Monday, October 27, 2014

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grants Awarded to Western States and Projects

The USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture just announced the recipients of its Crop Protection and Pest Management program grants, which included awards for regional IPM coordination, applied research and development grants, and extension implementation programs.

We're happy to report that the Western IPM Center was successful in our application to continue providing IPM coordination for the Western Region. Here are the other award winners from the West:

Applied Research and Development Program

  • University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz., $250,000—This Extension-led ARDP project will pro-actively address significant threats of whitefly resistance to several key selective insecticides in a multi-crop system.
  • University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz., $124,998—This ARDP Extension-led project addresses two research priorities and three extension priorities. Pest problems and unnecessary pesticide exposure due to outdated and ineffective pest management practices in elder/disable housing facilities pose risks to the residents' health.
  • University of California, Davis, Calif., $249,997—This project will determine if the intra-row intelligent cultivator allows development of improved weed management programs in vegetable crops through reduced labor and/or herbicide use; Introduce and demonstrate new precision intra-row cultivation technologies to growers and allied industry, and work with growers to integrate this type of cultivation system into their production scheme; Deliver the results of the intelligent cultivator evaluation to the vegetable producers through field days, extension meetings, publications and websites.
  • Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore., $240,845—his project will develop new weather forecasting decision support tools that can extend the forecast horizon used by agricultural producers in planning multiple management activities, especially those involving crops and pests, that are affected by the weather.

Extension Implementation Program

  • University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, $170,000—This project will reduce the rate of pest establishment in Alaska's farms and ranches. It will increase the training and work time of existing pest scouts; enhance category specific and on-line integrated pest management (IPM) training courses for pesticide applicators; and organize data and reports on pests into one clearinghouse resource that can be used to track pests and notify land managers when important agricultural pests are identified.
  • University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz., $286,000—This project will implement and evaluate high-impact integrated pest management (IPM) programs consistent with stakeholder-identified priorities in the following emphasis areas: IPM Implementation for Agronomic Crops, IPM Implementation for Specialty Crops, IPM Training and Implementation in Schools, and IPM Education for Pesticide Applicators.
  • University of California, Davis, Calif., $285,000—This project will reduce the negative impacts of toxic pesticides on environmental quality and human health; help clients more effectively and economically manage pests; and increase the resilience and long-term sustainability of integrated pest management programs.
  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo., $92,000—This project will increase awareness of the benefits of integrated pest management (IPM); improving access to technical materials; improving communication, internally and with stakeholders, regarding IPM activities; and collaborate with neighboring states and perform as a team.
  • University of Guam, Mangilao, Guam, $32,500—This project will promote early detection, identification, and education regarding integrated pest management (IPM) as a means of reducing losses to diseases, pests, and weeds.
  • University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, $274,300—This project will conduct on-site integrated pest management (IPM) training and hands-on workshops; design and implement an IPM curriculum for Master Gardeners; convene IPM In-Service Professional Development workshops for Extension faculty; publish manuals and fact sheets; and create on-line IPM decision aids and mobile device IPM apps.
  • Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont., $140,000—This project will develop and deliver information on IPM practices in Montana and provide readily available, up-to-date pest management information to stakeholders.
  • University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, $128,300—This project will increase awareness and implementation of integrated pest management (IPM) practices in urban, agricultural and recreational areas to result in greater use of preventative measures and more appropriate use and disposal of pest management products to minimize nonpoint source pollution of Nevada waterways and protect the health of Nevada residents.
  • Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore., $190,000—This grant will assist in the implementation of IRM practices for specialty and agronomic crops, as well as training and implementation of these practices in schools.
  • Utah State University, Logan, Utah, $105,000—This grant will help increase sustainable IPM practices in specialty crops, communities, and schools for economic benefits, protection of human and environmental health, and promotion of ecosystem services.
  • Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., $155,000—This grant will assist IMP EIP with increasing IPM implementation among agricultural and urban pest management practitioners, disseminating sound, science-based recommendations; utilizing traditional and emerging methodologies.
  • University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo., $66,850—This grant will assist the University of Wyoming’s National Integrated Pest Management Roadmap through partial funding of an IPM Coordinator position, extension events, and training programs.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Western IPM Center Begins Second Decade of Grantmaking with $300,000 in New Grants

To help address important pest issues in Western agriculture, communities and natural areas, the Western Integrated Pest Management Center is making $300,000 in grants available to individuals and organizations developing IPM resources.

The request for applications was posted today on the Center’s website at Proposals will be accepted until 5 p.m. December 3.

“Over the past decade, Western IPM Center grants have provided critical support for IPM researchers, extension specialists, commodity organizations and non-profits seeking to reduce risks from pests and pest-management practices,” said Center Director Jim Farrar. “Our grants have leveraged millions in additional funding for recipients, and helped develop new pest-management resources that protect the economy, people and environment in the West.”

Applicants eligible to apply include private individuals and institutions, businesses, commodity organizations, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and faculty and staff of four-year universities.

“It’s important that people know these grants aren’t just for university-based researchers,” Farrar said. “Commodity groups, non-profit agencies and tribal groups have all received grants in recent years, and have a valuable role to play in developing and promoting sustainable, IPM-based pest management.”

Geographically, an applicant’s primary project director must be in the Western Region, but collaborators may be from outside the region.  The Western Region is Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

This year, grant dollars are available in four categories:
  • Project Initiation Grants, which begin new IPM research; $30,000 maximum
  • Work Group Grants, which bring collaborators together; $30,000 maximum
  • Outreach and Implementation Grants, which directly promote IPM adoption; $30,000 maximum
  • IPM Planning Documents, which create crop profiles and pest management strategic plans; $15,000 maximum

“The Western IPM Center encourages proposals from multi-discipline, multi-state teams, so there is a great opportunity for commodity organizations and others to participate,” Farrar said. “Collaboration is an asset, and stakeholder involvement is critical.”

Both the grants and Center’s priorities are described in detail on Center’s new website at

The Western IPM Center promotes IPM development, adoption and evaluation and has directly funded more than $2 million for IPM projects since 2005. Integrated pest management is a science-based approach to pest management to reduce risks to people and the environment by using pest biology, environmental information and all available technology to reduce pest damage to acceptable levels by the most economical means.

The Western Integrated Pest Management Center is one of four regional centers funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and serves 13 Western states and the Pacific island territories. 

The 2015 Western IPM Center Competitive Grants Request for Applications can be downloaded at

Monday, September 15, 2014

Reading, Writing and Arithme...TICK!

A webinar on "Creating Tick-Safe Schools Using IPM," will be held on September 30 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pacific time.  

This webinar is one in a series of EPA webinars to help school districts adopt a proactive approach to pest control by offering information on plans for implementing integrated pest management.

Register here for the Creating Tick-Safe Schools webinar.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cooperation Helps the Center Promote Sustainable Pest Management

When "integrated" is in your name, cooperation is more than a goal. It's a necessity.

At the Western Integrated Pest Management Center, that cooperation is seen in many ways, including close ties between the Center, Western Region IR-4 and the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

"I think of it like concentric circles," said Western IPM Center Director Jim Farrar. "IR-4 supports pesticide registrations for specialty crops, and pesticides are a component of integrated pest management. Integrated pest management is itself a component of the larger circle of sustainable agriculture."

With the IR-4 Project, the Center provides input on how well a proposed new pesticide fits into an integrated pest management approach. Farrar and several of the Center staff and directors participate in monthly conference calls with their Western Region IR-4 counterparts.

“We’re trying to get IPM considered more in IR-4’s priority-setting process,” Farrar explained. “We encourage using IPM as a framework for thinking about new pesticides.”

From IR-4’s perspective, the partnership is working.

“Jim and the IPM team have been a great help in assessing the Western Region IR-4 program’s priorities and potential fit into IPM programs,” said Western Region IR-4 Field Coordinator Becky Sisco.  “I’m grateful for their expertise and assistance.”

And to bring Sisco’s expertise to the IPM community, she is a member of the Center’s advisory committee, which helps set priorities and direction for the Center.

That kind of reciprocal arrangement also links the Center with the Western SARE program. Farrar was recently named to the Western SARE Administrative Council, that group’s policy-setting body, and Western SARE Regional Coordinator Teryl Roper is on the Center’s Steering Committee, its policy-setting group.

“Jim has great expertise in pest management, and there’s not a lot of that on the Western SARE Administrative Council,” Roper said. “Jim also travels a lot around the West and that allows a broad view of Western agriculture.”

Because the area served by both organizations is identical and their missions are similar, having reciprocal representation reduces the possibility of duplicating or overlapping each other’s efforts, Roper said.

Farrar sees working with Western SARE as an opportunity to help further the mission of both organizations.

“I think pest management is an important part of sustainability,” he said. “Hopefully when there is an opportunity to talk about pests and sustainable pest management, I’ll be involved in those discussions.”

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Invasives Disrupting Established IPM Strategies around the West

by Jim Farrar
Western IPM Center

As different as the Western states are, many face similar challenges of invasive pest species disrupting effective IPM programs.

That was a key point shared by the Western state IPM coordinators when they met last month at Montana State University in Bozeman to discuss regional IPM research and extension activities.

Most states reported on the challenges invasive pests pose to existing IPM programs and the related threats to agricultural production and natural landscapes. Several states noted new and expanding infestations to spotted winged Drosophila, emerald ash borer, and Bagrada bug.

Colorado reported recent problems with crucifer flea beetle, wheat stem sawfly and apple maggot, while Guam noted recent finds of eggplant mealybug, a gall-inducing wasp on ironwood trees, and a species of cucumber beetle. Hawaii reported recent finds of macadamia felted cocid and ongoing issues with coqui frogs on the big island.

In forest and natural areas, several states have invasive plants species and introduced insect pests transported in firewood. The Pacific Northwest states have flowering rush in some river and lake systems, New Mexico has several Diorhabda beetle species on salt cedar, and Guam has ironwood decline.

On the positive side, New Mexico has not had a pink bollworm reported since 2009 and Hawaii is having success with areawide insecticide rotations for diamondback moth.

Each state reported on progress in IPM programs in agriculture. The diversity of agriculture in the West was evident in the individual state reports. Continuing progress in IPM research and extension programs was reported for cotton and lettuce in Arizona, onion and dry bean in Colorado, basil in Hawaii, pulse crops and sugarbeets in Idaho, wheat in Montana, small vegetable farms in New Mexico, tree fruit in Oregon, and winegrapes and hops in Washington.

Interesting new agriculture topics included herbicide resistance in Colorado, diagnostic lab support in Montana, hoop house vegetable production in Nevada, grasshopper swarms large enough to be seen on weather radar in New Mexico, and reduced organophosphate use in tree fruit in Oregon. Perhaps most interesting is use of hot showers to rid potted ornamental plants of coqui frogs before shipment in Hawaii.

In urban IPM, the states of Washington, Utah, New Mexico, and Oregon reported on school IPM programs.   This effort is part of the EPA’s School Integrated Pest Management Plan.  Currently, three percent of school districts in Washington have achieved the IPM STAR certification.  In Utah, school IPM will be mandated in the future.  New Mexico reported that when specific school districts dropped their IPM programs and hired the services of a pest management professionals, regular pesticide treatments resumed. 

Oregon reported an increase in adoption of school IPM programs.  The state recently passed new IPM legislation, and the Oregon State Vector Control Board is now using climate-based models to predict spread of West Nile Virus.   Montana is reinvigorating its urban IPM program. Several states are using their Master Gardeners programs to reach homeowners with lawn and garden IPM information.

Some states mentioned moving IPM outreach materials into the social media realm, including YouTube videos. Social media can also be used to track impact as the number of views of a video or hits on a websites. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Water Quality Slide Sets Being Used on a Wide Scale

Back in 2012, the Western IPM Center supported a Signature Program to develop educational material to prevent pesticides from entering surface and groundwater. The authors, from four Western states, developed PowerPoint slides sets for trainers to use in presentations to the agricultural industry, to landscape professionals, or to homeowners. The slides were posted on-line in January 2013, for free, but we asked for name, email, employer, city and state to gather evaluation information.

There were 106 total downloads and several individuals downloaded more than one slide set. People from 20 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and one Canadian providence downloaded slides with the top states being 41 downloads in California, nine in Oregon, five in Idaho, and four each in Hawaii, Iowa, North Dakota and New York. People from universities, extension, or county agriculture commissioners offices downloaded slide sets 39 times; agricultural and landscape industries 28 times; city, county, state or federal government agencies 18 times; and water quality control boards or waterkeeper groups eight times.

Survey and results
In April 2014, a survey was sent to 89 individuals who had downloaded at least one of the three slide sets. Six emails were returned undeliverable. There were 12 responses for a response rate of 14.5%. The questions and responses are summarized below.

1. Why did you download the Water Quality Protection Slide set from the Western IPM Center? (multiple answers allowed)
50% (6/12)      to prepare for a presentation
25% (3/12)      to share with colleagues
17% (2/12)      for my own personal education  
42% (5/12)      curious to see what information was covered in the slides
0%                   other

2. Which Water Quality Protection Slide set(s) did you download? (multiple answers allowed)
75% (9/12)      Water Quality Protection Measures for Agriculture
66.7 % (8/12)  Water Quality Protection Measures for Landscape Professionals
66.7% (8/12)   Water Quality Protection Measures for Homeowners
3. Did you increase your knowledge on the use of pesticide handling best management practices to protect water quality?
75% (9/12) Yes                        17% (2/12) No             8% (1/12) Did not answer

4. Did you change your pesticide handling practices as a result of the information presented in the Water Quality Protection Slides?
0% Yes                         33.3% (4/12) No                     66.7% (8/12) Not applicable
5. If yes, how did you change your pesticide handling practices?
One person who answered “No” explained that he/she was using the slides to make sure he/she was doing everything possible to keep pesticides out of water resources.

6. Did you give a presentation using the slide set?
25% (3/12)      Yes, gave a presentation using all or most of the slide set
25% (3/12)      Yes, gave a presentation using some of the slides in the set
50% (6/12)      No

7. Which Water Quality Protection Slide set(s) did you use for the presentation? (multiple answers allowed)
50% (3/6)        Water Quality Protection Measures for Agriculture
66.7% (4/6)     Water Quality Protection Measures for Landscape Professionals
16.7% (1/6)     Water Quality Protection Measures for Homeowners
8. If you used all or parts of the slide set for presentation(s), to whom did you give the presentation(s) and how many people attended?
Commercial applicators - about 250
Presentation to Pest Control Businesses - 52
Undergraduate students - 30
Iowa Certified Handlers – 200
Iowa Seed Treatment Continuing Instructional Course - 800
To a group of about 100 municipal staffers.  Mostly parks and rec maintenance workers
Landscape and turf management professionals

9. If you gave a presentation, did the audience members increase their knowledge of pesticide handling best management practices to protect water quality?
66.7% (4/6) Yes                       33.3% (2/6) of presenters No
10. If yes, how did the audience members say they increased their knowledge of pesticide handling practices?
‘Yes’ answers based on anecdotal evidence.
‘No’ answers based on acknowledging a lack of evaluation data.

11. If you gave a presentation, did the audience members indicate plans to change their pesticide handling practices in order to protect water quality?
50% (3/6)        Yes
33% (2/6)        No
17 % (1/6)       No answer
12. If yes, how did the audience members say they planned to change their pesticide handling practices?
‘Yes’ answers based on anecdotal evidence.

13. Did the slide set meet your needs?
100% (12/12)  Yes

14. If no, how could they be improved to meet your needs?
 There were no answers to this question
15. Is there any additional feedback you would like to give the Western IPM Center regarding the Water Quality Protection Slide Sets?
 “Very nice quality. I would suggest doing a color commentary audio narrated version video clip of the presentations. Use Camtasia or Adobe Presenter. This would be targeted at the presenter and not necessarily towards the end user.”

“Thanks for putting together those slide sets. They were helpful for self-study for our grounds maintenance crew at the County.”

“Didn't like the red banners in the Ag slide set.”

“Thank you for sharing!”

“The slides are a good educational resource, I didn't end up using them because they were a little too basic for my purposes. I work for the water quality regulatory agency, so I am glad these presentations are available for others because these are the basic principles we are trying to educate about to prevent water quality problems.”
The response rate was 14.5%, which may have been influenced by the time between the release of the slide sets and the survey. The survey was planned to give people sufficient time to have given a presentation prior to the survey. However, 15 months may have been too long. Most of the survey responses (10/12) were from people who downloaded more than one slide set. While this is not representative of the whole group, it does capture data from those most interested in the water quality protection topic.

Most of the respondents increased their knowledge of water quality protection during pesticide application but were not responsible for applying pesticides. This is not surprising since the slides sets were intended to “train-the-trainers.” Half of the respondents gave a presentation using “most” or “some” of the slide sets. Two-thirds gave presentations to landscape professionals and half gave presentations to agricultural groups. Presentations on protecting water quality from pesticides reached more than 1,400 audience members. Presenters responded that audience members increased their knowledge of water quality protection measures and would change their pesticide handling practices, however all responses were based on anecdotal evidence.

In conclusion, the water quality slide sets were downloaded by a large number of people across the United States. Based on self-evaluation, the slide sets increased the knowledge of the majority of people who downloaded them. Those who gave presentations based on the slide sets did not have evaluation data to demonstrate the audience members either increased their knowledge or would change practices, but did have anecdotal evidence to suggest this was the case. All of the survey respondents stated the slide set met their needs.