Biopesticides alliance to develop standards

By Timothy Charles Holmseth
Driven by the biopesticide industry's growth and the decrease in the use of traditional pesticides, the Biopesticide Industry Alliance has begun the process of setting industry standards.

"We have relationships with the U.S. EPA, Canada's Health Ministry and several state agencies," said Bill Stoneman, executive director of the BPIA. "They regularly participate in our meetings and hear our side of the regulatory story. Our meetings have offered a place for the exchange of ideas and networking."

The BPIA has identified efficiency, education and regulations as its three core initiatives as it assess short- and mid-term goals. "Part of our focus will be on extension educators, extension specialists and crop pest advisors to overcome any barriers to adoption," Stoneman said. "We also have a place in organic agriculture and food production." Part of the outreach will be to groups involved in the growth and consumer promotion of organic crop production, he added.

The organization is looking strongly at establishing a certification program that would be administered by a third party, which would certify the effectiveness of EPA-registered biopesticides. The educational dynamic would be geared toward growers, consultants, researchers, distributors and consumers about the benefits of biopesticides. The regulatory dynamic would include participation with the EPA in the Pesticide Registration Implementation Renewal Act Working Group, Stoneman said.

The recruitment of new companies is important, Stoneman said. "Biopesticide companies-many of them small-all face the same kinds of challenges," he said. "The more companies that participate and collaborate to achieve these common goals, the greater the BPIA's impact and the greater our chance for success."

According to the EPA, biopesticides are certain types of pesticides derived from such natural materials as animals, plants, bacteria and certain minerals. For example, canola oil and baking soda have pesticidal applications and are considered biopesticides.

Stoneman said the organization is growing. The next BPIA board of directors meeting is scheduled for October.