Building Paths of Opportunity for the Agrotechnology Industry
Throughout its nearly 30-year history, the Council of Producers & Distributors of Agrotechnology (CPDA) has built a strong reputation as the industry leader in representing the advocacy interests of manufacturers of adjuvants, inert ingredients, post-patent pesticides, biorationals, and plant nutrients — all of which play a critical role in meeting the demands of agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, and aquaculture.
These products contribute to greater increases and efficiencies in plant production, improvements in animal and public health, and show promise in the advancement of sustainable farming methods.
The CPDA Adjuvant Certification Program
This successful voluntary program for spray-tank adjuvants was developed by members of the CPDA Adjuvants & Inerts Committee to establish uniform definitions and standards for adjuvants used in conjunction with crop protection products and to ensure the highest level of quality and reliability of adjuvants. Launched in 2001, the program has experienced significant growth and continues to enjoy industry accolades. To date, more than 100 products have been licensed to display the “CPDA Certified” mark on their labels.
The certification program involves verification of compliance with a set of labeling and performance standards, including ASTM International guidelines, definitions, and methodologies. A manufacturer of an adjuvant product seeking certification is also expected to audit its compliance with specified management and stewardship practices. Thus, pesticide registrants and users of adjuvants bearing the CPDA certification logo can be assured that the product conforms to specific product claims, EPA requirements, and good management and stewardship practices. Pesticide manufacturers have also embraced the program as demonstrated by their increasing use of EPA-approved pesticide product label language for recommending use of a CPDA- certified adjuvant in combination with their plant protection products.
The demand for alternative plant and animal health and growth products has seen a marked increase over the last several years in both agricultural and non-agricultural markets. These products are described in the marketplace by a variety of terms such as “biorationals,” “biopesticides,” “biostimulants,” and “bio-yield enhancers.” However, other than the term “biopesticide,” which EPA has defined for purposes of registering pesticides, there are no standard definitions of these terms. The success of the CPDA Adjuvant Certification Program has resulted in a similar initiative led by CPDA that involves development of a set of standards and definitions for biorationals.
CPDA formed a biorationals work group which, over the last several years, has collaborated with ASTM International to develop standard definitions for these products. As a result of this effort, a descriptive “scope” for an ASTM terminology standard and a consensus definition of the umbrella term “biorational” were published. CPDA continues to work with ASTM and industry representatives to develop a set of uniform and consistent biorational terms and definitions for this new terminology standard.
Drift Reduction Technologies
Over the years, CPDA and its members have worked with EPA on a variety of proposed actions involving drift issues, such as drift-related components of risk assessment guidance and the Agency’s voluntary Drift Reduction Technology Program (DRT). As a result of these efforts, EPA adopted a CPDA recommendation to use a four-star rating system in the Agency’s voluntary DRT program in lieu of the originally proposed three-star approach in ranking the drift reduction potential of technologies. CPDA and its members have also urged the Agency to incorporate into its DRT initiative an ASTM test method developed by CPDA members that would more accurately estimate drift as it would occur under actual spray application conditions in the field.
CPDA has organized educational seminars, presented by member company representatives, for EPA staff on spray-tank adjuvant technology and related drift reduction research. The work conducted by member companies in this area has provided the basis for a CPDA recommendation that the Agency expand the focus of the DRT program to include readily available drift reduction adjuvants used in conjunction with DRT nozzles.
CPDA Annual Adjuvants and Inerts Conference
The CPDA Annual Adjuvants & Inerts Conference continues to build its brand and reputation as an important educational and networking event for producers and distributors of adjuvants and inert ingredients used in agricultural pesticide formulations as well as formulators of registered end-use products. This conference is held every year in various locations throughout the U.S. and attracts a diverse audience of manufacturers, formulators, importers, suppliers, and users of adjuvant and inert ingredient products. Over the years, the conference has featured in-depth discussion on a broad range of topics such as:
• How trends in export growth, fuel costs, land values, commodity prices, and other long-term drivers are impacting the future of agriculture;
• How dealers and growers are adjusting their business strategies in coping with the uncertainty of soft commodity prices in a volatile farm economy;
• How new agrotechnology innovations are assisting in the effective management of nutrient delivery to crops and the mitigation of potentially adverse environmental effects to soil and water;
• How water scarcities are giving rise to the development of crops more resistant to drought and extremes in temperature;
• How the emergence of new tank-mix adjuvant technologies are demonstrating the potential to significantly reduce spray drift.
These are but a few of the important topics that have appeared on the speakers program of the Adjuants & Inerts Conference, and CPDA looks forward to providing this forum for company representatives to interact for many more years.
Susan Ferenc is President of CPDA. Contact her at [email protected].