Utah State University constructed a demonstration farmscape at Wheeler Historical Farm and educated Master Gardeners and specialty crop producers (via hands-on trainings held at the garden) on farmscape components and ways to implement them into farm plans and backyard gardens. The farmscape concept is focused around principles of integrated pest management (IPM) that attract and retain beneficial organisms to farms or gardens by building suitable habitat (food & shelter) for predators and parasites that prey upon specialty crop pests. IPM signage was also be developed and displayed for public viewing at the farmscape garden.
Integrated pest management (IPM) is a core component of many farm management plans of specialty crop growers who desire to reduce broad spectrum pesticide use on and around edible crops. In many cases, beneficial organisms, such as natural enemies, are the primary regulating force of pest populations (Utah Pests Team, 2019). By diversifying pest control practices, producers manage risk of non-insured crops by strengthening beneficial organism populations that can contribute to healthier crops, higher yields, and cost savings from reduced pesticide applications.
A portion of urban gardeners, such as Master Gardeners, are currently employed as or go on to become green industry professionals (professional landscapers, garden retail, farmers' market vendors, etc.). Therefore, trainings focused for this target audience can result in increased dissemination of IPM education to emerging urban producers and customers seeking pest control advice. The primary objective of this project was to provide training attendees' research-based, insect pest control alternatives to broad spectrum pesticide use and highlight the need to provide food and shelter for natural enemies to maintain insect pest populations at a tolerable threshold.
|Conference||2020 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference|