IR-4 Project in ‘Desperate Need’ of Additional Funding

IR-4 Project in ‘Desperate Need’ of Additional Funding

The IR-4 Project is in “desperate need” of additional funding to continue supporting EPA registrations of crop protection products for specialty crops, and it’s seeking your help.

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The program has endured eight years of flat funding along with increased expenses, says Dr. Michael Bledsoe, Vice President, Village Farms, LLC and Chair of the IR-4 Commodity Liaison Committee. This is potentially hazardous for growers of fruits, nuts, vegetables, ornamentals, and herbs, Bledsoe notes, “because IR-4 supports registrations on specialty crops when the uses are not the business objective of industry.” IR-4 develops data that is required by EPA and other regulatory authorities to support these registrations.

For fiscal year 2019, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is supporting an additional federal investment of $7.1 million dollars, to $19 million, “which would provide a much needed funding boost that would support specialty crop farmers nationwide,” he wrote in a letter to be sent to Senate colleagues.

But this may not be enough. Bledsoe asks grower associations, individuals, and others supportive of the specialty crops industry to take two actions:

Contact Senators and ask them to support the IR-4 Project Appropriations Letter being led by Sen. Menendez. Let the Senators know that IR-4 is critical to our nation’s ability to feed the public and keep our farming operations profitable.

• Share this request with friends and family and urge them to also contact their Senators and request they join the IR-4 Project Appropriations Letter.