VTPP is actively involved in providing pest management needs information on specialty crops to interested parties, such as the national IR-4 program. We administer the IR-4 program in Virginia. The VTPP Director serves as the IR-4 state liaison representative.
The IR-4 Minor Use Pest Control Clearance Program was established in 1963 by the state land-grant university agricultural experiment stations. IR-4 is a partnership between agricultural producers, land-grant universities, government, and chemical manufacturers. Today, IR-4 conducts research on chemical and biological pest controls.
The purpose of IR-4 is to establish pest controls for specialty crops (minor crop commodities with low acreages nationally, i.e., fruits, vegetables, and other specialty uses). Specialty crops represent about 40% of the total sales of U.S. agricultural producers. Because an investment in specialty pest control products presents little benefit to chemical manufacturers, IR-4 conducts the research necessary to register specialty crop labels. IR-4 has provided data to clear over 50% of the specialty crop registrations since 1970.
Historically, Virginia IR-4 has been a very active program with the support of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and Virginia Cooperative Extension across the state. IR-4 is important to Virginia's agricultural industry because ours is one of the more diverse industries in the United States. The majority of crops grown in the Commonwealth are specialty crops and that number is growing with the expanding turf and ornamental industry in Virginia. IR-4 helps us to provide safe and effective pest management solutions for Virginia's specialty crop growers.
The following documents explain in more detail about the IR-4 program both nationally and in Virginia.
- National IR-4 Program Homepage
- IR-4 Specialty Crop Index
- IR-4 Projects Protect "Minor" Crops [PDF] by Dennis Senft, ARS) in Oct. 1996 Agricultural Research Vol. 44, No. 10, pp. 4-7.
- Forum: Agricultural Pests: No Shortage in the Forecast [PDF] (by Jim De Quattro, ARS) in Oct. 1996 - Agricultural Research Vol. 44, No. 10, p.2.