CPDA Urges USDA to Extend Final Planting Date Deadlines

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CPDA has written to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that the Department consider an extension of the final planting dates for insured crops in those states where farmers have experienced the devastating impacts of the natural disasters that have severely disrupted the 2019 growing season. In its June 7, 2019 letter sent to the Secretary, CPDA pointed out that if USDA moves forward at this time with making prevented planting payments to those farmers, acreage that could otherwise be planted will instead remain idle for the remainder of this year’s growing season. “This will negatively impact all parts of the agricultural supply chain including companies that manufacture, formulate and distribute products that farmers rely on for crop production and pest control,” CPDA stated. Rather than abandoning this year’s planting season as a total loss, CPDA urged USDA to consider a possible interim remedy in the form of an extension of the final planting deadline dates as recommended by the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) in a June 4, 2019 letter to Secretary Perdue. The ARA letter addressed USDA’s implementation of the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019, signed into law by President Trump on June 6, to provide $4.6 billion to USDA for agricultural-related losses, emergency timber restoration, farmland repair, and watershed recovery work.

ARA explained that should farmers choose not to plant in 2019 and instead take prevented planting compensation, retailers who provide seed, seed treatment, fertilizer and other inputs for that crop will suffer the negative consequences that come from holding unsold product. CPDA emphasized that similarly, many companies which manufacture or supply tank-mix spray adjuvants and pesticides sold by retailers will be adversely affected as demand for their product falls due to reduced acreage being planted. 

“The time-sensitive nature of the growing season and the logistics involved in transporting product requires that companies develop their manufacturing plans well in advance of the beginning of the planting season,” CPDA stated. “Product must be readily available to meet the needs of the farmer within a very narrow window as the growing season progresses. A change in planting intentions from what was originally expected will have serious implications for companies that are left with excess product inventory that cannot be moved should there be a significant reduction in planted acreage resulting in lower demand.”

CPDA concluded its letter by reiterating its support of the recommendation made by ARA calling for an extension of the final planting date deadlines. CPDA joined with ARA in emphasizing that this is a remedy that would meet the needs of growers who want to farm their land as well as those who serve the growers. To learn more please read the letters from CPDA and ARA.

Presentations from CPDA’s 2019 Adjuvants & Inerts Conference Now Available!

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CPDA’s 2019 Adjuvants & Inerts Conference, “Developing Trends and Emerging Needs of the Agrotechnology Industry,” held April 29-May 1 at the Grand Hyatt Denver in Denver, Colorado, featured a comprehensive and informative speakers program that covered a wide variety of topics of key importance to the agrotechnology industry. This year’s conference drew an audience of nearly 160 attendees representing all segments of the agrotechnology industry and addressed the latest innovations, research and trends in application technologies and other areas of crop protection and production. The presentations at this year’s conference equipped attendees with a better understanding of the many complexities shaping today’s agricultural economy and farm markets.

Thank You to this Year’s Sponsors!

Our sincere thanks and gratitude is extended to the sponsors of the 2019 Adjuvants & Inerts Conference. The generosity and support of these companies play a key role in CPDA’s ability to enhance the value to be derived from attending our conferences. Moreover, sponsorship is an excellent way to raise the visibility of your company. Please join us in recognizing the CPDA 2019 Annual Adjuvants & Inerts Conference sponsors:

Diamond Level:  Chemorse; Helena Agri-Enterprises; Huntsman Performance Products; Oxiteno; and Stepan Company

Platinum Level:  Adjuvants Unlimited, LLC; Nouryon; and Precision Laboratories, LLC

Gold Level:  Croda; Evonik Corporation; and TSG Consulting

Silver Level:  Brandt; Clariant Corporation; Ethox Chemicals; KALO; Oleon; and Stillmeadow, Inc.

Speaker Presentations

The speaker presentations from the CPDA 2019 Annual Adjuvants & Inerts Conference may be accessed by clicking the links below.

April 30, 2019

“Welcome to CPDA’s Adjuvants & Inerts Conference,” Gary Halvorson, CPDA President; and Dave Ferguson, Agrotechnology Committee Co-Chair, Huntsman Performance Products

“The State of the Farm Economy,” Dr. Terry Barr, CoBank

“CPDA and CLA Collaboration,” Gary Halvorson, CPDA President

“CPDA Priorities and Value of Membership,” James Reiss, Chair, CPDA Board of Directors, Precision Laboratories, LLC

“CPDA Adjuvant Certification Program,” Greg Grant, Croda

“Inerts Working Group Update,” Carmine Sesa, CPDA Inerts Working Group Chair, AgMarket Results, LLC

“The BIT Experience and Update,” Dr. Kevin Crosby, Adjuvants Unlimited, LLC

“The Impact of NGO’s (Non-Government Organizations) on Regulations Affecting Registration of Pesticides and Adjuvants in California,” Robert Ehn, R3 Ag Consulting, LLC

“Adjuvant Technology Trends in Patents:  2016-2019,” R. Scott Tann, pHocas LLC

“Post Patent Agrochemical Formulation Overview and Trends,” John M. Moyer, Ethox Chemicals

“The Benefits of Adjuvants when Herbicide Efficacy is Challenged,” Dr. Ryan Edwards, Winfield United

“Research and New Developments in Adjuvants – A University Perspective,” Dr. Bryan Young, Purdue University

“Facing the Glyphosate Resistance Issues Scenario – Impacts on Agrochemicals and Application Technologies,” Dr. Ulisses R. Antuniassi, São Paulo State University (UNESP) – Botucatu/SP – Brazil

May 1, 2019 – Session A: “Overall Improvement of Spray Quality and New Spray Technologies”

“Spray Quality: Where Does Biology Trump Physics?”, Dr. Bryan Young, Purdue University

“Advancements in Nozzle Technology,” Nick Fleitz, Pentair Hypro

“A Comparison of Agricultural Spray Measurement Techniques,” Dr. Steven A. Fredericks, Winfield United

“Effective Application Technology Management for Maximum Deposition and Coverage,” Drs. Greg R. Kruger and Bradley K. Fritz

“Encouraging the Adoption of Application Enhancement Technologies,” Drs. Bradley K. Fritz and Greg. R. Kruger

May 1, 2019 – Session B: “Biologicals – Current and Future Trends and Challenges”

“Biostimulants – Opportunities and Registration Challenges,” John L. Peterson, Consulting Chemist

“Biopesticides for Crop Protection:  A Revolution or an Evolution,” Dr. Natarajan “Bala” Balachander, AgBiome

“Plant Growth Regulators and Biostimulants:  Challenges and Opportunities,” Jim Scruggs, Fine Americas

Scenes from the 2019 CPDA Adjuvants & Inerts Conference

Thank you for attending!

Reauthorization of PRIA Close to Enactment

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On the evening of Monday, February 25th, the House passed a long-term PRIA reauthorization bill (PRIA 4) under unanimous consent. Previously, on February 14, 2019, the Senate passed by voice vote S. 483, a stand-alone bill introduced on February 13th to reauthorize PRIA.  S. 483 does not contain the full legislative text adopted by the House on February 25th but instead references H.R. 1029, the Pesticide Registration Enhancement Act, as amended by the Senate on June 28, 2018 during the last Congress. The Senate is expected to approve the legislation recently adopted by the House which contains the full text rather than just a reference to the June 2018 Senate passed bill. This is described as a parliamentary procedure that does not affect the substance or intent of the PRIA reauthorizing legislation passed by both chambers of Congress.

PRIA 4 authorizes EPA to collect registration service and maintenance fees through 2023, establishes firm timelines for the review of pesticide and inert ingredient submissions, and makes several technical changes to PRIA 3. CPDA has long been a proponent of PRIA and is pleased that legislation providing for a long-term reauthorization of the statute has now passed both the House and Senate and is near enactment into law.

PRIA Reauthorization Language Not Retained in Farm Bill Conference Report

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On Monday, December 10th, House and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairmen Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Members Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) filed the conference report to accompany H.R. 2, the “Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018,” also known as the Farm Bill. The long-awaited measure was passed by the Senate on December 11th by a vote of 87 to 13 and was then sent to the House where it was adopted on December 12th by a vote of 369 to 47.  The President is expected to sign the measure into law this week.

Two add on bills strongly supported by CPDA and its allied industry partners unfortunately were not included in the final Farm Bill conference report – namely, language that would establish a long-term reauthorization of PRIA and provisions that would eliminate the duplicative National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirement for FIFRA registered pesticides. The conference report does, however, include several pesticide related provisions of interest as briefly described below.

Among these is a provision that directs the USDA Secretary, acting through the Director of the USDA Office of Pest Management Policy, to conduct a multiple crop and pesticide use survey of farmers to collect data for risk assessment modeling and mitigation for an active ingredient. 

The conference report also calls for the establishment of a FIFRA Interagency Working Group to provide recommendations and develop a strategy for improving the pesticide consultation process under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This working group will consist of representatives from the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Interior, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The working group will be required to periodically report to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees on its progress in developing and implementing its recommendations for improving the ESA Section 7 consultation process.

In its other provisions, the conference report includes language on plant biostimulants requiring the USDA Secretary, in consultation with the Administrator of the EPA, States, and relevant stakeholders, to provide a report to Congress that identifies “any potential regulatory, non-regulatory, and legislative recommendations, including the appropriateness of any definitions for plant biostimulants.” The conference report defines “plant biostimulant” as a substance or micro-organism that, when applied to seeds, plants, or the rhizosphere, stimulates natural processes to enhance or benefit nutrient uptake, nutrient efficiency, tolerance to abiotic stress, or crop quality and yield. The conference report language allows the Secretary to modify the description of plant biostimulant, as appropriate. The conference report managers cite the importance of plant biostimulants as “an emerging technology for production agriculture” and state that the report will “facilitate the regulatory framework for plant biostimulant products and ensure the efficient and appropriate review, approval, uniform national labeling, and availability of these products to agricultural producers.” The Farm Bill conference report may be accessed by clicking here.

Fall 2018 EPA Regulatory Agenda Includes Pesticide Activities

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On October 17, 2018, the Fall 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions and Regulatory Plan was released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The Regulatory Agenda is a listing of all the regulations that federal agencies and Departments expect to have under active consideration for promulgation, proposal, or review during the coming six to 12-month period.

Included in the Regulatory Agenda is EPA’s plan to issue a final regulation rescinding the 2015 “waters of the United States” rule by March 2019. In other listed actions, EPA intends to issue a final rule in September 2019 on changes to requirements contained in the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) related to minimum age, application exclusion zones (AEZ), entry restrictions for enclosed space production, and other revisions. The Agency is also proposing to amend its Certification of Pesticide Applicators rule by revising the minimum age requirements for individuals certified to use Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) and for non-certified individuals who use RUPs under the supervision of a certified applicator. EPA expects to issue a final rule in September 2019.

EPA has also been revising the current pesticide crop grouping regulations to create new crop groupings, add new subgroups, and expand existing crop groups with the addition of new commodities. The current crop groupings allow EPA to establish pesticide tolerances for multiple related crops based upon data for a representative set of crops. The Agency states that these revisions will promote greater use of crop grouping for tolerance-setting purposes and will facilitate the availability of pesticides for minor crop uses. EPA finalized the fourth phase of its crop grouping revisions in May 2016 and is planning to propose a fifth phase by February 2019 and then a sixth phase by June 2019.

In other activities, EPA is considering changes to several procedural regulations that require the publication of a notice in the Federal Register for purposes of providing information on the registration of a pesticide product with a new active ingredient or new use; the approval of specific quarantine and public health exemptions; and summaries of certain state registrations. Rather than announcing the availability of such information through publication of a Federal Register notice, EPA plans to develop a consolidated website for posting such information. EPA states that this will be a more cost effective and efficient mechanism for sharing such information with the public.

Farm Bill Deliberations Remain Stalled Heading into Mid-Terms

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As reported previously, negotiations on the Farm Bill remain stalled due to non-PRIA related matters including differences in proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as contained in the individually passed House and Senate measures. Meanwhile, EPA’s authority to collect the full level of registration service fees under existing PRIA 3 has been extended through December 7, 2018 as part of a Continuing Resolution that was signed into law on September 28th.

Industry and agricultural interests continue to work in the hopes that consensus on a final Farm Bill, including a permanent reauthorization of PRIA, can be reached in the lame duck session of Congress following the mid-terms. However, there is growing concern that the outcome of the mid-terms, specifically as related to whether Democrats take control of the House, could significantly impact the prospects for passage of a compromise Farm Bill during the lame duck. According to political observers, 72 seats in the House remain in contention with some 50 “on the bubble.” Should the 115th Congress adjourn at the end of this year leaving the Farm Bill unfinished, it is possible that a Democrat controlled House in the next Congress could decide to rewrite a Farm Bill in its entirety thus adding further uncertainty to the likelihood of securing a permanent reauthorization of PRIA this year. It is expected that lobbying efforts will intensify very quickly after the mid-terms with the goal of achieving passage and enactment of a final Farm Bill in 2018.

Meanwhile, the CEOs of a broad coalition of agricultural interests, collectively known as the Ag CEO Council, met recently to discuss the status of deliberations over the Farm Bill and PRIA reauthorization. On October 18th, the group sent a letter to the majority and minority leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees emphasizing the importance of passing a final Farm Bill by the end of this year. Members of the CEO Council explained that finalizing the 2018 Farm Bill will ensure policies that support food safety, production agriculture, environmental quality, crop insurance, animal disease prevention, conservation, research, renewable energy, and new foreign market access. The letter pointed out that agricultural producers need the certainty provided by a long-term reauthorization of the Farm Bill. The CEO Council also wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging Congressional leadership to work with Agriculture Committee conferees in an effort to complete the Farm Bill in the closing days of the 115th Congress.

CPDA will continue to keep its membership informed of further developments on PRIA and the Farm Bill as they occur.

CPDA Engages with WSDA in Calling for an Expedient Process that would Allow Alternatives to BIT in Adjuvant Formulations

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In related activities surrounding the shortage of BIT, CPDA has been engaged with the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) in calling for guidance that would set forth a streamlined process allowing registrants of spray adjuvants to substitute alternative preservatives in their products. In a request sent to WSDA’s Registration and Licensing Services Program on September 18th, CPDA Interim President Gary Halvorson emphasized that the BIT shortage is not likely to abate any time soon and he requested that the Department move quickly in providing instructions for the modification of adjuvant registrations of existing formulations.

WSDA in response has specified three steps that registrants are required to take if they choose to revise their adjuvant formulations:

  1. Determine the appropriate revisions to the adjuvant CSF, based on the preservative use limits in 40 CFR 180.910 or .920 (assuming the adjuvant is intended for use on food or feed crops).
  2. Submit a revised adjuvant CSF to WSDA using the secure pesticide registration portal (https://agr.wa.gov/PestFert/Pesticides/ProductRegistration.aspx#Secure), and mention in the “Notes” box that the only change is the preservative. Do not submit a CSF by email, since this method is not secure.
  3. Contact the assigned Registration Specialist (https://agr.wa.gov/PestFert/Pesticides/ProductRegistration.aspx#RegContacts) and let them know that the registrant is submitting a revised adjuvant CSF.

WSDA has instructed that in lieu of these actions, a revised CSF can be submitted by ground mail or fax. The registrant should include a cover letter explaining that the only change is the preservative in such cases.

EPA’s Office of Inspector General Issues Report on Needed Improvements to FIFRA Section 18 Emergency Exemption Process

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On September 25, 2018, EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report summarizing the conclusions of its audit of the Agency’s FIFRA Section 18 pesticide emergency exemption process. Section 18 of FIFRA allows the Agency to grant federal and state agencies the authority to approve the limited application of an unregistered pesticide not currently registered for that use in the event of a serious pest problem that jeopardizes production of agricultural goods, the environment, or public health and for which there are inadequate tools to address the situation. The regulations governing implementation of FIFRA Section 18 establish four types of emergency exemptions (specific, quarantine, public health and crisis) with different time periods allowed for each.

In its report, the OIG concluded that while EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) collects human health and environmental data through its emergency exemption process, it does not use this data to capture outcome measures that would demonstrate how well the emergency exemption process maintains human health and environmental safeguards. In addition, the OIG found that OPP does not have comprehensive internal controls to manage the emergency exemption data it collects and cited specific deficiencies in the Agency’s online public database, internal guidance documents, and its annual progress reports to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Congress. Finally, OIG determined that the OPP does not consistently communicate emergency exemption information with its stakeholders.

The OIG recommended that EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention develop outcome-based performance measures; develop or update procedures on data collection, database management and the re-use of data submitted by state lead agencies; and communicate changes to the emergency exemption process in a timely manner. The full OIG report, including EPA’s response to the recommendations contained in the report, may be accessed by clicking here.

CPDA Seeks Solution to Problems Posed by BIT Shortages

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CPDA continues to work with EPA and allied industry trade associations urgently seeking a resolution to the shortage of the active ingredient 1,2-benzisothiaxolin-3-one (BIT). Preservative products containing BIT are used in the formulation of hundreds of agricultural pesticide products by many registrants. The precursor chemical o-nitrochlorobenzene, essential to the manufacture of BIT products, is sourced almost exclusively from China. BIT can serve as both an active ingredient or an inert ingredient depending on whether or not it has a pesticidal effect when used in a registered end use product.

Over this past summer, the Chinese government, as part of its anti-pollution Blue Sky initiative, shut down key BIT and BIT precursor manufacturing operations pending the results of ongoing environmental site inspection of these facilities. These closures have led to inventory shortages of BIT and BIT precursor products which has adversely impacted a number of pesticide formulation operations. Some registrants have been notified by their suppliers that they will be unable to fulfill their long-standing supply contracts. CPDA received reports from companies that the BIT shortage is seriously impeding their ability to find alternate sources of these products, thus creating the potential for major manufacturing disruptions as registrants prepare for the 2019 growing season.

In response, CPDA and allied trade associations have engaged with EPA personnel in an effort to address this situation, requesting that the Agency approve a streamlined self-certification process, in lieu of submitting an amended Confidential Statement of Formula (CSF), for impacted end use products for which an alternate supply of BIT is used.  The trade association coalition gathered feedback from their respective member companies in order to develop a list of possible alternatives to BIT for use in pesticide formulations. This has been presented to EPA for review and approval.

On August 23, 2018, EPA sent a letter to the industry coalition agreeing to a time-limited self-certification process, not to exceed 24 months, whereby registrants could notify the Agency of a change in the source of BIT without having to submit an amended CSF. For each end use product in which BIT is used as an active ingredient, registrants are directed to submit a Formulator’s Exemption form (EPA Form 8570-27) as described in PR Notice 98-10. For products where BIT is used as an inert ingredient, EPA will allow notification of the source change to be submitted in the form of a single letter which covers all impacted products. EPA states that at the end of the 24-month period, barring any evidence of continued market instability due to extended BIT shortages, the Agency will require the submission of new or amended CSFs for which the source of BIT has changed from what is listed in the current CSF. Submissions would be required within 90 days of August 23, 2020 or upon the identification of “stable source(s),” whichever is earlier.

While the streamlined process of notification set forth by EPA is limited to seven specific alternate registered sources of BIT as listed in the August 23rd letter, CPDA has learned that this list will likely be expanded and that an update will be released by the Agency shortly. In the meantime, CPDA and other members of the industry coalition continue to collaborate with EPA on this issue in an effort to avert the looming crisis that could unfold during the 2019 growing season in the face of continued shortages of BIT.

CPDA Seeks Delay of WSDA’s Proposal for Functioning Agents in Adjuvant Formulations

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On September 21, 2018 CPDA in collaboration with the Far West Agribusiness Association (FWAA) sent a letter to WSDA requesting that the agency temporarily delay the implementation of its proposed plan to establish synonym names for principal functioning agents used in spray adjuvant formulations. WSDA had recently shared with CPDA their intent to develop Principal Functioning Agent text for spray adjuvant ingredients that would be acceptable to both the agency and registrants, with the goal of updating information for all existing ingredients in their database by the end of 2018.

CPDA and FWAA signaled that implementation of this initiative before industry has had an opportunity to thoroughly vet the plan and provide input to the Department would be premature. Both groups cited concerns related to Confidential Business Information (CBI) protections that could possibly be eroded under the Department’s proposed use of synonym names.

In the joint industry letter sent to Kelle Davis of the WSDA Pesticide Management Division, CPDA and FWAA emphasized that the process would force the disclosure of CBI for products registered by WSDA. Both associations urged WSDA to continue the registration of new adjuvants in accordance with current practice, pending industry’s review of the naming proposal so as to avoid a potential backlog of products awaiting Department approval.

CPDA has established a work group to review the WSDA list in order to develop recommendations that would ensure the continued protection of CBI. All CPDA members are invited to participate on this work group. For more information, please contact CPDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Sylvia Palmer (spalmer@cpda.com) or call (202) 386-7407.