Alabama researchers find pest exclusion system that allows for natural enemies

From IPM in the South by Rosemary Hallberg

by Ayanava Majumdar, Alabama Cooperative Extension System

The concept of High Tunnel Pest Exclusion (HTPE) system has been explained in many other articles listed at the end. Basically, pest exclusion is a feasible IPM strategy where a sturdy structure can be modified with fabric to serve as a barrier between insect pests and host plants. HTPE can be very an effective strategy for organic and conventional high tunnel producers that aim at preventing insect pests. However, the HTPE system raises questions about the unintended consequences of this technology, such as the exclusion of natural enemies. With this in mind, we conducted laboratory-based assays to evaluate natural enemy exclusion using HTPE models fitted with 30, 40, and 50 percent shade cloths sold by Poly-Tex (MN), Grainger (IL), Green-Tek (WI), and Farmtek (IA). HTPE models were covered in glass cages during the tests. Farmtek shade cloths have fine openings (knitted monofilament) whereas the shade cloths from other vendors have wide (v-shaped) openings. 

Overall findings and IPM recommendations:

  • Shade cloths caused significant reduction in the movement of natural enemies, especially green lacewings. A 30 percent shade cloth with wide openings did not affect lacewing migration; however, a 50 percent shade cloth can exclude or severely slow down lacewings.
  • Lady beetles are smaller than lacewings and better able to move through 30, 40, and 50 percent fabric with wide openings (vendors: Poly-Tex and Green-Tek). However, a 50 percent shade cloth by Farmtek completely excluded lady beetles due to the finely woven structure.
  • Past studies with leaffooted bugs have indicated a 50 percent shade cloth with wide openings (Poly-Tex) to be best for pest exclusion. The new finding regarding natural enemies reported here also indicates a 50 percent Poly-Tex fabric to be favorable to lady beetle migration. Currently we are evaluating the 40 and 50 percent shade cloths in commercial high tunnels to corroborate these trends.
  • Producers using 40 or 50 percent shade cloths for pest exclusion can use commercial natural enemies such as green lacewings and release them as soon aphids are detected in order to take advantage of the HTPE system.
  • Readers wanting more information should look for some informative YouTube videos about the HTPE system at the Alabama Vegetable IPM website. Producer testimonials are also available in the HTPE Training Module. Always contact a commercial horticulture regional Extension agent for proper insect pest identification and developing a site-specific IPM plan.
Posted in Fruit IPM, General Information, Urban Ag IPM, Vegetable IPM | Leave a comment

Register for upcoming webinars on school Integrated Pest Management

EPA’s Center of Expertise for School Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is offeringtwo upcoming webinars: EPA
On Tuesday, May 10Stop School Pests and iPest Manager – School IPM Educational Programs, highlighting two new, free, online school IPM resources:
• The Stop School Pests program, a standardized, peer-reviewed, national IPM training program for school communities, and
• iPest Manager, an online hub for school IPM materials. These new resources, developed through EPA grants, are intended to help schools initiate and grow their IPM programs, thereby providing students, faculty and staff with healthier learning environments.
On Tuesday, May 17 Ants – The #1 Pest in Schools, emphasizing ant prevention and control strategies that are consistent with a smart, sensible and sustainable IPM program:
• School IPM practices can solve most of your ant problems. If they cannot gain entry or do not find food, they will march to another location.
• Fire and carpenter ants are particularly troublesome because they present unique hazards to human health and structures, respectively.
These webinars are part of a series of EPA presentations offering information on IPM to help school districts adopt a proactive approach to pest control. Our IPM webinar series has already reached more than 3,500 school personnel, representing more than 27 million students across the country. IPM is a smart, sensible and sustainable approach to managing pests that takes action to address the underlying causes that enable pests to thrive.
Actions you can take:
Register for the May 10 webinar
Register for the May 17 webinar
Find information about upcoming and past School IPM webinars
Learn more about managing pests in schools
Watch these videos from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation on IPM in schools

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Job applicants sought for NAPPO technical director position

Deadline May 6, 2016 Job Opportunity

The North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) seeks applicants for the position of NAPPO Technical Director at Secretariat Headquarters in Raleigh, NC.

View the position announcement, in English, Announcement in English, or Spanish, Announcement in Spanish.

NAPPO is the regional plant protection organization for North America. For further information on NAPPO, refer to the Web site

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USDA offers loans for portable farm storage and handling equipment

Portable equipment can help producers, including small-scale and local farmers, get products to market quickly USDA

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide a new financing option to help farmers purchase portable storage and handling equipment. Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini and Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator Elanor Starmer announced changes to the Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program today during a local and regional food roundtable in Columbus, Ohio. The loans, which now include a smaller microloan option with lower down payments, are designed to help producers, including new, small and mid-sized producers, grow their businesses and markets.

“As more communities reconnect with agriculture, consumer demand is increasing for food produced locally or regionally,” said Dolcini. “Portable handling and storage equipment is vital to helping farmers get their products to market more quickly and better maintain product quality, bringing them greater returns. That’s why we’ve added this type of equipment as a new category for our Farm Storage Facility Loan program.”

The program also offers a new “microloan” option, which allows applicants seeking less than $50,000 to qualify for a reduced down payment of five percent and no requirement to provide three years of production history. Farms and ranches of all sizes are eligible. The microloan option is expected to be of particular benefit to smaller farms and ranches, and specialty crop producers who may not have access to commercial storage or on-farm storage after harvest. These producers can invest in equipment like conveyers, scales or refrigeration units and trucks that can store commodities before delivering them to markets. Producers do not need to demonstrate the lack of commercial credit availability to apply.

“Growing high-value crops for local and regional markets is a common entry point for new farmers,” said Starmer. “Since they often rent land and have to transport perishable commodities, a loan that can cover mobile coolers or even refrigerated trucks fills an important gap. These producers in turn supply the growing number of food hubs, farmers markets or stores and restaurants interested in sourcing local food.”

Earlier this year, FSA significantly expanded the list of commodities eligible for Farm Storage Facility Loan. Eligible commodities now include aquaculture; floriculture; fruits (including nuts) and vegetables; corn, grain sorghum, rice, oilseeds, oats, wheat, triticale, spelt, buckwheat, lentils, chickpeas, dry peas, sugar, peanuts, barley, rye, hay, honey, hops, maple sap, unprocessed meat and poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and renewable biomass. FSFL microloans can also be used to finance wash and pack equipment used post-harvest, before a commodity is placed in cold storage.

AMS helps thousands of agricultural food producers and businesses enhance their marketing efforts through a combination of research, technical services and grants. The agency works to improve marketing opportunities for U.S. growers and producers, including those involved in specialty crop production and in the local and regional food systems. Visit to learn more about AMS services.

Today’s announcement will further advance the efforts of USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, which coordinates the Department’s work to develop local and regional food systems. USDA is committed to helping farmers, ranchers, and businesses access the growing market for local and regional foods, which was valued at $12 billion in 2014 according to industry estimates. Under this Administration, USDA has invested more than $1 billion in more than 40,000 local and regional food businesses and infrastructure projects. More information on how USDA investments are connecting producers with consumers and expanding rural economic opportunities is available in Chapter IV of USDA Results on Medium.

To learn more about Farm Storage Facility Loans, visit or contact a local FSA county office. To find your local FSA county office, visit

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eXtension seeks COO

Chief Operating Officer position announcement Job Opportunity

eXtension is a membership-based non-profit designed to fuel Cooperative Extension’s growth, leadership, competencies, entrepreneurship, and stewardship for innovation and technology supporting Cooperative Education professionals. Cooperative Extension is a national system of educational outreach from land-grant universities/colleges located in every U.S. state and the territories.  eXtension generates value for its members and partners offering professional growth and learning and fostering innovation at member institutions.

Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Operating Officer (COO) has overall strategic and operational responsibility for eXtension Foundation programs and services and manages key staff leaders. The COO fosters a deep sense of purpose, ambitious performance goals, and mutual accountability. The COO provides leadership for the Foundation’s strategic planning process and implements strategic initiatives. In addition, the COO serves on the Executive Team (CEO, CFO and COO), is a liaison to eXtension Foundation partners; and works with the eXtension Board of Directors to keep them abreast, with key staff leaders, of program and service strategies and challenges. The COO is responsible for developing, implementing, and managing the operational aspects of the annual budget. Finally, with the Executive team, the COO cultivates existing relationships with public and private funders and eXtension Foundation members.


  • Provide effective and inspiring leadership by being actively involved in all programs and services, developing a broad and deep knowledge of all operations.
  • Identify opportunities for eXtension to leverage strengths to take advantage of new opportunities.
  • Work with the CFO to ensure the continued financial viability of eXtension through sound fiscal management, working closely with the Executive Team.
  • Ensure that eXtension has appropriate operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures, staffing structure and technologies to effectively support innovation, strengthen and grow the Foundation’s services and membership benefits, and ensure operating efficiency.
  • Lead and manage staffing and talent development.
  • Provide leadership to achieve successful projects, staff, and work teams.
  • Lead the Foundation to define, achieve and surpass quality standards and report on effectiveness.
  • Publicly represent eXtension with the media and external constituency groups including community, governmental, and private organizations and build excitement for eXtension and Cooperative Extension’s mission.

Strategic Plan Implementation:

  • Provide program and service leadership and input for strategic plan implementation processes with Executive team and staff.
  • Coach key staff as they  implement the strategic plan and transition program operations.
  • Develop and implement a system for tracking and reporting on the progress of the strategic plan implementation.


  • Minimum of a Master’s degree.
  • 7+ years documented experience managing professionals,  fostering innovation, creativity, management, entrepreneurship, and/or generating profits and value.
  • 7+ years demonstrated ability leading change, forward thinking, and building high functioning teams.
  • 7+ years demonstrated ability leading and implementing technology solutions in support of the work of Extension professionals, faculty, researchers or professionals in similar roles.
  • Working knowledge of Cooperative Extension required.
  • Experience managing a sustainable organization using multiple funding streams preferred.
  • Consistently displays integrity and models behavior that develops people, builds teams, and facilitates collaborative enterprises.
  • Track record of effectively leading a service organization with the ability to leverage strengths across program areas; excellent project management skills.
  • Analytic and decisive decision maker with the ability to prioritize and communicate to staff key objectives and tactics necessary to achieve organizational goals.
  • Ability to point to specific examples of having led organizational transformation projects and program development.
  • Past experience managing human resources function including personnel, compensation, and recruiting.
  • Commitment to quality programs and services and data-driven evaluation.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent public speaking skills.
  • Action-oriented, entrepreneurial, flexible, and innovative approach to operational management.
  • Passion, humility, integrity, positive attitude, mission-driven, and self-directed.
  • Experience working virtually is a plus because eXtension operates as a virtual organization.

Half-time, beginning immediately. Salary commensurate with experience.

How To Apply:
Qualified applicants should submit the following documents in PDF Format via email to Jamie Mosca at

  • Cover letter
  • Resume or CV, with salary history
  • 3 Professional References

Cover letter may be addressed to:

Dr. Christine Geith, CEO
eXtension Foundation
183 S. W. Davidson Drive, Suite A
Centreville, AL  35042

Closing Date:
June 1, 2016

Only qualified applicants will be contacted for interviews. The eXtension Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

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AISES is hiring

 Job OpportunityAmerican Indian Science
and Engineering Society (AISES) is currently hiring two new positions in our Colorado Field Office.
Applications will be reviewed immediately and the positions will be open until filled.Please see the attached job descriptions or view them at

Interested candidates must send cover letter, Resume and three professional references via email to: Debbie Derryberry, Executive Assistant:


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AFRI Food Safety Challenge Area grant announced

The following grant opportunity postings were made on .Funding opportunity

Department of Agriculture
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
AFRI Food Safety Challenge Area grant
For information use this this link.

This AFRI Challenge Area promotes and enhances the scientific discipline of food safety, with an overall aim of protecting consumers from microbial and chemical contaminants that may occur during all stages of the food chain, from production to consumption. This requires an understanding of the interdependencies of human, animal, and ecosystem health as it pertains to foodborne pathogens. The long-term outcome for this program is to reduce foodborne illnesses and deaths by improving the safety of the food supply, which will result in reduced impacts on public health and on our economy. In order to achieve this outcome, this program will support single-function Research Projects and multi-function Integrated Research, Education, and/or Extension Projects, and Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants that address one of the Program Area Priorities (see Food Safety RFA for details).

Posted in Funding Opportunities | Leave a comment

Beg Bug workshop planned at University of Illinois

There is no charge for the workshop, but space is limited so interested attendees should register early. EPA

To register for the workshop visit this website.

This workshop is sponsored by USDA EPA Region 5 under the leadership of Seth Dibblee and the featured speakers are Dr. Stephen Kells, University of Minnesota, who is an internationally recognized bed bug expert and Amelia Shindelar, University of Minnesota. Local organizers include Diane Kiddoo, University of Illinois, Housing and Phil Nixon, University of Illinois, Crop Sciences.

Workshop topics:
How bed bugs become a problem
Integrated Pest Management
Bed bug control treatments
Laws and regulations

I-Hotel and Conference Center
1900 S. First Street
Champaign, IL

Date:    June 2, 2016

Times:  9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. with a lunch break from 12:00 – 1 p.m.

Posted in Public Housing IPM, School IPM, Workshops | Leave a comment

SARE’s 2015/2016 Report from the Field released

At every level, Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) is a program of SARE logopartnerships. Countless SARE grant projects are meaningful to U.S. agriculture because they involve close collaboration between researchers, educators, farmers and ranchers, public agencies and nonprofit/community organizations. 2015/2016 Report from the Field illustrates SARE partnerships that strengthen and sustain agriculture

For example, stories include:

Report from the Field also includes updates on funding allocations and priority activities in each of SARE’s four regions. Download all editions of SARE’s Report from the Field for free, and order free print copies, by visiting the Learning Center. To learn more about print orders, visit the WebStore.

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Webinar on newest research on the value of habitat for pest management announced

Lacewing larva eating oleander aphid on swamp milkweed, Thelma Heidel-Baker.

Lacewing larva eating oleander aphid on swamp milkweed, Thelma Heidel-Baker.

Learn about the value of on-farm habitat for enhancing conservation biological control and the current scientific research that supports this natural pest control by attending a USDA webinar. The webinar is May 25, 2016 at 2 p.m. Eastern.

Join this webinar to learn about the benefits of creating on-farm habitat to support conservation biological control. The webinar will emphasize the most current scientific research on enhancing native beneficial insects and why maintaining habitat is so critical to these insects. Learn how adding diversity into agricultural cropland can provide the basic requirements to support these insects and how other farm management practices may have an impact.

Photo: Lacewing larva eating oleander aphid on swamp milkweed, Thelma Heidel-Baker.

This webinar is presented by the USDA NRCS East National Technology Support Center. Contact Holli Kuykendall, Ph.D., National Technology Specialist, for more information about this webinar including how to participate, go to this link.

Audio is Broadcast only | Live captions
NOTE: A “view” button will be available within one week of the live presentation date to access the on-demand recording of this webinar.
Related URLs:


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