This will be my final opportunity to write for the Western IPM Center newsletter, at least as its director.
After what seems like two of the shortest years of my career, I’ve taken a faculty job in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. Next month, I’ll shift my focus from pests in the American West to developing sustainable agricultural systems globally.
Thinking about how other nations can achieve the kinds of agricultural improvements that integrated pest management and other sustainable ag innovations have brought to American agriculture, I’ve been thinking about what makes the Western IPM Center work. What’s made the Center, and its IPM partners, so successful over the years?
First, it’s because the Western IPM Center is a catalyst. It creates long-lasting partnerships across state, territory and tribal borders and supports talented, creative, passionate people who are tackling the West’s pest problems. The grants we give and papers we publish and tools we create are important, but it’s always people who get things done.
Second, the Western IPM Center is a champion for the vast, diverse and incredible West. Our region has Alaska and Hawaii, Portland and Phoenix. We don’t grow one or two crops, but hundreds. We promote Western pest-management needs and explain how Western crops are grown. We evaluate what works and highlight the great accomplishments so many are making in the West to fight pests.
As a catalyst and champion, the Western IPM Center is promoting smart, safe and sustainable pest management to protect the people, environment and economy of the American West.
The challenges in developing agricultural systems are many and varied, but the lessons of the Western IPM Center do apply: connect people to catalyze change and champion their needs and efforts and accomplishments. I’m bringing that to my new work.
Although I’m leaving the Center team, I’m not going far. IPM and the people who practice it are important to me. Keep at it. Keep in touch. Keep caring about people and our planet and making things better.
Thanks for letting me be part of something great.