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EPA Seeking Comments on Updated Plant Biostimulants Guidance

This original announcement was published by the EPA on November 25, 2020. Click here for more. 

In recognition of the growing class of products generally known as plant biostimulants, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting comments on an updated Draft Guidance for Plant Regulators and Claims, Including Plant Biostimulants.

“Plant biostimulants are increasingly being used by farmers to increase agriculture productivity,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “When finalized, our Plant Biostimulants Guidance will provide sought-after certainty and transparency for this growing area of the economy.”

Plant biostimulants are a relatively new but growing category of products containing naturally occurring substances and microbes. Their increasing popularity arises from their ability to enhance agricultural productivity through stimulation of natural plant processes using substances and microbes already present in the environment. Plant biostimulants can also reduce the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, making it an attractive option for sustainable agriculture and integrated pest management programs. Benefits include:

  • Increased plant growth, vigor, yield and production.
  • Improved soil health.
  • Optimized nutrient use.
  • Increased water efficiency.

While many plant biostimulants are not regulated as pesticides, certain mixtures and plant regulators can be pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Today’s released updated draft guidance incorporates diverse and helpful changes made in response to stakeholder feedback received during the draft guidance’s initial comment period in 2019. EPA now will seek input on those changes, including the wording of certain plant and non-plant regulator claim examples.

The public comment period will be open for 30 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2018-0258 at www.regulations.gov. After carefully considering the comments received, EPA anticipates finalizing this guidance in January 2021.

EPA Releases for Public Comment Draft Guidance for Plant Regulators, Including Plant Biostimulants

EPA is releasing for public comment Draft Guidance for Plant Regulators, Including Plant Biostimulants. Read a pre-publication copy of the draft guidance here.

In recognition of the growing categories of products generally known as plant biostimulants, this draft document gives guidance on which products are (and are not) subject to regulation under FIFRA as plant regulator pesticides, and what kinds of claims can be made for them. The draft guidance provides examples of each. EPA is taking this step to provide clarity to our state regulatory partners, to industry, and to the interested public in this emerging product area.

Plant biostimulants are a relatively new, but growing, category of products containing naturally occurring substances and microbes that are used to stimulate plant growth, enhance resistance to plant pests, and reduce abiotic stress. Their increasing popularity arises from their ability to enhance agricultural productivity by stimulating natural processes in the plant and in soil, using substances and microbes already present in the environment.

Biostimulants can improve soil health, optimize nutrient use, and increase plant growth, vigor, yield and production. They can promote greater water and nutrient use efficiency but do not provide any nutritionally relevant fertilizer benefit to the plant. Plant biostimulant products can be used in sustainable agriculture production systems and integrated pest management (IPM) programs, which in turn can reduce the use of irrigation water, as well as agrochemical supplements and fertilizers.

Once the Federal Register Notice publishes, the public will be able to submit comments on this guidance on www.regulations.gov in Docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2018-0258. Public comments will be due 60 days after the date of publication in Federal Register.