The 2013 IPM Innovators Awards

Back to IPM Innovator Award Winners Page

The 2013 Awardees are:

Contra Costa County Agriculture Department

The Contra Costa County Agricultural Department is responsible for detecting and controlling invasive pests and suppressing noxious weeds and vertebrate pests. It was the first Contra Costa County department to develop and adopt a department-wide integrated pest management (IPM) policy and complete a comprehensive IPM plan.

Over the years, the departmentís contributions to IPM have included conducting insect trapping and inspections for invasive insects, developing a unique noxious weed program that has continually monitored the same areas for 34 years, using video capture technology to electronically document the presence of pests in the field for rapid identification, using dogs to inspect parcels for invasive pests, detailing IPM decision-making processes for ground squirrel management, and initiating a pilot structural IPM program for 13 county buildings.

The department phased out use of 26 of the 34 most hazardous pesticides and reduced use of the other 8 by 83 percent. It has a strong farm worker safety training program, including bilingual training programs, and has trained over 3,200 Spanish-speaking workers since 2001. The department has been at the forefront of implementing IPM practices for many years and takes an assertive and proactive role in the exclusion and detection of exotic and invasive species in urban and rural environments. It has demonstrated unique and outstanding leadership in the promotion of IPM and the development of various local government programs to protect human health and the environment.

More information is available at or by contacting:
Beth Slate, Deputy Agricultural Commissioner
Phone: (925) 646-5250

IPM Advocates Program

The IPM Advocates Program began in June 2011 as an element of a 2010 DPR Pest Management Alliance grant to create and implement a training program to improve delivery of IPM information at retail stores through education of employees and customers, store managers and buyers, and product distributors. Ten trainers—or IPM Advocates—were trained through the program to promote IPM practices that are based on University of California research.

The Advocates train store employees who then interact with customers and advise them on less-toxic products to manage pests. The Advocates also serve as consultants and offer marketing advice to retail stores from small nurseries to larger stores like Home Depot. The stores have responded to the Advocatesí recommendations by stocking more reduced-risk products, such as traps for rodents and iron phosphate for slugs and snails, and by directing customers to these products through prominent product placement and explanatory signage.

As a result of the program, 77 percent of store managers surveyed reported greater sales of less-toxic products from 2011 to 2012. Further, more than 96 percent of managers report that staff are more confident when identifying pest problems. Additionally, over 70 percent of the stores increased their shelf space for less-toxic products in 2012. The IPM Advocates Program is unique and effective and is greatly expanding knowledge and practice of IPM to a large segment of the population.

More information is available at or by contacting:
Annie Joseph, IPM Advocates Coordinator
Phone: (707) 373-9611

Scientific Methods, Inc.

Scientific Methods, Inc., an agricultural consulting firm with an IPM focus, was founded in 1980 in response to grower requests for solutions to increasing insect damage and insecticide use in almonds. Over the last 33 years, Scientific Methods, Inc. has expanded its services to other tree nuts, stone fruits, and citrus and has played a key role in the development and adoption of pest management practices that have largely reduced the need for organophosphates.

These practices include basing decisions to use insecticides on economic injury thresholds for navel orangeworm (NOW) and peach twig borer in almonds based on samples of pest eggs in nuts, using a mass trap-out system to reduce numbers of mated NOW females in almonds, and applying a low volume spray technique for walnut husk fly in walnuts. Additionally, using leaf wetness sensors, Scientific Methods, Inc. developed a disease monitoring program which has reduced the incidence of disease and the need for fungicides. For the last 20 years, approximately 25,000 acres of orchards managed using Scientific Methods, Inc.ís guidance have not received an organophosphate dormant spray application.

Scientific Methods, Inc. is clearly a leader in the development and implementation of IPM and has focused on developing practices to help growers improve pest management and reduce pesticide use in their operations. Through their efforts, Scientific Methods, Inc. helped to reduce their clientsí pesticide use by an estimated 25 percent and pest management-related costs by about 20 percent.

More information is available at or by contacting:
Barry Wilk
Phone: (530) 828-2837

UC Cooperative Extension, UC Berkeley, Yolo County RCD, and Hedgerow Farms

For the last 20 years, the University of California Cooperative Extension, UC Berkeleyís Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, Yolo County Resource Conservation District (RCD), and Hedgerow Farms, have partnered to research the benefits of hedgerows and promote those benefits to landowners. Although hedgerows have existed since ancient times, studies conducted by the partnership provide a scientific and economic basis for recommending hedgerows as a component of modern agricultural IPM systems.

Hedgerows provide food and habitat for natural enemies of arthropod pests and for pollinators, replace weedy field edges, which can harbor crop diseases, and outcompete invasive weeds, effectively making crop ecosystems less favorable for pests and potentially reducing the need for pesticides. In addition, hedgerows serve as windbreaks to reduce pesticide drift and filter sediment and pesticides from field runoff. The partnershipís members present at professional meetings promoting hedgerows and hold frequent field days and workshops to discuss project results with students, university scientists, industry, government agencies, and sustainable agriculture nonprofit organizations.

According to the U.S. Department of Agricultureís (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service statistics, 202 miles of hedgerows were planted nationwide from 2010 to 2013, of which 49 miles (25 percent) were planted in California. The partnership has demonstrated outstanding leadership and has positively affected the promotion and adoption of hedgerows both in California and nationally.

More information is available at or by contacting:
Rachael Long, Farm Advisor
Phone: (530) 681-7661

Walnut Production Research Advisory Council Entomology Working Group

The California Walnut Production Research Advisory Council (PRAC) Entomology Working Group is a component of the larger California Walnut Board. PRAC research is focused on the development of effective and economical low-risk pest management solutions. PRAC consists of UC and USDA researchers, farm advisors, growers, pest control advisors, and IPM product suppliers who work together to identify research priorities and strategies to address them, develop research proposals, and discuss research results. The participation of so many key stakeholders throughout the entire decision-making process ensures that research relates directly to walnut production and that the results will have practical applications.

PRACís efforts have resulted in many highly innovative and effective practices, including puffer technology as a means to dispense mating disrupting pheromones as a replacement for organophosphates for codling moth control. The use of puffers on a regional scale has helped reduce costs and increased adoption among growers. Pheromones are now used on about 13,000 acres of walnuts as part of an area-wide program, and the acreage is expected to continue to increase.

Results of research conducted by PRAC and pest management recommendations arising from the groupís activities are shared through regular PRAC meetings and the annual UC Walnut Research Conference, walnut research reports, farm advisor meetings, newsletters, journal articles, and the UC Statewide IPM Programís pest management guidelines. PRACís leadership has demonstrated repeatedly that it takes responsibility for solving the challenges faced by the greater pest management community.

More information is available at or by contacting:
Hal Crain
Phone: (530) 527-1077

If you would like to find out more about IPM, our IPM Innovators, or the IPM Innovators Program, you can contact:

IPM Innovators Program
Mark Robertson
Department of Pesticide Regulation
Pest Management & Licensing Branch
P.O. Box 4015
Sacramento, CA 95812-4015
Phone: (916) 324-2451