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NCSU IR-4 Field Research Center

North Carolina has an extremely diverse agricultural industry. Many of the crops planted in the state are small-acreage crops, known as "minor" or "specialty" crops. The mission of the NCSU IR-4 Field Research Center is to identify the pest management needs for growers of these crops in North Carolina and to conduct crop response and residue trials to support registration of pest control products for these small-acreage crops.

Lack of available pest control products for minor and specialty crops is not new

Directors of state agricultural experiment stations recognized the problem in 1963. Working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), they organized the Interregional Research Project No. 4, commonly known as IR-4, to help minor and specialty crop producers obtain tolerances and registrations for pest control products. IR-4 is a government and university sponsored program that develops the data necessary for obtaining pest control options in minor and specialty crops after Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval.

Through the years IR-4's mission has expanded

IR-4 also includes ornamentals and biopesticides (including microbials such as bacteria and viruses, and biochemicals such as pheromones and growth regulators), but the goal has remained the same. IR-4 works with agricultural scientists, commodity organizations and extension personnel to provide pest management solutions to growers of minor and specialty crops. The IR-4 program is primarily funded by USDA.  Support comes from USDA-NIFA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA-ARS, Agricultural Research Service, USDA-APHIS, Animal and Plant Inspection Service, and USDA-FAS, Foreign Agricultural Service.  IR-4 also receives support from US Department of Defense, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, and industry donations.  

Impact of IR-4

Since its inception, IR-4 has facilitated:

  • Registration of 14,000 food crop uses
  • Nine expanded/enhanced crop groups
  • Registrations supporting 11,000 ornamental uses