Promoting Sustainable Agriculture Through a Systems Approach to Consensus Building and Public Policy Education

1995 Annual Report for ENE95-014

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1995: $27,098.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1997
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $60,500.00
Region: Northeast
State: New Jersey
Project Leader:
Edmund Tavernier
Dept of Agriculture

Promoting Sustainable Agriculture Through a Systems Approach to Consensus Building and Public Policy Education


Integrated pest management (IPM) strategies and methods created by land grant university research and extension over the last 20 years have emerged as the most powerful tools for managing agricultural pests for successful crop production while protecting environmental quality. More recently, integrated crop management (ICM)has been added to assist and engage farm operators in systematically planning whole-farm management — evaluating all resources and inputs — while emphasizing nutrient management to protect water quality.

Yet, adoption of ICM/IPM is restricted to a few crops and farm operations, and is rarely used on whole farms, especially by horticultural producers. Adoption and delivery are hindered by the complexity of multiple crop and pest relationships on a single farm, the time and skills required of growers and agricultural professionals, and by the lack of qualified trained crop advisors.

Three education and training activities are proposed over a two-year period to improve the ability of public agricultural support professionals to create and offer grower whole-farm ICM/IPM technical assistance programs.

First, relevant ICM/IPM literature and experiences will be reviewed in a systematic way; reducing the volume of information and preparing teaching tools or field use by agricultural support professionals. Educational resources currently appear in published journals, in extension publications that are only distributed locally, and in handouts used by trainers, practitioners and others. The project will develop abstracted references, a searchable database, condensed resource lists, sample scouting guides, condensed lists of available IPM thresholds, sample IPM farm plans for participation in voluntary or governmental programs, referral guides for other USDA agency personnel, and other materials.

Second, a training program will be prepared for 150-300 agricultural professionals and agency personnel in two states, and conducted during the second year. Evaluations will determine the value of this training for other states.

Third, selected electronic, mechanical, or hand-held tools and methods will be evaluated in the field over two growing seasons to help agricultural professionals more efficiently gather, manipulate and share IPM information. Recommendations will be prepared and shared in the region. Improving the efficiency, speed and simplicity of gathering and sharing IPM information – directly from the field to grower – is essential to expand current programs in a region where small farm/field sizes, wide variety of crops, and travel time between fields broken by suburban development all combine to make delivery of IPM field monitoring cost- prohibitive for public and private field monitoring programs.

The major participants are well-suited for this task due to extensive experience creating and training for ICM /IPM programs on high value horticultural crops which dominate the most profitable sectors of agriculture in the region.


M.P. Hartley

Rutgers Univ.
L. Lange

Univ. of Conn.
A.J. Hahn

Cornell Univ.