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.
WHAT HAS BEEN DONE
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
PRIMARY AREAS OF IMPACT
USDA-NRCS EQIP Program
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.
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