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Agricultural News

Crop Protection Industry Seeks New Ways to Speed Crop Protection Products to Market

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 15:34:53 CDT

Crop Protection Industry Seeks New Ways to Speed Crop Protection Products to Market

One group that is very sensitive to regulatory changes in the agricultural arena is CropLife America. Since its inception, the group has been a proponent of science-based regulation of the crop protection industry. Regulated first by the USDA and later by the EPA, the crop protection industry has probably dealt with more regulatory issues than most other industries.

Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CropLife says it is challenging enough to keep up with Mother Nature, but the regulatory process can seem more challenging at times.

"In the late 90s we saw a great slowdown in the amount of time it took to get a new pesticide ingredient through the regulatory process. And it got up to well in excess of four years from the time of application until getting that license granted. And so we stepped up as an industry and negotiated through the Congress and with the EPA a scheme to force our industry to pay higher fees for improved service so the EPA would have more resources to hire more scientists, to afford more outside contractors, better information computer systems."

Vroom says the system worked and cut the time from development to market from four years to under two years. He says that has slowly changed in the 12 years since the program started and now the time frame is back to more than three-plus years from development to market.

With the new farm bill on the horizon, now is the time to revisit what works and what does not, Vroom says.

"This is a time, in 2012, to reauthorize that law that enables those fees to be paid and to be dedicated to EPA focus and efficiency, so we're having a good discussion with EPA and we're about to see the law which authorized that reintroduced in Congress."

Vroom says a lot of his group's efforts go into learning and keeping various constituencies up to speed with new developments.

"The other thing that we have to be mindful of is that society keeps demanding that lots of new science be invented and the products and technologies like ours be evaluated in ways nobody could have even imagined ten years ago, and that adds cost and time.

"Ultimately that hits the farmer's pocketbook because our technologies are slower to get to the market place and it really results in some unintended consequences like older products staying in the marketplace and being used and creating some resistance problems you might not expect particularly in this environment where there's so much pressure on the American farmer to produce more. Which is a great thing, but the technology's got to keep pace and the regulatory environment is a key driver.

Ron Hays interviewed Vroom in Washington and you can hear their full conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.



Ron Hays talks with Jay Vroom about regulatory hurdles for crop protection products.
right-click to download mp3


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