Some Uses for Crop Profiles

5-21-02

Crop Profiles Provide Vital Tobacco Information to the Government Accounting Office (GAO)

On May 7, 2002, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) invited the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Economic Research Service (ERS), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) to an entrance meeting for a GAO investigation regarding pesticide residues on tobacco in relation to human health. This GAO investigation was initiated at the request of Congressman Waxman. GAO presented a list of 16 questions to participants prior to the meeting for discussion at this entrance meeting. Some or all of the information for 9 of the questions was found to be available in crop profiles developed by land-grant scientists through Regional Pest Management Centers.

A review of the National Pest Management Center website identified tobacco crop profiles from 5 major tobacco producing states. Copies of crop profiles from North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee were printed and placed in a 3 ring binder. During the entrance meeting the GAO investigators asked what role CSREES and the State Cooperative Extension Services played in relation to pest management research and pesticide recommendation development in tobacco production. The CSREES policy of not funding research on tobacco production and pest management was explained to the GAO investigators and the other meeting participants. It was further explained that State Cooperative Extension Services through their land-grant universities respond to tobacco grower crop production and pest management information needs within their own states. This supported research comes from State funding lines for tobacco production and pest management research, but not from dollars of USDA origin.

GAO investigators were provided with copies of the 5 State crop profiles. They were quite pleased with these information rich resources on production techniques, pest management practices, worker activities, and post-harvest treatments used in tobacco production. In addition, the GAO investigators found the list of commodity contacts in each of the State crop profiles to be a useful resource enabling them to direct further inquiries regarding localized issues on tobacco production.