News stories shared in the November 2023 Central Issue appear below.
North Central IPM Center Updates
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, goals, 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.
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.
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
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 www.regulations.gov on docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2023-0562. Comments are due March 14, 2024.
Preparing for Next Season
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.