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Working Groups

Multi-state Extension Resource for Field Crops Extension

Project Director: Adam Sisson — Iowa State University

The Crop Protection Network (CPN) is a collaborative, multi-state extension resource for field crops extension. The CPN infrastructure strengthens partnerships between states and provinces in the North Central Region and beyond. It seeks to make collaborative outputs easier to brand and create a network of specialists who can support each other in their efforts to enact the core mission of the land-grant institutions, providing research-based education to the public sector. An additional benefit to the CPN is the creation of an active “stage” where knowledge sharing or collaboration in research can be introduced, considered or facilitated.

The focus areas of this project are to increase participation of Extension specialists and administrative units in the CPN Network while increasing IPM outputs; and to increase engagement of farmers, agronomists, extension specialists and others with CPN IPM resources, concentrating on promotion through social media.

Great Lakes Urban Agriculture

Project Director: Jacqueline Kowalski — The Ohio State University

Urban agriculture continues to gain momentum particularly in rust belt cities where land reuse is a critical priority for city planners. Urban farms are developed and managed as either social (not-for-profit) or for-profit enterprises. Community gardens are also critical to re-greening strategies in the region while providing fresh produce to many who might not have adequate access. Urban farmers are often new and beginning farmers that will greatly benefit from using integrated pest management strategies.

The Great Lakes Urban Agriculture IPM working group was formed in 2016 and is continuing to build upon the existing network of university agriculture professionals and stakeholders in order to continue to grow an information sharing-network. The group will work to continue its work on making pest available fact sheets for urban gardeners.

Great Lakes Agriculture and Wildlife Coexistence

Project Directors: Erin Lizotte, James Dedecker, Gary Roloff — Michigan State University

Famers in the Great Lakes Region of the United States produce a diversity of crops and this region also supports abundant wildlife populations that damage crops. Information on how common and widespread crop damage is or the costs to farmers is lacking, and resources for helping farmers address crop damage are highly varied.

To improve communication across the region between relevant agencies and Universities, the Agriculture and Wildlife Coexistence Working Group will bring together researchers, regulators, conservationists, educators, stakeholders, and resources from across the region. The working group will work to improve agriculture-wildlife conflict resources and expertise across the region.

Great Lakes Vegetable

Project Directors: Benjamin Philips, Michigan State University; Daniel Egel, Purdue University

Regional extension educators in the north central region can greatly enhance their ability to help growers by having a strong network and assisting growers across state lines. This beneficial network is built with meetings that include extension personnel and vegetable growers. Extension personnel and growers early in their careers learn much from networking with growers and Extension personnel in other states. Such connections serve them throughout their careers by exposing them to how others adapt to challenges and explore new opportunities.

The Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group (GLVWG) is uniquely poised to connect educators with colleagues that have knowledge that can bridge these gaps. The group will work to host a winter meeting for Extension professionals and a summer grower exchange to forge lasting relationships among young or beginning vegetable growers across the Great Lakes region.

Midwest Grows Green (MGG) Lawn and Land Forum

Project Directors: Thomas Green, Ryan Anderson — IPM Institute-Wisconsin

Homeowners, park and school districts and other land managers use pesticides, fertilizers, and water to maintain the nation’s largest irrigated crop, turf grass. Use of pesticides and fertilizer is often caretakers’ first approach to managing turf grass, whether on lawns or in on public grounds to ensure safety, limit spread of weeds and/or create aesthetically pleasing surfaces to congregate on. Because of this, the home and turf grass sector is responsible for a large portion of applied herbicides, annually. This creates a problem due to water runoff from rains and irrigation, as these fertilizers and pesticides then wash into the Great Lakes’ waters and tributaries for habitat, recreation and drinking water. Because of a lack of available resources and lack of promotion of the various management strategies for home lawns and public turf spaces, caretakers are not informed on the implications of their management strategies, aware of better strategies and potentially cheaper strategies.

The MGG Lawn and Land Forum and the umbrella MGG initiative plans to address these shortcomings in several ways. The Lawn & Land Forum will hold three sessions from the Spring of 2019 to the Spring of 2020 to create and publish an online toolkit in November of 2019. The tool kit will become a resource that advocates, managers and policymakers can turn to when making IPM/NLC policy and programmatic decisions that reduce chemical use, satisfy community needs and remain economically feasible. Lastly, group members will increase the action-oriented components of MGG by holding a minimum in-person/phone meetings with Forum participating organizations to help adopt management strategies.

Great Lakes Hops

Project Director: Erin Lizotte, J Robert Sirrine — Michigan State University

Interest in hop production in the greater great lake’s region has increased dramatically over the last 10 years. The 2017 Hop Growers of American Statistical Report indicated that there were 2,503 acres of hops strung for harvest outside of the traditional production of the Pacific Northwest in 2017. Emerging hop production is reported primarily in Michigan, New York, Wisconsin, Colorado, California, Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina and other states to a lesser extent. This increased interest in hops production needs to be met with resources and staff that can help growers address pest problems in hops. In order to best serve growers, collaboration must be fostered to bring regional expertise to local issues. There is a need for development of new cultivars and best management practices to enhance yield, quality, and profit under the climactic and market conditions that occur in these re-emerging regions.

The working group will provide members with the most up-to-date field conditions and recommended management practices.This Great Lakes Hops Working Group will also host a meeting that supports sustainable hop production in the greater Great Lakes Region. The group will also build upon the dynamic, online hops course currently being developed with working group members.

IPM4Bees Midwest

Project Directors: Randall Cass, Matt O’Neal — Iowa State University

Across the United States, beekeepers of all sizes (commercial, sideline, and backyard) experience annual colony losses at higher rates than previous decades. For many beekeepers, colony losses will result in reduced income from honey production and, more significantly, pollination services. The scientific community understands higher rates of colony loss are the result of four major honey bee stressors: pests and disease, loss of habitat/poor forage availability, pesticide exposure, and negative effects that result from multiple stressors working synergistically.

The goal of establishing the IPM4Bees Working Group is to increase learning and collaboration as well as resources for researchers, extension agents, and other stakeholders that work in honey bees, native bees, and bee-related IPM. The primary areas of focus are pollinator-friendly agricultural IPM practices and IPM for honey bee pests. This group will then work with farmers and beekeepers in the Midwest on best practices related in apicultural and agricultural IPM that improves the health of bees and maintains crop productivity.

Midwest Fruits

Project Director: Diana Cochran — Iowa State University

In the north central region, the market value for fruit and vegetables is over $2 billion annually. In order to remain competitive north central growers must receive fair market value for their crops, they must meet consumer demands for quality fruit. This is not always easy to accomplish, especially in areas prone to problems with plant pathogens, insect pests and weeds. We provide IPM-based pesticide recommendations to growers across our member states which is crucial to their success.

The Midwest Fruits Working group will develop a mobile-friendly pest management application, complete with the online publications that the group has already developed. The group will also work to optimize pest management recommendations to Midwest fruit growers to be more concise and targeted.

Organic and IPM: Educating to Achieve Food Stability

Project Director: Thomas Green, Ali Loker — IPM Institute-Wisconsin

Organic and IPM proponents share many concerns and interests in improving impacts of food production on environmental and human health. Despite these common goals, IPM and organic leaders have few occasions to share thoughts, ideas and resources. The Organic and IPM working group’s goal is to synergize the efforts of these two communities by building partnerships, fostering dialogue between diverse stakeholders, exchanging information and knowledge, and collaboratively identifying and working towards shared priorities.

The group will work to support ongoing activities and growth by maintaining a curated and facilitated educational platform that encourages participation across disciplines, organizations and states. The working group will develop a webinar series and other resources for organic agriculture.

Public Gardens as Sentinels Against Invasive Plants

Project Directors: Kurt Dreisilker, Morton Arboretum; Theresa Culley, Midwest Invasive Plant Network

Invasive plants damage natural areas and recreational environments by out-competing native plants for space, light and other resources, and by changing the habitat and food resources available for native birds, fish and wildlife. The net effect of plant invasions is a decrease in native biodiversity over time. In order to protect these landscapes and their diverse flora and fauna, practitioners must not only utilize IPM techniques to control current invasive species threats but also guard against future threats by understanding invasion pathways and create early warning and response systems to inform action when newly introduced species escape from cultivation.

The working group will develop a webinar series and other resources for use by the organic and IPM communities.

Pulse Crops

Project Directors: Julie Pasche, Audrey Kalil, Samuel Markell — North Dakota State University

Pulse crops (dry edible pea, lentil, chickpea and dry bean) are healthful food choices that are also vital components of cropping systems in semi-arid regions in the north central region. They are high-value crops that require no additional nitrogen fertilization and provide a nitrogen credit to the following crop due to biological nitrogen fixation. Pulse crops require little moisture, and are well suited to reduced tillage systems. The addition of pulse crops into traditional wheat-fallow cropping systems has been an economic boon to rural communities. However, including these crops into rotations has led to new and challenging disease and pest problems.

The group works to foster collaborative relationships among researchers and extension professionals through face-to-face meetings and virtual interaction to address growing IPM priorities in pulse crops. The group will also continue to produce educational outreach materials that correspond to grower needs.

Sunflower Pathology

Project Directors: Samuel Markell, North Dakota State University; Robert Harveson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Charles Block, Iowa State University; Thomas Gulya, USDA-ARS; Febina Mathew, South Dakota State University; Sue Thompson, Malcolm Ryley — University of Southern Queensland, Australia

Approximately 85-90 percent of the 2.0 million acres of sunflower planted annually in the U.S. are in the north central region. According the National Sunflower Association, diseases are the most significant biological yield-limiting factor for sunflower production. Despite this, few pathologists work on sunflower and limited reference and Extension literature on sunflower diseases exist. Consequently, disease identification is challenging for growers and a near-total lack of IPM recommendations has resulted in a reliance on fungicides that are sometimes not effective for disease management.

The group will continue to increase communication among pathologists working on sunflower and produce materials for growers and extension personnel.

Public Tick IPM

Project Director: Thomas Green IPM Institute-Wisconsin

Ticks and the diseases they carry pose a major public health concern to people, pets and livestock. The north central region is home six species of ticks carrying 10 types of tick-borne diseases. In 2016, Lyme disease was the most common tick-borne disease and the number of counties in the north central region with a high incidence continues to grow. Collaboration between researchers, policy advocates, industry professionals, government leaders and public health professionals on a regional and national level is needed to adequately address the increasing health risks from ticks. The Public Tick IPM Working Group seeks to reduce the risk of exposure to infected ticks by collaborating on Integrated Tick Management (ITM) related activities, exchanging knowledge and sharing resources effectively.

Previous Working Groups

Agriculture and Wildlife Coexistence

Certified Crop Advisors Working Group

Food Narrative Project

Great Lakes Fruit IPM Working Group

Great Lake Hop Working Group

Great Lakes Urban Ag IPM

Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group

Midwest Grows Green Lawn & Land Forum Working Group

Multi-State Field Crops Extension Working Group

North Central Nursery IPM Working Group

Northern Plains IPM Guide Working Group

Organic and IPM Working Group

Public Gardens as Sentinels Against Invasive Plants

Public Tick IPM Working Group

Pulse Crops Working Group

Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group

School IPM Working Group

Sunflower Pathology Working Group

Bed Bug Working Group

Consumer Horticulture IPM Working Group

Evaluation Working Group

Extension Crop Entomologist Working Group

Forest IPM Working Group

Green Infrastructure and Implications for Management of Vector Mosquitoes Working Group

IC-Scope: Pest Exclusion Working Group

Invasive Plants in Trade Working Group

Midwest Weather Working Group

NRCS & IPM Working Group: Grower Incentives for IPM

Native American IPM/Invasive Species Management Working Group

Ornamental Crops in Commercial Greenhouse and Nursery Production

Potato IPM Working Group

WeedSoft Working Group