Feb 26, 2024
Unifying plant biostimulant legislation

The Association of American Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO), National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) achieved a milestone in bringing uniformity to the growing plant biostimulant industry through the approval of a model bill. The model bill, passed unanimously by AAPFCO membership, will provide a single plant biostimulant label format and definition across the country, thereby creating a pathway to avoid an inefficient patchwork of differing laws and regulations at the state level that make innovation and interstate commerce exceedingly difficult.

“The importance of a single plant biostimulant label across all 50 states cannot be understated,” said AAPFCO president, Mark LeBlanc. “The regulatory landscape for plant biostimulants can vary considerably across the states and leads to inconsistencies and confusion among producers, consumers, and regulatory bodies. Our model legislation provides a regulatory platform that will be available for states to adopt to provide a consistent path to market for these important new tools.” AAPFCO Biostimulant Committee chairman, Nick Young added, “The unanimous passage of this model bill will ultimately save the fertilizer industry and state governments time and money, as it provides the framework to better streamline regulation of these novel products and ingredients.”

Plant biostimulants can potentially play a crucial role in sustainable agriculture by promoting nutrient uptake, stress tolerance, and overall plant vigor. Biostimulants have also been proven to provide such environmental benefits as the remediation of soil contaminates, the reduced nitrification of soils, and enhanced carbon sequestration.

“We not only want to increase adoption of plant biostimulants and get them into the hands of more growers, but also encourage continued innovation by the companies working in this space,” added TFI president and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “The current system stifles innovation because it’s hard to comply with 50 different sets of rules, regulations, and requirements. States enacting this model legislation will provide those companies confidence that there is a clear path to market and allow them to focus on creating innovative products that can enhance both environmental protections as well as the productivity of our farmlands.”

Today’s approval is the result of years of work between AAPFCO and TFI that began with the long and complicated task of crafting a definition for plant biostimulant and the broad class of products and ingredients that it represents. The AAPFCO definition has since been recommended by the USDA in their 2019 Report to Congress, and, in a show of global harmonization, by the International Standards Organization (ISO). AAPFCO plans to promote the plant biostimulant model legislation to all state departments of agriculture.

“Building consensus between industry and regulatory bodies is important to create standards and a marketplace that support farmers and the environment,” National Association of State Departments of Agriculture CEO Ted McKinney said. “We’re proud to see that our work together has yielded a unanimously approved definition for plant biostimulants amongst stakeholders, regulators and product users, offering a single label that can be adopted nationwide, the potential to streamline regulations and the promotion of innovation. We thank both AAPFCO and TFI for their efforts.”

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