IPM Voice Newsletter                                                                                                                 June 2015

Yearly IR-4 Priority Setting Underway, will Culminate in September

IR-4, a federally funded program which supports research needed for EPA registration of pesticides for specialty crop growers, instated a participatory process in 2014 for determining priorities. Prior to 2014, IR-4 offered competitive grants and funded research based on submitted proposals. Under the new process, priority pesticide needs for specialty crop growers are set through stakeholder participation, then IR-4 seeks out researchers who are particularly suited to studying those specific pests and diseases.


The participatory process begins with regional IR-4 priority setting meetings. The Western Region meeting occurred in the spring, the Northeastern meeting occurred earlier this month, and the North Central and Southern Region meetings are set to take place in August. See IR-4's event page for the full schedule of these events. Stakeholders from specialty crop disciplines including growers, consultants, extension agents and others identify regional needs at these meetings. The IR-4 Regional Coordinators will report on the pest management priorities that they have identified for their region at the national Global Minor Use, Food Use and Biopesticide Workshops which will take place September 20-24 in Chicago this year. Examples of priorities that were funded from last year included spotted wing drosophila on blueberry and raspberry, and fire blight for organic apple growers.


Growers, commodity organizations, USDA, university researchers, extension or other federal, state or local governments can also submit priority needs online for consideration at the national meeting. The September meetings will close with general discussion and a vote to rank the most pressing needs. After the top five priorities in each focus area are set through this voting process, IR-4 exercises some discretion in supporting those priorities where their funds can have the greatest impact. "For example, citrus greening came out as the number one priority need for fruit at the workshop last year and it is a severe need, but since there is significant funding available for greening work, we decided that our funds could have a greater impact in other projects. Spotted wing drosophila was the second highest fruit crop priority so we funded that instead," said Michael Braverman, manager of the IR-4 Biopesticide and Organic Support Program. IR-4 has also offered the citrus industry support for biopesticide registration with the EPA. Click here for information about registration and accommodations for this event.  

New Policy and Research to Protect Pollinators

In mid-May, President Obama announced a White House plan to promote pollinator health. The plan focuses on increasing honeybee and monarch butterfly numbers through the creation and maintenance of pollinator habitat. In conjunction with this effort, the EPA has also issued a Proposal to Protect Bees from Acutely Toxic Pesticides. These regulations would prohibit the application of pesticides that are acutely toxic to bees during bloom in crops where honey bee pollination services are contracted. The comment period on these regulations will remain open until July 29.


Bryan Danforth at Cornell University has been working on the role that wild bees can play in crop pollination given the honeybee population declines. Last spring, instead of contracting for honeybee hives for the spring bloom in Cornell's apple orchards, he relied entirely on wild pollinators. Using only these indigenous populations, the orchard bore a full load of fruit for the 2014 season. Danforth also looked at the impact of pesticides on wild bees. In a study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B this month, Danforth reported on wild pollinator health in 19 orchards over two years. He and his team concluded that increased pesticide use has a negative impact on wild pollinator populations. The existence of well-maintained natural areas surrounding the orchard counteracted the effects of pesticides, making wild pollinator populations more resilient to pesticide exposure than orchards with fewer natural spaces. 

Group Investigates and Promotes Awareness of Pest Threats to Forests 

A team of interdisciplinary researchers has formed The Emerging Threats to Forest Research Team "to advance knowledge of the biology, impacts and management of emerging pests and diseases of forests. This knowledge will enable policymakers, land managers and agencies make proactive decisions and to reduce impacts of these threats." The group grew out of collaborative research work between academics in different disciplines at the University of Florida, who decided to formalize their relationship last year by naming their group and creating a website to provide information about their mission and current work.


The team includes experts from entomology, pathology, dendrology, economics and law. They pursue research on management of invasive forest pests at local, regional and global scales, and provide diagnostic services for forest managers and owners. They also engage with the broader community by organizing educational events and sharing the results of their research through media. Jiri Hulcr, an Entomologist at the University of Florida and member of the Research Team said, "One piece that we are really proud of is our increasing amount of communication with higher level decision-makers in state and federal governmental bodies." The research team hopes to create awareness about invasive forest pests and diseases that, without support from local communities and higher level decision-makers, could wreak havoc on economies and ecosystems.


The Research Team hosted the Conference on Laurel Wilt Disease and Natural Ecosystems from June 16-18 in Coral Springs, Florida. Over 90 individuals participated including forest managers and service providers in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, academics and media. A field trip into the Florida Everglades kicked off the conference, led by another Research Team member, Jason Smith, also of University of Florida. NBC 6 of South Florida, a regional news station, attended and aired a report on the transmission and impacts of the Laurel Wilt disease. "Lots of people are worried about this disease and impacted by it, but there is really no voice for the issue. With the conference we aimed to create awareness so that those higher up know about it and pay attention to this important problem," reported Hulcr.

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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 https://ipmvoice.org/join.htm

Upcoming IPM-Related Meetings and Conferences

August 9-13, 2015.International Congress on Invertebrate Pathology and Microbial Control and the 48th Annual meeting of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology. Vancouver, Canada 

August 24-27, 2015.  The XVII International Plant Protection Congress. Berlin, Germany

Sept. 20-22, 2015. First Global Minor Use Priority Setting Workshop: Seeking Pest Management Solutions for Growers Around the World. Chicago, IL 

Sept. 22-23, 2015. IR-4 Food Use Workshop (FUW). Chicago, IL

Sept. 24, 2015. IR-4 BioPesticide Workshop. Chicago, IL 

October 20-23, 2015. PestWorld 2015. Nashville, TN

November 15-18, 2015. Entomology 2015, Synergy in Science: Partnering for Solutions. Minneapolis, MN 

September 25-30, 2016. XXV International Congress of Entomology. Orlando, FL

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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