Idaho Potato Growers Attend 5th National Symposium

ST. LOUIS -- The Potato Growers of Idaho (PGI) has an opportunity to share innovations that lead to a safer food supply, enhanced human health and an improved environment during the 5th National Integrated Pest Management Symposium here April 4-6.

With over 23 countries represented, the program included mini-symposia, workshops, roundtable sessions and social events that reviewed the basic tenets of integrated pest management (IPM), a program that aims to achieve long term, environmentally sound pest suppression through the use of technological and management practices.

Sessions addressed state of the art strategies and technologies that will successfully solve pest problems in agricultural, recreational, natural and community settings. Participants also discussed the challenges associated with educating the public about the importance of integrated pest management.

PGI executive director Keith Esplin was in attendance to learn how to further develop the organization's own integrated pest management program for Idaho potato growers. A grant from the American Farmland Trust has enabled PGI to develop a program that allows growers to evaluate their adoption of IPM standards, and to further assist them in following environmentally responsible practices. PGI is also working closely with the state National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to fund IPM related programs for growers. A recently announced program will encourage the use of biofumigants, such as mustard and radish.

"It is important for all growers in Idaho to understand the trends that will determine how they grow their crops," said Esplin. "More and more consumers are demanding that growers use environmentally responsible methods."

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. The IPM approach, which can be applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural settings, such as the home, garden, and schools, takes advantage of all pest management options including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides.
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