The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded the regional North Central Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center to Michigan State University, with co-direction support coming from Iowa State University.
The North Central IPM Center is one of four centers in the nation, serving 12 states, as part of the USDA’s connection to production agriculture, research and extension programs and agricultural stakeholders throughout the United States. The IPM centers’ projects strive to improve the economic benefits of adopting IPM practices and to reduce potential risks to human health and the environment. The states in the region include: Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Ohio, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.
Serving as the director of the center will be Lynnae Jess, of Michigan State University. As director, Jess will provide leadership and expertise as the North Central IPM Center implements its signature programs and competitive grant programs. Jess will serve as the liaison to the center-funded working groups and provide regional and national leadership on IPM-related issues.
“I am excited to start this new chapter of the North Central IPM Center working with Iowa State University,” Jess said. “The North Central IPM Center has funded projects over the last 18 years that have made a big impact in the region, and beyond. The Working Groups have shown how collaborating with other states, regions, and countries can help growers, communities, and the environment.
Serving as co-directors of the center will be Laura Iles and Daren Mueller of Iowa State University. Iles has directed and served as the insect diagnostician in the ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic (PIDC) since 2009. In addition, Iles provides Iowans training and diagnostic services in the broad areas of consumer horticulture pests, biological control, and invasive insects. Mueller is an associate professor and extension plant pathologist at Iowa State University. He is also the coordinator of the Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. His main research interests involve understanding the biology and management of soybean diseases.
As co-director of the NCIPM Center, Iles will assist Jess with administering the competitive grant programs. Iles will also assist in new research committee development and coordinate regional crop profiles and pest management strategic plans. Jess, Iles, and Mueller will participate on regional and national IPM committees. Iles will also continue to direct the ISU Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic and Mueller will continue to coordinate the ISU IPM Program.
“Faculty and staff at Iowa State University have a long and productive history in conducting IPM research and extension programming,” Iles said. “And I am honored and excited to continue the IPM tradition by collaborating with colleagues at Michigan State University to administer the North Central IPM Center. The NCIPM Center has been and will continue to be a leader in supporting IPM activities in our region and I look forward to continuing this important and impactful work.”
The North Central IPM Center has three goals as part of the larger IPM network, including: improving economic benefits of adopting IPM practices, reducing potential risks to human health and reducing potential risks to the environment. Through encouraging the adoption of IPM practices, the center hopes to change the behaviors of producers in the region, while respecting economic constraints and pressures.