Five minutes after our flight landed in New Orleans for the United Producers, Formulators and Distributors Association’s (UPFDA’s) spring meeting April 18-19 at the Royal Sonesta on Bourbon Street, Mike Joyce, Pest Management Professional’s associate publisher, was caught appeasing his sizable sweet tooth.
“New Orleans’ beignets are the best! The only problem is … they don’t last long,” noted PMP’s Mike Joyce, devouring the tasty pastries in seconds.
Keynote speaker Dr. Loren Scott shared a mixed bag of projections during his presentation, “Gazing into the Crystal Ball: The Outlook for the Economy.”
An economic consultant, Dr. Scott warned pest management professionals (PMPs) to budget to pay more at the pump this year and next. Dr. Scott expects the price of oil to remain volatile, especially as demand is projected to decrease. Dr. Scott projects an average price increase of $82 a barrel for oil now through 2024.
Dr. Scott predicted “a true economic recession” to begin in the third quarter of 2023 — after little to no growth in the second quarter — and to conclude after the first quarter of 2024.
“Since 1970, America has endured eight national recessions,” Dr. Scott noted.
The pending recession will not be an equal opportunity offender: “Different areas of the country, and different business segments, will be impacted differently. For example, New Orleans‘ economy grew during four of the past eight national recessions,” Dr. Scott added.
Dr. Scott said the Federal Reserve has bumped interest rates seven times the past year to combat inflation, and is expected to raise rates another 0.25 percent in May. He said these moves, and other factors, have helped curtail inflation, from about 8 percent last year to 5.6 percent now. He expects inflation to continue to drop incrementally, to 4 percent or less in 2024. Rising interest rates, however, also will continue to curb housing starts, related pest control pretreats, and purchases of everything from furniture and appliances to automobiles.
UPFDA President Dr. Cisse Spragins, CEO of Rockwell Labs and a PMP Hall of Famer (Class of 2018), introduced presenter Julie Spagnoli, of JM Specialty Consultants. A pesticide regulatory consultant, Spagnoli discussed evolving regulatory issues challenging PMPs and pest control solution suppliers.
Spearheading Spagnoli’s hot regulatory topics were:
- Endangered Species Act
- Pesticide Registration Improvement Act of 2022 (PRIA5)
- The “Environmental Justice” movement
- Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs)
- State issues such as preemption, certification and training
“More than 12,000 pest control products need reviews and reregistration, which will include new requirements for bilingual — English and Spanish — label language. There’s quite a backlog,” Spagnoli added.
UPFDA Vice President Patrick Lynch, ACE, delivered an update of the EPA’s Proposed Interim Decision (PID) on Rodenticides. The Senior Vice President of Global Sales for Bell Laboratories and GM of Bell Sensing Technologies said the EPA’s Rodenticides PID, as written, would make all active ingredients used in rodenticides restricted-use products (RUPs), regardless of market, professional or consumer.
As currently written, the EPA’s Rodenticides PID also would add onerous requirements regarding the use of respirators, rodent carcass checks within a few days of bait placement, and a host of other new stipulations.
The Rodenticides PID comes at a time when rodent pressure, and related public health issues, are spreading. Meanwhile, inflation and labor-shortage issues already also are hitting PMPs. Thankfully, stakeholders serving professional, consumer and ag markets are mobilizing to protect pest control tools, uses, food supplies, and public health from over regulation.
“We expect the EPA’s final Rodenticide PID changes in 2024,” Lynch noted. “Fortunately, conversations between the EPA and registrants continue. In total, the EPA has received more than 100,000 letters on this matter.”
Closing out UPFDA’s spring meeting presentations was Dr. Claudia Riegel, of the City of New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board.
Dr. Riegel delivered a captivating overview of the challenges of pest management in urban settings.
“New Orleans combats the usual pest management challenges of a large municipality, plus we often have to deal with a host of post-Hurricane pests — everything from rodents and mosquitoes, to cockroaches and flies, to wildlife and ectoparasites on rats,” Dr. Riegel noted.
New Orleans is big … but not always easy, especially when it comes to municipal pest management.
“It’s critical for municipalities to have 1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year pest management goals, and detailed related protocols, solutions arsenals, and measurables,” she said.