Proactive IPM Solutions Program

One project was funded in the 2020-2021 grant round. Project leader Dr. Brian Hogg, of USDA, and collaborators will receive funding for “Proactive Classical Biological Control of Tuta absoluta in California.” This project will develop a classical biological control program that uniquely targets T. absoluta, a devastating pest of commercial tomato production. T. absoluta has invaded parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia, spreading to more than 60% of global tomato production and causing severe annual economic crop losses. It is predicted to soon arrive in California, where it could imperil the state’s $1.2 billion tomato industry. Past grant awards can be found in the archives section.

The goal of the Proactive IPM Solutions grant program is to anticipate which exotic pests are likely to arrive in California and to identify and test IPM strategies that can be rapidly implemented if the pests become established in California. CDFA is responsible for preventing and mitigating invasive pests in California. Techniques resulting from the Proactive IPM Solutions Program will allow for rapid deployment of future management plans.

New invasive pests can cause major problems for California's agricultural industries. The urgent need to control a new pest often leads to more frequent use of insecticides. This can disrupt integrated pest management (IPM) systems that have been in place and cause secondary pest outbreaks, leading to even more insecticide use and possibly decreasing profitability. At the same time, growers are under pressure from ever-tightening regulations and need to phase in new pest management methods in order to remain competitive. CDFA is responsible for preventing and mitigating invasive pests. Many pests which plague California's agricultural industry first become established through urban areas owing to global travel and unintentional import of exotic pests. CDFA expends considerable effort controlling pest outbreaks in urban areas before they can spread into agricultural regions. Because affected communities have become increasingly concerned about insecticide sprays, it has become difficult to employ standard synthetic chemicals to control pest infestations. There is need for selective, low risk chemical and biological options which may be used. These options and plans take years to develop, during which exotic pest populations may expand well beyond the initial infestation. The proactive approach allows for rapid deployment of new management plans.

Funding for this type of proactive pest management is awarded through a request for proposals. Links to current RFPs can be found in the Program Status section. Links to previous RFPs can be found in the Archives Section.

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