USDA Invests in Integrated Pest Management for Increased Production

USDA Invests in Integrated Pest Management for Increased Production

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Media Contact: Selina Meiners, 202-734-9376

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced grants to bring safer, more effective pest management approaches to farms and communities.

“Insects, weeds, and diseases are ever-evolving challenges for U.S. agriculture,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA is making investments to develop sound scientific approaches to increase production and provide continued food security in the face of these threats.”

These grants are awarded through three NIFA pest management programs. The Crop Protection and Pest Management program supports research and extension projects that address critical state, regional, and national pest management challenges and help ensure food security. The Minor Crop Pest Management (IR-4) program supports pest management solutions primarily for specialty crops, such as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops (including floriculture). The Methyl Bromide Transition program supports research for new, effective pesticides and approaches to managing pests that can replace methyl bromide, an older, ozone-depleting treatment used in farming, storage, shipment, and quarantine.

Among the newly awarded projects is a Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University project that will evaluate the potential of vacuum and steam treatment as an alternative to methyl bromide fumigation of hardwood and softwood logs. Fumigation of imported and exported whole logs accounts for nearly a quarter of all methyl bromide use. At Michigan State University, more than 75 Extension educators and specialists will share integrated pest management (IPM) and pollinator research to help growers adopt IPM practices and reduce pesticide use.

In fiscal year 2017, 77 awards totaling $27.6 million were made by the following programs to support IPM projects. The awards were selected based on a competitive peer review panel process.

Crop Protection and Pest Management Program/Applied Research and Development Program Area:

  • Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, $279,043
  • Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, $323,493
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, $195,456
  • University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, $324,449
  • Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, $325,000
  • University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, Kentucky, $324,992
  • The Curators of the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, $321,957
  • Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, $199,997
  • North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, $324,997
  • Board of Regents, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, $325,000
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, $199,966
  • Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, $199,532
  • Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, $325,000
  • Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, $324,999
  • Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, $195,711

More information on these projects is available on the NIFA website.

Crop Protection and Pest Management Program/Extension Implementation Program Area

  • University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, $150,129
  • Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, $271,827
  • University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, Little Rock, Arkansas, $179,445
  • Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, $255,000
  • The Regents of the University of California, Davis, California, $180,000
  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, $150,471
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, $179,940
  • University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, $164,468
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, $164,008
  • Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida, $124,500
  • University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, $180,000
  • University of Guam, Mangilao, Guam, $67,800
  • University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, $94,500
  • Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Ames, Iowa, $273,000
  • The Regents of the University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, $179,092
  • Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, $179,942
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, $268,565
  • Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, $246,146
  • University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, Kentucky, $128,889
  • Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, $354,000
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, $270,542
  • University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, $273,000
  • University of Maine, Orono, Maine, $171,413
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan,$190,500
  • The Regents of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, $183,000
  • The Curators of the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, $163,582
  • Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi, $146,738
  • Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, $273,000
  • North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, $272,995
  • North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, $172,134
  • Board of Regents, University of Nebraska Lincoln, Nebraska, $187,484
  • University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, $130,948
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey, $351,000
  • The Regents of New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico, $196,071
  • Board of Regents, University of Nevada Reno, Nevada, $203,999
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, $254,919
  • The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $237,306
  • Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, $99,807
  • Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, $272,217
  • Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, $221,077
  • Puerto Rico Agricultural Extension Service, San Juan, Puerto Rico, $171,263
  • University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, $116,132
  • Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, $172,125
  • South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota, $358,000
  • The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, $182,067
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $180,000
  • Utah State University, Logan, Utah, $113,622
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, $180,000
  • University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, Burlington, Vermont, $254,195
  • Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, $272,998
  • The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, Madison, Wisconsin, $225,000
  • West Virginia University Research Corporation, Morgantown, West Virginia, $82,916
  • University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, $150,690

More information on these projects is available on the NIFA website.

Minor Crop Pest Management Program (IR-4)

  • The Regents of the University of California, Davis, California, $3,191,910
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, $2,320,413
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, $1,978,284
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey, $2,780,635
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey, $799,046

More information on these projects is available on the NIFA website and IR-4 website(link is external).

Methyl Bromide Transition Program

  • The Regents of the University of California, Davis, California, $499,749
  • The Regents of the University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, $499,998
  • Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi, $498,387
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, $393,049
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Tools for Eliminating Mice in Multifamily Housing Webinar

Tools for Eliminating Mice in Multifamily Housing
StopPests in Housing Webinar December 14th, 2017
2:00pm-4:00pm (EST)

All too often, mouse infestations in multifamily housing complexes persist for many years with histories of sporadic outbreaks followed by temporary quick fixes using glue boards, snap traps and baiting efforts. Unfortunately, these “traditional” efforts tend to merely address a monthly complaint list given to a hired exterminator. Rarely will such efforts address the harder-to-reach breeding sources of the building’s and the apartment’s population of mice. As a result, the surviving population members replace the individual mice harvested out from the complaint-driven pest control service. A more comprehensive program is needed, especially because mice in apartment buildings are important health pests carrying diseases and triggering asthma attacks.

During this on-line training, noted rodentologist, Dr. Bobby Corrigan, will address accessing and monitoring for the sources of mice within both the building and individual apartments. He’ll emphasize the importance of the structure and the apartments being correctly mouse-proofed, as well as the effective use of traps and baits when mice need to be eliminated. Pest management professionals, cooperative extension educators, and all who work in housing including maintenance staff, property managers and owners, resident services, and procurement officers are all encouraged to register. Take advantage of the opportunity to hear from award-winning and renowned rodentologist Dr. Corrigan who brings decades of field experience and data to improve pest management in homes, industry, communities, and infrastructure and the health of those that work, live, and play there. StopPests brings you this opportunity thanks to support from an interagency agreement between HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control and USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Please register with the Northeastern IPM Center’s StopPests in Housing program through the following link:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For more information email: or visit us at

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Assistant Professor of Entomology, Arthropod Systematics/Biodiversity

Arthropod Systematics/Biodiversity
University of Kentucky
Department of Entomology 

Position: Assistant Professor of Entomology, Arthropod Systematics/Biodiversity, twelve-month, tenure-track appointment, research (65%), teaching (20%) and service (15%).

Description: The Department of Entomology at the University of Kentucky is seeking a broadly trained arthropod biologist with interest in systematics, biodiversity and/or conservation. The candidate is expected to develop an internationally recognized, externally funded research program that integrates evolutionary, ecological, molecular and/or bioinformatic approaches to study arthropods of agricultural, medical and/or conservation importance and that complements existing research programs at the University of Kentucky. This position has a 20% teaching responsibility, including teaching a graduate-level course in Insect Taxonomy and developing an undergraduate or graduate course in the field of candidate’s specialty. Qualified candidates will participate in the graduate training of students, whose interests vary from population management and organismal insect biology to molecular biology and genomics. The 15% service responsibility includes overseeing management of the >250,000 specimen University of Kentucky Insect Museum, housed in a newly renovated facility with a collection compactor system and independent environmental control, and developing it into a vibrant, active resource for research, teaching, and outreach activities.

Qualifications: The successful applicant must have a Ph.D. in Entomology or related discipline with demonstrated experience and publications in arthropod systematics/biodiversity. Post-doctoral research, potential as both an independent researcher and as a member of a multidisciplinary team, and teaching experience are highly desirable. Applicants should have demonstrated expertise in integrated systematic research, including molecular, genomic, morphological, and statistical methods.

Salary and Benefits: Salary commensurate with background and experience; overview of benefits:


Application Procedure: Applicants should submit an application letter, a statement of research interests (upload under Specific Request 1), and a statement of teaching interests and philosophy specifically related to this position at the University of Kentucky (upload under Specific Request 2). Applicants should also submit a CV that includes a list of publications. Please also include the names and contact information for at least four references when prompted in the application. This information may be used to solicit letters from your references within the employment system.

Questions should be directed to John J. Obrycki, Chair of the Search Committee,, PH 859-323-6062.

Applications must be submitted electronically to the Integrated Employment System at the University of Kentucky

Application Deadline: 

December 31, 2017 or until a suitable candidate is identified

Date Position is Available: 

July 1, 2018 or as mutually agreed upon

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is an equal opportunity organization and welcomes applications from women and minorities.

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Methyl Bromide Transition Program Request for Applications

Department of Agriculture
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Methyl Bromide Transition Program

The methyl bromide transition program (MBT) addresses the immediate needs and the costs of transition that have resulted from the scheduled phase-out of the pesticide methyl bromide. Methyl bromide has been a pest and disease control tactic critical to pest management systems for decades for soilborne and postharvest pests. The program focuses on integrated commercial-scale research on methyl bromide alternatives and associated extension activity that will foster the adoption of these solutions. Projects should cover a broad range of new methodologies, technologies, systems, and strategies for controlling economically important pests for which methyl bromide has been the only effective pest control option. Research projects must address commodities with critical issues and include a focused economic analysis of the cost of implementing the transition on a commercial scale.

Link to Additional Information:Methyl Bromide Transition

Grantor Contact Information:If you have difficulty accessing the full announcement electronically, please contact:

NIFA Help Desk Phone: 202-401-5048 Business hours are M-F, 7:00 am -5:00 pm ET, excluding Federal holidays

If you have any questions related to preparing application content

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Great Lakes Fruit Working Group works to improve the sustainability of fruit production

Our mission is to improve the sustainability of fruit production and quality of life in the Great Lakes region.

The Great Lakes Fruit Working (GLFW) Group, funded by the North Central Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center, was founded informally in 1998 and formally in 2006 as a way for the Great Lakes region states of Michigan and New York and the province of Ontario, Canada initially, and later Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana, to collaborate with each other. This working group shares research and extension efforts related to the promotion and adoption of IPM strategies and technologies for the region’s growers of a diversity of fruits.

One of the most-used components of the working group is the GLFW listserv (, which currently has 222 subscribers and provides a year-round forum and archive for group identification of problematic orchard pests, disease and physiological disorder symptoms, and potential solutions across the Midwest and North Atlantic states.

A highlight of the year is an annual GLFW conference that draws fruit industry consultants, extension educators and researchers (entomologists, pathologists, horticulturists, agricultural economists, agricultural engineers and soil biologists) and allows members to network in person. The scale of the annual conference includes around 40 presentations, technical tours, an IPM roundtable and several posters. The conference provides a platform for multi-state collaborative research and extension activities, grant planning efforts and programmatic planning to deal with important emerging regional fruit pests such as spotted wing drosophila, brown marmorated stink bug, fig fruit fly, and apple flea weevil. It’s also a critical opportunity for attendees to receive training in IPM practices, technologies and products that are new or recently developing. The North Central IPM Center (NCIPMC) grant offsets annual conference registration and accommodation costs, enabling increased attendance from participants including those with lower travel budgets.

The working group created an informational website which is updated and maintained continuously at It underwent a major revamp in 2012. An abstracted compendium of the annual conference’s research and extension reports is compiled, archived, and shared on the website. Members also can share photos and videos of pests, diseases and techniques for other members to use. Another section links to the insect pest alert system.

The group converted the Tree Fruit Field Guide to Insect, Mite and Disease Pests and Natural Enemies of Eastern North America to a digital app for smart phones and tablets. This was a large scale NCIPMC-funded project requiring collecting photographs and writing text as well as outsourcing the software development. Other funds were secured to translate the guide into French for stakeholders in Canada who are native French speakers. Next the group produced an app for the Bramble Field Guide.

Another important function of the Great Lakes Fruit Working Group is keeping and updating a list of regional fruit IPM priorities and continuously delivering on-farm IPM information in the Great Lakes Region. Some of the priorities are minimizing the risk to fruit production from climate change and IPM best practices for spotted wing drosophila and brown marmorated stink bug.


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Area Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Advisor – Entomology


University of California Cooperative Extension 

Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources 

Cooperative Extension Advisor 

Area Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Advisor – Entomology 

Serving Monterey, San Benito & Santa Cruz Counties 

AP #17-24 

LOCATION HEADQUARTERS: Salinas, Monterey County, California

SUBMISSION DATE: To assure full consideration, submit materials by December 29, 2017. Those received after December 29, 2017 may be considered if the position has not yet been filled. (open until filled) POSITION PURPOSE: The Area Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Advisor for Entomology will conduct a multi-county extension, education and applied research program that addresses grower and industry needs, including an understanding of local agricultural crops, their farming systems, and their arthropod pests, including insect-vectored diseases in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties. Primary crops include cool-season vegetables such as lettuce, and spring mix, broccoli, spinach, celery, and cauliflower, as well as strawberries, caneberries, grapes, ornamental plant production and many specialty crops. The Cooperative Extension (CE) IPM Advisor holds a pivotal role in initiating, contributing to and developing management strategies for invasive invertebrate species and new or exotic insect pests. They must also be knowledgeable about insect pest-related quarantines and interstate/international marketing requirements. Key clientele includes growers, government agencies, pest control advisors, and allied industry personnel. The Area IPM Advisor will be a member of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program ( and will participate in UC IPM activities, including development and review of UC IPM online and print publications, organizational meetings, and other programmatic activities relevant to the mission and strategic plan of the Program.

BACKGROUND: University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), is the statewide division of the University of California that administers Cooperative Extension, which is responsible for local program development and delivery throughout the state of California. University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) is a network of colleagues with a focus on research, education programs, and outreach to resolve local challenges in communities where they live and work. UC ANR is the bridge between local issues and the power of UC Research. UC ANR’s CE advisors, CE specialists and Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) faculty develop and deliver practical, science-based solutions that contribute to healthy food systems, healthy environments, healthy communities, and healthy Californians. To learn more about UCCE in these vibrant communities, visit:,, and

Our priorities in research, education, service, and resource allocation are guided by the UC ANR Strategic Vision ( There are 5 strategic initiatives that ANR is currently focusing on: Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases (EIPD), Healthy Families and Communities (HFC), Sustainable Food Systems (SFS), Sustainable Natural Ecosystem (SNE), and Water Quality, Quantity and Security (WQQS). This position will primarily address priorities found in the Strategic Plans for the Sustainable Food Systems and Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases. The Strategic Plans for each strategic initiative can be found at

ACADEMIC EXPECTATIONS: All UC ANR CE advisors are responsible for performance in the areas of 1)applied research and creative activity, 2) extension of knowledge and information, 3) professionalcompetence and activity, and 4) University and public service.

Research: All UC ANR CE advisors develop and implement applied research programs to provide science-based information addressing complex issues. The applied research program will be based upon a needs assessment, and may include partnerships with a variety of campus and county-based colleagues, as well as external partners. Research topics may include but are not limited to development or validation of IPM techniques for monitoring and management of arthropod pests, and detection and exclusion of invasive species. The CE advisor will be expected to interact with UC ANR Program Teams, CE specialists, CE advisors, and others to develop, strengthen and expand the local delivery of statewide programs.

Extension of Knowledge: County and community partners have come to rely on UC ANR CE advisors as a critical resource for providing research-based information across a variety of disciplines. CE advisors disseminate appropriate, science-based information to inform clientele, using extension methods that are responsive to clientele needs and appropriate for the audience and situation. Science-based research results and educational information are disseminated using a variety of methods, including individual consultations, presentations at grower and industry meetings, workshops, short courses, field demonstrations, UC ANR publications, peer-reviewed journals, newsletters, technical reports to commodity boards/funding agencies, and an appropriate mix of contemporary and emerging electronic tools (such as online learning, web content systems and repositories, social media, impact and evaluation tools), along with specialized and public media

outlets. Programs will be developed and carried out in collaboration with other UC ANR academics and appropriate statewide efforts including UC ANR Program Teams and Workgroups.

Professional Competence: All UC ANR CE advisors are required to demonstrate professional competence in their programmatic areas. Professional competence includes participation in training activities to enhance professional development, such as administrative trainings, professional conferences, or workshops. Professional competence also includes activities that reflect professional standing within the programmatic area, such as presenting at conferences or workshops, holding offices in professional societies, invited presentations, or reviewing/editing publications.

University and Public Service: All UC ANR CE advisors are required to actively serve the University, as well as the public. University service may occur at the local, division, state, national, or international levels. Examples of potential University service activities include serving on a university workgroup or committee, providing leadership in program teams, or advocacy efforts. Public service involves activities and events in which the incumbent uses their professional expertise to benefit groups or efforts outside the University. Examples may include serving on external boards or councils, participating in community events, and leadership of non-University collaborative groups.

Major Responsibilities: 

•Develop and implement effective UC ANRCooperative Extension applied research and educational programs to address the identified priority needs of the clientele that are consistent with ANR’s Strategic Vision and ANR initiatives

•Conduct and report regular comprehensiveneeds assessments to identify priority issues or problems relevant to the local clientele groups being served.

•Conduct applied research designed to solve

locally relevant problems and monitor change.

•Disseminate useful, science-based information to inform clientele, using extension methods thatare responsive to clientele needs and appropriate for the audience and situation.

•Maintain and promote UC ANR CE’s credibility and visibility by participating in professionalorganizations and collaborating with government agencies, commodity groups, allied industry groups, and other organizations by providing independent science-based information and leadership.

•Evaluate programs and report accomplishments, results, and potential or actual impacts toscientific and lay audiences through a variety of outreach methods.

•Develop collaborative teams with other UC ANR academics, including CE specialists, AES faculty,CE advisors and/or others, to address priority issues for UC ANR.

RELATIONSHIPS: The CE advisor is administratively responsible to the UCCE Monterey county director, with input from the San Benito and Santa Cruz county directors. The CE advisor is programmatically responsible to the Director of the Statewide IPM Program. The Area IPM Advisor will work with local CE commodity advisors to extend information to clientele.

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: An understanding of and commitment to UC ANR’s affirmative action goals and commitments is expected of all CE advisors.

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: A minimum of an earned master’s degree, though other advanced degrees are encouraged, in disciplines such as entomology, pest management, or other closely related field is required by the appointment start date. A broad understanding of integrated pest management principles, including knowledge of crop production, cultural and biological controls, and pesticide use is required. Quantitative skills and knowledge of, and experience using, statistical analysis and experimental designs are required. Excellent written, oral and interpersonal communication skills are required. Demonstrated ability in applied research and extension is preferred. Practical field experience in entomology pest management is preferred.

The CE advisor must possess or obtain a Qualified Pesticide Applicator Certificate (QAC) or License prior to applying or supervising the application of any pesticide.

SALARY: Beginning salary will be in the Cooperative Extension Assistant Advisor Rank, and commensurate with applicable experience and professional qualifications. For information regarding Cooperative Extension Advisor salary scales, please refer to the University of California, ANR website: If the successful candidate is currently a UCCE academic with indefinite status, the candidate will be offered the position commensurate with applicable experience and professional qualifications with eligibility to retain such indefinite status.

BENEFITS: The University of California offers comprehensive benefits including two days per month paid vacation, one day per month paid sick leave, and approximately thirteen paid holidays per year. This position is eligible for sabbatical leave privileges as per the terms of University policy. For more information, refer to the UC Benefits website at:

HOW TO APPLY: To be considered, applicants must electronically submit the following four components of the Application Packet to

1.Cover Letter

2.ANR Academic Application Form— from the ANR website at:

Please include a list of potential references. If you are selected for an interview, the searchcommittee will contact the references you listed on the UC ANR application form (aminimum of four and a maximum of six names, current addresses, phone numbers andemail addresses). Please do not send letters of reference.

3.CV or Resume

4.College Level Transcripts: Electronic transcripts or legible scanned copies (PDF) of originaltranscripts will be accepted. Transcripts must identify course work completed, gradesearned, degrees conferred and confer dates.

Application and associated materials will not be returned to the applicant. A search committee will review all applications, interview candidates, and recommend individuals most suitable for the position.

For information regarding this position, please contact: 

University of California ANR Academic HR LeChé McGill (530) 750-1281 E-mail Address:

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What’s the real deal with soybean cyst nematodes and cover crops?

The North Central IPM Center and the North Central Region’s IPM Coordinators are collaborating to assist our region’s IPM-focused students with professional networking opportunities including travel support to the 9th International IPM Symposium. As part of our travel support program students will present a poster at the IPM Symposium OR submit an article to the NCIPMC Connection newsletter.

This article is submitted by Chelsea J. Harbach who is a student at Iowa State University in Dr. Greg Tylka’s Laboratory. 

The number of acres planted to cover crops annually has been steadily increasing in recent years throughout the United States. Meanwhile, the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) continues to sit atop of the U.S. list of yield-suppressing pathogens. It’s no coincidence, then, that there is an increasing interest regarding the potential for these two factors to interact in the field, particularly with the possibility that cover crops could decrease SCN population densities (numbers).

When considering the potential effects of cover crops on SCN, there are several possibilities. First, it is possible that cover crops could serve as hosts for SCN reproduction, thereby inadvertently increasing SCN population densities in fields where these plants are grown. Many cover crop species have been found to be non-hosts for SCN; however, we cannot say that all cover crops are non-hosts as some species can support SCN reproduction, including crimson clover, field pennycress, and more. Second, it is possible that there is no effect of cover crops on SCN population densities. Lastly, and most interestingly, there is the potential that cover crops may decrease SCN population densities.

There are several mechanisms through which cover crops could decrease SCN population densities:

Mechanism of decreasing SCN numbers or reproductive potential How the mechanism works
Producing nematicidal compounds Some plants, notably members of the Brassicaceae family (which includes radish, mustard, and canola), produce methyl-isothiocyanates as they decompose. These compounds have nematicidal properties.
Serving as a trap crop If SCN juveniles hatch and enter roots of cover crops, it is unlikely they will be able to serve as a host. Being unable to establish a feeding cell, the juveniles would subsequently be “trapped” and die in the plant roots. Ideally, to serve as an effective trap crop, many nematodes would enter the roots to decrease SCN numbers.
Inducing egg hatch As plants grow, the roots in the soil give off compounds called root exudates. It is possible that root exudates could stimulate hatch of SCN juveniles in the fall or spring. If the juveniles hatch at these time points, there is likely no food source for them so they would end up dying of starvation in the soil.
Producing inhibitory allelochemicals Some plant roots may produce inhibitory allelochemicals, either while living or decomposing, that affect other organisms. Such allelochemicals may inhibit the hatch of SCN juveniles, which would overall make the pathogen less productive.

There have been few published reports of how different cover crop species may have a negative effect on SCN numbers. Additionally, there are no data on whether different cultivars within a species of cover crop have differential impacts on SCN numbers.

Some seed companies market their cover crops with benefits like “reduces SCN population densities” or generalize as “decreases nematode populations” but provide no data to substantiate the claims. There are a few reports that suggest that some cover crop species can reduce SCN population densities. The few sets of field data relating to effects of cover crops on SCN are lacking necessary details, were not reproduced over a sufficient range of locations and growing seasons, and/or the results are inconsistent among locations and years.

This all leads to the premise of the cover crop and SCN experiments that I am working on at Iowa State University in Dr. Greg Tylka’s lab. While we have an inkling of an idea about how cover crops could affect SCN population densities, my work is taking a deep dive into this interaction to provide a well-thought-out and comprehensive look at this interaction.  The experiments I am conducting range from very large scale, on-farm strip trials coordinated though a collaborative effort with the Iowa Soybean Association, to laboratory assessments of how root exudates from specific cover crops affect the hatch of SCN juveniles.

The potential benefit of cover crops in decreasing SCN population densities and the scarcity of robust data assessing the implied phenomenon are why I am working on hashing out the effects of cover crops on SCN at Iowa State University. There are researchers at other universities in the North Central region working on this puzzle as well, including Michigan State University, University of Missouri, North Dakota State University, Ohio State University, and perhaps even other institutions. With these combined efforts, there should be a much clearer understanding of the potential benefits and limitations of cover crops for management of SCN in the upcoming years.

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USDA NIFA Funding Opportunity

The following grant opportunities were created, updated, or deleted on

Department of Agriculture
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grants Program

Agency Name: National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Description: The purpose of the BRAG Program is to support the generation of new information that will assist Federal regulatory agencies in making science-based decisions about the environmental effects of introducing organisms genetically engineered (GE) by recombinant nucleic acid techniques. Such organisms can include plants, microorganisms (including fungi, bacteria, and viruses), arthropods, fish, birds, mammals, and other animals excluding humans. Investigations of effects on both managed and natural environments are relevant. The BRAG program accomplishes its purpose by providing Federal regulatory agencies with relevant scientific information.
Link to Additional Information: Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program (BRAG)
Grantor Contact Information: If you have difficulty accessing the full announcement electronically, please contact:

NIFA Help Desk Phone: 202-401-5048 Business hours are M-F, 7:00 am -5:00 pm ET, excluding Federal holidays

If you have any questions related to preparing application content



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EPA Registers the Wolbachia ZAP Strain in Live Male Asian Tiger Mosquitoes

On Nov. 3, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency registered a new mosquito biopesticide – ZAP Males® – that can reduce local populations of the type of mosquito (Aedes albopictus, or Asian Tiger Mosquitoes) that can spread numerous diseases of significant human health concern, including the Zika virus.

ZAP Males® are live male mosquitoes that are infected with the ZAP strain, a particular strain of the Wolbachia bacterium. Infected males mate with females, which then produce offspring that do not survive. (Male mosquitoes do not bite people.) With continued releases of the ZAP Males®, local Aedes albopictus populations decrease. Wolbachia are naturally occurring bacteria commonly found in most insect species.

This time-limited registration allows MosquitoMate, Inc. to sell the Wolbachia-infected male mosquitoes for five years in the District of Columbia and the following states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia. Before the ZAP Males® can be used in each of those jurisdictions, it must be registered in the state or district.

When the five-year time limit ends, the registration will expire unless the registrant requests further action from EPA.

EPA’s risk assessments, along with the pesticide labeling, EPA’s response to public comments on the Notice of Receipt, and the proposed registration decision, can be found on under docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2016-0205.

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Genetic discovery another tool in battle against wheat pests

From IPM in the South

By Rosemary Hallberg

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Greenbug and Hessian fly infestations can significantly reduce wheat yield and quality in Texas and worldwide. Breeding for resistance to these two pests using marker-assisted selection just got a new tool from a Texas A&M AgriLife Research study.

Because genetics is the most economical strategy to minimize losses, AgriLife Research wheat geneticist Dr. Shuyu Liu began two years ago searching for breeder-friendly markers for those two insects. This step is a continuation of ongoing genetic work on insect resistance.

Through the years, a number of greenbug resistance genes have been identified in wheat and its relatives based on their differential reactions to different biotypes, which range from A through K. There are also 18 Hessian fly biotypes, and because it has the ability to overcome resistance genes deployed in wheat cultivars through mutations, it is necessary to identify and utilize resistance genes from diverse sources for wheat breeding.

Scientists use genetic markers to identify regions where specific genes can be found on a particular plant. Liu has identified the neighborhoods or markers for a gene offering greenbug resistance, Gb7, and a gene that provides Hessian fly resistance, H32, in wheat.

Liu’s work was recently published in the Theoretical and Applied Genetics Journal of Plant Breeding Research, detailing the development of the Kompetitive Allele Specific Polymerase Chain Reaction or KASP assays for both genes. The journal article can be found at

Joining Liu on the publication were AgriLife Research wheat team members Drs. Jackie Rudd, Amarillo, and Amir Ibrahim, College Station, both wheat breeders; Dr. Qingwu Xue, crop stress physiologist; Dr. Chor Tee Tan, an associate research scientist; as well as other students and staff in Amarillo.

Both genes were identified through previous research, and linked markers for them were mapped, but the detection methods were not well suited for marker-assisted selection for evaluating thousands of plants, Liu said.

He said knowing an address doesn’t mean someone knows where in the city to start looking for it. But by developing single nucleotide polymorphism, or SNPs, which include flanking markers closely linked and located on chromosomes, geneticists are able to give breeders the neighborhood to search.

SNPs are then converted into KASP assays, which are considered breeder-friendly because they are easier to use, faster and more accurate, he said.

Effective molecular markers closely linked to the target genes are the key for the success of marker-assisted selection on traits such as greenbug and Hessian fly resistance, Liu said. For instance, a breeder will typically screen 1,000s of breeding lines, and the KASP acts as a flag to say the necessary genes for a particular trait exists in a particular line.

Through Liu’s work, both genes can now be easily transferred into a new wheat line through marker-assisted selection.

Liu said the Gb7 and H32 are both found in a synthetic wheat, W7984, which is a parental line for a mapping population that wheat researchers are using worldwide. Synthetic wheats are man-made crosses between Durum or pasta-type wheats and Aegilops tauschii. These initial crosses provide access to genes of the wild relatives of wheat, thus increasing usable genetic diversity for breeders to improve winter wheat varieties.

The mapping population was developed more than 10 years ago by the International Triticum Mapping Initiative, but neither of these genes has been used for resistance in breeding programs to this point, he said.

“The reason I think they were not being used is they were in a synthetic line and it required more effort to transfer them into adaptive wheat lines,” he said. “What we have done with the KASP marker is make them easier to find and utilize.”

For example, TAM 114, a newer, increasingly popular variety of Texas A&M wheat, does not have greenbug resistance and only has limited Hessian fly resistance, Liu said.

“But with this new knowledge, breeders can cross with TAM 114 and keep its superior end-use quality and improve it with the Gb7 and H32 genes,” he said. “This will make the new line more adaptable to the regions where Hessian fly is a problem.”

By crossing wheat lines with the identified KASP markers, the process to develop the pure line with selected properties can be much more accurate, Liu said.

Liu said he began searching for these markers because the TAM breeding program has made heavy use of synthetic germplasm so the markers will quickly be implemented.

To get to this point, Liu utilized genotype-by-sequencing markers developed by other research groups, and ultimately the KASP markers were validated using the set of synthetic wheat lines. Each line of that mapping population was screened for reactions by greenbug and Hessian fly by two U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service centers.

“We’ve determined they are very effective under many genetic backgrounds,” he said. “Genetic diversity and genetic gains are always important to wheat breeders.”

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