The North Central Integrated Pest Management Center, led by the University of Illinois through the Department of Crop Sciences, was awarded funding for the next four years by the USDA National Institute of Food to develop and promote research and extension activities addressing critical integrated pest management needs.
The $4 million in funding for the NCIPMC was recently announced by NIFA as part of more than $16 million in grants awarded to institutions across the country. The grants are aimed at creating resources to protect crops and livestock and ensure greater food security.
Susan Ratcliffe, director of NCIPMC, said the center predominantly provides an information network for IPM issues regionally and nationally.
“Most of what we do is take information and knowledge and transfer it to the end user,” Ratcliffe said. “We can engage people and make a difference by providing information so that pests can be managed while protecting human health and the environment.”
In addition to providing an information network, the center provides funding for competitive grant programs, including critical issue grants and working group funding. The center also helps to create and distribute national pest alert fact sheets that provide critical information about current insect, pathogen, or weed problems as they emerge throughout the country.
As part of the new funding, Ratcliffe explained that the center will support three new signature program components, including an urban agriculture IPM project, resistance management, and school IPM as it relates to indoor air quality control. The NCIPMC continues its IPM collaborations with Tribal Colleges and Tribal Nations as part of its fourth signature program that supports the development of tribal food sovereignty programs.
“Basically, we help people connect the dots by assisting them in collaborating with their local Extension and IPM resources,” she added.
NIFA made the awards through the Crop Protection and Pest Management program, which supports projects that address high-priority IPM challenges with coordinated state, regional, and national research and extension efforts.
The NCIPMC has been in existence since 2000. The U of I has been its lead institution since 2007 and has an annual operating budget of approximately $1 million annually. The U of I co-hosts the center with Michigan State University, engaging with state, regional, and national partners to develop and facilitate adoption of IPM solutions.