After several months of work and community engagement, the chlorpyrifos alternative plan has been made available for review. The report was developed by the Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Work Group comprised of pest control advisors, scientists, farmworker advocates, agricultural organizations, and environmental justice groups. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) tasked the Work Group with crafting a blueprint for moving forward after California prohibited the use of chlorpyrifos.
“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,” DPR Director Val Dolcini said in a press release. “Working with community organizations, other agencies, agricultural producers, and UC scientists, we will continue our work to develop a roadmap that can be used by all Californians to manage pests more safely and sustainably.”
The Towards Safer and More Sustainable Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos: An Action Plan for California report outlines short-term, medium, and long-term goals for keeping agricultural production vibrant while navigating the absence of chlorpyrifos. Among other things, the plan identifies nonchemical and synthetic alternative pesticides and their relative toxicities, and biopesticide alternatives derived from natural materials. The report also includes a five-year action plan to strategically manage pests using less-toxic alternatives.
The chlorpyrifos alternative plan was in the middle of being developed as the COVID-19 pandemic began having a significant impact in California. The funding recommendations put forth in the plan do not take into account the current budget constraints relative to COVID-19. The Work Group recognizes that the funding evaluations will need to be revisited as California’s finances become clearer. The investment in research and development of alternative materials may require a heavier reliance on the private sector as the state works to address the budgetary shortfall.
“Partnerships will be key as we move forward with economic recovery,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “We need collaboration to implement this ambitious roadmap and deliver innovative, pragmatic solutions to the complex array of issues farmers and the ag workforce confront every day as they strive to produce high-quality agricultural crops to meet consumer expectations.”