IPM Voice Newsletter                                                                                                              July 2014

UN's Farmer Field School Brings IPM to the World

Since in 1989, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has funded the Farmer Field School, offering educational opportunities for smallholder farmers to learn and apply IPM practices in the developing world. The program was initiated in Indonesia to address excessive pesticide use in tropical rice farming and has since expanded to become the primary educational tool serving over 30 countries in Asia, the Near East and Africa.


The School features flexible course structures that teach local farmers to determine pest problems, discuss farm ecology, share knowledge within their communities and scientifically compare IPM practices to conventional farming. Training is facilitated by either extension staff or previous graduates. Training occurs in the field with 25-30 farmers per class. 


Participant feedback has shown significant cost and pesticide risk reduction as well as double-digit percentages in yield increases.  The FAO program also provides assistance in building local capacity to reform policy and promote collaboration between farmers and national IPM programs.  To learn about other FAO investments in pest and pesticide risk management, click here.

Coordinated IPM Program Links European Research

The European Union has recently funded the Coordinated IPM (C-IPM) program to promote IPM practices and research across Europe.  Drawing a €2 million ($2.7 million) budget from the European Commission's ERA-NET, C-IPM works with 32 independent research organizations, operates in 21 European countries and collaborates with existing international networks like ENDURE, IOBC, and Plantwise.


C-IPM project coordinator Dr. Antoine Messťan defines the C-IPM's end goal as increased farmer participation in IPM practices across Europe. According to Messťan, "Our primary challenge has been to map existing R&D programs across Europe in order to identify program synergies, gaps and common priorities.  Our secondary challenge has been to foster cooperation between stakeholders like farmer organizations, policy-makers, industries and NGOs that are involved in IPM activities."


According to Messťan, the adoption of the EU's 2009 regulations and directives concerning the sale and use of pesticides signaled a sea change in the EU's dedication to IPM principles:  "C-IPM comes at a time of change for crop protection in Europe.  The EU is now placing greater emphasis on plant health and protection policies in order to ensure human and environmental health without compromising food production and competitiveness." C-IPM is hosting a workshop on the future challenges of IPM programs in Berlin on October 8th, 2014.

Potato Sustainability Initiative Assesses Adoption of IPM and other Sustainable Practices

More than 500 potato growers and several large processors across the U.S. and Canada have been collaborating to reduce the environmental impact of potato production.  Recently named the Potato Sustainability Initiative, the group coalesced in 2010 after being asked by McDonald's to survey growers on current practices and increase awareness and adoption of IPM and other best practices.  The project is now funded by six major potato processors:  Basic American Foods, Cavendish Farms, H.J. Heinz, J.R. Simplot, Lamb Weston and McCain Foods. The survey has expanded to include energy conservation, waste management and other sustainability issues.


This fall, data ranging from nutrient and pesticide usage numbers to worker safety conditions and greenhouse gas emissions will be gathered. Patrick Shannon-Hughes of the IPM Institute of North America, and a member of the project team, notes there is good reason to believe that over the next few years, data gathered from the collaboratively developed survey will show positive impacts on the industry's stewardship practices.  Shannon-Hughes notes, "In 2013, 98% of surveyed growers have achieved at least a basic level of IPM stewardship; since 2010, we have seen a 14% increase in the highest level of IPM practitioners."

Upcoming IPM-Related Meetings and Conferences

August 6-7, 2014. IPM for Colleges, Universities, or LEED Buildings.  College Station, TX

August 8-9, 2014. North American Late Blight Symposium. Minneapolis, MN

August 9-13, 2014. American Phytopathological Society Annual MeetingMinneapolis, MN

September 17, 2014.  School IPM Coordinator Regional Training.  Houston, TX
October 8, 2014.  C-IPM Workshop.  Berlin, Germany

November 16-19, 2014. Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting. Portland, OR 

March 23-26, 2015. Eighth International IPM Symposium. Salt Lake City, UT

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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