IR-4, a national partnership of researchers, producers, the crop protection industry, and federal agencies, has contributed to the conversion of section 18 emergency exemptions to permanent product registrations. EPA Minor Use Officer, Hoyt Jamerson, announced this accomplishment in a memo to his IR-4 partners at the end of EPA fiscal year 2003. In his memo he stated, “IR-4's work has negated 95 of 120 Section 18s. This is another measure of just how successful IR-4 was in FY 03.”

Section 18 emergency exemptions are used when a particular pest has been discovered in a localized area and there is a known crop protection solution, but the solution has not been registered for that crop. In many cases, Section 18 exemptions have contributed to savings of economic losses in the millions of dollars for a particular state or location. This is one area where a government program such as IR-4 proves a significant return on investment.

When a Section 18 emergency turns into a permanent registration, the economic savings can prove to be even higher. IR-4 strives to conduct Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) research where the goal is to turn a Section 18 into a permanent registration. In FY 03, the EPA estimates that IR-4 research contributed to 95 or 79 percent of the total Section 18 conversions, which is an increase from 56 in FY 02.

Several crops have benefited

Some crops have benefited from Section 18 conversions including: hops, tomatoes, dry bulb onion, pineapple, cranberry, lima bean, alfalfa, sugar beets, dry pea, stone fruits, and many others.

IR-4 Executive Director, Bob Holm stated, “These numbers reflect the close partnership between the EPA and IR-4 to register new Reduced Rick products and safer crop protection tools for U.S. specialty crop growers. IR-4 will continue to make the permanent registration of Section 18 products a priority.”

Since 1963, the IR-4 Project has been a unique partnership of researchers, producers, the crop protection industry and federal agencies designed to increase pest management options for specialty crops — which includes most vegetables, fruits, nuts, herbs, nursery and flower crops. IR-4 researchers and cooperators generate field and laboratory residue data that are submitted to the U.S. EPA for the purpose of securing regulatory clearances for these crops.

The program expanded its efforts in the 1990s to include: the legal requirements of Good Laboratory Practices (GLP's), a Methyl Bromide Alternatives Program, and a Biopesticides grant and regulatory assistance program. IR-4 also supports Section 18 exemptions and in many cases, these exemptions have been converted to Section 3 registrations. Projects are prioritized based on requests from growers, commodity groups and USDA/Land Grant university researchers. To date, IR-4 has contributed to over 7,200 clearances for specialty food crops and over 10,000 ornamentals clearances.