Friday, March 16, 2012

Prestigious Awards Announced in Green Pest Management

IPM Achievement Awards

For more than 20 years, a national group of experts in pest management have selected champions in their field to receive awards of excellence. Again in 2012, those champions are world-class thought leaders.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an umbrella term covering a wide variety of tactics in agricultural, residential, and wilderness areas. The central ideas include using the least toxic methods, tolerating harmless pests, and working with natural mechanisms to manage pests.

International IPM Awards of Excellence

  1. One of the major challenges with controlling fungal plant diseases is timing. If fungicides are applied too soon, they are wasted. If applied too late, they may not be able to contain the spread of the disease. To get the timing just right, observations from the field and weather data must be shared widely, in real time. The Soybean Rust PIPE project responded to that need in 2005 by setting up a platform for collaboration between governments, researchers, extension agents, and soybean grower organizations, as well as private groups representing the seed and chemical industry.
  2. Cowpeas are rich in protein, and many small farming operations in West/Central Africa use it as a principle food grain, and Buchid weevils eat them in storage. Responding to annual losses in the millions, the Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage Team developed effective storage bags that stop the weevils cold. With support from the Gates Foundation and international colleagues, the new bags have improved food security and economic conditions for millions of cowpea farmers. Demonstrations have been held in 30,000 villages in 10 countries.
  3. Dr. Alexandre Latchininsky responded to a grasshopper outbreak in Wyoming by creating a system called “Reduced Agent-Area Treatments.” It involves surveillance-driven chemical control in a pattern on the rangeland, where untreated swaths are left alone. In the untreated swaths, insects that eat grasshoppers are preserved, providing more population control. It’s a win-win strategy that reduces pesticide use by more than 50%. The word is spreading across the western United States, Asia and West Africa, where grasshoppers and locusts do the same kind of damage.
  4. Over 10 years ago, the USDA established four Regional IPM Centers in the United States, in the west, the south, the northeast, and north central states. As a collaborative network, these Centers are being recognized for their groundbreaking work. They listen to growers, consumers, extension professionals, researchers, regulators, and industry groups to identify priority IPM challenges. Then they coordinate the same stakeholders as team members in finding and promoting solutions. “The Regional IPM Centers have demonstrated the capacity and commitment necessary to dramatically increase multistate, regional, and national collaborations,” said Herb Bolton, National Program Leader, USDA/NIFA.
  5. When growers use advanced IPM practices for apple production, the benefits are good for society as a whole, but the risks and costs are borne by the growers alone. In 2005, “Eco Apple” was created to support local family-owned orchards, promote IPM techniques, and help them market their produce in a way that rewards their efforts. It also created consumer demand for sustainably produced apples, driving even more adoption of IPM practices. The innovative collaboration started as an IPM Apple Working Group, convened by Red Tomato, the IPM Institute of North America, researchers from UMass and Cornell, and some veteran apple growers.
  6. Just north of Houston, Texas, the Spring Independent School District serves over 36,000 students on 40 campuses. In 2005, they made a decision to truly adopt a district-wide IPM program. According to C.G. Cezeaux, Director of Operations, “By adopting a verifiable IPM program, we have been able to reduce our pesticide applications by 50%, our program is 100% green, this includes our cleaning chemicals as well. Our pest complaints are down by 45% and our staff is much happier now.” They are valuable members of a new professional association for Texas school IPM coordinators, sharing their experience and spreading the word.

Lifetime Achievement Award

  1. Walter Bentley began his long career as an IPM Entomologist with the University of California focusing on pest problems in almonds, grapes and stone fruit. Since that time, he has been committed to three major goals as part of the UC Statewide IPM Program, 1) Coordinate with others, 2) Do research that meets the needs, and 3) Develop relevant outreach. The results are impossible to deny. Working WITH a team, IPM approaches, and alternative control strategies were developed and demonstrated to successfully reduce use of the highest risk insecticides (carbamates and organophosphates) by 80-90% in almonds, table grapes, and tree fruit. This reduction helps the environment and the producers. Mr. Bentley believes that its people who make the program a success and it wouldn't have been possible without constant communication, training, education, and information sharing throughout the state.

International Awards of Recognition

  1. Mr. Ashraf Saber Alhawamdeh is a member of the National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension (NCARE) in Ghor el Safi in Jordan. Although IPM approaches in Jordan are not new, farmers still tend to overuse pesticides in tomato production. NCARE developed a training program for farmers in this region, engaging members of the media, students, teachers and environmental NGOs. According to Mr. Alhawamdeh, “Strengthening farmers’ knowledge on IPM and enhancing ownership and community coherence encouraged farmers in Ghor el Safi to change farming practices and protect the environment for generations to come.”
  2. The Integrated Plant Protection Center (IPPC) at Oregon State University provides national and international leadership for research and extension in IPM. They have opened and maintained communication networks at the state, regional and global levels, using new technologies to support IPM implementation. They have also channeled resources to address research gaps, demonstrating a model for maintaining long-term IPM programs that are flexible enough to respond to emerging pest problems.
  3. Sherry Glick has spent her career at the US EPA as a champion for IPM in schools and day care centers. The national school IPM workgroup, that now has over 200 members, was built with Ms. Glick’s instrumental cooperation and advocacy. Dr. Dawn Gouge, an urban entomologist at the University of Arizona stated, “Sherry Glick maintains school IPM at the forefront of EPA focus and a top priority for the Office of Pesticide Programs. Sherry is an inspirational leader, dedicated collaborator, and a determined children’s health advocate.”

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