The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded funding for a project to be administered through the Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis (OPCA) Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS) grant program.
"The BIFS grants program has helped established some long-lasting, valuable Integrated Pest Management agricultural systems,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “BIFS practices have been found to reduce pesticide use, including chlorpyrifos and other organophosphate insecticides; improve soil fertility; decrease erosion and nitrogen leaching; and increase populations of beneficial insects, fishes, birds and game—all of which are very important in creating sustainable, climate-smart agricultural operations.”
The new BIFS project, which will last for four years, received strong support from the winegrape industry. A review committee composed of scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, University of California, California State University, state government, and a private pest control advisor reviewed and scored a number of proposals and made the award recommendation to CDFA.
Grant project leader Dr. Kent Daane of UC Berkeley and collaborators will receive $1 million in funding for “Refinement and Implementation of an Areawide Program for Vineyard Pathogens and their Insect Vectors.” This project will establish two demonstration blocks of at least 1,000-acres each where pheromone disruption tools will be used to control vine mealybug, the insect responsible for vectoring grape leafroll disease (GLD). Vines infected with GLD will also be systematically removed to prevent the spread of this economically devastating disease. The project work will be done in the Lodi and Central Coast winegrape regions.
The goal of the BIFS grant program is to demonstrate and refine integrated pest management (IPM) programs designed to reduce chemical insecticide inputs, especially non-selective, biologically disruptive insecticides with higher risk to human health and the environment. Projects foster farmer-to-farmer information exchanges and on-farm demonstrations of IPM practices while allowing growers to maintain yields and quality. Outreach efforts bring together scientists, farmers and consultants in a collaborative, co-learning environment that enables farmers to learn and adapt farming practices to local conditions.
Detailed information on this program, including the application process and application requirements, is available here.
Governor Newsom proposed funding for this grant program and the Legislature approved it in OPCA‘s budget to help California’s farmers transition away from the insecticide chlorpyrifos. OPCA provides consultation to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation on pesticide regulatory matters, and consultative activities focus on potential pesticide regulatory impacts and pest management alternatives that may mitigate or prevent such impacts on production agriculture. OPCA staff are also involved in other projects relating to pesticide use and alternatives.