FY 2018 Methyl Bromide Transition RFA Released

The methyl bromide transition program (MBT) addresses the immediate needs and the costs of transition that have resulted from the scheduled phase-out of the pesticide methyl bromide. Methyl bromide has been a pest and disease control tactic critical to pest management systems for decades for soilborne and postharvest pests. The program focuses on integrated commercial-scale research on methyl bromide alternatives and associated extension activity that will foster the adoption of these solutions. Projects should cover a broad range of new methodologies, technologies, systems, and strategies for controlling economically important pests for which methyl bromide has been the only effective pest control option. Research projects must address commodities with critical issues and include a focused economic analysis of the cost of implementing the transition on a commercial scale. Continue reading

USDA Reminds Public: Don’t Move Wood Out of Areas Quarantined for Asian Longhorned Beetle

As colder weather approaches, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is reminding the public not to move wood out of areas quarantined for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). It is important that people follow state and federal regulations, which restricts the movement of woody material, to keep this tree-killing pest from spreading outside of quarantined areas, particularly in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio.

“Preventing the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle to places outside of quarantined areas is critical to eliminating them from these three states, and we cannot do it without the help of residents and business owners in each state,” said Josie Ryan, APHIS’ National Operations Manager for the ALB Eradication Program. “As the weather gets colder and families begin using wood stoves and fireplaces, we are reminding the public to follow the regulations, especially when stocking up on firewood.” Continue reading

Soil Microbes Every Agronomist Should Know

This webinar is sponsored by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service – Science and Technology, National Technology Support Centers

What will you learn?

This webinar will focus on the challenges and benefits of managing soil biology rather than relying only on chemically based systems, along with the key roles that soil microbes play in agroecosystems. Learn more… Continue reading

USDA Invests in Integrated Pest Management for Increased Production

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced grants to bring safer, more effective pest management approaches to farms and communities.

“Insects, weeds, and diseases are ever-evolving challenges for U.S. agriculture,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA is making investments to develop sound scientific approaches to increase production and provide continued food security in the face of these threats.”  Continue reading

Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program (BRAG)

The purpose of the BRAG program is to support the generation of new information that will assist Federal regulatory agencies in making science-based decisions about the effects of introducing into the environment genetically engineered organisms (GE), including plants, microorganisms — such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses — arthropods, fish, birds, mammals and other animals excluding humans. Investigations of effects on both managed and natural environments are relevant. The BRAG program accomplishes its purpose by providing federal regulatory agencies with scientific information relevant to regulatory issues. See the Request for Applications for details. Continue reading

NIFA to Invest in Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced a competitive opportunity to conduct research on the environmental effects of genetically engineered (GE) organisms, including plants, animals, insects, and microorganisms. The $3.5 million in grants is available through NIFA’s Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants (BRAG) Program.

The BRAG program supports applied and fundamental research to help federal regulators evaluate the effects of GE organisms on their environment. Proposals are solicited to support standard research projects or conference proposals that bring together stakeholders to discuss and evaluate science-based data relevant to environmental risk assessments or risk management related to biotechnology-developed organisms. Continue reading

Biological pesticides are included in integrated pest management systems

In Southeast Farm Press

Biological pesticides can play a key role in a successful integrated pest management program and can be useful in increasing sustainability on the farm.

Speaking at a symposium on the role biological crop protection products can play in sustainable agriculture in Orlando Oct. 11, David Epstein, senior entomologist with USDA’s Office of Pest Management Policy, said integrated pest management, or IPM, is all about ecosystems and a systems-based approach to controlling pests. Continue reading