History and Context of IPM at UMass
Why is IPM important to the Commonwealth?
Agriculture and related industries (e.g., golf courses, sports turf, landscape and lawn maintenance, arboriculture, etc.) convey substantial benefits to the Commonwealth. These include availability of affordable, fresh local food and fiber, open space, recreational opportunities, and a significant contribution to the state's economy. In some towns, the few remaining farms constitute the largest amount of remaining open space, and many public or private water supplies are drawn from aquifers underlying this agricultural land.
However, because pesticides typically used in pest management have been known to cause environmental degradation and have potential human health effects, a need exists to develop and implement pest management systems that are less reliant on chemical pesticides. At the same time, there is also a need for such systems to maintain economic viability of affected businesses, food quality and affordability, and quality of life measures for all citizens.
Background of IPM activities at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Since its initiation in 1978, the UMass IPM Program has served as a significant source of research-based outreach education focused on integrated management systems for important agricultural crops, service industries, and communities in Massachusetts and New England. This is the result of a group of recognized scholars working on targeted and well-focused applied research about pest ecology, behavior, and biological control, coupled with a motivated and well-managed education program offered by UMass Extension Agriculture and Landscape staff.
In order to maximize our impact, we work closely with organizations around the state and across the country. You can check out our regional and federal partners here:
Currently, the majority of the funding is obtained through a competitive grant opportunity from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Salary and fringe benefit costs of some key participating faculty and staff are paid through the base budget of the UMass Amherst College of Natural Sciences and the Agricultural Experiment Station.
UMass Extension staff currently offer statewide educational, demonstration, and research projects for producers of cranberries, apples, vegetables, small fruits, and greenhouse crops as well as for managers of public and private landscapes and turf. UMass Extension faculty and professional staff are expected to maintain a strong connection with end users through direct contact and through meetings of advisory committees. Advisory committees are typically composed of a diverse group of stakeholders representing industry, private IPM consultants, environmental and consumer advocates and others. These groups play an active role in identifying research and extension needs and in providing a critical 'feedback loop' regarding feasibility.