Southern Region IPM Priorities
SIPMC Approach to Priorities: The Southern IPM Center has held numerous discussions since 2004 with Center staff, the Advisory Council, and the Steering Committee on the topic of regional priorities for research, extension, and regulatory work. The decision resulting each time has been that SIPMC should avoid use of specific annual priority lists in order to maintain the programming flexibility and timely responsiveness that are such important attributes of the Center. Instead, we rely on a more generalized approach to ensure timely focus on important issues. This approach was most recently stated, for example, in the 2014 IPM Enhancement Grants Program Request for Applications:
All projects must address important IPM issues for the Southern Region. Indicators of regional importance could include:
- Explicit references to existing, publicly available documentation of stakeholder prioritization of the issue.
- Evidence of the setting's importance in the region and the area addressed.
- Evidence of the importance of the IPM issue (e.g. pest) addressed.
- Multi-state: Projects that offer benefits to two or more states in the region or that entail multi-state collaboration are preferred. The work need not necessarily occur in more than one state, but if not, then evidence of the project's potential value (e.g., letters of support, citations of stakeholder prioritization in other states, etc.) should be included.
- Projects of value to only one state will also be considered for funding and have often been funded by this program.
Prioritization of Crop Profiles and PMSPs: Exceptions to the approach above occur with production and updated Crop Profiles and Pest Management Strategic Plans. For two years, our Requests for Applications have included specific lists for one or both of these document types, and the core project that funds SIPMC has included lists of specific Crop Profiles. In these cases, the lists were developed based primarily on input from the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and USDA's Office of Pest Management Policy. The most recent manifestation of this prioritization is found in the 2014 IPM Enhancement Grants Program Request for Applications:
- PMSP projects must address one of these settings: cotton, peaches, sweet potato, strawberry, soybean, peanut, rice, and turfgrass.
- Crop Profile projects should produce new or updated Crop Profiles for settings important in the state(s) involved.
2013 IPM Enhancement Grants Program: In 2013, we undertook a regional online survey of Extension IPM priorities and used results to inform priorities for the 2013 IPM Enhancement Grants Request for Applications. This is the first instance to date that such priorities were developed for the single very focused purpose - for use in a single grants competition. Priorities resulting from the process:
- Herbicide resistant weed pests affecting important agronomic crops
- The insect pest Megacopta cribraria, known as the kudzu bug
- Stink bug pests in agronomic crops
- The insect pest Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii
- Residential IPM, including management of bed bugs, termites, fire ants and other pests as well as general IPM principles and techniques
Sources of Stakeholder Priorities: Priorities recently promulgated by Southern Region stakeholder groups include:
- Southern Region Information Exchange Group for IPM (SERA003-IPM) comprises all IPM Coordinators and several IPM researchers in the Southern Region. As such it is probably the single body with the broadest and most accurate knowledge of IPM programs, policies, resources and needs in the region. These IPM Priorities resulted from the March 25, 2014 meeting of the SERA 003.
- Southern School IPM Working Group: This group of school IPM experts developed priorities at its meeting in Little Rock, AR. Working group members each made several suggestions for priorities and then voted on them. The priorities in the list are not ranked; rather they are listed according to the number of votes they received: 2012 School IPM Priorities Document.
- Pest Management Strategic Plans (PMSPs) are an excellent source of stakeholder identified priorities. Access the online database of PMSPs for the Southern Region.
Discussion: Attributes of useful priorities: For a particular use, one priority may have more power than another. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when you submit or view an IPM priority.
- Stakeholder link: Usually proposals are strengthened by addressing priorities that are identified by a broad range of stakeholders. A priority defined only by a single person, without apparent support from the appropriate stakeholder group - even if that person is an expert - may be viewed as less valid than one identified or supported by a group. A priority identified as such by two stakeholder groups (say, a grower organization AND a research/extension committee) may be considered as having more value than a priority identified by only one group. Priorities agreed upon by many stakeholder groups are often considered more valuable than those agreed upon by few.
- Needs v Priorities: The term "needs" is not synonymous with the term "priorities." Identifying priorities usually entails sorting the larger list of needs to pick those that are most important and/or should be addressed first. Thus the list of priorities for a setting is a subset of and often much smaller than the list of needs for the same setting. Many people feel that the power of a list of priorities is inversely related to the length of that list of priorities.
- Timeliness: The timeliness of a stakeholder-identified priority affects its value. The date that the priority is identified helps to indicate timeliness, but even a chronologically "old" priority may be as valid and timely as a newly identified priority. To evaluate timeliness one should consider whether the results of prioritization are still valid, or whether, on the other hand, either the need has been addressed or other needs might have displaced it in the prioritization.