The North Central Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center is coming to Iowa State University with renewed funding from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The grant award is for $4 million, and the center will receive $1 million annually for four years.
“Iowa State is honored to host the North Central IPM Center and will continue to be an integral part of effective and efficient pest management in Iowa and across the region in agricultural, natural, and urban systems,” said Daniel J. Robison, endowed dean’s chair in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State. “This is fundamental to our work, and we are thrilled to support these efforts regionally.”
Laura Iles and Daren Mueller, both at Iowa State, will now serve as co-directors for the center. Iles is a director and extension plant pathologist with the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, and Mueller is a professor and extension plant pathologist at Iowa State. The center was previously located at Michigan State University and was directed by Lynnae Jess for the last four years with co-direction support from Iowa State.
North Central IPM Center staff. Left to right: Keaton Hewitt, Kelsey Mueller, Jacque Pohl, Laura Iles, Daren Mueller. Photo by Jeffery Iles
This fall, Iles will shift priorities from the Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, which she has directed since 2009, to leading the center. In addition to directing the clinic, Iles also served as the insect diagnostician and provided outreach and training on horticultural pests and disease issues. As center director, Iles will lead the center’s grant program and signature programs, as well as the creation of national pest alerts.
Mueller will also lead the center in a co-director role. He coordinates the Iowa State IPM program and also co-directs the Crop Protection Network. His main research interests involve understanding the biology and management of field crop diseases.
The North Central IPM Center champions the innovation of pest management tools as well as the use of these tools while protecting people and the environment. Much of the center’s pest management focus is directed at agricultural production, which includes specialty crops from blueberries to cucumbers and the pests that affect crops. The center also supports efforts to control pests that threaten human health (like ticks and mosquitoes), pests that invade structures (like cockroaches and bedbugs), and invasive pests (like the northern giant hornet).
The center shares details about pest management efforts by producing Pest Alerts, Pest and Progress webinars, and a monthly newsletter. An annual grant program provided by the center distributes $200,000 annually to working groups dedicated to collaborating across state borders to address pest challenges. Another $100,000 is awarded annually to pest-related research projects.
The North Central IPM Center is one of four IPM centers in the United States, and the center represents the 12 Midwestern states.
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Iowa State University