IPM Voice Newsletter October 2015
IPM Voice Partners to Pursue Funding for a New Food Narrative
Americans care, more than ever, about where their food comes from, who grows it and how it is grown. Yet few have an accurate understanding of the farming practices that feed us, and how health, sustainability, and fairness are promoted or denied within the current food system. To become well-informed, healthy eaters and active citizens capable of engaging on food policy, Americans need to know what constitutes good food and good farming practices, and how those practices can lead to good personal health and a healthier planet.
When IPM Voice was formed, we envisioned a growing organization, building capacity to educate both consumers and policymakers. To address cuts proposed to key programs, our initial focus was to educate policymakers on the benefits of IPM to constituents. Now, IPM Voice is partnering with Red Tomato and the Frameworks Institute to develop a communications and framing platform that will be used by multiple collaborators to tell a new, more complete story about agriculture and food systems to consumers, citizens and policymakers throughout the US.
Red Tomato, a non-profit based in eastern Massachusetts, has worked successfully to reestablish logistics for efficient delivery of fresh, flavorful and local produce from family farms to supermarkets throughout the Northeast. Michael Rozyne, Voice board member and co-founder of fair trade coffee company Equal Exchange, formed Red Tomato in 1996 to meet the need for more sustainable, ethical food distribution in the region. Hear Michael's TEDx on what truly good food means here.
Frameworks Institute, winner of the 2015 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, was founded in 1999 to advance the communications capacity of non-profits. Susan Bales, president, and Nat Kendall-Taylor, CEO, now lead a team of social scientists and communications experts to research current perceptions, test alternatives and develop campaigns to instill more accurate concepts that support positive change. Frameworks' successes include progress on children's issues including increasing appreciation for the connection between environmental health and child mental health.
IPM Voice, Red Tomato and Frameworks have worked together to develop a proposal to fund an initial planning process which will then lead to a full proposal to fund research, development and communications of the final product. Frameworks will research current perceptions on farming practices and related issues, and develop more functional stories. These narratives will be empirically tested for ability to expand thinking and improve public understanding. The ultimate goal of the effort is to "translate" complex scientific discussions around healthy agricultural systems into digestible and resonant messages which can be disseminated by multiple partners to as broad an audience as possible.
During the one-year planning phase now beginning, project leaders will work to recruit more partners from the organic and sustainable food and ag communities, and begin to document the "untranslated"technical story of more sustainable food production from experts in the field. Interested in supporting or participating in this important work? Contact Dr. Thomas Green, president of IPM Voice at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
National IPM Coordinating Committee: Then and Now
Earlier this month, the National IPM Coordinating Committee convened in Washington D.C. for their annual meeting. During this meeting, stakeholders provided updates on their latest projects in IPM and the committee strategized about activities for the coming year. Committee members include representation from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), four Regional IPM Technical Committees, the Regional IPM Centers, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, The Native American 1994 Institutions, IR-4, the NSF Center for IPM, the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants, and as of last year, IPM Institute and IPM Voice.
The Committee has convened for more than 30 years, gathering IPM stakeholders and agency officials from around the country. "It's really an opportunity to influence government programs by gathering all of these people together to talk about current issues in IPM. Afterwards, you'll start seeing language used by stakeholders appearing in RFAs and other government documents," said Edwin Rajotte, past Committee co-coordinator, and professor of entomology and IPM Coordinator at Penn State University.
Committee accomplishments include organizing the first National IPM Symposium and Workshop in Las Vegas in 1989 with 500 attendees, through the fourth in Indianapolis in 2003. That series has continued with Committee member participation through the Eighth International IPM Symposium held in Salt Lake City this past March. The Committee has contributed to discourse on food safety, IPM research and outreach priorities, and to formulation of the National IPM Roadmap in 2004 and the formation of the Regional IPM Centers in 2003. Rajotte reports, "It's a testament to the robust nature of IPM that we've been able to weigh in on such different debates as they arise, such as addressing food safety concerns in the 1990s and then working on pollinator health today."
This past year, the Committee was officially instated as a subcommittee of the Science and Technology Committee of the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy. This provides the Committee with an opportunity to weigh in on APLU's budget and legislative priorities and formalizes the Committee's contributions to extension IPM.
Research on Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Awarded Specialty Crop Grant Continuation
In the first week of October, the USDA awarded a continuation Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant to Agricultural Research Service scientists and collaborators to study control mechanisms for the invasive Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB). The project began in 2011 when Principal Investigator Tracy Leskey said, "We knew very little about BMSB. When we were writing the grant we didn't know which crops BMSB would attack, when they would attack or how to kill them."
Today, thanks to Leskey's multidisciplinary team, we know more than we did then. A first hurdle was how to monitor for the presence of BMSB. Researchers first identified a pheromone and synergist that would attract the bugs to traps so they could be counted. Then, by testing different kinds of traps, the team discovered that black pyramid traps mimicking tree trunks were more effective than the yellow pyramid traps used for native stink bug species. The pyramid trap is relatively cumbersome and costly to use, so in the next phase of the study, Leskey's team will test less costly trapping mechanisms including sticky cards, delta traps and smaller pyramid traps deployed in the canopy of a tree.
In the first four years of research the team also discovered that ten BMSB cumulatively per trap was an appropriate preliminary threshold for sprays in apple orchards. Using this threshold to time applications reduced the number of sprays by 40% with no change in the level of fruit damage over a regular weekly spray. This is particularly important because the insecticides that work on BMSB are broad spectrum and can be disruptive to non-target populations including beneficials that help control other pests. To reduce the amount of pesticide required for control, the team is also testing perimeter row sprays, and attract and kill tactics.
"One issue with BMSB is that it's a landscape level pest. It's not just in orchards, it's in corn and other wild host plants, so we have to consider options that can work across the whole landscape, like biological control," stated Leskey. To this end the team will continue to identify and study native and exotic species that could function as biological control for BMSB. For more information on the pest and the project, visit www.stopbmsb.org.
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Renew your IPM Voice membership for 2015 (or become a new member) and check out our new donation options by visiting http://www.ipmvoice.org/join.htm.
Upcoming IPM-Related Meetings and Conferences
IPM Voice is an independent, non-profit organization advocating for integrated pest management (IPM) that is genuinely progressive and seeks continuous improvement of environmental, social and economic conditions through application of accepted scientific principles. IPM Voice was formed in 2010 by more than 35 professionals working to expand the benefits IPM has provided to agriculture and communities for more than 40 years.
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