Apple growers have adopted programs such as Integrated Pest Management, Integrated Resistance Management and other technology to minimize the use of pesticides. However, with more than 100 species of insects and diseases that have the potential to attack each crop, the continued availability of effective and affordable agricultural chemicals is critical to the success of these programs and to the ability of U.S. growers to economically produce the high-quality apples and apple products demanded by consumers and the international market.
Continued funding for the following Agriculture Department programs is needed to produce reliable data and support that helps to ensure pesticide availability for apple growers:
- National Agricultural Statistics Service chemical use surveys. These surveys provide vital information for registered crop protection chemicals and their environmental evaluation. Funding should be at a level that allows the surveys to be conducted every two years.
- Pesticide Data Program, administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service.
- Office of Pest Management Policy, administered by the USDA Office of the Chief Economist.
- IR-4 (minor-use registration of crop protection tools), administered by the National Institute for Food and Agriculture. Without IR–4, apple growers would have fewer crop protection compounds. IR–4 scientists generate the data necessary for the registration of compounds for use on apples and other minor/specialty crops. IR-4 is currently funded at approximately $12 million, and Congress is proposing approximately $14 million for FY 2023.