Midwest Grows Green Lawn and Land Forum Workshop Scheduled

The Midwest Grows Green Lawn and Land Forum Workshop is scheduled to take place on Monday, Oct. 29, at the Urban Ecology Center at Riverside Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This workshop will foster peer-to-peer learning of best natural lawn care and integrated pest management practices, polices and strategies. Highlights of the workshop include:

The agenda for the event can be found here. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at bit.ly/LLFwksp18. Please contact me with any questions regarding the event and we would greatly appreciate if you share this information with other park and school district staff that may be interested.

Posted in Conference | Tagged | Leave a comment

California State University Seeking Assistant Professor in Ecoimmunology

The Department of Biology in the College of Science and Mathematics at California State University, Fresno seeks applicants for a tenure-track, academic year position as an Assistant Professor in Ecoimmunology. The successful candidate will be broadly trained with expertise in ecoimmunology, environmental aspects of comparative immunology, or disease ecology. We encourage applications from researchers using integrative approaches and non-model organisms to examine environmental influences on immune function, disease spread, or physiological mechanisms driving immune variation. Specific teaching assignments will depend on the candidate’s expertise and departmental needs. The successful candidate will be expected to develop a research program that involves both undergraduate and graduate students and will also pursue the external funding necessary to maintain a successful research program. Faculty members are also expected to engage in service activities at the department, college, and university level and provide academic and professional advice to students.

Posted in Job Opportunities | Tagged , | Leave a comment

University of Minnesota Seeking Teaching Assistant Professor in Entomology

The Department of Entomology in the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (CFANS) at the University of Minnesota is seeking applicants for a 9-month, non-tenure track Teaching Assistant Professor position. The position is a full-time, annually renewable appointment based on performance and availability of funding.

Posted in Job Opportunities | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Register Now for the Integrated Pest Management Pollinator Habitat Promotion Webinar

U.S. EPA Office of Pesticide Programs Update Banner

Register Now for the Integrated Pest Management Pollinator Habitat Promotion Webinar

EPA is offering a free webinar titled “Integrated Pest Management: Strategies for Pollinator Habitat Promotion and Conservation in Agricultural Areas” on August 28, 2018, from 1 –2:30 pm ET. This webinar is tailored for growers, pesticide applicators, agricultural land managers, and other interested stakeholders who work in crop production.

Our presenter will be Dr. Allan Felsot, professor and extension specialist from Washington State University. The presentation will cover land management topics such as cultural management practices, bio-economics, and integrated insect and weed management.

Register for the webinar here.

Learn more about integrated pest management and pollinator protection.

Posted in Center News | Leave a comment

Atrazine Human Health Risk Assessment Now Available for Public Comment

U.S. EPA Office of Pesticide Programs Update Banner

Atrazine Human Health Risk Assessment Now Available for Public Comment

Today, EPA is releasing the atrazine draft human health risk assessment for public comment. The assessment identifies potential risks to children who crawl and play on lawns sprayed with atrazine and to workers who apply atrazine and/or enter treated fields after application.

Atrazine is one of the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States. It is used to control broadleaf and grassy weeds on corn, sorghum, and sugarcane, and to a lesser extent on residential lawns and golf courses. In the assessment, EPA reviewed all available scientific data, including published toxicity and epidemiology literature. The assessment uses multiple lines of evidence and methodologies that reflect current science.

In addition to the atrazine draft human health risk assessment, EPA is also releasing the simazine and propazine draft human health risk assessments and a cumulative human health risk assessment on these three triazines. We assessed these three pesticides together for human health risks because they share a common toxicity mechanism.

Comments must be submitted to docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0266 at www.regulations.gov on or before Sept. 24, 2018.

After public comments on the human health and the 2016 ecological assessments are reviewed, EPA will determine whether updates or revisions to the assessments are necessary. EPA plans to propose risk mitigation measures, if necessary, in 2019.

Posted in Center News | Leave a comment

IPM Institute Seeks Coordinator for Sustainable Food Group

Coordinator, Sustainable Food Group

 Full-time coordinator position available with a growing independent non-profit organization working to improve sustainability in agriculture and communities through Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Responsibilities include coordinating the development and operation of sustainability programs for national food companies and their supply chains.

The individual in this position will work with project teams, project partners, clients and project scientists to research, develop, implement and verify standards focused on sustainability, IPM and pesticide risk reduction. The scope of work includes standards development, communications, training, program evaluation and reporting.

The ideal candidate will have excellent analytical skills, strong attention to detail, experience and knowledge in and demonstrated commitment to sustainable agriculture. Excellent organizational, verbal and written communication skills and proficiency with Microsoft Office are essential. Spanish language proficiency is a plus.

Flexible schedule, 30 – 35 hours per week, hourly compensation commensurate with skills and experience ($14 – $16 per hour). Our rapid growth provides for excellent opportunities for advancement. Benefits include health insurance, retirement plan, and paid vacation and holidays. Located on the near east side of Madison.

The IPM Institute of North America, Inc. is a non-profit organization formed in 1998.  Our mission is to improve sustainability in agriculture and communities by using the power of the marketplace.Our team currently works on more than a dozen projects to increase adoption of IPM and other best practices that reduce risks to health and the environment from pesticide and nutrient use in agriculture and communities, improve working conditions, soil health, water and air quality.

Send a resume, cover letter, salary history and three professional references to Ariel Larson at 211 S. Paterson Street Suite 380, Madison, WI 53703, or email alarson@ipminstitute.org.

Posted in Center News | Leave a comment

Dry Rot Canker – Obscure, but Returning Rhizoctonia Disease

Bob Harveson – Extension Plant Pathologist, University of Nebraska, Panhandle Research and Extension Center


Dry rot canker in sugarbeet

Figure 1. Surface tissues of the dry rot canker rhizoctonia disease first identified in sugarbeet in 1920 are marked by a distinctive series of concentric circles. (Photos by Bob Harveson)

Last month I shared a brief synopsis of the rarely occurring root disease, violet root rot, its causal agent, Rhizoctonia crocorum, and its relationship with the root and crown rot pathogen, R. solani. This article will highlight an even more uncommon Rhizoctonia disease of sugar beets called dry rot canker. Although virtually unknown in sugar beet production, researchers recently determined it was caused by a largely uncharacterized species of Rhizoctonia, referred to as “binucleate.”

New Disease
B. L. Richards reported a previously undescribed root disease of sugar beet near Cornish, Utah in August 1920, calling it dry rot canker (DRC). The disease was characterized by localized, dry sunken lesions that penetrated deeply into the taproot interior, causing the decaying tissue to rapidly dry out as infection continued inward. Surface tissues of the cankers produced a distinctive series of concentric circles, like a target board (Figure 1). The lesions resulted in cavities filled with a dry pithy material consisting of both fungal hyphae and decayed host matter (Figure 2). These signs and symptoms were quite distinct from those of the well-known Rhizoctonia root and crown rot disease (RRCR) caused by R. solani.

Richards mentions that he learned through correspondence with G. L. Peltier (early UNL plant pathologist) that a similar disease was also observed from Nebraska in 1920. Furthermore, based on preserved herbarium specimens, the disease’s presence could be traced to Utah as early as 1915. DRC has since occurred infrequently throughout other irrigated production areas of the western U.S., and until recently, little else was known about this disease, primarily due to its rare occurrences.

Pithy interior of dry rot canker of sugarbeet
Figure 2. Dry rot canker is characterized by dry sunken lesions that create cavities of dry pithy material.

Pithy interior of dry rot canker of sugarbeet
New Appearances
In mid-September 2011 a field near Bridgeport in Morrill County was found to have a high incidence of plants (10-15%) exhibiting wilting and yellowing symptoms suggestive of RRCR. However, root symptoms were different, consisting of sunken lesions with concentric circles and a rot penetrating deep into root tissues like those described by Richards for DRC.

Between 2013 and 2015 more than a dozen additional sugar beet fields in Morrill and Scottsbluff counties in western Nebraska were identified with plants displaying identical symptoms. Isolations from diseased root tissues all yielded fungal cultures strongly resembling Rhizoctonia solani.

Diagnostic and Field Studies
Molecular analyses of DNA sequences revealed that the DRC isolates had high degrees of similarity (96% identity) with sequences of a binucleate Rhizoctonia species. This is a group of Rhizoctonia species that possess two nuclei within their cells in contrast to the more familiar, multinucleate root and crown root rot pathogen (R. solani). We confirmed this characteristic with microscopic examinations. All subsequent DRC isolates examined to date (more than 20), possess near identical DNA sequences. Based on the different symptoms, unique nuclear condition, and DNA sequence similarities with binucleate Rhizoctonia species, we have demonstrated that the DRC isolates were distinct from the R. solani pathogen associated with RRCR.

We have also conducted recent field studies demonstrating that the DRC pathogen is sensitive to current fungicides and disease-tolerant cultivars in the same manner as R. solani, which is good news for us in future disease management efforts. However, this work also discovered that the DRC isolates actually caused significantly greater yield reductions and disease severity compared with those induced by R. solani when employing cultivars lacking disease resistance.

Concluding Remarks
Richards, the original investigator, presumed that the Rhizoctonia isolates inducing the dry rot canker disease were different than typical R. solani isolates based on different symptoms. This remarkably prescient observation was made long before the availability of our current, more sensitive molecular tools. Our studies have confirmed those suspicions, proving that the pathogen is a distinct Rhizoctonia species, and documented the reemergence of DRC for the first time in almost 100 years.

Harveson, R. M. 2015. The bacterium of many colors. APS Press, St Paul, MN, 288 pp.

Harveson, R. M., and Bolton, M. B. 2013. First evidence of a binucleate Rhizoctonia as the causal agent of dry rot canker of sugar beet in Nebraska. Plant Disease 97: 1508.

LeClerg, E. L. 1939. Studies on dry-rot canker of sugar beets. Phytopathology 29: 793-800.

Richards, B. L. 1921. A dryrot canker of sugar beets. Journal of Agricultural Research 22: 47-52.

Posted in Center News | Leave a comment

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY USDA-NIFA Foundational and Applied Science Program

USDA-NIFA Foundational and Applied Science Program

Program AREA Priority A1102

Foundational Knowledge of Agricultural Production Systems


In 2016, the AFRI Foundational and Applied Science Program initiated a new competitive Program Area Priority (PAP) A1102 focusing on fundamental research in agricultural production systems. This program area priority supports research to advance our knowledge of agricultural production systems, including croplands, rangelands, and managed forests across the rural urban continuum from conventional/organic open-fields to protected built environments, using experimental manipulations of system components, technological interventions, system analyses, and modeling including agroecological approaches.

A full description of the A1102 PAP can be found on page 7-9 of the 2018 AFRI Foundational and Applied Science RFA, which is available at https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/agriculture-and-food-research-initiative-foundational-applied-science-program.

In 2018, Standard, Conference, and FASE proposals (Strengthening Standard, New Investigator, Strengthening Conference, Seed, Equipment, and Sabbatical) are welcome.

Abstracts of previously funded projects are available at: A1102 2016 and 2017 Awards.

Application Deadline is August 9, 2018 (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time)


For more information on the program contact us at:

Mathieu Ngouajio (202) 401-4895 or mngouajio@nifa.usda.gov

Robert Nowierski (202) 401-4900 or rnowierski@nifa.usda.gov

Vanessa Lester (202) 401-6466 or vanessa.lester@nifa.usda.gov



Posted in Center News | Leave a comment

EPA Solicits Proposals for a Cooperative Agreement to Conduct the National Pesticide Information Center

U.S. EPA Office of Pesticide Programs Update Banner

EPA Solicits Proposals for a Cooperative Agreement to Conduct the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC)

EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs is soliciting applications for a cooperative agreement to run the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), which provides the public with objective, science-based information on pesticide-related subjects. EPA expects to provide up to $1,000,000 annually, depending on the Agency’s budget, for a total of 5 years (2019-2024).

As in the past, the cooperative agreement will carry out the NPIC through a website, toll-free telephone service and outreach. Trained experts will respond to questions on the risks associated with pesticide use, restrictions on pesticide use, who to contact for regulatory enforcement, and how to report information on incidents. It will also collect information on suspected incidents that callers give voluntarily.

EPA must receive proposals through Grants.gov no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 30, 2018. For more information on this Request for Applications, visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/request-applications-support-national-pesticide-information-center. To apply, go to grant opportunity EPA-HQ-OPP-2018-001 at Grants.gov.

Posted in Center News | Leave a comment

National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s AFRI Foundational and Applied Science (FAS) Request for Applications

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s AFRI Foundational and Applied Science (FAS) Request for Applications has been released. The FAS program supports grants in six AFRI priority areas to advance knowledge in both fundamental and applied sciences important to agriculture. The six priority areas are: Plant Health and Production and Plant Products; Animal Health and Production and Animal Products; Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health; Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment; Agriculture Systems and Technology; and Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities. Research-only, extension-only, and integrated research, education and/or extension projects are solicited in this RFA. Please refer to the individual program area descriptions for either letter of intent deadlines or application deadlines.

NIFA’s funding opportunity page: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/agriculture-and-food-research-initiative-foundational-applied-science-program

Grants.gov page: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=305681



Posted in Center News | Leave a comment