EPA is proposing the latest revisions to its crop grouping regulations for the purposes of setting pesticide tolerances, a move that the agency says will benefit producers of minor crops and pesticide companies through lower registration costs.

“Crop grouping rules provide for greater sharing of data by permitting the results from a magnitude of residue field trial study in one crop to be applied to other, similar crops,” EPA said in its Jan. 10 proposed rule. “The primary beneficiaries are minor crop producers and pesticide registrants.”

EPA has proposed updating and expanding its crop grouping for legumes to help establish pesticide tolerances "for residues of numerous pesticides that are needed to control a wide diversity of bean and pea pests.”

The agency said “many minor legume orphan crops have become more popular in some countries and areas today than they were over 20 years ago” and increased globalization of trade has meant there are “additional commodities to be enjoyed that are grown worldwide. Being excluded from the crop groups means that tolerances requested for these commodities would have to be established individually and based on separate residue studies.”

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EPA also is planning to add 24 commodities, including amaranth and quinoa, to a newly renamed cereal grains group.

“Because the demand for cereal grain crops keeps increasing in the United States, as well as older varieties such as spelt wheat and emmer wheat (popularly called farro) becoming mainstream, these crops may provide local market growers new revenue opportunities with high returns per acre,” EPA said.

The agency said it anticipated no new costs to consumers from the changes and said “although there are some uncertainties in the evaluation, for this final rule, EPA estimates that the cost savings from these proposed amendments to be approximately $204.6 million annually.”

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