US Farm Bill Includes a Significant Milestone for Agricultural Biostimulants
DAVIS, Calif. (Jan 8, 2019)—The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill signed into law on Dec. 20 includes an important milestone for the growth and adoption of biostimulant products for crops.
For the first time, the Farm Bill includes statutory language about plant biostimulants. This sets the stage for the USDA to establish a formal regulatory framework to ensure the appropriate process for review, approval and uniform national labeling of agricultural biostimulants. The Farm Bill is the first U.S. federal law to recognize the importance of plant biostimulants as an emerging technology for production agriculture.
“This is truly a milestone for the continued advancement of agricultural biostimulants in the U.S.,” said Terry Stone, Agrinos vice president of regulatory affairs and sustainability programs. “It sets the stage for the USDA and other Federal and State agencies to work with industry and other groups to establish a clear regulatory path for the commercialization of this unique category of agricultural input, distinct from their regulation as fertilizers and/or pesticides.”
Stone added this will enable companies to identify their products as biostimulants and make specific performance claims, which is crucial for continued innovation, differentiation, development and adoption of these sustainable technologies.
The outcome of the process will also provide manufacturers with greater certainty regarding the requirements for bringing their biostimulant crop inputs to the market and assure producers and consumers of their quality, efficacy and safety.
The Farm Bill describes a 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 USDA is now required to perform a study on the potential regulatory and legislative reforms needed to ensure appropriate review and labeling of biostimulants.
Stone was among a contingent of representatives from the Biostimulant Products Industry Alliance (BPIA) and U.S. Biostimulant Coalition that met with U.S. House and Senate staff members to discuss adding agricultural biostimulants to the Farm Bill.
Biostimulant products are increasingly being recognized for their ability to enhance crop yields and quality while also providing the critical sustainability benefits of improved soil health and nutrient utilization. In 2017, The Sustainability Consortium® identified the use of biostimulants as an opportunity to improve yields and reduce the need for creating new agricultural production acres through deforestation and other land conversions.
Agrinos is a biological crop input provider committed to improving the productivity and sustainability of modern agriculture. Agrinos’ range of biofertilizers and biostimulant products help farmers to practice profitable agriculture by providing increased crop productivity, improved efficiency of conventional fertilizer and a reduced environmental footprint.