The Potential Impact of the Food Quality Protection Act
What the IPM Program is doing
Many people connected to agriculture in New York would like to know how the IPM Program is addressing the potential outcome of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA). At Cornell, the Pesticide Management Education Program (PMEP) has primary responsibility for dealing with the issue, but the IPM Program works as a partner with PMEP, contributing information on the use of certain pesticides and alternatives to pesticides on the FQPA list of potential cancellations.
In addition, the IPM Grants Program has supported many researchers and Extension educators who are developing alternatives to those pesticides. For example, two projects aimed at managing apple pests without the pesticides on the FQPA list–one aimed only at insect pests of apple and the other aimed at all apple pests–are currently being demonstrated on grower farms throughout western New York thanks, in part, to funding from the IPM Program. The early answer to the question, Can it be done? is "maybe," but not without some costs to apple growers and to the environment. Some apple growers may be forced to employ more expensive pesticides that will kill many of the biological control agents currently being used for control of red mites.
At this point it appears that the FQPA is mainly concerned with residues on products going to supermarkets and food processors. Previous work at Cornell University has shown that the greater the time interval between pesticide application and harvest, the less the likelihood of residues on the produce.