The 11-year, $286 million challenge

Everything seems to cost a little more these days. Just ask developers of crop chemicals. Getting a product to market is now more costly than it has ever been.

According to a recent report published by CropLife International, the average crop protection product takes 11 years of research and development, along with a $286 million price tag, to get to market.

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A significant amount of those cost increases can be attributed to increased environmental and toxicology testing, along with costs associated with regulatory delays, according to the report.

"Crop protection products have never been more thoroughly tested and screened to ensure product safety, which is why regulators must ensure that the process for review does not change at a moment's notice," according to CropLife America President and CEO Jay Vroom.

The U.S. established two governing acts called FIFRA and FQPA that ensure a clear path for pesticide registration while also protecting public health and safety, Vroom says. Recent regulatory decisions have strayed from these guidelines by depending on less stringent scientific standards, he adds.

"[This is cause for] concern about the ability for companies to bring new, more environmentally sound technologies to the market," Vroom says.

Here's a breakdown of a crop chemical's average $286 million price tag:

  • Research chemistry - $33 million
  • Research biology - $51 million
  • Research toxicology / environmental chemistry - $7 million
  • Development chemistry - $35 million
  • Field trials - $47 million
  • Development toxicology - $29 million
  • Environmental chemistry - $35 million
  • Registration - $33 million

The price tag has gone up 55% since 2000, when the average cost to market for a crop chemical was $184 million. Click here to read the full CropLife America report.