The Biostimulant Act offers clear market path for crucial ag biotech in the U.S.

Agriculture is essential for the United States economy to be able to put food on the table for American families and any step to improve the sustainability of the agriculture industry is of key importance.

The U.S., however, lacks a standard regulatory definition or pathway to market important ag biotech tools that allow farmers to increase efficiency while preserving natural resources.

With food prices rising constantly on a global scale and after a drought seriously impacted the western half of the U.S. in the summer of 2022, technology like the biostimulants is needed more than ever “to mitigate the impact of climate change and geopolitical challenges that threaten the food supply.”

As Bio.News previously wrote, biostimulant products make agriculture more sustainable and can be used to improve natural plant nutritional processes.

Plant biostimulants are substances or microorganisms that, when applied to seeds, plants, or soil around roots, enhance nutrient uptake and efficiency, tolerance to heat or drought, crop quality, or yield like Joyn Bio’s microbes.

The importance of biostimulant market legislation

According to estimates, the global plant biostimulant market will be worth $5 billion by 2025 and $9.4 billion by 2030, with U.S. interest growing. But there’s no clear regulatory path for bringing biostimulants to the U.S. market.

In an effort to improve the efficiency, productivity, and sustainability of American agriculture, The Plant Biostimulant Act was reintroduced in Congress on Wednesday with bipartisan support.

Sponsored in the House by Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Jim Baird (R-IN), and in the Senate by Sens. Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Mike Braun (R-IN), the Act aims to clarify regulation on biotech advances that can increase food security and reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers.

“The lack of a standard regulatory definition or pathway to market for plant biostimulants makes accessing this innovative technology difficult for the sustainable agriculture industry,” said Representative Panetta.

As explained on Rep. Panetta’s website, The Plant Biostimulant Act will:

  • Amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to define what is a plant biostimulant and exclude it from being regulated under the Act
  • Require the U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA) to revise the existing Code of Federal regulations to include this new plant biostimulant definition
  • Require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study how to plant biostimulant products can contribute to soil health

BIO endorses the act and the technology

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) is among the organizations that have endorsed The Plant Biostimulant Act since the very beginning when the bill was introduced in the previous Congress.

Sarah Gallo, BIO’s Vice President for Agriculture and Environment, specified at the time that “this legislation will help give full federal recognition of plant biostimulants, and provide a clear pathway to the marketplace for the technology, which is an invaluable new category of agricultural inputs that will improve soil health, water quality, and the overall growth of plants.”

According to Gallo, “cutting-edge, innovative technologies such as plant biostimulant products will be critical to sustainably increasing food production to mitigate food price inflation and enhance agriculture’s resiliency to the stresses of climate change.”

BIO has long supported this technology—including in the 2018 Farm Bill when BIO joined a coalition letter explaining the need for regulatory clarity.

The base language of the bill included a BIO-supported amendment defining “biostimulants” which “will help create a clearer regulatory path for these valuable products.”

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