Bipartisan bill would boost plant biostimulants

A new bill with bipartisan support would promote development and use of a biostimulants, which can help farmers and improve the soil by facilitating more sustainable agricultural practices.

The proposed Plant Biostimulant Act would “create a uniform process for approving commercial plant biostimulant use and require more federal research on the technology’s benefits for soil health,” according to a press release from U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), who introduced the bill, along with Rep. Jim Baird (R-IN), on May 13.

“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,” said Sarah Gallo, the Vice President for Agriculture and Environment at Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).

Biostimulants are products that can be used to improve natural plant nutritional processes. When applied to seeds, plants or the soil around the roots, they enhance nutrient uptake and efficiency, tolerance to heat or drought, crop quality, and/or yield—with an example being Joyn Bio’s microbes, according to Good Day Bio.

“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,” according to Gallo.

While food prices are rising rising constantly on a global scale, and drought is currently impacting the western half of the United States, including grain production areas of the upper Plains and Southwest, Good Day Bio argues that a technology like the biostimulants is needed more than ever to mitigate the impact of climate change and geopolitical challenges that threaten the food supply.

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