The USDA Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP) was created by the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 in response to grower concerns about implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA).
OPMP has diverse responsibilities, which include:
- coordinating Departmental pest management and pesticide regulatory policy;
- communicating with stakeholders, including grower groups, pesticide applicators, extension agents, and many others;
- providing federal leadership in integrated pest management and agricultural biotechnology; and
- additional responsibilities as needed.
Pesticide Regulatory Policy
OPMP serves as the USDA lead regarding pesticide regulation and policy. We actively work with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on registration of new active ingredients and pesticide registration review, ensuring that the needs of growers are represented. We coordinate Departmental activities and services regarding development, availability, and use of economically and environmentally sound pest management tools and practices. Specifically, OPMP:
- provides EPA and other agencies with the most accurate data available to help assure that pesticide regulatory decisions are based on modern, realistic agricultural practices;
- reviews and responds to proposed pesticide risk mitigation strategies;
- conducts surveys and analyzes available data to answer pest management-related research questions; and
- communicates with stakeholder groups regarding pest management-related regulatory decisions and policies.
Communicate with Stakeholders
OPMP maintains active communications with diverse stakeholders in order to keep abreast of current and emerging pest management issues. Specifically, OPMP:
- regularly communicates with commodity associations, grower groups, pest management professionals, food processors, researchers, extension agents, and many more; .
- supports organic growers and handlers in development and implementation of pest management strategies and support registrants of organic and bio-based pesticides;
- facilitates adoption of integrated pest management techniques, including judicious use of pesticides, throughout the food supply chain.
Integrated Pest Management
OPMP provides federal leadership in Integrated Pest Management (IPM). We communicate across Federal agencies to promote IPM strategies that reduce economic, environmental, and public health risks from pests and from the tactics used in pest management. This includes:
- providing leadership in the development and adoption of the National Road Map for IPM;
- coordinating with Federal agencies, the four USDA-funded Regional IPM Centers, and others through the Federal IPM Coordinating Committee (FIPMCC) to help promote IPM efforts and reduce duplicative programming; and
- regularly interacting with research scientists regarding pest management strategies, assisting with technology transfer where feasible.
OPMP interacts with the Office of the Secretary and other decision makers in USDA, other Federal agencies, and Congress on the development, coordination, and implementation of biotechnology policy. This includes:
- providing technical and policy information to the Office of the Secretary and the internal Biotechnology Coordinating Committee;
- representing USDA at national and international scientific and policy fora; and
- advancing public understanding of USDA’s biotechnology programs and policies.
In addition to the responsibilities above, OPMP provides leadership and support to USDA and other agencies and organizations as needed, such as:
- collaborating with USDA’s Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) on pollinator issues of interest to agriculture, including the interface between agricultural pest management and pollinator protection;
- providing scientific support toward reducing development of resistance to pesticides and antibiotics, such as by serving on the Codex Intergovernmental Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance and the Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC);
- advocating for the pest management needs of hemp growers as part of USDA’s Hemp Working Group;
- assisting in the coordination of, and providing technical expertise for, invasive pest management efforts by USDA agencies and other groups; and
- representing USDA’s interests on continued availability of methyl bromide during meetings of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer.
OPMP was created in response to grower concerns about implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996. As outlined in the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998, and as reauthorized in the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, OPMP “shall be responsible for:
- the development and coordination of Department policy on pest management and pesticides;
- the coordination of activities and services of the Department, including research, extension, and education activities, regarding the development, availability, and use of economically and environmentally sound pest management tools and practices;
- assisting other agencies of the Department in fulfilling their responsibilities related to pest management or pesticides under the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and other applicable laws;
- performing other functions as required by law of by request of the Secretary;
- ensuring coordination of interagency activities with EPA and FDA and other Federal and state agencies;
- consulting with agricultural producers that may be affected by pest management or pesticide-related activities or actions of the Department or other agencies.”