Central Issue Uncategorized

October 2023 Central Issue

News stories shared in the October 2023 Central Issue appear below. 

North Central IPM Center Updates

New Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Program and Funding Opportunities

A new program aims to alter the culture within integrated pest management (IPM) for a more inclusive and equitable environment. In October, USDA NIFA announced funding of a program titled, “Increasing DEIA Programming for Integrated Pest Management (IPM): A Model for USDA NIFA-funded Organizations,” which is being offered through the Regional IPM Centers.

Through this new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) program, about $200,000 is available nationally and will be divided between three funding opportunities: DEIA grants, fellowships and mini-grants. These opportunities are available to anyone in the United States or US territories:
• DEIA Grants: $120,000 available with awards up to $20,000 each. Applications will be considered as received, through January 31, 2024 or until funds are exhausted.
• DEIA Fellowships: Up to eight fellowships of up to $6,000 each will be awarded. Individuals eligible to apply should belong to the faculty, staff or student body of an 1890, 1994, historically Black college or university or Hispanic serving institution and should be actively involved in integrated pest management or plant health activities. Applications will be considered as received until funds are exhausted.
• DEIA Mini-Grants: Up to $30,000 available with awards of up to $5,000 each. Applications will be considered as received until funds are exhausted.

Webinar Recording: Soybean Gall Midge: Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of a New Pest in Soybean

Dr. Justin McMechan, assistant professor and crop protection and cropping systems specialist at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, shared recent research on soybean gall midge, a relatively new problem for soybean growers.

While soybean gall midge was first identified in 2011, it did not cause widespread issues until 2018. Crop rotation can help reduce populations, but it is important to also watch for areas where corn and soybean rotations are near each other because the adults can move between fields.

Learn more about soybean gall midge biology, when and where to scout, and population dynamics in the full webinar: “Soybean Gall Midge: Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of a New Pest in Soybean.” Also be sure to check out the Soybean Gall Midge Monitoring Network to keep up with new research and results.

November Webinar: Highlights and Impacts of the 2018-22 USDA/NIFA North Central Integrated Pest Management Center

The November “Pests and Progress” webinar will focus on the history of the North Central IMP Center and the ways integrated pest management has been supported in the region. Join Lynnae Jess, one of the Center’s co-directors and working group liaison, to learn about the Center’s networking and collaboration efforts along with impacts from recent working group projects.

Be sure to register to receive the webinar link. This free webinar will be held on Wednesday, November 15, at 1:30 pm ET (12:30 pm CT). “Pests and Progress” webinars are free, and more details are on the North Central IPM Center website.


Reminder: Critical Issues and Working Group Application Deadline

Applications for critical issue and working group projects must be submitted online by Friday, November 17, 2023, at 6:00 pm ET (5:00 pm CT). Use this grant management system to submit a proposal for this funding opportunity from the North Central IPM Center. A Q&A webinar is available to provide details about how to apply. Additional questions may be sent to

New Episodes—I See Dead Plants Podcasts

North Central IPM Center Participates in 2023 NIPMCC Meeting

Co-directors Laura Iles, Daren Mueller, and Lynnae Jess attended the National Integrated Pest Management Coordinating Committee (NIPMCC) meeting in Puerto Rico from October 17 to October 19, along with Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Katie Hartmann; Research Administrator Kelsey Mueller and Communications Specialist Jacque Pohl.

The meeting included updates from USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the National Pesticide Safety Education Center, IR-4, Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) and the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP), which has been renamed agInnovation. Together, the group discussed changes in climate, farming and pests, and opportunities for using integrated pest management to address new challenges. The meeting concluded with a tour of the Jardín Botánico, part of the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan.

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Updates

NIFA Invests $19.6M in Crop Protection and Pest Management

Seventy-six projects have been selected to receive funding from the Crop Protection and Pest Management (CPPM) program. The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) selects projects that address high priority issues related to weeds, insects and diseases and integrated pest management approaches.

Funding for CCPM is awarded in three project areas: the Applied Research and Development Program, the Extension Implementation Program, and the Regional Coordination Program, which funds the four Regional IPM Centers. The list of projects awarded funding can be found here

US Environmental Protection Agency Updates

EPA Approves New Labels for Cyantraniliprole to Better Protect Endangered Species

The insecticide cyantraniliprole now has new labels to help protect federally threatened or endangered (listed) species. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the labels as part of its effort to identify and limit pesticide impacts to species listed on the Endangered Species Act.

Use of cyantraniliprole is still allowed, especially since it is the only non-neonicotinoid active ingredient available for some approved uses. However, there are additional restrictions, including rules about spray nozzle sizes, application distance from water and field edges, and use of swath displacement.

EPA Hosting Webinar on Understanding Bulletins Live! Two

On Thursday, November 9, from 2 to 3 pm ET (1 to 2 pm CT), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will give an overview of the Bulletins Live! Two (BLT) system. This BLT system is important because it includes new rules about complying with the Endangered Species Act for pesticide registrations.

Sign up for the webinar to learn:
• How EPA Bulletins relate to pesticide labeling.
• How to use Bulletins Live! Two to determine if there are geographically specific mitigations for intended pesticide application areas.

IPM Highlights

Climate-Smart IPM: Key to US Ag Resilience

If it seems like temperatures and extreme weather events are increasing, climate experts have the data to confirm these trends. Growing crops is harder than ever due to drought stress and damaging storms, and as temperatures increase, insects, diseases and weeds are entering and surviving in new areas. While there is no single solution to these challenges, using a variety of farming and pest management practices can help.

Invasive Species on the Menu at London Restaurant

Silo restaurant in London, England, has added gray squirrel, American signal crayfish and Japanese knotweed to its menu in an effort to combine two goals: making a profit and invasive species control.

18 New Cotton Diseases Added to the CPN Encyclopedia

If you work with any cotton growers, make sure that they are aware of cotton disease resources available from the Crop Protection Network. Eighteen cotton diseases are described, along with photos and management options.

Pests this Season

Spotted Lanternfly (SLF)

Spotted lanternfly (SLF) is spreading into the North Central region from the Eastern US. A live SLF population was found in Illinois for the first time at the end of September. Spread can be monitored using this EDDMapS page. While SLF does not pose a health threat to humans, it does affect some specialty crops and other plants we enjoy, such as grapes and apple, peach, cherry, birch, oak and maple trees. As this insect moves into the Midwest, we can prepare by:

• Learning more about SLF with resources like these:


Avian Influenza Confirmed in Williams County Backyard Flock

Avian flu was found in a small chicken flock in Williams County in North Dakota. The area was quarantined, and birds may not be moved into or out of Williams County for 30 days. If not new cases are found, this suspension will be removed. No human infections have been detected, and the risk to people is very low even when infected. Wild birds do infect domestic birds so it is good to keep wild birds away from domestic flocks, especially during spring and fall migration.

Why is my Corn Black?

Noticing black husks and leaves in corn fields? Not to worry. Saprophytic fungi grow in damp, warm conditions and help decompose corn residue, but they do not affect live corn plants. Check out the full article to learn how to tell the difference between saprophytic fungi and tar spot.

Preparing for Next Season

What we Learned from the Alfalfa Variety Trials in 2023

Alfalfa trials from the University of Minnesota assess winterhardiness, disease resistance and forage yield. Check out this summary of past trial results, along with results from 2020 to 2021.  

2023 Spring Wheat Variety Trial Results–SD

Spring wheat data from the 2023 growing season is now available from South Dakota State University Extension. Compare statistics about height, lodging, grain weight and protein from many spring wheat varieties grown in trials throughout the state. 

Growing Hardy Figs in Ohio

Since most figs are not cold hardy, the primary place they are grown in the United States is California. However, a 2017 to 2020 demonstration project in Ohio tested several fig varieties for cold hardiness. While some hardy fig cultivars do not ripen before frost, hardy Chicago may be a variety worth trying. 

Corn and Soybean Field Guide Updated

This pocket-sized guide, first published in 2016, covers disease and insect issues that occur in corn and soybeans. Updates include the addition of tar spot and soybean gall midge, as well as more images. 

Central Issue Uncategorized

November 2023 Central Issue

News stories shared in the November 2023 Central Issue appear below. 

North Central IPM Center Updates

Webinar Recording: 2018-2022 Highlights from the North Central Integrated Pest Management Center

Lynnae Jess, co-director of the North Central IPM Center, shared highlights about the Center’s activities from 2018 to 2022 during the November “Pests and Progress” webinar. Jess talks about the Center’s mission, Lynnae Jess, Co-director of the North Central IPM Centergoals, priorities, and signature programs and how they guide Center activities related to integrated pest management (IPM).

The Center provides annual funding opportunities for working groups and critical issue research projects related to pests from weeds to tar spot to ticks. Learn about outreach efforts, IPM research, IPM survey results, and Center communication activities in the webinar recording.

The next Pests and Progress webinar will be in mid-January of 2024.

Pulse Crop Working Group Provides Root Rot Resources

Root rot is causing significant issues in lentil crops in North Dakota and Montana. The Pulse Crops Working Group produced a video to help growers learn about the disease-causing pathogen, aphanomyces. The video provides insights into the extensive damage this disease can cause to pulse crops. The Working Group also produced a podcast focused on research and management suggestions for root rot.

USDA Updates

Agricultural Outlook Forum: Cultivating the Future

In 2024, USDA will hold its 100th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum February 15 to 16 in Arlington, Virginia. Attending virtually will be an option as well. Speaker highlights include
•    A keynote address by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
•    A presentation on the outlook for agricultural markets and trade by USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer
•    A dinner presentation by Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen.

Over 30 breakout sessions are being offered with subjects ranging from commodity and food price outlooks and trade developments to agricultural innovations, climate change, and the bioeconomy. The full list of presentations and registration info is available on the event website.

US Environmental Protection Agency Updates

EPA Requests Comment on Modernizing Pesticide Label System to Improve Safety and Accessibility

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is requesting feedback on its plan to adopt digital pesticide labels that will make labeling information clearer, more consistent, and more accessible to users. The Agency is specifically requesting feedback on the proposed organization of digital labels and the proposed phases of developing these labels.

Moving from traditional labels to digital labels and providing a database of accepted label language would make submitting label content simpler and more consistent for all pesticide registrants and would improve the Agency’s ability to review and access submissions efficiently. Expected benefits are explained in this whitepaper.

The USEPA is requesting public comment on all aspects of structured digital labels, including:

  • Anticipated benefits
  • Risks and challenges
  • Key information fields (such as pesticide use site, formulation, and maximum application rate), and
  • Potential phases of adoption.

The whitepaper will be open for 120 days for comment at on docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2023-0562. Comments are due March 14, 2024.

Preparing for Next Season

Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training

Make plans to attend a Produce Safety Alliance training to learn about the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule and Good Agricultural Practices standards. Not only do these practices help prevent contamination and keep customers safe, attending the training fulfills the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety requirement.

Learn more on the Produce Safety Alliance website, and you can find a list of upcoming grower training opportunities as well.

Integrating Clover Cover Crops for Pepper and Broccoli Year Two (SD)

Can a clover cover crop be a useful strategy for improving broccoli, organic winter squash, or pepper crops in South Dakota? Learn about results related to weed suppression, crop marketability, and plant health when cover crops were used compared to a bare ground control in this webinar from South Dakota State University Extension.

Strategic Thinking for the Food or Farm Business (video)

Planning is an important piece of any business venture, but it is especially important when starting your own food or farm business. Learning how to incorporate strategic thinking into your business plan will increase chances of success. Watch the video to learn more about strategic thinking or view more resources to help you start your food-related business.

Increasing Lawn Diversity to Promote Biodiversity and Reduce Management Inputs in Urban Landscapes: Webinar

Planting and maintaining turfgrass lawns reduces the plant diversity in urban areas. Controlling the plants in yards also limits the wildlife that chooses to live there, leaving grass-eating insects free to thrive with less threat of predation. Could increasing grass cultivar diversity help reduce pests, promote biological control and improve plant quality? Dr. Adam Dale, associate chair for extension at the University of Florida, will share recent efforts to quantify the effects and possible benefits of increasing lawn diversity during the Southern IPM Hour webinar on December 6 at 1 pm ET (12 pm CT). Be sure to register to attend.

Planting Trees in your Crop Acres: Learn About Agroforestry

Agroforestry is the practice of using trees for agricultural purposes. Trees can be used on a farm in a number of ways: as windbreaks, riparian buffers to control water movement, ally crops for a gradual conversion to a perennial farm, in silvopasture to provide nutrition for livestock, and for forest farming. Learn about agroforestry options and how to get started.

The Commercial Potential of Mulberries in the Midwest

Is there profit to be made by growing mulberry trees?  Join Ohio farmer Weston Lombard and National Center for Appropriate Technology’s Sustainable Horticulture Specialist Guy Ames to hear about commercial potential and challenges of mulberries. Cultivars and growing strategies are also discussed.


IPM Highlights

Pressured by Lawsuits, EPA Toughens Pesticide Rules to Protect Endangered Species

Have you heard about changes coming from EPA related to pesticides and endangered species? Be sure to read through this introductory article that explains why change is needed and how accurate mapping of endangered species ranges and habitats are essential to the process.

Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Fellowship Helps Growers Prepare for Climate Change

How will climate change affect growers? The Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Fellowship (CAMF) is working to find out by forming networks of growers who are willing to collaborate and discuss climate-related challenges. Participants receive training and guidance on planning for climate impacts. So far, efforts were focused on the Northeastern US, but work is now expanding into the Midwest.

Electrical Weed Control in Vegetables and Field Crops

Weed escapes can cause a number of problems on farms, whether they interfere with yield, make seed and cause future weed issues, or affect harvest by obstructing equipment. Options for managing weed escapes are discussed, including hand weeding and electrical weeding.

This Texas Scientist Trains Dogs to Sniff Out Invasive Species

A research team at Texas Tech University has been working to determine whether trained scent detection dogs can find spotted lanternfly eggs in vineyards. So far, dogs have been able to detect egg masses inside wooden pellets with 95% to 99% accuracy. Perhaps one day, growers will be able to connect with people who have trained their dogs to find insect pests, and the dogs will help locate the insects.

Job Board

Assistant Extension Professor and State Extension Specialist, Urban and Structural Entomology, University of Missouri-Columbia

Associate Director for the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, University of Minnesota


Register for August Webinar: Crop Advisors Perspectives on Pesticide Resistance Management