IR-4 To Focus on New Strategic Plan
By Courtney Steward, Associate Editor
At a recent meeting, California Ag Today met up with Dan Kunkel, associate director of the IR-4 Project for The Food and International Program at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Since 1963, the IR-4 Project has been a major resource for supplying pest management tools for specialty crop growers by developing research data to support EPA tolerances and labeled crop protection product uses. The main goal of the IR-4 program, according to Kunkel, is to help specialty crop growers in California, but with a new emphasis on crop exportation.
Commenting on this new strategic plan for the IR-4 program, Kunkel said, “We are going to be doing a lot of the same things, like residue work, efficacy testing and our biopesticide and ornamental programs. But we are taking a larger focus on international harmonization of the pesticide residue limits for our grower exporters so they can feel more confident that their commodities won’t have issues in foreign trade.
“Of course we submit crop protection registration to the EPA for our growers. But when the commodities go abroad, we also submit the data to CODEX, an international database with maximum residue limits (MRLs), a type of tolerance standard, for pesticides,” said Kunkel.
“We also share data with some of the U.S. commodity groups to submit to the Asian and European markets so our growers’ exports can meet these residue limits as well,” he said.