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Integrated Pest Management

Regional Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Centers

  • What Do Regional IPM Centers Do?
  • Who Benefits From Regional IPM Centers?
  • Products and Ongoing Activities of the Regional IPM Centers
  • National Web Site for the Regional IPM Centers
  • Conclusions of the Regional IPM Centers’ Review

In September 2000, NIFA established four Regional Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Centers, the Northeast, North Central, Southern, and Western, as a means of strengthening its connection with stakeholders and research and extension programs throughout the United States. Although centers are regionally based, inter-regional collaboration is an important component of the program's success. The centers function as a national pest management information network designed to respond quickly to information needs in both the public and private sectors. Regional IPM Centers help NIFA and its partner institutions identify, prioritize, and coordinate national pest management research, extension, and education programs.

What Do Regional IPM Centers Do?

  • increase the effectiveness of stakeholder investments by enhancing interdisciplinary and multi-organizational IPM research and outreach efforts
  • provide timely and high-quality information on IPM practices and use patterns to government agencies and stakeholders
  • organize responses to emerging regional and national issues
  • administer regional IPM grant programs under NIFA oversight

Who Benefits From Regional IPM Centers?

Commercial Agricultural and Urban Production Systems Personnel - Each Regional IPM Center collaborates with the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA Forest Service, National Plant Health Board, Master Gardeners’ Program, and the land-grant universities (LGUs) to address new and emerging pest management issues through regional and national educational efforts.

Consumers – Regional IPM Centers support efforts to ensure that food production systems, landscaping techniques, parks management, school systems, and homeowners are employing the best management practices for pest management.

Regulators - Regional IPM Centers promote informed regulatory decision making and play a key role in linking state and federal regulatory agencies to university-based IPM expertise.

Extension and Research Personnel - Regional IPM Centers share information on funding opportunities with LGU extension and research personnel and collaborate with the LGU system to disseminate their current research results and IPM recommendations.

Products and Ongoing Activities of the Regional IPM Centers

Crop Profiles are descriptions of IPM and crop production practices, including regional differences and worker activities that occur throughout the growing season.

Pest Management Strategic Plans are commodity based documents developed by stakeholder groups to identify and prioritize future IPM needs, strategies, and related information for IPM specialists, regulatory agencies, and decision makers.

Regional and National Pest Alerts are a collaborative development addressing new and emerging pest issues. In cooperation with the LGUs and other pest management educators, the Regional IPM Centers have distributed over 1.2 million copies from the pest alert series.

Current pest alerts include:

Regional and national training programs have been developed by the Regional IPM Centers in cooperation with the LGUs, NPDN, APHIS, ARS, National Plant Health Board, Master Gardeners’ Program, USDA Forest Service, and state departments of agriculture. Featured regional and national training programs include topics such as Soybean Rust and Sudden Oak Death.

Regional IPM Center personnel continue to provide leadership for the National IPM Symposium and encourage collaboration through sponsorship arrangements with APHIS, ARS, the Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP), Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), IR-4, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and contributor arrangements with numerous corporations involved in food production and IPM implementation.

National Web Site for the Regional IPM Centers

The national site provides information about commodities, pests, and pest management practices in the United States. It also offers access to the complete Crop Profiles and Pest Management Strategic Plans databases, an IPM expertise database, information on pesticide use, current pest management research, funding opportunities, and links to many related sites.

The national site also contains links to sites for each of the four Regional IPM Centers. At each of the Regional IPM Center sites, individuals can access regional specific databases, news, information, and announcements. Each site has a unique blend of helpful information which can be obtained through newsletters, pest alerts, and training opportunities.

Conclusions of the Regional IPM Centers’ Review

The Northeastern IPM Center in February 2006 participated in a midterm review of the Regional IPM Centers program. NIFA released a report presenting conclusions of this review, which is summarized below.

Purpose and Format of the Review: The review assessed the Regional IPM Centers’ configuration, performance, and engagement with other programs. All four regional centers were reviewed by one panel under the leadership of NIFA. The review team’s work was based on written materials and presentations provided by NIFA and each of the four Regional IPM Centers. Reviewers heard presentations from a variety of government and university organizations, and received input from center stakeholders via conference calls and surveys. The panel also met individually with the leadership of each IPM Center. The review process is an opportunity to identify and build on successes and to implement corrective initiatives where necessary.

Broad Conclusions: Overall, the review team determined that the “IPM Centers have been successful individually and as a network.” They found the centers to be cooperative; increasing efficiency, communication, and connections with stakeholders; engaging a wide spectrum of nontraditional partners; and reinforcing established IPM networks in ways that facilitate IPM adoption across the nation. The team advised NIFA to continue funding the Regional IPM Centers on an equal distribution basis and to consider the centers’ success as a model for other future NIFA programs.

Strengths Identified: The review team determined that the centers have been especially effective in meeting the following goals:

  • promoting interdisciplinary and multiorgani­zational collaboration;
  • facilitating the development of knowledge, information, technology, communication, and education to enhance IPM for the benefit of regional stakeholders and the environment;
  • serving as a focal point for interactive communication;
  • involving stakeholders in identifying needs and priorities for IPM in serving agriculture, food, and natural resource systems;
  • organizing responses to emerging regional issues;
  • managing resources to facilitate regional IPM programs and activities, showing impressive use of limited resources to maximize output of projects; and
  • promoting collaboration to minimize dupli­cation of effort among states and regions.

Recommendations for Improvement: The review team identified some areas for improvement and offered the following recommendations:

  • Centers need to expand their efforts to establish positive relationships with other federal agencies, a process that has begun but has not reached its full potential.
  • Centers could benefit from additional support in Washington, DC
  • Centers should make strong efforts to secure external funds to leverage the funds received from NIFA and to help support additional program efforts.
  • Centers should develop and widely distribute user-friendly, informative annual reports to highlight accomplishments and successes.

Centers’ Impact on States: Reviewers gave special consideration to the centers’ impact on states and multi-state collaboration, asking whether coordination of IPM efforts across states has led to efficiencies that help compensate for shrinking resources at the state level. They concluded that centers had created and continue to build a sound foundation for multi-state collaboration through the broad representation within their structures, the collaborative requirements of their grants programs, and their role in facilitating communication between knowledgeable stakeholders in the states and federal decision-makers. Reviewers noted that many of the stakeholders participating in the review process said the IPM Centers have had a positive impact on multi-state collaboration and communication.


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