The North Central IPM Center funds critical issue and working group research projects each year. Projects funded this year are described below, and some past projects are listed at the bottom of the page.
Critical Issue Projects
Critical issue projects support research that addresses critical pest concerns, aiming to improve understanding and management of pests that pose threats to crop productivity, human health, or safety, including diseases, weeds, and insects.
Project Director: Tamra Jackson-Ziems, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Project Director: Mandy Bish, University of Missouri
Working Group Projects
The Signature Programs of the North Central IPM Center form the core focus of the Center and serve as the foundation for setting annual priorities. When seeking funding, working groups are required to align their proposals with at least one of these programs. This approach ensures that our mission to promote the advancement and implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is furthered through targeted initiatives.
Projects that received funding are categorized based on our Signature Programs outlined below:
Protect diverse cropping systems, human and animal health, and environmental resources with IPM
Project Director: Margaret Rivera, The Ohio State University
Project Director: Elizabeth Y. Long, Purdue University
Project Director: Audrey Kalil, North Dakota State University
Project Director: Samuel Markell, North Dakota State University
Ensure food security by preparing for disruptive forces such as climate change, pest resistance and invasive species
Project Director: Jeffrey Bradshaw, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Project Director: Sarah Lancaster, Kansas State University
Protect pollinators and other beneficial insects
Project Director: Randall Cass, Iowa State University
Project Director: Ana Heck, Michigan State University
Project Director: Caroline Hernandez, University of Illinois-Chicago
The Agriculture and Wildlife Coexistence Working Group was created to help farmers with challenges associated with having wildlife near the farm, from crop damage to livestock disease. The goal was to list the problems, identify solutions and promote the solutions to growers.
- 8 wildlife-ag bulletins published in March of 2019
- Conducted a survey of specialty crop, row crop, ornamental and livestock producers to learn about challenges and needs related to wildlife damage management.
- Michigan State University Extension Ag and Wildlife Podcast created in 2021
Alfalfa is a vital perennial forage crop in the US, but it faces challenges from diseases and insect pests, impacting crop yield and animal well-being. To address these issues, an alfalfa pest management working group was formed, resulting in the development of educational resources and tools for disease and insect pest management, including an interactive encyclopedia and training tool. The group achieved significant progress by adding 36 articles on alfalfa to the Crop Protection Network Encyclopedia and illustrating nine disease life cycles.
This project is still active as the Crop Protection Network. It allows extension materials to be created once and then shared across programs in multiple states.
- Certified Crop Advisor Continuing Education Credit Exams
- Disease Loss Estimate Calculator
- Research Updates Publications: “Pesticide Impact on White Mold (Sclerotinia Stem Rot) and Soybean Yield” & “Seed Treatment and Foliar Fungicide Impact on Sudden Death Syndrome and Soybean Yield”
- Webinar: “Seedling Disease of Soybean and Using Seed Treatments to Reduce Losses”
- I See Dead Plants Podcasts
- Virtual Crop Scouting School
- Disease Severity and Defoliation Training tool
- Multiple publications covering topics from cover crops to soybean and corn diseases
This working group is welcome to all Extension Entomologists with a few meetings a year and the opportunity to connect and ask questions through the team software called Basecamp.
This project seeks to unite agricultural stakeholders, from researchers to farmers to ag businesses and organizations so that good farming practices can be implemented with benefits to farmers, citizens and society. Learn more on the Farming and Food Narrative Project website.
From 2010 to 2020, hop production interests in regions like the Great Lakes, Northeast, and North Central grew significantly, with a 284 percent increase in acreage outside of the Pacific Northwest. Market support also surged, with 50 percent of brewers willing to pay a premium for locally grown hops. Despite the enthusiastic growth, re-emerging production regions face challenges due to limited resources and expertise. The Great Lakes Hop Working Group (GLHWG) successfully facilitates collaborative research and outreach efforts, resulting in achievements such as hop production tours, online courses, virus identification surveys, diagnostic tools, and an MSU Hop Podcast.
Regional extension educators in the North Central region can improve their support for growers by establishing a strong network that spans state lines. The Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group (GLVWG) aims to facilitate this connection through winter meetings for Extension professionals, summer grower exchanges, and tours for early career individuals, fostering lasting relationships among vegetable growers across the Great Lakes region and beyond.
The Great Lakes Fruit Workers Working Group unites professionals across multiple fields, from researchers to extension specialists and consultants to improve information sharing related to pest management on fruit crops. More details are on the Great Lakes Fruit Workers website or in this summary of efforts.
To streamline the process of identifying invasive plant species, the Invasive Species Working Group, comprising representatives from multiple Midwestern states, aimed to create a shared database of scientific references. By meeting monthly and pooling resources, the group was able to accelerate the assessment of invasive plants, preventing duplication of efforts and enabling quicker updates to state-based invasive plant lists. The project’s goals included proactively identifying invasive species and promoting efficient resource utilization among states.
The Iowa Pest Resistance Management Program is a collaborative effort including individuals and groups representing all parts of the Iowa community, including farmers and landowners, small and national businesses, scientists, researchers and state regulators. Together, these partners leverage resources, expertise and time to help inform the public about pest resistance, find new pest management strategies and encourage public support and adoption of these practices. Since the state plan was written, two separate community teams have taken the lead to bring attention to local pest threats, potential resistance issues, and effective management options that preserve available tools.
The nursery and greenhouse industry is the fastest-growing segment of U.S. agriculture, with steady growth in production facilities and cash receipts over the last two decades. In the North Central region, which has four states in the top 15 nationally, the industry contributes significantly to total national nursery and greenhouse sales. However, nurseries face various IPM and management challenges that can impact profit margins. To address these issues, the working group conducted annual meetings and developed crop profiles for nursery crops within the region.
Visit the Nursery IPM Facebook page for more information.
Locally produced specialty crops, such as vegetables, fruits, and wines, are rapidly growing sectors in U.S. agriculture. However, their continued growth is threatened by herbicide drift, particularly from dicamba and 2,4-D, which poses a high risk to specialty crop growers in the North Central region. To address this issue, a group of weed, agronomic, and horticulture crop specialists will evaluate and prioritize the challenges and develop resources for education and prevention to mitigate drift risks and support the long-term stability of these enterprises.
Learn more on the Herbicide-Drift Risk Management for Specialty Crops website.
The Pest Alert Network Working Group facilitated improved communication between stakeholders to address pest threats in crop production. They achieved this by creating a pest alert network, generating maps of insect sightings, and developing a Mesonet tool for monitoring predictions. Their efforts aimed to expand scouting and identification efforts, increase management options, and improve farm profitability.
Learn more by visiting the Pest Alert Network website.
The Pollinator Education and Action for Youth working group aims to educate the general public, especially youth, about the importance of pollinators and their protection. By developing cohesive educational programs, including lessons on pollinator significance, habitat enhancement, and integrated pest management, the group intends to increase knowledge and awareness. The working group recruits educators and provides training, resources, and supplies to implement the curriculum, ultimately leading to increased pollinator habitat and protection efforts in communities. Achievements include establishing pollinator education goals, aligning them with K-12 education standards, and identifying educational resources for easy use in lesson plans.