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Center for Integrated Ag Systems selected as a pesticide reduction champion

The UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems has been selected by the EPA as a Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program Champion for 2005. This designation honors CIAS for its efforts to reduce pesticide risk through sustainable agricultural practices such as Integrated Pest Management and organic farming. CIAS also received this national honor in 2003.

CIAS was specifically recognized for its Eco-Apple Project, which works with the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association, University of Wisconsin Extension and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to reduce pesticide use in apple production. Additionally, CIAS was recognized for producing a video series on pesticide reduction in potatoes, apples and fresh market vegetables.

The Eco-Apple Project provides networking assistance and coaching on pesticide reduction. In 2004 and 2005, participating growers increased their adoption of IPM by 14 percent and decreased their pesticide use by 44 percent.

“Wisconsin apple growers are dedicated to producing high-quality fruit while protecting the environment. CIAS is proud to be able to help them achieve their pesticide reduction goals,” said CIAS director Brent McCown. “We are honored that the EPA has once again recognized our national leadership in pesticide reduction research and outreach.”

The Peninsular Agricultural Research Station in Sturgeon Bay, which is another partner on this project, recently received a $10,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to establish an organic orchard. This orchard will be used for research on pesticide reduction.

More than 50 UW-Madison campus partners work with the Center on pesticide reduction. Among the leaders are Chris Boerboom and Bryan Jensen, Agronomy; Karen Delahaut and Teryl Roper, Horticulture; Claudio Gratton and Dan Mahr, Entomology; Walt Stevenson and Patty McManus, Plant Pathology; Bob Fessenden, UW Food Service; Dave Combs, Dairy Science; the Nutrient and Pest Management Program staff members, and others.

CIAS is one of 16 PESP Champions selected nationwide for their outstanding efforts to promote IPM and environmental stewardship. The 2005 roster of PESP champions includes General Mills, Del Monte, and the US Department of Defense.