Plant Biostimulants Gain Federal Recognition, Oversight

    Photo: Kevin Hudson, Mississippi State University

    The new Farm Bill, which was signed into law this week, provides the first statutory language about plant biostimulants in any federal law, according to the U.S. Biostimulant Coalition (USBC), an industry trade group.

    This marks the first legislative recognition of plant biostimulants as an emerging technology for agriculture, USBC noted.

    The Farm Bill describes a plant biostimulant as “a substance or micro-organism that, when applied to seeds, plants, or the rhizosphere, stimulates natural processes to enhance or benefit nutrient uptake, nutrient efficiency, tolerance to abiotic stress, or crop quality and yield.”

    “The inclusion of a description of a plant biostimulant is a huge development in the long-term goal of understanding and recognizing these beneficial products,” said David Beaudreau, USBC’s Executive Director.

    He added that the law “will support the development of new sustainable technologies for U.S. agriculture and its farmers.”

    The Farm Bill includes language that requires the Secretary of Agriculture, EPA Administrator, states and relevant stakeholders to provide a report to Congress that identifies any potential regulatory, non-regulatory, and legislative recommendations, including the appropriateness of any definition for plant biostimulants.

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    The intent of the report is to facilitate the development a regulatory framework for plant biostimulant products and to ensure the efficient and appropriate review, approval, uniform national labeling, and availability of these products to agricultural producers.

    “This is the first description of a plant biostimulant in any U.S. legislation and it is largely consistent with the definition currently under development within the European Union,” said Keith Jones, Executive Director of the Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA). “This is a major step forward for biostimulant manufacturers, and it is the direct result of an effort led by BPIA and the USBC on behalf of the entire biostimulants industry.”

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