The chlorpyrifos alternatives task force was assembled to help mitigate some of the impacts that will be felt as a result of the product’s cancellation. The chlorpyrifos workgroup is expected to provide a plan of action sometime in the next few months. They have been working with community members in crafting a framework for research and funding priorities moving forward after releasing a draft outline of their progress so far.
“As a researcher that dedicates my career to developing integrated pest management programs, being on the chlorpyrifos alternatives task force has been an interesting experience,” said David Haviland, UC Entomology Farm Advisor in Kern County. “The main directive we’ve had is to identify what alternatives are already out there and then to figure out what kind of research could or should be done to help fill the gaps. The task force is doing a great job at both of those two tasks.”
The purpose of the chlorpyrifos workgroup is to forge a positive path forward for the greatest number of stakeholders. Addressing the ban on chlorpyrifos is a multifaceted issue with multiple perspectives. “It is obvious that everybody wants farmers to be successful. This means producing high yields of high-quality product in a way that is also safe to people and the environment. However, there are understandable differences in what people consider safe,” Haviland noted. “Some people support banning any pesticide that might have a risk associated with it, while others support regulations that allow for the pesticide to be used in ways that mitigate those risks.”
The workgroup itself is comprised of a diverse collection of members which include University of California personnel, environmental justice groups, an agricultural commissioner, pest control advisors, and representatives from several agricultural commodity groups. “When the task force report comes out this spring, I expect a wide range of responses,” Haviland noted. “I think some people will be amazed to see the wide range of chlorpyrifos alternatives that already exist for most pests, while others will be frustrated that shovel-ready chlorpyrifos alternatives still don’t exist for some critical pests.”