EPA Announces Compliance Program For Bt Corn
A new compliance program to help farmers meet the insect resistance management requirements for Bt corn has been announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee (ABSTC).
The program, called the Insect Resistance Management Compliance Assurance Program, is effective immediately. IRMCAP details how registrants of Bt corn are required to monitor, assist and deal with growers who do not follow IRM requirements.
ABSTC is comprised of four Bt corn registrants – Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto, Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Syngenta Seeds. It was formed to promote stewardship of Bt crops.
"The industry fully supports this program," said Michael Phillips, executive director of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, who was representing ABSTC during a recent teleconference.
"As biotechnology products become available, we’re very cognizant of how resistance in pests can make for a short life in these technologies. So if we don’t do a good job, the next generation of farmers won’t have access to this technology."
IRMCAP components include:
IRMCAP must also contain the following four components:
Each registrant must implement a program for investigating legitimate tips and complaints about growers who may be out of compliance with their IRM obligations.
"I applaud EPA for presenting a very reasonable and workable plan," says Fred Yoder, president of the National Corn Growers Association, and a grower from Plain City, OH. "It’s not much different from what we were doing before except that it gives a little more accountability.
"We have to show good stewardship and we want to make sure that every grower does the right thing. We also have to prove that we can do this ourselves. We’ve done a good job of complying so far," added Yoder, who estimates that 90% of corn producers currently follow IRM requirements.
IRM requirements issued by EPA in October, 2001 include:
For more information about how to design an IRM program for your farm, contact a seed dealer. You can also go to the National Corn Growers Association Web site, www.ncga.com.