Integrating Organic Crop Management Practices with Permitted Pest Control Materials: IPM for Organic Farms

2011 Annual Report for LNE08-275

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2008: $158,403.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Northeast
State: Maine
Project Leader:
Dr. Eric Sideman
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Integrating Organic Crop Management Practices with Permitted Pest Control Materials: IPM for Organic Farms


The major objective of this project is to produce a second edition of the 2005 “Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management”, which will be an update and include chapters on four new crop families and chapters on several additional materials. A key to our approach this time will be to work with farmers through farm visits and group meetings to assess their perspective on the efficacy of both cultural practices and materials recommended in the first edition of the Guide. Since we recognize that what works in field trials may not always be what works on the farm, we plan to visit and/or interview twenty farmers and host small group meetings for those who have been using the Guide as a reference. In addition to assessing recommendations made in the first edition, we will also be able to obtain suggestions from growers about the format and content of the new edition of the Guide.

We designed a survey to use when interviewing farmers individually and at farmer meetings. The form has served us well and enabled us to summarize pest and disease problems that growers consider significant. We visited about 10 farms and met with 47 growers at five different grower meetings in 2009.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Of the 20 farmers involved with trainings and assessment of the Resource Guide, 10 will refine their production practices to eliminate or reduce pesticide use. Of the 100 farmers and educators who receive free copies of the revised Resource Guide, 25 will adopt or recommend new cultural practices that reduce pesticide use, and an additional 25 will change a pesticide material to one with less negative impact on the agroecosystem.


Investigators met with farmers at five grower meetings in 2009 (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), University of New Hampshire Extension Organic Producer meetings on January 22, 2009 in Littleton, NH and January 23 in Portsmouth, NH, the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Certified Growers meetings held January 27, 2009 in Unity, ME and February 3, 2009 in Freeport, ME). At these meetings we were able to assess which pest problems on organic farms are most significant, and which recommendations made in the first edition of the Resource Guide are being successfully implemented and which are not working well. In addition, we learned which pest and disease problems growers consider significant for production of crops in the four crop families being added to the second edition of the Resource Guide. At the farm visits during the growing season of 2009, investigators had in-depth discussions with farmers about significant pest and disease problems, what works and what does not, and suggestions for improvement in the format of the Resource Guide.

During 2010 we contacted the eleven advisors to this project and asked them to review outlines of the new chapters that were based on the farmer interviews. The advisors were asked to comment on and add to a list of pest problems identified by our team and the growers surveyed. In 2011, we have two of the four new chapters written and being reviewed by the PIs. The two other chapters to be added to the Resource Guide are in earlier stages of development.

We ran into a snag in completing the new chapters on materials that are to be added to the new edition, but the problem has now been solved. Emily Brown Rosen left the project in March of 2010 to move onto working with the National Organic Program. After a prolonged search for the right person to replace her, we were able to hire Abby Seaman from the New York State IPM Program to take the lead on doing the literature search, write the new chapters on materials, and help the rest of us review and update the existing chapters if necessary. She is working now. Abby has contacted our advisors and has made the choice of which materials to cover in the new chapters. She is doing the literature search for efficacy of the additional materials being added to the Guide. She has written two new material chapters in 2011 and is working to complete the rest this winter. We believe we are on schedule to complete these by the October, 2012 end of the project.


Tony Shelton
Cornell Universtiy
PO Box 462
Geneva, NY 14456
Office Phone: 3157872352
Christine Smart
Assistant Professor
Cornell University
Department of Plant Pathology
NYSAES, Cornell University
Geneva, NY 14456
Office Phone: 3157872441
Abby Seaman
IPM Educator
New York State IPM Program
630 W. North St.
Geneva, NY 14456
Office Phone: 3157872422