Partnering with BDP
Even though biopesticides offer many benefits, growers have yet to widely adopt these technologies over conventional pesticides. For example, in 2006 biopesticides only represented approximately 4% of the total pesticides applied nationally. Market penetration of biopesticides is hampered by:
- Lack of information
- Limited availability
- Concern about efficacy
- Concern about cost
- Concern about ease of application
- Uncertainty about biopesticide use within conventional agricultural production systems
- Lack of resources for grower training
Unfortunately, biopesticide manufacturers often lack the resources and field presence necessary to overcome these barriers on a broad scale.
The Biopesticide Demonstration Program (BDP) seeks to fill this gap by funding projects that demonstrate and document effective options for integrating biologically-based technologies into existing crop production and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) systems. To increase grower confidence and awareness further, the Program facilitates direct communication with growers and institutions. Grower-to-grower training within commodity organizations has also proven to be a potent communication tool for practical, behavioral change.
BDP and IR-4 have developed user-friendly databases which serve as a critical reference tool for growers seeking to transition away from higher-risk pesticides to IPM systems that include biopesticides. These searchable databases include:
- Biopesticide product use labels
- Biopesticide handling guidance
- Current and past biopesticide research projects
To encourage broad-based adoption of biopesticides further, EPA provides resources for the transfer of promising biopesticide technologies through the Biopesticide Technology Transfer Initiative. Through partnerships with key stakeholders, EPA develops Regional Technology Transfer Strategies for biopesticides that have been shown - through BDP Grants or other means - to be effective and economically viable. Stakeholders include:
- Government funding agencies
- Biopesticide companies
- University research and extension personnel
- Crop consultants
- Commodity groups
- Other grower organizations
These multi-year Regional Strategies include a means to measure increases in the adoption of new technologies over time. Information will be stored in a searchable database accessible to all growers and other interested individuals.