U.S. Farm Bill Draft Recognizes Biostimulants, Sets the Stage for Regulatory Framework
The development of clear regulatory standards and labeling requirements for biostimulants in the U.S. took an important step forward this month with the introduction of the U.S. House of Representatives draft 2018 Farm Bill.
For the first time, the draft Farm Bill includes a definition of plant biostimulants. The inclusion sets the stage for the USDA to establish a formal regulatory framework to ensure the appropriate process for review, approval and uniform national labeling of agricultural biostimulants products.
“This is a very important and critical first step in the longer journey to have biostimulants formally recognized in the final Farm Bill,” said Terry Stone, Agrinos vice president of regulatory affairs and sustainability programs. “Defining biostimulants and establishing a clear regulatory path for their commercialization is crucial for continued innovation, development and adoption of these sustainable technologies.”
Stone was among a contingent of representatives from the Biostimulant Products Industry Alliance (BPIA) and U.S. Biostimulant Coalition that met with U.S. House and Senate staff members in November 2017 to discuss adding agricultural biostimulants to the Farm Bill.
The House Ag Committee’s draft Farm Bill defines biostimulants 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.”
This is the first definition of plant biostimulants in any proposed U.S. legislation and it is largely consistent with the definition currently under review within the European Union. The draft Farm Bill would require the USDA to perform a study on the potential regulatory and legislative reforms needed to ensure appropriate review and labeling of biostimulants.