April 16, 2003 | By: Laura Skillman

The Kentucky Pest Management Center at the University of Kentucky is part of a national network working to identify emerging pest management issues and address farmer needs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture established four regional pest management centers in 2000.  Kentucky’s center, housed in the Entomology department of the UK College of Agriculture, is a part of the Southern Region Pest Management Center based at the University of Florida.

The Kentucky center establishes crop profiles for all commodities grown in the state and develops pest management strategic plans, said Lowell Sandell, KPMC coordinator.

Crop profiles look at a crop from planting time to harvest and take a pest-by-pest approach.

“We take a look at what pests are a problem at what time of year,” Sandell said. “This includes weeds, insects and diseases for horticulture to grain crops to livestock and poultry production.”

The data is collected from a host of sources including UK Cooperative Extension Service specialists for the differing commodities. Pesticide sales information is provided by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Once the data is collected, a crop profile is developed including everything from the amount of crop grown in the state to chemical, cultural and biological controls for each pest that affects it.  The profiles are then used to develop pest management strategic plans.

“What the USDA wants to accomplish with these centers is to get more producer input. Part of the strategy to do this is using the strategic plans,” Sandell said. “Producers, consultants, industry, commodity groups, Extension, university researchers and regulatory agencies are invited to help develop these plans.”

The centers also are a place where the public and private sector can go for information. One of the most active users is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, he said.

“The Food Quality and Protection Act of 1996 mandates the EPA to review all pesticide uses,” he said. “A lot of pesticides are coming under fire and uses are being reduced and eliminated in some cases. What USDA wanted to do is to ensure producer input is given as to what actually is going on in production agriculture.”

Sandell said UK’s interest in being a part of the network is producer oriented.

“We are trying to look out for Kentucky producers’ interests in the re-registration of pesticides,” he said. “We want to try to be informative of what’s going on in pesticide re-registration.”

Sandell said the information garnered through the network also can be used in the Integrated Pest Management program and pesticide application training administered through the UKCA Entomology department.

Information obtained through the centers is placed on a USDA Web site as well as state and regional Web sites. The Kentucky Pest Management Center can be accessed at www.uky.edu/Agriculture/KPMC/

The Web address for the national center is www.pmcenters.org


Lowell Sandell, 859-257-6693