Unifying resistance management education for vegetable and fruit production in the Northeast

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2015: $91,512.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2018
Region: Northeast
State: Massachusetts
Project Leader:
Dr. Hilary Sandler
UMass Cranberry Station

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Crop Production: Resistance management
  • Education and Training: extension, networking, workshop
  • Pest Management: Resistance management

    Proposal abstract:


    1. Problem and Justification (175 words) in terms of the farm audience

    The sustainability of 270,000 acres of Northeastern fruit and vegetable production, valued at $1.73B, depends on the ability of growers to manage pests. Selection and use of available pesticides, with varied modes of actions (MoA), must be correct and judicious to forestall or avoid resistance development. Growers currently receive management information from various sources (e.g., Extension, pest advisers), but the information delivered is not necessarily consistent and comprehensive. In a 2014 survey of 41 growers, 11 of 16 respondents [1] felt they had a good understanding of resistance management (RM), but numbers quickly declined when asked to rate their knowledge of pesticide MoA. All were concerned that pesticide use will increase due to resistance issues and 80% expressed concerns about negative environmental impacts associated with using marginal or ineffective pesticides. Loss of pesticide efficacy due to resistance would seriously impact growers as many operate at a low profit margin (4 Northeastern states averaged less than $5,100 net cash income per farm)[2]. Workshops are the primary way growers want to receive education about RM.


    1. Beneficiary audience, solution, and approach (225 words)

    Northeastern Extension and agricultural industry personnel need education to properly provide pest management and RM advice to specialty crop growers. Many educators realize that RM is a looming issue but lack the tools to properly engage growers. In a 2014 survey of 112 Extension specialists, just 13% (n=54) felt well prepared to teach RM but 92% were motivated to learn about RM and MoA [1]. Less than 17% have formal training in RM and MoA and less than 25% felt their educational materials were good or excellent. Education is key to forestall the development of pesticide resistance and ensure farm sustainability. This initiative would create and coordinate a unified approach to deliver RM education to Northeastern producers. Educators will attend four “train-the-trainer” webinars, augmented by a Moodle resource platform [3], to acquire a standardized knowledge base. The Key Individuals will produce a core module encapsulating the main concepts of RM. Commodity/pest working group members will use the core module, adding relevant components to address the specific needs of their growers, for presentations at local, state, and regional fruit and vegetable meetings. The Key Individuals will make an educational video for reinforcement of RM principles. Beneficiaries will participate in two Northeastern producer events to reinforce and exchange knowledge of RM. Beneficiaries will incorporate information into commodity-specific outreach documents and distribute RM information through existing Extension venues.


    Performance targets from proposal:

    1. Performance target (50 words)

    After participating in on-line webinar and Moodle sessions on the principles and practices of RM within an IPM context, 25 Extension and agricultural industry personnel from 8 Northeastern states develop crop-specific training modules and materials to transfer this knowledge to 800 Northeast specialty crop growers who farm 36,000 acres.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.