Welcome to the North Central Region IR-4 Project

Close up of Blueberries
Close up of beats


The IR-4 Project has a 60-year track record of impact facilitating pest management solutions for specialty crops and specialty uses. According to a 2022 economic analysis, IR-4 contributes an estimated $8.97 billion to the annual U.S. GDP. Seven jobs can be attributed to every $1000 of public investment in IR-4.* Additionally, IR-4 research has secured over 23,000 pest product registrations for food crops through EPA, and countless others for ornamental crops.

By facilitating EPA registration of safe, effective pest management products and technologies, IR-4 helps specialty crop growers access the tools they need to produce healthy, abundant harvests—including fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs and horticulture crops.

IR-4’s federally-funded research evaluates various pest management strategies—including reduced-risk chemical products, bio-based pesticides, emerging technologies, and integrated solutions to serve both conventional and organic production systems.

IR-4’s North Central Region (NCR), based at Michigan State University, is one of four regional offices. With its temperate climate, ample water resources, well-established processing facilities, and proximity to major markets, this region excels in the diversity of specialty crops produced.

The NCR team works collaboratively with stakeholders to identify and prioritize pest issues, and secure tools to help midwestern agriculture thrive.



The IR-4 North Central Region Includes: Blue map of The IR-4 North Central Region

North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, 
Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio


Key Crops of the North Central Region:

Apples, asparagus, beans, beets, blueberries, celery, tart cherries,
cranberries, pickling cucumbers, ginseng, hemp, hops, mint,
onions, peas, potatoes, ornamentals and more.


Photo courtesy of IR-4 Project         



Photo courtesy of IR-4 Project


IR-4 Project Programs:

Our work is centered around the following two core programs:


Food Crops

The Food Crop Program facilitates the regulatory approval of safe pest management solutions for specialty crop growers. This work is necessary as insects, diseases, weeds, invasive species, and resistance to existing tools continue to increase. Thanks to the efforts of the Food Crop Program, growers have more tools for safely and effectively managing pests on fruit, vegetables, herbs, nuts, and other specialty crops.

View the results of the 2023 Food Use Workshop for Residue StudiesProduct Performance, and Integrated Solutions (IS).


Environmental Horticulture

The IR-4 Project’s Environmental Horticulture (EHC) Program facilitates regulatory approval of sustainable pest management products for environmental horticulture crops. EHC research helps green industry growers foster a diverse selection of healthy plants for landscapes, homes, bouquets and urban forests — a service to the environment, to the economy, and to public wellbeing.

View the results of the 2023 Biennial Priority Setting Workshop.



The IR-4 Project: Sixty Years and Beyond

Learn about IR-4’s impacts and how land-grant researchers in our community envision the next 60 years.

Sign up for to receive IR-4 news, updates and articles in your inbox here.


Read about Michigan State University’s 2022 economic analysis here.