Western Region Pesticide Risk Reduction through Professional Development for Western State IPM Programs

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $69,299.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2019
Grant Recipient: Oregon State University
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Paul Jepson
Oregon State University

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Crop Production: pollinator health
  • Education and Training: decision support system, extension, networking, workshop
  • Pest Management: biorational pesticides, botanical pesticides, chemical control, integrated pest management
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    We will significantly reduce pesticide risks in Western US agricultural production through capacity development with State IPM extension
    programs on pesticide risk assessment and risk education principles and processes. Collaborators include state IPM coordinators and other
    extension faculty from 12 Western region states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico,
    Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. This project seeks to grow a collaboration with these programs that was conceptualized at the
    July 2016 Western State IPM Coordinators annual meeting (WERA-1017), with an aim of implementing action on pesticide risk reduction.
    Specifically, this project provides capacity development on pesticide risk assessment and education through the implementation of two
    workshops, ongoing monthly discussion topics, the refinement and sharing of a new, internationally peer-reviewed pesticide risk
    classification process, and the development of a centralized website for key resources and tools. To assess project outcomes, an evaluation
    process will measure the skills and capacities developed among the participating collaborators, as well as the uptake of new tools and
    education by each program’s participating stakeholders. Increasing the competency of Western state IPM programs to effectively assess and
    reduce pesticide risks will have broad and deep impact across the region, and this work will lead to a transferrable model of pesticide risk
    education for agricultural professionals in other regions and locations. Project collaborators will co-author a publication on this approach
    and its impacts. The project impacts will be shared widely based on our close affiliation with various regional, national, and international
    IPM groups.
    The use of pesticides negatively affects agricultural sustainability through several externalities, including impacts to human health, and the
    development of pest resistance and environmental disequilibrium (Wilson and Tisdell 2001, Jepson 2009). The Food and Agriculture
    Organization’s International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management (2014) aims to address these impacts with pesticide risk reduction,
    calling for increased capacity development and the removal from use of highly hazardous pesticides. This code also formally acknowledges
    the central role of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in reducing pesticide risks to protect human and ecological health and achieve lasting
    transformation to more sustainable practices (Poppy et al, 2014; FAO 2014). Reducing pesticide risks is also among the goals of the
    National IPM Roadmap (USDA 2013). IPM Extension programs are essential to progress in risk reduction (Jepson et al, 2014), and provide
    an essential component of pesticide risk management by contributing to safe and effective use, and employment of alternatives to
    pesticides. Successful efforts must address multiple pathways, including decision-support in pesticide selection to encourage low and
    reduced-risk products, risk mitigation education with the use of higher risk products, and encouraging the elimination of highly hazardous
    pesticides in order to best protect human health and safety and preserve ecological services.
    At their 2016 annual meeting, Extension IPM professionals from the Western US overwhelmingly agreed that capacity development is
    needed to achieve pesticide risk reduction. In addition to knowledge and skill development in pesticide risk education, an informal survey
    of our collaborating Western region programs revealed three main needs: 1) professional development workshops for Extension IPM
    educators addressing methods to improve learning and outcomes regarding pesticide risks, 2) a central website for sharing information and
    tools on pesticide risk evidence, assessment, education, and mitigation, and 3) a science-based, user-friendly risk classification system for
    pesticide products, that could be adapted to specific assessment needs (e.g. agricultural, urban, home garden, institutional, etc.).
    This project aims to address the needs expressed by our collaborating programs to achieve significant and documentable pesticide risk
    reduction across the Western US, a region representing some of the world’s most productive and diverse agro-ecosystems. The likelihood
    of success is high based on existing collaborations (see supporting letters from each state IPM Program), and successful risk reduction here
    would translate into significant progress globally. The collective expertise within the Integrated Plant Protection Center (IPPC) at Oregon
    State University in risk communication, outcome-based education (Halbleib and Jepson, 2015, 2016), and decision-support (e.g.
    ipmPRiME.org) provide a unique opportunity for progress. In another SARE PDP grant led by Mary Halbleib at IPPC, within-state
    capacity is being developed in IPM extension program design, and the pesticide risk reduction methods that we develop in this proposal will
    be integrated with this process.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Conduct two annual pesticide risk education workshops for Western Region IPM Coordinators and other extension faculty, focused on
    pesticide risk education and impact evaluation, to coincide with the 2017 and 2018 annual meetings of Western Region IPM Program
    Coordinators (WERA-1017).
    The project will begin and end with an in-person workshop for Western state IPM program staff, designed to increase capacity in pesticide
    risk assessment and education, and impact evaluation, in order to achieve measurable pesticide risk reduction. Each state IPM program will
    learn about, design, and evaluate risk education programming, targeted to the specific needs of their respective audiences.
    2. Provide Western Region IPM Practitioners access to and education on a new pesticide risk classification tool to aid in risk-based
    decision-making and achieve increased use of reduced-risk products and risk mitigation practices, and diminished use of highly hazardous
    By providing Western Region IPM coordinators and extension faculty access to and education on a state-of-the-science, risk classification system, we will achieve significant reduction in the use of highly hazardous pesticides in the West, and increase the use of reduced-risk

    products, and risk mitigation for other products. Alignment with this classification system will also bring Western US farmers more in line
    with internationally recognized and reviewed agricultural sustainability standards with respect to pesticide risk management, which will
    increase their access to certification and marketing opportunities.
    3. Design a 12-month pesticide risk education curriculum for IPM practitioners to be implemented through monthly conference calls.
    Using a curriculum targeted at capacity development in pesticide risk assessment and education to continue an established routine of
    monthly calls with the project collaborators, we will strengthen the capacity of all Western region statewide IPM programs on the
    concepts, principles, and delivery of pesticide risk assessment, communication, and education. This will directly translate to documentable
    pesticide risk reduction among the participating farmers served by these programs.
    4. Develop a centralized, publically accessible website focused on pesticide risk assessment, education, and mitigation.
    By hosting a centralized, publically-accessible website with tools and information on pesticide risk assessment and education that could be
    used by extension educators, consultants, and farmers, we will make pesticide risk education and reduction tools accessible to a wide and
    far-reaching audience. The risk classification tool described in Goal 2 will become an internationally accessible tool for pesticide risk
    mitigation and reduction.
    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.