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Biobased Pest Management

NIFA Grant Programs Supporting Biobased Pest Management

Nationally and regionally, NIFA funds research, extension, and education projects in biobased pest management. Awards support approaches toward understanding, developing, enhancing, and integrating biobased pest practices into an overall management system with the goal of reducing dependency on synthetic pesticides. Below is a description and current status of this portfolio.

Nationally Focused Programs (Discovery to Implementation)

National Research Initiative (NRI)

The NRI supports fundamental and mission-linked research on the biology and management of nationally important insects, microbes, nematodes, and invasive plants. It also supports research on the interactions among pest organisms, species of agricultural importance, and their interaction with the environment. The NRI is a foundation for the development of the next generation of pest management tools, strategies, and systems. The Biologically Based Pest Management Program (51.7), which supported near-term research between 1997 and 2003 has ended, but its mission continues under other programs.

The Entomology/Nematology program was split into two new programs: “Integrative Biology of Arthropods and Nematodes” and “Arthropod and Nematode Gateways to Genomics.” The Integrative Biology program will continue to support fundamental research on the ecology, behavior, and systematics of biological control agents, plant-insect interactions, and resistance management. Prospective applicants are directed to the grant programs listed below for near-term studies in biobased pest management. For further information about these NRI programs, contact Mary Purcell-Miramontes.

Risk Avoidance and Mitigation Program (RAMP)

RAMP supports the development and implementation of innovative integrated pest management (IPM) systems on an area or landscape basis. It is designed to maintain crop productivity and profitability and, at the same time, address environmental quality and human health issues. The program will involve major acreage crops, as well as key fruit and vegetable production systems. Projects funded by this program are long-term, involving systems approaches targeted at eliminating or minimizing pesticide residues in key foods, soil, and surface water. Funded projects may be multistate or regional and typically involve multiple cropping systems with emphasis on enhanced stability and sustainability of IPM systems. This is a Section 406 national competitive grants program.

Crops at Risk (CAR)

The CAR program addresses intermediate-term, applied research, education, and extension in IPM for crop and cropping systems. The goal of this program is to develop or modify multiple-tactic IPM systems and strategies focused on specific crop production systems. This is a Section 406 national competitive grants program.

Minor Crop Pest Management (IR-4)

IR-4 is the principal public program supporting the registration of pesticides and biological control agents for use on minor crops. This program provides coordination, funding, and scientific guidance for both field and laboratory research to develop data in support of registration packages to be submitted to EPA. IR-4 coordinates the cooperation of commodity producers, state and federal research scientists, and extension specialists in identifying and prioritizing pest control needs. This is a special research competitive grants program, with additional support from NIFA and Agricultural Research Service base funds.

Methyl Bromide Transitions Program (MBT)

This program addresses the need to develop management technologies, systems approaches, and extension delivery programs for methyl bromide uses that may be canceled. This is a Section 406 national competitive grants program.

Organic Transitions Program (OTP)

The goal of this program is the development and implementation of biologically based pest management practices that mitigate the ecological, agronomic, and economic risks associated with a transition from conventional to organic agricultural production systems based on national standards. This is a Section 406 national competitive grants program.

Extension IPM Implementation

This is base funding to each state and territory that facilitates the development and transfer of IPM from researchers to implementation by farmers, crop consultants, and other end users. Information outreach occurs through consultations, clinics, workshops, conferences, demonstrations, field days, and a wide variety of publications. These funds provide the scientific foundation for IPM. These are Smith-Lever 3(d) funds and are distributed according to a formula.

Base Support to Land-Grant Universities

The underpinning of the national extramural agricultural research, education, and outreach capability is accomplished through a federal/state partnership with the Land-Grant University System. NIFA provides oversight for the federal annual base support that is provided through Hatch, Smith-Lever, McIntire-Stennis, and Evans-Allen Acts. The federal funds are matched and multiplied by state and local resources in support of the national agricultural research, education, and extension infrastructure. These funds are distributed according to a formula.

Small Business Innovation Research

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program makes competitive grants to qualified small businesses containing advanced concepts related to important scientific problems and opportunities in agriculture that could lead to significant public benefit. The overall goal is to stimulate technological innovations in the private sector, strengthen the role of small businesses in meeting federal research and development needs, increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from USDA-supported research and development efforts, and foster and encourage participation by women-owned and socially and economically disadvantaged small business firms in technological innovations. Programs relevant to biobased pest management research are the Plant and Animal Production and Protection programs.

Regionally Focused Programs

Regional IPM Centers (Centers)

Centers, by partnering with institutions and stakeholders, will facilitate the identification and prioritization of regional, multistate IPM research, extension, and education program needs. In Fiscal Year 2000, geographically based centers were formed in the north central, northeastern, southern, and western regions to establish a national pest management information network. Centers of the future will be the focal point for team-building efforts, communication networks, and stakeholder participation. Centers will bring together expertise, identify needs and priorities, and address a broad range of IPM research, education, and outreach issues. This is a Section 406 national competitive grants program.

Regional Integrated Pest Management Program (RIPM)

The RIPM Program is a regionally based program that supports development and implementation of new and modified IPM tactics and systems, the validation in production systems, and the delivery of educational programs to pest managers, advisors, and producers. The program builds stakeholder partnerships to address critical pest management needs in the region. This is a competitive special research grants program and will be managed regionally by the centers.

Pest Management Alternatives Program (PMAP)

The program goal is to develop replacement tactics and technologies for pesticides undergoing regulatory action where there are no effective registered alternatives. This program funds short-term development and outreach projects aimed at adaptive research and implementation of tactics that have shown promise in previous studies. The focus of the program is primarily on developing replacements for specific tactics. The intent is to continue current program goals and convert this program to a component managed by IPM centers. This is a special research competitive grants program.


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