The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, was signed into law on December 20, 2018, and provides the first statutory language regarding plant biostimulants in any law in the United States. This is a major step forward for biostimulant products, and it is the direct result of a multiyear effort led by BPIA’s Biostimulant Integration Committee (BIC) and Government Affairs Committee (GAC) on behalf of the entire biostimulants industry.

The 2018 Farm Bill describes a plant biostimulant as “a substance or micro-organism that, when applied to seeds, plants, or the rhizosphere, stimulates natural processes to enhance or benefit nutrient uptake, nutrient efficiency, tolerance to abiotic stress, or crop quality and yield.” Biostimulants are playing an increasingly important role with farmers to make their crops more productive thereby increasing farm profitability.

The inclusion of a description of a plant biostimulant is a huge development in the long-term goal of understanding and recognizing these beneficial products. This new law will support the development of new sustainable technologies for U.S. agriculture and its farmers. This is the first description of a plant biostimulant in any U.S. legislation, and it is largely consistent with the definition currently under development within the European Union.

The 2018 Farm Bill includes language that requires the Secretary of Agriculture, EPA Administrator, states and relevant stakeholders to provide a report to Congress that identifies any potential regulatory and legislative recommendations, including the appropriateness of any definition for plant biostimulants. The intent of this report is to facilitate the development a regulatory framework for plant biostimulant products and to ensure the efficient and appropriate review, approval, uniform national labeling, and availability of these products to agricultural producers.

BPIA thanks all our members and partners who have worked so hard over the last several years to achieve this significant legislative accomplishment.