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EPA Supports Integrated Pest Management on Farms and In Schools

Farming has a gigantic role in the US economy...and our daily lives. Not only do farms produce food...but they also produce pollution, use water, and affect our groundwater reservoirs...and affect the wildlife population and thus, biodiversity loss and/or preservation. It's important not only to look at production levels, but production quality. Whether farms are large or small, they all affect our environmental systems that earth has put in place to sustain itself.

The EPA is learning more about those natural systems and how farmers and ranchers can work in greater harmony with natural processes. And now they are supporting that work with grants to farmers.

Reduce Pesticides on Farms

Under a new series of grants the EPA will support five projects across the country to explore cutting-edge ways of reducing the use of pesticides on farms.

Integrated Pest Management

The grants will study integrated pest management (IPM), natural solutions to controlling insect and other pests on farmlands.

IPM methods range from relatively simple practices, like lining irrigation ditches with plants that absorb pesticides and nutrients from agricultural runoff, to more complex procedures that encourage beneficial insects to make habitat on farmland and keep destructive pest populations in check.

Fruit, Nut and Grape are Lucrative California Agriculture Sectors

Two farm projects and three university programs are receiving funds. The farm projects, both in California, are working on some of the state's most lucrative crops. A project in the Sacramento region is working on ways to reduce water runoff from fruit and nut orchards, particularly almonds, walnuts and peaches. The crops combined cover 324,000 acres in California and generate more than $1 billion in revenue every year.

In central California's wine country near Paso Robles, another project aims to help farmers reduce the need for "high-risk" pesticides in vineyards, as well as helping marketing grapes and wines that are grown using organic and low-impact methods.

Blueberries and Tomatoes in Florida

At the Universities of Michigan and Florida, two teams earned grants to study IPM methods that could be put to use in crops ranging from blueberries to greenhouse-grown tomatoes.

IPM for Greener Schools

The final grant goes to the IPM Institute of North America in Madison, Wisc., to implement IPM methods in all K-12 schools in the U.S. in the next seven years.

Full information about IPM is available from the EPA's IPM website.