SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Food and Agriculture has awarded funding for one project within its Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS) grant program. The project was funded to expand the use of low-risk pest control practices in California’s walnut industry and will be completed over three years.
Project leader Sara Tiffany of Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and collaborators will receive $1 million in funding for “Promoting Biologically Integrated Orchard Systems in Walnuts in Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.”
This project will establish six 40-acre demonstration sites throughout the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys where pheromone mating disruption and biological control programs will be used to manage a suite of major walnut pests, including coddling moth and navel orangeworm. These key pests have historically been controlled using chlorpyrifos and other broad-spectrum insecticides. Regulation of these chemistries is increasing – chlorpyrifos is no longer available in California – due to concerns about their impact on human health and the environment. More widespread adoption of alternative, non-spray practices will help protect the health of California’s residents and sensitive ecosystems, while ensuring food supply chains remain secure.
The BIFS project team, which includes CAFF staff, University of California Cooperative Extension specialists and the California Walnut Board, will engage in extensive outreach activities to promote the adoption of biologically integrated practices and foster farmer-to-farmer information exchange.
A review committee, composed of scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, University of California, California State University, state government, a non-profit environmental advocacy organization and a private pest control advisor, reviewed and scored a number of proposals and made the award recommendation to CDFA.
Detailed information on this program, including the application process and application requirements, is available on the BIFS webpage.
Governor Newsom proposed funding for this grant program and the Legislature approved it in the CDFA Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis (OPCA) budget to help California 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.
–California Department of Food and Agriculture
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