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.”