The Department of Pesticide Regulation and CDFA have released a much-anticipated report proposing alternatives to the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which the administration made the decision last year to ban.

The 150-page report lists recommendations for a range of crops and includes conventional as well as non-chemical alternatives and biopesticide products. It also charts the toxicity of these alternatives. The findings are the result of a six-month process by a work group led by an outside consultant, along with extensive public input.

Among the top recommendations is to “reinvest” in UC research and extension for pest management. The governor intended to boost that division's budget by 10% this year, but the state's budget crisis instead led to a 5% reduction instead. The group also urges more outreach to growers on the UC guidelines and for DPR staff to focus on identifying alternatives. The report includes a call for more funding for pest inspections at borders and more research into the relationship between pesticide use and exposure.

DPR Director Val Dolcini told Agri-Pulse this is the first step toward a broader “roadmap” for sustainability. A successor work group will craft the roadmap over the coming year and a half.

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"This report highlights current alternatives to chlorpyrifos, but it also underscores the need to continue our combined efforts to provide safer and more sustainable crop protection tools to California's farmers," said Dolcini in a statement

Top photo: Joseph McIntyre of the consulting group Ag Innovations led a public workshop on chlorpyrifos alternatives in January.