2003Letter from the Director
Despite Budget Crisis, UC IPM Moves Ahead in Health and Environmental Protection
The UC IPM Program has been given a 20% permanent cut ($400,000 per year), eliminating our ability to fund new IPM grants, in addition to losing $97,000 of carryover funds that we had hoped to use for new initiatives with my arrival in Davis.
The depth of the budget cuts to ANR has intensified concerns that the legislature and the public doubt the continuing relevance of UCs AES and Cooperative Extension programs for California. I am convinced that ANR generally and UC IPM in particular will be especially important in resolving many of the states major human health and environmental concerns, and that we need to do more to educate the public about our role. Air and water pollution remain major concerns. UC IPM has been working intensively on water quality issues, as illustrated in this report.
The UC IPM Program continues to help growers reduce pesticide use, especially dormant (winter) sprays in orchards that are a concern for surface water contamination. Urban pest management is coming under a more intense public spotlight and is an increasing focus of our Program. The state is federally obligated to reduce by 20 to 30% the sprays that contribute to volatile compounds in air pollution, and new IPM practices will certainly be needed to achieve reductions of this scale. Growers are interested in reduced tillage practices that save money and reduce dust, and IPM practices will need to be adapted to facilitate these changes in cropping practices.
The IPM Program has also undertaken initiatives to help address the threat of West Nile virus.
As part of our continuing outreach, we have increased our library of written materials and the UC IPM Web site has been redesigned for easier use. Over the next year, as part of a new initiative with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the USDA, we will be creating Web-based tools to help California growers meet NRCSs new Pest Management Standard.
On a personal note, I want to thank both UC staff and our friends outside the University for making me feel especially welcome back into the University (after 23 years in the eastern US and Australia) and into my role in the UC IPM Program. Traveling across the state, I have met Cooperative Extension staff with a wide range of interests. Along the way, I gained an overwhelming impression that UC staff are among the most expert in the world.
UC ANR staff are also intensely dedicated to serving the needs of the people of California. UC IPM staff have been extremely cordial and supportive. I owe a particular debt of thanks to Professor Jim Lyons, who served as Interim Director before my arrival and, with patience and a wealth of knowledge and experience, provided an extended orientation and strategic advice.
Rick Roush, Director, UC IPM Program