Biologically Integrated Farming Systems Program
One project was funded in the 2020-2021 grant round. Project leader Sara Tiffany, of Community Alliance with Family Farmers, and collaborators will receive funding for “Promoting biologically integrated orchard systems in walnuts in Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.” This project will setup six demonstration sites throughout major walnut-producing regions in the state where IPM-based programs will be implemented. Demonstration sites will utilize mating disruption programs for two major pests that were previously controlled using chlorpyrifos: coddling moth and navel orangeworm. Biological control of spider mites will be investigated through release of predatory mites and planting of cover crops to attract natural enemies. A rigorous pest monitoring program will inform spray decisions, and when sprays are needed, more selective and lower-risk pesticides will be used. The Project Team, consisting of CAFF and UC Cooperative Extension IPM Advisors, will utilize demonstration sites to host field days and training sessions with growers, PCAs and CCAs where season-specific pest management activities will be covered. Web-based materials, podcasts, videos, and industry publications will also be generated by the project team and distributed to the relevant audiences.
The previous Biologically Integrated Farming System (BIFS) program ran from 1995 to 2010 with a focus on fostering farmer-to-farmer information exchange and on-farm demonstration of integrated farming practices that promote IPM and biological systems for pest and nutrient management while allowing growers to maintain profitable businesses. Originally a project of Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), it transitioned to a grant program administered by the University of California (UC) Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP), based at UC Davis. The program received supplemental funding and cooperation from DPR and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The goal of the revitalized Biologically Integrated Farming Systems grant program is to provide outreach of innovative, biologically integrated plant-based farming systems that reduce chemical insecticide inputs. CDFA is responsible for supporting agricultural production in California by fostering innovative, efficient and scientifically sound practices. Projects from this program should demonstrate IPM-based alternative pest management options that focus on economical and efficacious biological and cultural pest management techniques that allow growers to maintain yields and quality.
Funding for this type of innovative biologically based pest management approach is awarded through a request for proposals. A link to the current RFP can be found in the Program Status section.
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