The UMass Extension Vegetable Program collects weekly information on pest incidence across the state through our Vegetable Scouting Network. This information is published each week as ‘Pest Alerts’ in our Vegetable Notes Newsletter, which reaches almost 3,000 subscribers. This data is collected by student interns and other Extension staff who travel across MA to visit farms and scout several crop families, check pheromone traps, and communicate findings to the farmer. Scouts do not provide management recommendations, but can leave scouting data with the farm if desired and can share farmer concerns with Extension Specialists who can provide follow-up when needed.
Participants in the Scouting Network Program must agree to the following:
1) Work with Extension staff and student scouts to set up bi-weekly farm visits
2) Provide initial tour of farm facilities, fields, and location of safety information
3) Communicate regularly with scouts throughout the season if issues arise
4) Provide feedback on program at the end of the season
In exchange for agreeing to the above requirements, each Scouting Network farm will receive the following services:
1) Pest scouting data from a student scout on a bi-weekly basis.
2) Assistance taking and submitting plant disease, soil, and plant tissue samples
3) Insect trapping equipment may be provided as needed and available
Apply to be part of the Scouting Program
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. We can’t guarantee a spot in the program for every farm that applies in every year, but all applications will be considered, and farms are selected based on need, location, and availability of Extension staff. We will hold onto applications for 3 to 5 years in a secure location and will try to get to all qualifying applicants in turn.