STILLWATER, Okla. — Tom Royer, professor of entomology and integrated pest management (IPM) coordinator at Oklahoma State University, has been named the recipient of the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award of Recognition by the 10th Annual International IPM Symposium in recognition of more than 20 years of service to IPM programs.
IPM is a holistic, science-based approach to managing pests to reduce human and environmental risk.
Recipients of the lifetime achievement award demonstrate significant contributions to:
- Enhancing integrated pest management through team building with stakeholder groups.
- Addressing issues across pests, commodities, systems and disciplines.
“I looked at the names of past and current recipients of this award, and I was humbled, because there are many people in there who I look up to as leaders in integrated pest management,” Royer said. “The IPM program has involved a lot of different people and a lot of different disciplines, so I’m thrilled someone thought I was worthy of this award.”
Royer has been an IPM advocate and researcher since 1983 and a leading force behind IPM Oklahoma!, an integrative program involving agricultural, horticultural and urban pest management systems.
Royer’s research projects have involved bed bug management in urban systems, biological control of aphid pests in wheat and sorghum IPM in turf and other horticultural cropping systems.
One of the most important successes of his IPM program was the development of the decision support tool called Glance ‘n Go in collaboration with agricultural researchers Kristopher Giles and Norman Elliott. The tool enables wheat and sorghum producers to quickly sample fields for pests and make economic decisions based on the value of the crop and control costs. It is used by producers nationwide.
“I believe it can have a beneficial impact for both the producer and the environment if we continue to do research that can help them save money and manage pests in an environmentally responsible way,” he said. “I believe the two should be compatible, because producers are the stewards of the resources they’ve been given. Most Oklahoma producers are very conscientious and caring about the land they are working, but they also have to make a living, so it’s important to balance the environmental impact with the economic impact for a producer.”
Phil Mulder, head of OSU’s Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, said Royer has been an advocate of IPM management his entire career and has been highly successful in obtaining funds for research endeavors in the OSU IPM program.
“He has been instrumental in developing support systems that work in wheat and sorghum. He has been able to effectively come up with strategies for sampling aphid pests in both of those systems and for developing economic and decision tools for those issues,” Mulder said. “That, in combination with a keen monitoring program, has resulted in tremendous savings for our producers in wheat and sorghum throughout the region and the state and even throughout other regions.”
Through his OSU Ag Research, Royer has identified not only pests and resolutions to those pests but also beneficial insects that attack the pests. These efforts have saved wheat and sorghum producers millions of dollars in insecticide costs.
“It’s been my driving passion to take all the opportunities that IPM can bring into a management program and try to combine them in creative ways. It’s always excited me and kept me going. It’s just something I really believe in,” Royer said.
Royer will receive the lifetime achievement award in person at the symposium in Denver, Colorado, in February 2022.
Oklahoma State University
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