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On the Farm

The Challenge
Pest pressures on farms are constant. Growers must be aware of these pressures, and they often use pesticides as part of their routine practices for protecting crops. Pesticides are powerful tools for controlling pests but may lead to unintended exposure. Reduced-risk pest management practices, such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (print version, 2 pp, 1MB, About PDF), are available that can soften the impact to human health and the environment. PestWise programs and initiatives are working to increase use of these practices.

The Solution

large farm with rows of grain crops with a farm house in the distance
IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. Examples of IPM practices include:

  • agricultural associations increasing their members' awareness of options to include reduced-risk practices into existing farming techniques
  • a food processor who manages multiple large farms focuses on maintaining good sanitation practices to reduce pest populations
  • growers incorporating biopesticides (print version, 2 pp, 1.4MB, About PDF) into existing farming techniques
Quick Facts about IPM
  1. Based on information regarding the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment
  2. Uses this information in combination with available pest control technologies to manage pests economically and with reduced risk
  3. Takes advantage of all appropriate pest management strategies, including the careful use of pesticides when necessary

The Results
PestWise program partners are expanding the use of IPM in agriculture across the United States. For example:

In 2008, the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape CommissionExit EPA disclaimer, a Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) member, enrolled 28 growers with over 10,000 acres of vineyards in the Lodi Rules for Sustainable Growing Program. Based on the success rate of previous years, over 9500 of these acres will achieve certification for sustainability. Since 2007, the Program had an increased enrollment by 10 additional growers and 2500 additional acres of vineyards. Learn More about PESP >>

Red Tomato Exit EPA disclaimer, a Massachusetts based non-profit organization, assists ecological fruit and vegetable growers to market their produce. In 2005, Red Tomato received an EPA grant to develop a new apple production standard, called Eco-Apples. The new standard's efforts reduced pesticide use and sales jumped from $146,000 to over $1.4 million, an increase of 992%.

With support from a Biopesticide Demonstration Program (BDP) grant, the University of GeorgiaExit EPA disclaimer conducted field demonstrations of the biopesticide, potassium phosphite, used on blueberries to manage foliar and root diseases. Potassium phosphite was found to be superior to fungicide use for disease control. The result: Potassium phosphite is now used on more than 50% of Georgia blueberries, and its use is spreading beyond the state. Learn More about BDP >>

Related Resources
The following resources can help you learn more about implementing IPM on the farm:

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