State with a grant for the study of integrated pest management | Agriculture


JACKSON – “It’s the right pest control,” says Heather Kelly, Plant Pathologist at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Agriculture, “With integrated pest management, we control pests with more than one tool, only when necessary and as sustainably as possible.”

Kelly is the lead investigator for a new $ 225,000 grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. She and nine other UTIA specialists will spend the next three years researching Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and teaching community members and producers how to control pests effectively.

More than half (58 percent) of the $ 225,000 grant will be used for conversion into agricultural crops, with 18 percent evenly divided for conversion to specialty crops and pollinator health. The remaining 24 percent of the grant will be used to train pesticide users and community officials such as school and housing administrators in IPM.

Some of the programs include the following:

  • Online resource development
  • Training of agricultural district representatives, farmers, advisors, beekeepers and other stakeholders
  • Monitoring and control of invasive and pesticide resistant pests
  • Demonstration of management strategies and their effects on the sustainability of cultivated plants
  • Training of private and commercial pesticide applicators
  • Training of IPM decision-makers in public or low-income housing facilities and schools

“Our long-term goal is to continue to provide real-world solutions, particularly programs that enable people to make effective, economically sustainable, and environmentally sound decisions based on IPM,” said Kelly.

The grant is part of an ongoing initiative by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The agency recently awarded 73 grants for the phytosanitary and pest control program. The Tennessee Award is one of 53 awards for implementing extensions to address high-level malware-related issues and their management using IPM approaches at the state, regional, and national levels.

Investigators at the UT Institute of Agriculture include plant pathologists Heather Kelly and Zachariah Hansen, entomologists Scott Stewart and Karen Vail, beekeeper Jennifer Tsuruda, and pesticide training coordinator Darrell Hensley, all from the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. Agronomists Tyson Raper and Angela McClure, weed researcher Larry Steckel from the Department of Plant Sciences and soil scientist Nutifafa Adotey from the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science are also working on the project.

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