SACRAMENTO — CDFA is pleased to announce the award of $490,000 in funding to the Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship (CURES) to support a three-year project promoting and incentivizing the use of pheromone mating disruption, a biological-based pest management approach, near impaired waterways in the eastern San Joaquin Valley.
Navel orangeworm (NOW) is a major insect pest in almond, pistachio, and walnut orchards and is often controlled using conventional insecticides, including pyrethroids.
“We have a responsibility to balance our mission to protect the state’s food supply from pests like the navel orangeworm with the imperative to use the most sustainable methods available,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “This funding will provide real, tangible benefits to growers, to impaired waterways, and to the broader community.”
Pheromone mating disruption offers an alternative and sustainable pest management (SPM) practice that disrupts NOW reproduction by preventing males from locating females in orchards. Mating disruption is a technique for reducing NOW damage proven by both commercial use and research by the University of California.
The philosophy of the CURES project follows an approach called area-wide mating disruption wherein a group of growers with contiguous acreage collaborate to use mating disruption.
“CURES works with the Eastern San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition and its outreach program managers to contact growers along impaired waterways,” said Parry Klassen, Executive Director of CURES. “We’re offering financial incentives and technical assistance for using the NOW mating disruption simultaneously in their contiguous orchards. The larger the area covered along a waterway, the more effective the approach for reducing NOW populations and the damage they cause.”
Also collaborating on the project are the Almond Board of California (ABC), the University of California Cooperative Extension and crop consultants working with growers along impaired waterways.
This grant award is from CDFA’s Sustainable Pest Management Pilot Grant Program. The award will promote the transition to safer, sustainable pest control practices by incentivizing their use near sensitive habitats. 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.