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State Honors Five Organizations for Reduced Pesticide Use

Contact: Charlotte Fadipe
916-445-3974 |
January 23, 2014 (14-1)

Falcon on a raptor perch erected by the Contra Costa County Agricultural Department. Photo provided by Contra Costa County. Edward Casey buyer from Friedman’s Home Improvement and IPM Advocate Daniel Levy. Scientific Methods, Inc. has helped California growers reduce the amount of insecticide used on almonds and other tree crops.

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has granted the 2013 Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Innovator Award to five California businesses and organizations that use ‘greener’ methods to effectively control pests. This award is the department’s highest environmental honor.

The IPM approach employs monitoring, record keeping and other non-chemical means to help prevent and treat pest problems.

“DPR is pleased to honor these innovative organizations who are applying skills of observation and biology to address pest management challenges using approaches that are both effective and ecologically benign,” said DPR Director Brian Leahy.

Established in 1994, DPR has given more than 140 IPM Innovator Awards to organizations that take significant steps to reduce risks associated with pesticide use and share their research and practices with others.

The 2013 IPM award winners are:

  • IPM Advocates Program (Statewide): The IPM Advocates Program began in June 2011 as part of a DPR Pest Management Alliance grant. It is a creative training program that ultimately results in staff at retail stores (from small nurseries to big box stores such as Home Depot) being better educated about ‘green’ or less-toxic products to manage pests. Ten trainers (IPM Advocates) learned IPM practices and spent more than a year assisting 321 employees in 30 stores, reaching out to more than 2,000 customers in California. As a result, 77 percent of store managers surveyed reported greater sales of less-toxic products from 2011 to 2012. For detailed information contact: Annie Joseph at 707-373-9611,
  • Contra Costa County Agriculture Department (Contra Costa County): The Contra Costa County Agricultural Department is responsible for detecting and controlling invasive pests and suppressing noxious weeds. In recent years the Department has phased out 26 of 34 most hazardous pesticides and reduced use of the other eight by 83 percent. It also uses digital video to electronically document the presence of pests in the field for rapid identification, dogs to inspect parcels for invasive pests, and IPM decision-making processes to manage ground squirrels. For detailed information contact: Beth Slate at 925-646-5250,
  • Scientific Methods, Inc. (Butte County): Scientific Methods, Inc. has helped California growers reduce the amount of insecticide used on almonds and other tree crops by adopting stringent pest management practices. The consulting firm has played a key role in helping growers reduce their need and dependence on organophosphates. In addition, Scientific Methods, Inc. has adopted a number of IPM practices including intensive monitoring of orchards. This has frequently led to California growers significantly reducing the amount of pesticides used. For the last 20 years, approximately 25,000 acres of orchards managed using Scientific Methods, Inc.’s guidance have not received an organophosphate dormant spray application. For more information contact: Dr. Barry Wilk at 530-828-2837,
  • UC Cooperative Extension, UC Berkeley, Yolo County RCD, and Hedgerow Farms (Yolo County): This project explores and promotes the benefits of planting hedgerows of California native plants at the edges of farm fields to potentially help reduce the need for pesticides. The process of planting hedgerows has been shown to make crop ecosystems less favorable for pests, which may reduce the need for herbicides. In addition, hedgerows serve as windbreaks to reduce pesticide drift and filter sediment and pesticides from field runoff. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, 25 percent of all hedgerows planted in the US between 2010 and 2013 occurred in California. This amounts to 49 miles in California. This partnership includes the University of California Cooperative Extension; UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management; Yolo County Resource Conservation District; and Hedgerow Farms. For detailed information contact: Rachael Long at 530-681-7661,
  • Walnut Production Research Advisory Council Entomology Working Group (Tehama County): The California Walnut Production Research Advisory Council Entomology Working Group is part of the California Walnut Board. The Working Group has helped walnut growers to reduce use of pesticides, such as organophosphates, in California via a number of techniques. One system uses puffer technology to disrupt the mating patterns of targeted pests, such as the codling moth, in the walnut industry. This leads to fewer pests and reduces the need for insecticides. For detailed information contact: Hal Crain at 530-527-1077,

Here are more details on the IPM Innovator Awards and previous winners.