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.
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.