USDA's Pesticides Residue Research Project

T-RCED-92-38: Published: Mar 11, 1992. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 1992.

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GAO discussed the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) role in the registration of pesticides for use on minor crops, focusing on: (1) the status of the USDA Interregional Research Project No. 4 (IR-4), which supports the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) pesticide registration process for minor crops; (2) how IR-4 uses its resources; and (3) USDA responses to the availability of pesticides for use on minor crops. GAO noted that: (1) EPA is required by the Federal, Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to reassess and approve, by 1997, pesticides registered before November 1984; (2) IR-4 will not complete the research necessary to support the registration of many high-priority pesticides for use on minor crops by the 1997 FIFRA deadline primarily due to funding limitations; (3) past and current IR-4 funding has not kept pace with the $12-million estimate, averaging only about $4.2 million annually since 1989; (4) IR-4 officials believe that they make effective use of limited resources, because they use the existing land grant university infrastructure, target the research agenda to include those pesticide uses that EPA is most likely to approve, and annually review research priorities; and (5) USDA has been slow to respond to the need for pesticides or minor crops, even though IR-4 officials developed a strategic plan in 1989 to address such concerns.

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