The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded the regional North Central Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Centerto Michigan State University, with co-direction support coming from Iowa State University.
For the last 18 years, the North Central IPM Center was located at the University of Illinois, where Michigan State University provided co-direction. The North Central IPM Center is one of four centers in the nation, serving 12 states, as part of the USDA’s connection to production agriculture, research and extension programs and agricultural stakeholders throughout the United States.
The IPM centers’ projects strive to improve economic benefits of adopting IPM practices and to reduce potential risks to human health and the environment. The states in the region include: Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Ohio, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.
Serving as the director of the center will be Lynnae Jess, of Michigan State University. As director, Jess will provide leadership and expertise as the North Central IPM Center implements its signature programs and competitive grant programs. Jess will serve as the liaison to the center-funded working groups and provide regional and national leadership on IPM-related issues.
“I am excited to start this new chapter of the North Central IPM Center working with Iowa State University,” Jess said. “The North Central IPM Center has funded projects over the last 18 years that have made a big impact in the region, and beyond. The Working Groups have shown how collaborating with other states, regions and countries can help growers, communities and the environment.
Laura Iles and Daren Mueller of Iowa State University will be co-directors of the center. Iles has directed and served as the insect diagnostician in the ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic since 2009. Mueller is an associate professor and extension plant pathologist at Iowa State University. He is also the coordinator of the Iowa State University IPM program. Ethan Stoetzer, communications specialist for the Iowa State University IPM Center, will also split his time as communications specialist for the center.
IPM is an initiative that aims to identify, research and implement a multitude of strategies that combat and manage various types of pests that can be harmful to all aspects of life, from food production to homeownership.
While many pests can be combated with the use of pesticides as a management strategy, IPM seeks to evaluate pest management from a broader perspective that considers pesticide consequences, economic and environmental repercussions and pesticide resistance.
Through IPM techniques and strategies, such as learning insecticide thresholds, learning fungicide applicability techniques and considering alternatives to pesticides such as introducing beneficial organisms to an environment, producers and even homeowners are able to care for their livelihoods while avoiding unnecessary economic and environmental costs.
Through working groups, the center is able to disseminate $200,000 for Working Group grants to regional institutions for projects that further the center’s goals, at a maximum of $20,000 per project.
Progress reports from the center show that working group members collaborated on funded grants amounting to more than $7.2 million in 2017. For every dollar the North Central IPM Center invested in working groups, a $32 return was received through grants alone.