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Bipartisan US lawmakers introduce bill to define plant biostimulants

US Congressman Jimmy Panetta has introduced a bipartisan bill, the Plant Biostimulant Act, 2022, that seeks to amend the country's Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and establish a national definition of "plant biostimulants". Mr Panetta, a Democratic lawmaker from California, authored the bill with his Republican peer from the state of Indiana, Jim Baird.

Mr Panetta points out that there is no consistent and predictable path to market for plant biostimulants and this legislation would help remedy that problem with federal guidance from the US EPA and USDA. He notes that that many in the country's agriculture industry are unable to access biostimulants in the absence of a "formal" and "standardised" definition. In December 2020, the EPA ran a consultation on updated draft guidance on the definition of plant biostimulants and which types of products would be considered as plant growth regulators and, therefore, subject to regulation as pesticides.

The Congressman says that the bill would create a uniform process for approving commercial plant biostimulant use and require more federal research on the technology's benefits for soil health. He points out that the use of plant biostimulant technologies has also shown promise in sustainability management practices such as carbon sequestration and water quality improvement.

The development has been hailed by US company Marrone Bio Innovations (Raleigh, North Carolina) and Danish biotechnology business Novozymes (Copenhagen), among others. Industry organisations such as the Humic Products Trade Association observe that the bill was "desperately needed to help the states establish a clear path to market" for the biostimulant industry.

The US Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA) anticipates the bill leading to enhanced utilisation of technologies such as biostimulants, adding that such products could be "useful tools" for carbon sequestration from agricultural activities.

Posted 27 May 2022 by Akashpratim Mukhopadhyay, Senior Journalist, Crop Science Market Reporting, S&P Global Commodity Insights

This article was published by S&P Global Commodity Insights and not by S&P Global Ratings, which is a separately managed division of S&P Global.



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