Biological Products Finding More Demand

Biological Products Industry Alliance Growing Rapidly

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA) was started 16 years ago for only five biopesticide member companies. Now there are 129 member companies and membership ranges from manufacturers of biopesticides and biostimulants to service providers, marketers, distributors, and anybody who touches this industry.

Keith Jones is executive director of the BPIA. He said during a recent meeting in Rochester, NY, that the alliance is growing.

“The running theme for the event was the growth of our association, the growth of the industry, and much of that is driven by consumer demand, regulatory pressures, and just a real move towards a sustainable future in agriculture and other markets where biological products are used,” Jones explained.

Biological products got their start in commercial agriculture, such as fruits and vegetables but have grown in demand by other markets like golf courses and ornamental operations. Among the earliest biologicals used in production agriculture are B.t. products.

“For a variety of reasons, some traditional chemistries are losing efficacy because of pests developing resistance,” Jones said. “Biologicals can be helpful with that. They don’t replace traditional chemistries, but they can actually extend the life of traditional chemistries.”

Biologicals are all part of integrated pest management and can be used during different parts of the production season, where conventional products are not labeled for use.

Biologicals can be used at the onset of a growing season and when getting close to harvest, because there are less or no pre-harvest intervals.

“What’s great about biologicals is that most of them have multiple modes of action, so it’s very hard for the pests to become resistant to that,” said Jones, adding that, “There are many benefits of biologicals, and their acceptance is growing rapidly.”

Jones said that biological products don’t replace traditional chemistries, but they can actually extend the life of traditional chemistries.

Lallemand Plant Care Acts as a Voice for the Industry

Microbes Company Promotes Biostimulants for Ag

By Mikenzi Meyers, Contributing Editor

The term “regulation” is often an unattractive vernacular for farmers and ranchers, just as “pesticide” or “chemical use” would be for the uneducated public. Amy Roberts, Regulatory Affairs Manager for Lallemand Plant Care based in Montreal, Canada, is working to make both sides come together.

California Ag Today caught her comments at the 2018 Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA) Fall Meeting and Sustainability Symposium in Rochester. Roberts has been appointed the 2019 chair of BPIA

Lallemand Plant Care is a company that specializes in the use of microbes in agriculture for pesticides and biostimulants. However, Roberts has assisted them in taking on an even greater task.

“We’d like to be a voice to help improve things in a regulatory standpoint and perception standpoint,” she explained, and with the organization growing to represent the industry as a whole, “the goal seems tangible.”

This doesn’t come without its obstacles though, and Roberts noted that there is a lack of clarity for the regulatory framework, making products harder to market.

“It’s challenging for people to market them, and it’s challenging for growers and users to understand what they are and how they should be using them,” she said.

This combined with the continuous hesitation towards pesticides and biostimulants from people unfamiliar with the industry makes education and understanding on both ends that much more important.

More information can be found at www.bpia.org

BPIA Executive Director Talks Biological Products

Biological Product Industry Meets in Orlando

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Nearly 200 individuals from the worldwide biological products industry were in Orlando this week for the Fall 2017 semi-annual meeting of the Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA).

The two-day meeting featured experts from the EPA, USDA, universities, major U.S.companies such as Nestlé’s and Coca Cola, and others involved in the biological products industry.

BPIA is made up of manufacturers of bio-pesticides, which control pest and diseases, as well as bio-stimulants, which boost the natural defense of plants in the agriculture.

“We’re also marketers, distributors, service providers, anyone who touches the biological industry as we define it,” said Keith Jones, Executive Director of the BPIA.

“There has been tremendous growth in the association,” Jones said. “When I came on board two years ago we were 85 member companies. As I sit here today, we’re 122 member companies, and our companies range from very small, sole proprietors – a couple of folks at some innovative, new technologies – all the way up to the largest agrochemical companies in the world.”

Some biological products, such as B.ts., have been around for more than 50 years, while others, along with bio-stimulants, are very new and innovative. Some aren’t even on the market yet, but many are making their way to market.

“There’s two big drivers for biological,” Jones said. “One is consumer demand. And really, if you look to Europe, they’re about five years ahead of us.”

“The other driver is increased regulatory pressure. Again, Europe is about five years ahead of us. They’re really ratcheting down on a lot of the traditional tools that were available to growers. They’re going away in Europe. I think here in the U.S., you may see some of that as well.”

Jones noted that the BPIA is a big believer in integrated pest management, IPM.

“We never say that biological are the silver bullet. They’re not. They’re most effective when they’re used in conjunction with traditional chemistries,” Jones said.

“The worst time to start a biological is when you’re having a major problem. The best time is to start early. They’re so effective as preventative. They’re really good in tank mixes, used in combination, because they’ll extend the life of traditional chemicals,” Jones said.

Most biologicals have multiple modes of action, so they help with pest resistance.

“They don’t build up the resistance in the same way that they might to a traditional, but by using them together, you can extend the life of that traditional chemistry,” Jones explained.