticides for use on minor crops by the 1997 deadline; (2) the research project situation arose because of past and present funding limitations; (3) since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry are involved in the registration process, increasing IR-4 funding alone would not ensure that pesticides are available for all minor crops; (4) growers could lose income through reductions in crop volume and quality, and consumers could see higher prices and lower quality; (5) IR-4 officials believe that their resources are used effectively because of the existing land grant university infrastructure, its research agenda, which includes those pesticides most likely to be approved by EPA, and annual reviews of its research priorities; and (6) USDA was slow to respond to the concern about the availability of pesticides for use on minor crops after 1997 and did not request funding to implement a plan to help ensure pesticide availability.

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