SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) today announced it has awarded $1.49 million in grant funding for pest management research projects, to be administered by the Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis (OPCA). These projects are part of the Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS) program and the Proactive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Solutions program. Both programs work to find biological pest control techniques, including providing outreach and education, to agricultural pest management for California.
“These projects will support farmers in California providing additional and lower risk tools to combat pests while maintaining food and crop production,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “Both the BIFS and Proactive IPM programs have been found to reduce pesticide use; 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.”
University of California, Riverside grant project collaborators will receive $994,551 in BIFS grants to fund the Hemp Agroecology Network (HAN), a partnership that will develop, evaluate, and demonstrate ecologically based pest management practices in hemp, targeting specific regions throughout California.
A total of $498,896 will fund a project designed to identify species capable of parasitizing California and Arizona Spotted Lantern Fly (SLF) eggs. The identification of such species may provide a tool for biological control of invasive SLF when it arrives in California. SLF established in Pennsylvania in 2014 and quickly became a significant pest of grape, fruit trees, and native forests. If it were to establish in California, SLF would pose a significant threat to many California crops. Proactively developing biological control options is important to the state’s goals of safer, sustainable pest management strategies that can reduce the use of high-risk pesticides.
The goal of the BIFS grant program is to fund on-farm demonstration and evaluation of innovative biologically based farming systems that employ IPM strategies. CDFA is responsible for supporting agricultural production in California by fostering innovative, efficient and scientifically sound practices.
The goal of the Proactive IPM Solutions Program is to identify and test lower-impact, IPM-based management strategies for exotic pests that are likely to arrive in California. Techniques resulting from this proactive approach will allow for rapid deployment of IPM based management plans and decrease reliance on harsher, broad-spectrum insecticides.
OPCA provides consultation to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) on pesticide regulatory matters and runs grant programs related to pesticide use and alternatives. Information on the Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis is available at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/opca/
–California Department of Food and Agriculture