Pesticide Registration

Minor Uses and Grower Resources

This web page provides growers, pesticide manufacturers (registrants) and other interested parties with information about EPA programs designed to ensure safe pesticide tools are available, particularly for those interested in pesticides for the minor uses. A major part of this effort involves the partnerships with other organizations and stakeholders.

On this page:


Minor Use Crops and Pesticides

Minor use crops have fewer than 300,000 acres in production in the United States. The small acreage may provide insufficient economic incentive for pesticide companies (i.e., registrants) to keep their products registered for use on these crops, or to register new minor use pesticides. Many fruits and vegetables qualify as minor crops. Minor uses also include pesticides applied for control of disease vectors such as mosquitoes, ticks, cockroaches, rodents and disease-causing organisms.

International MRLs

Codex MRL Nominations 

The Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) is responsible for establishing maximum residue limits (MRLs) for pesticide residues in specific food items or in groups of food for Codex.

U.S. Grower Priorities for International MRLs

U.S. Grower MRL Priority Database

The U.S. Grower MRL Priority Database  Exit is a useful tool for U.S. grower groups seeking to identify and communicate their MRL needs in major export markets to registrants and governments. All U.S. grower groups are encouraged to enter their priorities.

The U.S. Grower MRL Priority Database is designed to replace the U.S.-Canada Grower Priority Database  Exit, which, though still available, is no longer funded and no longer being updated. 

Read more about the U.S. Grower MRL Priority Database

USDA International Maximum Residue Level Database

The USDA International Maximum Residue Level Database  Exit is a tool for growers who want to export a commodity to determine if there is a foreign market MRL when an EPA tolerance is in place for the same commodity.

NAFTA Minor Use Joint Reviews

In an effort to prevent trade irritants, the EPA and Canada’s Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) participate in joint reviews of minor uses. The two countries review submissions and make regulatory decisions at approximately the same time.

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Crop Grouping 

Crop groups are an important tool for growers and especially for growers that need pesticide options for minor crops. Codified crop groups are located in the Code of Federal Regulations 40 § 180.41. The EPA is involved in efforts to revise the crop grouping regulations.

See: Crop Grouping Revisions.

Exclusive Use Periods

FIFRA exclusive use provisions for minor use registrations provide incentives to pesticide companies to register minor uses of pesticides. Registrants submit studies to EPA when registering a pesticide. FIFRA authorizes a period of time for “exclusive use” of the studies by the company after they register a new pesticide or add a new use for an existing pesticide. In the exclusive use period, only the registrant who developed the data may use it to support additional registrations. This is similar to a patent, allowing exclusive use of the supporting data for a specific period of time. In some circumstances, registration of a minor use may either extend the exclusive use period or establish a new exclusive use period.

Extending the Exclusive Use Period for an Active Ingredient - FIFRA § 3(c)(1)(F)(ii)

FIFRA § 3(c)(1)(F)(ii) lists the criteria to be met for extending the exclusive use period, for 1 additional year for each 3 minor uses registered after the date of enactment, up to 3 additional years, based on information provided by an applicant for registration or a registrant.

Establishing a New Exclusive Use Period for a Specific Commodity- FIFRA § 3(c)(1)(F)(vi)

FIFRA § 3(c)(1)(F)(vi) lists the criteria to be met to establish a new exclusive use period for data submitted to add a minor use to an existing registration after the period of exclusive use protected data has expired. A registrant must request this new exclusive use period at the time of application, unlike the extension request described above.

Definition of a Minor Use

The term “minor use” means the use of a pesticide on an animal, on a commercial agricultural crop or site, or for the protection of public health where:

  1. the total United States acreage for the crop is less than 300,000 acres, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture; or
  2. EPA, in consultation with USDA, determines that, based on information provided by an applicant for registration or a registrant, the use does not provide sufficient economic incentive to support the initial registration or continuing registration of a pesticide for such use and —
    1. there are insufficient efficacious alternative registered pesticides available for the use;
    2. the alternatives to the pesticide use pose greater risks to the environment or human health;
    3. the minor use pesticide plays or will play a significant part in managing pest resistance; or
    4. the minor use pesticide plays or will play a significant part in an integrated pest management program. 

The status as a minor use under this subsection continues as long as EPA has not determined that, based on existing data, such use may cause an unreasonable adverse effect on the environment and the use otherwise qualifies for such status.

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