Information about July 17-20 FIFRA SAP Meeting on Resistance and Bt, Request for Comments on Experts for the Meeting, and June 5 Webcast on the Meeting Charge

On May 17, 2018, the Agency published a Federal Register notice announcing the location of the July 17-20, 2018, in-person meeting of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA SAP) to consider and review “Resistance of Lepidopteran Pests to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Plant Incorporated Plants in the U.S.” The meeting will be held in the Rosslyn Ballroom at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge, 1900 North Fort Myer Drive, Arlington, VA 22209. Please refer to the March 5, 2018 Federal Register notice for additional information.

The Agency also announced that the associated 2-hour preparatory webcast meeting will be held on June 5, 2018, from approximately 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. The preparatory webcast meeting, conducted via Adobe Connect and telephone, will consider and review the scope and clarity of the draft charge questions for the July 17-20, 2018, in-person meeting. Registration is required to participate during this meeting. Continue reading

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Invests in Research on the Implications of Gene Editing Technologies

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced awards to advance research on public engagement and the implications of gene drive and other gene editing technologies. The funding is made possible through the Social Implications of Emerging Technologies initiative within NIFA’s Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities (AERC)’s program area.

“Recent advances in gene editing technologies promise opportunities for meeting challenges that come with a rapidly growing global population,” said NIFA Acting Director Tom Shanower. “However, these advances also raise important questions about their acceptability and potential unintended impacts, so NIFA created the Social Implications of Emerging Technologies program in 2017 to fund research on stakeholder and public engagement with gene drive and other gene editing techniques for agricultural use.” Continue reading

Soybean cyst nematode-resistant soybeans are not immune to pest

In Southeast Farm Press

by members of Syngenta

Many soybean farmers don’t realize their fields may be a buffet for soybean cyst nematodes, despite the use of SCN-resistant soybean varieties.

These microscopic, parasitic worms lurk beneath the soil and can feed off soybean plant roots before any above-ground crop damage is noticed. By then, the SCN population has grown much more numerous and stronger, becoming difficult to control as well as a huge economic threat to soybean farmers. Continue reading

Bt corn trait selection determines caterpillar pest control

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Newly introduced caterpillar control technology has corn producers weighing the benefits of paying more for multiple toxin Bt corn seed, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist.

The decision will depend on what pests are in the field, said Dr. Ed Bynum, AgriLife Extension entomologist in Amarillo.

“If you grow corn in the northern Panhandle and traditionally battle western bean cutworm, then the more toxins the better,” Bynum said. Continue reading

Are Bt Crops a Silver Bullet or a Looming Disaster?

Cotton growers know the pest as the bollworm. Corn growers call it corn earworm. Tomato growers don it tomato fruitworm. By any name, the pest is Helicoverpa zea, and it’s the first pest to develop resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis.

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Resisting Resistance: NY Times Article

A New York Times article from Sunday, May 16, 2010, describes the herbicide resistance scenario I discussed in last Friday’s blog and discusses how herbicide overuse has contributed to glyphosate-resistant weeds. As he states in his conclusion, the desirable solution to the problem is the incorporation of new seeds, including unmodified seed, and the addition of cultivation practices.

Also, read today’s editorial in the Fayetteville Observer (North Carolina) about the evolution of Roundup resistant weeds in southeastern North Carolina.

How to Resist Resistance

When I started working at the Southern Region IPM Center in 2006, I wrote several stories of projects in the region that were in the process of completion. One of them involved a mosquito-management program in Houston, Texas. Populations of the southern house mosquito (Culex quinquefaciatus) were surviving treatments of malathion, the most widely-used pesticide to control it.

Continue reading