UC IPM coordinates a statewide conversation about the role of chlorpyrifos

The Issue

Combined, alfalfa, almond, citrus, and cotton represent a value of over $10 billion, and are grown on 2.5 million acres of farmland. Chlorpyrifos is an agricultural insecticide used in these crops as well as other food, fiber, and forage crops in California. Chlorpyrifos is an important tool against invasive pests and endemic pest outbreaks due to its efficacy, value as a resistance management tool, and established international registration status for exporting agricultural commodities. Currently, there are ongoing evaluations at the state and national levels to assess potential human and environmental health risks from chlorpyrifos and to consider what, if any, regulatory actions on chlorpyrifos might provide further safeguards up to and including full cancellation of the registration. The results of the safeguards could change the use of chlorpyrifos, including increased use restrictions and could impact many well-established IPM programs previously developed by UCCE scientists.

What Has ANR Done?

To equip California’s pesticide regulatory scientists with a comprehensive understanding of chlorpyrifos use in alfalfa, almond, citrus, and cotton, UC IPM convened industry leaders to create commodity-specific guidelines regarding chlorpyrifos use. The commodity-specific crop teams included commodity representatives, UCCE, pest control advisers (PCAs), growers, and project staff from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and UC IPM. The goal of the crop teams was to characterize the most critical uses of chlorpyrifos in each crop—determining key pests for which there are no or few alternatives and where chlorpyrifos plays a unique and necessary role in an IPM program. Other pest management methods, such as cultural control, biological control, and other insecticides were also noted. This information was specifically gathered in order to develop informed mitigation and prevention approaches where needed. The full report of these discussions is in Identifying and Managing Critical Uses of Chlorpyrifos in Alfalfa, Almonds, Citrus, and Cotton online at http://ipm.ucanr.edu/IPMPROJECT/CDPR_Chlorpyrifos_critical_use_report.pdf.

The Payoff

Chlorpyrifos discussions strengthen agricultural partnerships and inform policy makers

This project serves as a model to gather and summarize stakeholder input and work to identify and understand critical pest control tools in IPM. The process encourages stakeholders to participate in developing solutions. Having this discussion enhanced the relationship between the University, industry, and DPR scientists. A better understanding of grower and PCA needs has informed pesticide policy makers (DPR, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency) about their development of prevention and mitigation tactics to protect human and environmental health while ensuring the protection of California’s agriculture. Research gaps and policy issues were identified as longer-term objectives necessary to move to new products or other management practices.


Supporting Unit: Statewide IPM Program

Lori Berger, Project Coordinator, 559.799.8266, lberger@ucanr.edu; Pete Goodell, Area IPM Advisor, 559.646.6515, pbgoodell@ucanr.edu