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Michelle Miller Named Coordinator Of Pesticide Use And Risk-Reduction Project

Michelle Miller, a Wisconsin native, has been selected by the steering committee of the Wisconsin Pesticide Use and Risk Reduction Project to coordinate its three-year effort to find alternatives to pesticides targeted by the Food Quality Protection Act.

Miller”s primary responsibilities will be to analyze the impacts of the FQPA, and to form and coordinate the commodity-based teams that will develop and implement alternatives to the pesticides targeted by the FQPA. The teams will consist of growers from various commodity organizations around the state, faculty and staff from the University of Wisconsin-Madison”s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and others.

Miller will be based in the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, which administers this project. Her phone number is (608) 262-7135; email mmmille6@facstaff.wisc.edu The Wisconsin Pesticide Use And Risk Reduction Project is funded by a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Justice as a result of pesticide overcharge litigation.

The project responds to concerns of Wisconsin farmers, ranging from fruit or cash grain growers to livestock producers who raise feed. Federal regulations on pesticides are tightening, especially since the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act was implemented. The FQPA establishes new standards, based on health risk, for many commonly used pesticides. Some of these pesticides are central to typical Wisconsin crop-production methods. In the coming years, as pesticide restrictions or withdrawals are phased in, farmers will need to be informed about alternative pest-management options, ranging from less toxic pesticides to no-pesticide approaches.

The Pesticide Project has three phases. The first, FQPA analysis, will identify important pesticides that will probably be restricted by FQPA. Most of this analysis will be done in the project”s first six months. In the second phase, project staff and participating organizations will review agronomic research to determine profitable alternatives to regulated pesticides. This will begin in the first year and continue into the project”s third year. The final phase, delivering information about the most promising alternatives for various farming systems, will begin late in the first year, as soon as the commodity teams develop definitive information on alternatives. Phase three will continue through the project”s end as more research results become available.

For the past three years, Miller has coordinated professional development opportunities in integrated agricultural systems for UW-Extension and other farm service providers. From 1992 to 1995, she worked with the World Wildlife Fund and later with the Environmental Defense Fund to increase dialogue among farmers, pesticide manufacturers, agricultural supply dealers, pest management consultants, researchers, government staff, and environmental groups on pest management strategies. From 1989 to 1992, she worked for WDATCP”s Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration program, and as a watershed planner for non-point source pollution. She has advocated for farmer interests and the Wisconsin farm economy since 1980, in part by lobbying for a stronger state program for agricultural direct marketing.

Miller will be based in the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, which administers this project.