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 to include 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. IR-4 receives major funding from the USDA, from both the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS).