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US (CA): $1M awarded for sustainable pest management pilot study

CDFA has awarded $1 million in funding to the California Association of Pest Control Advisors to support a two-year project evaluating statewide pest management (SPM) practices. The project will develop data on existing practices and utilize the data to produce new educational courses for pest control advisors (PCAs) – highly trained agricultural consultants who serve at the forefront of plant protection across the state.

This award is from the agency’s Sustainable Pest Management Pilot Grant Program. The award is intended to help guide the transition to safer, sustainable pest control practices by assessing current practices in California and enlisting the help of PCAs to promote SPM.

The project aligns with the state’s new pest management strategy, “Accelerating Sustainable Pest Management: A Roadmap for California,” which underscores SPM as a whole-system approach that promotes human health, resilient ecosystems, and economic viability in agricultural production.

PCAs survey millions of acres annually for pests, nutrient challenges, and irrigation issues, and they recommend strategies to contend with them. PCAs play a pivotal role in promoting SPM in California agriculture and improving producers’ ability to practice SPM.

“PCAs are our boots-on-the-ground partners and have first-hand experience with the multitude of pressures that our producers face every day,” said CDFA Undersecretary Christine Birdsong. “The information they will gather through this pilot study will provide a clear analysis of the pests our producers are addressing. This information is essential for understanding the current state of pest management and the impacts of any future changes.”

As part of the study, the California Association of Pest Control Advisers will partner with PCAs, commodity groups, growers, and CDFA scientists to collect and analyze pest control practices in pistachio, grape, tomato, and lettuce production.

Participating PCAs will receive stipends in exchange for consistently reporting detailed information on their management strategies, including pest surveillance, plant health diagnostics, and recommendations for pesticide applications. And then, a curriculum will be developed for SPM Continuing Education courses targeted at filling in gaps in SPM training.


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