Project at Kearneysville Fruit Center Reduces Orchard Pesticide Use


Researchers at West Virginia University’s Tree Fruit Research and Education Center have implemented and supervised a cost-sharing program, funded by the USDA-NRCS, that aims to help local orchardists implement advanced integrated pest management, or IPM. IPM is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks.


Fruit growers understand better than most people the value of farming practices that conserve natural resources and protect the environment. They also know implementing those practices, such as new pest management technologies, can be expensive because the initial costs can rarely be recovered from the sale of their crops. To better support growers’ efforts, the USDA increased the funding available to assist growers with the expense of initiating conservation practices. West Virginia University researchers were instrumental in providing guidance and verification for the project.


Over the past several years, Dr. Alan Biggs, a plant pathologist at the WVU Kearneysville Tree Fruit Research and Education Center, and colleagues at WVU have developed IPM guidelines, and monitoring and verification procedures to enable West Virginia orchardists to take advantage of the USDA cost-share program to implement reduced-risk pest management practices. West Virginia participants included 9 orchard operations that comprised over 1,300 acres in Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Hampshire, Monroe Counties.


Integrated Pest Management (IPM) affects agriculture, one of West Virginia’s largest industries. One of the primary missions of IPM is to help growers produce profitable crops using environmentally and economically sound approaches. These IPM tools contribute to a system that produces high-quality, safe, and affordable foods and other agriculturally related products. For many growers, IPM helps balance pest management with profitable crop production and environmental protection. IPM also reaches beyond agriculture to include pest management in landscape and home settings.




Hatch Act


The principal counties served are Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, and Hampshire (95% of the commercial fruit industry is in the state’s eastern panhandle)


Dr. Alan R. Biggs
Professor of Plant Pathology, Division of Plant and Soil Sciences, and Extension Specialist
West Virginia University - Kearneysville Tree Fruit Research and Education Center
P.O. Box 609, Kearneysville, WV 25430

Phone: 304-876-6353
Fax: 304-876-6034