Venerable NY IPM Program On the Ropes

The New York IPM Program, one of the first state IPM programs and a model for many others, faces extinction. After three decades of impact developing crop protection methods and teaching farmers how to use them, enhancing  environmental protection, human health AND profitability, the program faces the budgetary axe of  Governor Paterson, whose new budget zeroes it out.

Full disclosure: I spent most of my career as part of the Cornell’s IPM Program, so yes I have a personal interest. But beyond that, as a Southern Region IPMer now, I am very concerned about the imminent loss of this program. First, any loss of public investment for IPM research and education is a loss to all of us.  Second, the New York program in particular has been a model of innovation from which all other state IPM programs have benefited, and a model we can ill afford to lose.  Along with California (and followed quickly by Texas, North Carolina, and others), New York was one of the first states to designate significant resources to a dedicated IPM program.  Innovations pioneered there, some of which  have become almost routine across the country:

  • hiring “area IPM educators” who provided “train the trainer” programs for Extension agents and others, who in turn worked directly with growers, farm managers, consultants and others
  • instituting small group, year long in-depth training  (called “TAg Teams” in NY) that allow farmers and others to gain in depth, hands on and peer-driven education in IPM, crop management, nutrient management and other topics that the team requests
  • routine and public documentation of the value of IPM efforts in terms like pesticide applications avoided, yield and quality preserved, profitability enhanced, etc.
  • growth beyond the traditional agricultural programs (while still serving the ag side) to programs like IPM for schools, structural IPM (inside buildings, e.g. cockroaches, termites, bedbugs), turf IPM (golf courses, lawns, parks, and commercial sod production)
  • production  of IPM “elements” or “protocols” – best management practices defined in a collaborative process with growers, consultants, (food) retailers and wholesalers, researchers, Extension educators, and others

A press release from NY IPM about the program provides an overview of the issue, and their home page provides other information. In New York the Governor’s budget is only the starting point of the eventual state budget – eventually the Senate, Assembly and Governor must all agree in order to finalize the budget. Supporters may be able to impact the outcome with communication to key state decision makers.

A final note for this post: this item is distressingly similar to the recent post about elimination of IPM Centers from the President’s federal budget, and to another regarding funding threats to Extension budgets. These are hard times all around for public programs – let’s hope that ultimately our leaders make wise investment decisions.

One Response

  1. […] IPM Safe, Although Cuts are Likely Posted on July 8, 2010 by rhallberg Back in February, we alerted everyone to the possible elimination of the New York IPM Program. According to a news article published on […]

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