Plant biostimulant language in 2018 U.S. Farm Bill

The 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law on December 20, 2018.  The new law contains the first statutory language regarding plant biostimulants in the United States and includes a description of such products: “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.”  This description is largely consistent with the plant biostimulant definition currently being pursued in the European Union.

The Farm Bill requires the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, states, and relevant stakeholders, to provide, by December 20, 2019, a report to Congress that “identifies any potential regulatory, non-regulatory, and legislative recommendations to ensure the efficient and appropriate review, approval, uniform national labeling, and availability of plant biostimulant products to agricultural producers.”  The definition of a plant biostimulant may also be modified during this process.