The Center played a leading role promoting and advocating for integrated pest management regionally, and represented Western needs and priorities at the national level.
We welcomed a new director in Amanda Crump in May. Amanda brings her Idaho farming sensibilities, Colorado forestry training and California evaluation and grant-management experience to the position, as well as an energetic, cooperative vision for the Center. Haven't met her yet? Get in touch.
We funded 11 new IPM projects ranging from felted coccid management in macadamia nut orchards in Hawaii to improved saltcedar management at Southwestern reservoirs, from a pulse crops work group to a web-based biocontrol training; and from an invasive species plan for Montana to an IPM practice evaluation for landscape trees in Alaska. We issued a new RFA in late fall, and received 36 applications for 2017 funding. Matt Baur manages our grant program and can answer any questions about it.
Two of our signature programs expanded in 2016 in very interesting ways. A weather-based decision-support tool initially designed to assist growers in making pest-management decisions broadened into a tool to help Oregon vegetable farmers plan their planting dates to hit certain harvest dates. And our crop pest-loss assessment project that has shown the tremendous impacts IPM programs have made in Arizona cotton and melons began conducting new grower surveys with California leafy green growers and Oregon onion growers. It was also leveraged into a successful USDA grant proposal by Center Comment Coordinator Katie Murray to create a new IPM planning document, the Integrated Pest Management Strategic Plan.
The Center also helped bring together all the Western state IPM coordinators and some USDA-funded researchers for a productive two-day meeting in Idaho in the summer, and helped organize a lively meeting of the National IPM Coordinating Committee in the fall. We submitted 21 comments about proposed EPA decisions, and communicated the priorities of our Western stakeholders to federal officials in the USDA and EPA in multiple meetings, calls and other communications.
We also hit the road in 2016, visiting IPM researchers, projects and practitioners throughout the West. Steve Elliott, the Center communicator, visited Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico and California during the year, and wrote stories, published photo essays and shot some cool video along the way. Rodney Dangerfield even hit us up on Twitter after our story on areawide IPM in safflower! Our monthly newsletter broke the 1,600-subscriber mark (join the list) and was honored by the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture and Natural Resources with a silver award for excellence.
For 2017, we look forward to awarding a new round of IPM research, extension and planning grants, and are already planning visits to the Pacific islands, Alaska, Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada and Arizona. Keep up with us through our newsletter or website at westernipm.org.