Purpose and Benefits of the Regional IPM Centers

Funding for a network of Regional IPM Centers was authorized by Section 406 of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998. As the result of a competitive process, four Regional IPM Centers were formed. Purposes and benefits of Pest Management Centers are described in the Federal Register:

USDA has placed a high priority on the establishment of Regional IPM Centers as a means of strengthening its connection with production agriculture, research and extension programs, and agricultural stakeholders throughout the United States. USDA and EPA have recognized the need for a pest management information network that can quickly respond to information needs of the public and private sectors. When fully implemented, Regional IPM Centers will help USDA and its partner institutions identify, prioritize and coordinate a national pest management research, extension, and education program implemented on a regional basis.

Regional IPM Centers will be the focal point for team building efforts, communication networks, and stakeholder participation within a given region. Regional IPM Centers will promote open communication, exchange of information and resources, collaboration, and integration of activities among individuals, institutions, states, and regions into coordinated efforts around common themes that span institutional or geographical boundaries. Pest Management Centers also will bring together and help focus the institutional and individual expertise needed to successfully address a range of pest management issues confronting farmers and other pest managers (e.g., regulatory restrictions, development of pest resistance, invasive species, and biotechnology). When fully implemented, Pest Management Centers will maximize the availability of dispersed expertise, reduce duplication of effort, enhance interdisciplinary and multiorganizational efforts, and provide regional expert information, technology, and education upon which production agriculture, government agencies, and agricultural stakeholders can draw.

The process to develop the Regional IPM Centers will begin in FY 2000 with the formation of four geographically-based Regional IPM Centers with one in each of the north central, northeastern, southern, and western regions of the United States. The four Regional IPM Centers funded in FY 2000 by this RFP will be instrumental in creating a regional process that will evolve into Agroecological IPM Centers in FY 2003, based upon agroecologically defined crop production regions.