In early February, Stockbridge School of Agriculture (SSA) and UMass Extension attended the fourth annual meeting of The Integrated Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (iPiPE) at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. At this iPiPE Mixer, SSA was represented by graduate student Elizabeth Garofalo and undergraduate intern Nicole Foley. UMass Extension was represented by educators Jon Clements, Katie Campbell-Nelson, and Genevieve Higgins. iPiPE Mixers focus on training researchers, extension agents, and student interns on using this information platform.
During an intern poster session that highlighted their research or education in 2017, Foley received a 3rd-place award for outstanding engagement with her poster titled, “Innovating Apple Pest Incidence Data Collection.” Clements was the only educator to receive an award for his work as an outstanding student mentor.
iPiPE is a website designed for researchers, extension agents, and growers that stresses the importance of data sharing in the agricultural community. The platform was created with the hope of increasing public accessibility to time-sensitive information relating to economically significant crops such as apples, blueberries, wheat and corn. Using a collection of individual data sets, iPiPE maps the incidence and severity of various pest populations across the nation. Stakeholders use this information to monitor, predict and respond to blights while reducing the environmental and economic impact of pesticide use, thus increasing food security. Through iPiPE, growers are able to receive alerts when pertinent pests are found in their counties, while simultaneously protecting the identity of contributors. In this way, otherwise damaging pest incidents can be prevented or controlled. The platform is also available as a mobile app for ease of access in the field. While more user-friendly interfaces are being developed, the iPiPE public site can be accessed here.