Perspective: Terry Higgins, Vice President & General Manager, OHP

Perspective: Terry Higgins, Vice President & General Manager, OHP

If people think it’s difficult to live in a world with pesticides, they should try living in a world without them.

OHP’s Terry Higgins admits he wasn’t the first person to speak those words. But having spent 35 years in crop protection, Higgins is a big believer in that message and the need for pesticides.

“Sometimes, I wish we as an industry could pull all of our products off the marketplace,” Higgins says, “because I can guarantee you in two years, people would be begging and clamoring for us to bring them back.”

Some things, such as the pressures crop protection providers and their users face, never change. But crop protection as a whole is continuously evolving, and Higgins, because of his experience, has a unique perspective on the industry’s development.

Recently, we caught up with Higgins to get his perspective on the developing market of generic crop protection products, challenges with which federal and state governments are presenting crop protection providers and how conventional crop protection products fit into the sustainability discussion.

GG: Which major crop protection products will come off patent in 2011 and what developments may emerge as a result?

TH: Roughly 80 percent of the main brands offered today in the greenhouse and nursery segment are already off patent. There are a couple of large ones that have yet to fall, and they will be falling sometime in the next 12, 24 or 36 months–depending on who you listen to. The two products that are still rather large are azoxystrobin (Heritage) and isoxaben (Gallery).

We’re watching them, and as we see it, the developments that always emerge as a result are market devaluation and multiple generic players in the business.

GG: As more products come off patent, growers have the option of exploring generics. Still, a need for new product development exists so pests and diseases do not develop resistance to existing products. So, considering the idea that more growers are becoming cost conscious yet new products are still a must, how does OHP strike a balance between meeting the grower’s short-term (costs) and long-term needs (new product development)?

TH: New products are the lifeblood of our industry. If you think about the companies that spend research and development dollars, it’s not the generic companies. It is the brand companies we are associated with like BASF and Bayer, and companies we are disassociated with like Syngenta. Those are the companies that traditionally spend heavy dollars on research and development looking for new molecules.

One result of the big explosion of generic products is that these companies are seeing less return on the dollars invested for their brands. And that leaves them with fewer dollars to invest in new product development. So growers need to understand that if they’re not supporting the branded companies, their lack of support is having an impact on the dollars spent for researching and developing new molecules.

Many companies are taking their R&D dollars and putting them into the area of seed genetics. Instead of trying to find a new pesticide product, they’re trying to find a plant material that is resistant to pests. They’re shifting those resources to other areas that, long term, will be a better payout.

GG: Has the current administration made it more difficult to achieve chemical registrations?

TH: The current administration is not friendly to our industry, but I can’t point a finger at instances in which it has slowed down the registration of product. The Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) has really kept the process moving along. However, you have an administration and outside activist groups that are forever watching every move the EPA makes. All you have to do is look at the Kontos situation last year and surmise that we are under the microscope. Any administration, be it a friendly administration or a non-friendly one, is under the microscope of outside activist groups. They’re going to be challenged.

The real challenge we as an industry face now is at the state level. There are a lot of budget and staffing constraints due to the economy. They’re really having an impact on timeliness of product registrations at the state level. That’s where we see a slowdown in the registration process.

GG: You mentioned Kontos insecticide, which hit a roadblock early in 2010 when an EPA procedural error led to a federal ruling that the product’s registration be vacated. How unprecedented was that situation and what are the implications for other crop protection products?

TH: It was a one-of-a-kind (situation) in my 35 years in the industry. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this. It’s a sign of the times in that everyone is under a microscope when it comes to the use and registration of pesticide products–even the EPA. I know there is a posting period EPA must follow that would give people the opportunity to comment on the registration itself. That’s the procedural error that EPA did not follow. They did not post a period for people to respond to the product registration, and the comment period is a common procedure with any pesticide registration that goes through the federal level.

We fully expect the Kontos registration to be reinstated in the very near future.

GG: Considering more growers are considering balancing their pest management programs with the use of both conventional insecticides and bio-controls such as predatory mites, are growers equipped with enough knowledge to manage crops using both strategies?

TH: Most growers we are dealing with have a very good understanding of using today’s traditional pesticide products. They’re educated growers. But when you’re talking about the use of bio-control products, the one product that comes to mind is predatory insects.

My perception is that it’s an area growers in the United States are having a very difficult time learning to use on the basis where it becomes a good value to that grower. I think the growers who have learned to use predatory insects in their pest control program are niche growers. To try to get them to use it across the board, the value isn’t there for most growers.

Predatory insects could be part of a program, but the backbone of a program is going to have to be conventional pesticides. Until such time, and until the predatory insects are priced at a level and are efficacious at a level that provides good value to the grower, it’s not going to be across-the-board practice.

GG: As more growers frame their businesses around sustainability and as leaders of sustainable floriculture become more influential, what are the implications for crop protection products, their use and the companies that produce them?

TH: A couple years ago, the whole VeriFlora thing was much talked about. In recent months, the buzz has kind of gone away. Obviously, the whole sustainability umbrella that’s driving this is a thing I wouldn’t call pesticide friendly. It certainly lends itself to using fewer pesticides, and it puts additional burdens on some traditional pesticide products.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Perspective: Terry Higgins, Vice President & General Manager, OHP

  1. Interesting……. but don’t agree that Bio-control is ONLY for niche growers.

    There are many growers who are very successful with biological control, however, all these growers have one thing in common: They are using BCA’s as their first line of defense!!! Not just for one or two of their pest problems (key ones are usually Thrips and TSSM), but for ALL pest problems they have and ONLY use pesticides when there is no other option or correction needs to take place. That also means spot treatments ONLY! The other issue is that pesticides are usually considered when there is a problem or upcoming problem –> Reactive approach. Bio-control is a pro active approach: It is NOT fixing problems, but preventing problems.

    I once heard someone say that good growers are getting better (improved quality of their products they grow) when using BCA’s as their first line of defense, but not so good growers are getting worse with their pest management.

    Growers that using ‘PPM’ as Pro-active, Planning and Management are generally successful with Biological Control.

    Hope everyone has a great and ‘clean’ start of the season!

  2. Interesting……. but don’t agree that Bio-control is ONLY for niche growers.

    There are many growers who are very successful with biological control, however, all these growers have one thing in common: They are using BCA’s as their first line of defense!!! Not just for one or two of their pest problems (key ones are usually Thrips and TSSM), but for ALL pest problems they have and ONLY use pesticides when there is no other option or correction needs to take place. That also means spot treatments ONLY! The other issue is that pesticides are usually considered when there is a problem or upcoming problem –> Reactive approach. Bio-control is a pro active approach: It is NOT fixing problems, but preventing problems.

    I once heard someone say that good growers are getting better (improved quality of their products they grow) when using BCA’s as their first line of defense, but not so good growers are getting worse with their pest management.

    Growers that using ‘PPM’ as Pro-active, Planning and Management are generally successful with Biological Control.

    Hope everyone has a great and ‘clean’ start of the season!

More From Insect Control...

September 21, 2016

Floriculture Industry Working To Solve The Whitefly Problem

This summer, the floriculture industry has been faced with a dangerous new development — the detection of the Q-Biotype whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) in outdoor landscapes. It’s the first time that the Q-Biotype has been found in the U.S., outside of a greenhouse or wholesale nursery, since the pest was first detected on an ornamental plant in an Arizona greenhouse in December 2004. This year in Florida, there have been 47 detections of the Q since April, in retail nurseries and residential landscapes in 10 counties in Florida, from Miami-Dade to Duval County, primarily on hibiscus. Other hosts involved are crossandra, eggplant transplants, lantana, ficus, and porter weed. The detections have been in 17 retail nurseries, eight wholesale nurseries, 10 residential landscapes, and two agricultural fields. Other states have reported Q-Biotype detections this year, as well. The discovery of Q-Biotype whitefly in the landscape is troubling for the entire ornamentals industry, […]

Read More
Chrysanthemum Aphid

August 22, 2016

How To ID And Manage Black Aphids In Chrysanthemums

Growers in Michigan have recently been reporting a higher presence of this pest. Here are some tips on how to control it.

Read More
Greenhouse Whitefly

August 18, 2016

Vestaron Planning For More Research And Development Of New Bioinsecticides

On the heels of launching Spear-T, its first bioinsecticide, Vestaron has received additional financing that will be used to develop new products with new modes of action.

Read More
Latest Stories

September 21, 2016

Floriculture Industry Working To Solve The Whitefly Pro…

This summer, the floriculture industry has been faced with a dangerous new development — the detection of the Q-Biotype whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) in outdoor landscapes. It’s the first time that the Q-Biotype has been found in the U.S., outside of a greenhouse or wholesale nursery, since the pest was first detected on an ornamental plant in an Arizona greenhouse in December 2004. This year in Florida, there have been 47 detections of the Q since April, in retail nurseries and residential landscapes in 10 counties in Florida, from Miami-Dade to Duval County, primarily on hibiscus. Other hosts involved are crossandra, eggplant transplants, lantana, ficus, and porter weed. The detections have been in 17 retail nurseries, eight wholesale nurseries, 10 residential landscapes, and two agricultural fields. Other states have reported Q-Biotype detections this year, as well. The discovery of Q-Biotype whitefly in the landscape is troubling for the entire ornamentals industry, […]

Read More
Chrysanthemum Aphid

August 22, 2016

How To ID And Manage Black Aphids In Chrysanthemums

Growers in Michigan have recently been reporting a higher presence of this pest. Here are some tips on how to control it.

Read More
Greenhouse Whitefly

August 18, 2016

Vestaron Planning For More Research And Development Of …

On the heels of launching Spear-T, its first bioinsecticide, Vestaron has received additional financing that will be used to develop new products with new modes of action.

Read More
BioWorks Mycotrol

August 17, 2016

New Organic Mycoinsecticide From BioWorks Now Registere…

BioWorks’ Mycotrol can be used to manage whitefly, thrips, aphids, and other insects in greenhouses and nurseries.

Read More
Poinsettia, Heavy Whitefly Infestation -Lower Leaves, Insect - Feature

August 3, 2016

Tips For Successful Late-Season Whitefly Control

Managing late-season whiteflies successfully on poinsettia requires preventative measures put in to action early in the production cycle.

Read More
Aphids On Older Leaves

July 25, 2016

How You Can Stop Aphids By Understanding Their Interact…

Knowing which aphids target which crops and how aphids colonize and move on plants goes a long way toward setting up an effective management plan.

Read More
Eretmocerus eremicus adult, Parasitic Wasp

July 2, 2016

Beneficial Predators Can Help Control Whiteflies On Poi…

Whitefly infestations are a reccuring problem that often plagues poinsettia growers. Successfully keep them in check by letting beneficial predators take the work out of pest control.

Read More
Greenhouse Whitefly

June 26, 2016

Michigan State University Offers Tips On Whitefly Manag…

Whiteflies are making headlines in Florida, but they are found across the U.S. Michigan State experts say it’s important to know how to manage each type of whitefly.

Read More
Whitefly

June 2, 2016

Breaking News: Florida Growers Reporting Major Whitefly…

Reports have come from the Florida Keys to Palm Beach County that whitefly populations in landscapes are reaching unprecedented levels and are not responding to pesticide applications. Biotype-Q has been found in four different communities. University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Science researchers are working with USDA-APHIS, USDA-ARS, the Florida Department of Agriculture, and growers and landscape professionals to manage the developing problem.

Read More
Two-spotted spider mites, adults and eggs

May 11, 2016

SePRO Launches Summer Insecticide Management Program Fo…

The program is designed to help growers use SePRO’s insect management tools to prevent plant damage from a variety of pests.

Read More
Small Aphid Colony on Calibrachoa

May 2, 2016

How To Stop Aphids In The Greenhouse

When untreated, aphids damage ornamental crops and act as vectors for disease. Integrated Pest Management combined with vigilant scouting can help you stay ahead of the problem.

Read More

April 28, 2016

Holistic, Integrated Approach To Pest Control Rooted In…

Greenhouse growers have been practicing integrated pest management for decades, but it’s becoming increasingly more important with the continued scrutiny of conventional pest control by a number of “regulators” — government, retail, and consumers. I just returned from Meister Media Worldwide’s Biocontrols USA 2016 Conference, in Monterey, CA, at the beginning of March this year, which served 450 attendees and 50 exhibiting supplier companies. It’s clear from the presentations and the growing attendance at this specialized event — now only in its second year — that use of biocontrols in IPM will continue to be adopted widely, as more growers get past their personal hurdles of doubt and intimidation, and embrace a new way to approach pest and disease control. Many growers think of using biocontrols as an all-or-nothing approach, but ultimately, IPM is about balance. Growers will need to continue to focus on IPM, integrating chemistry with biology, because […]

Read More
Cicada (Greg Hoover, Penn State)

April 26, 2016

Cicadas Set To Emerge In Several Eastern States This Sp…

While there’s no immediate cause for alarm, experts say the cicada’s egg-laying process can damage woody ornamentals and make them vulnerable to diseases.

Read More
Parasitized aphid mummies, ladybird beetle larvae

April 18, 2016

4 Things You Need To Know About Implementing Biological…

Biocontrols are useful alternatives to traditional pesticides that provide effective pest control in the greenhouse. Here are four ways to get started successfully.

Read More

March 22, 2016

EPA Approves Syngenta’s Mainspring GNL Insecticide For …

Featuring the active ingredient cyantraniliprole, Mainspring GNL provides broad-spectrum control of key pests, such as thrips, whiteflies, aphids, caterpillars, leafminers, and leaf-feeding beetles.

Read More
Biocontrols and beneficials absolutely can be used in outdoor production, with the use of banker plant systems

March 8, 2016

France-Based InVivo Acquiring Bioline, Syngenta’s Bioco…

Bioline, a subsidiary of Syngenta, specializes in the production and marketing of biological control agents, and in particular macroorganisms active against insect pests in fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

Read More

February 17, 2016

Why It’s Important To Stay One Step Ahead Of Thri…

Keep thrips populations in check and avoid pesticide resistance by using spray and drench products known for their effectiveness.

Read More
The beneficial parasitoid Encarsia formosa feeding on greenhouse whitefly

February 12, 2016

Biological Pest Control Starts With Accounting For Pe…

When pest pressure is high, biological controls alone may not be enough to take care of the problem. Make sure that any pesticides you use won’t harm the beneficials hard at work in your greenhouse.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]