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- On Jan. 27, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) will recognize a diverse group of businesses and organizations as 2010 IPM Innovators. They control insects, weeds, rodents and other pests with a combination of natural and preventive strategies and pesticides less toxic than traditional treatments.
Dixon Ridge Farms
This Solano and Yolo counties-based pioneer in sustainable walnut production took a sustainable farming and processing system that works for smaller, diversified farming and raised it to the commercial scale. Its cover-crop management technique provides habitat for beneficial insects, produces seed and returns organic matter to preserve soil fertility.
The walnut growing and processing operation converted to organic production in 1989 after implementing a number of IPM practices to control pests and water runoff. These include replacing synthetic nitrogen fertilizers with composted turkey manure; incorporating chipped prunings back into the orchard; encouraging beneficial insects; using earthworms to improve water infiltration and soil health and prevent rootrot; and freezing insects to death rather than killing them with methyl bromide during processing. The business has further reduced its environmental footprint by converting walnut shells into energy, using recycled materials in its packaging and installing solar panels on its buildings.
Dixon Ridge Farms has collaborated with researchers on a number of projects and hosted hundreds of workshops, conference and field days. More information is available at www.dixonridgefarms.com or by contacting Manager Jenny Lester Moffitt or call (530) 795-4619.
Bonterra (Fetzer) Vineyards
This top producer of organic winegrapes in California is a wine industry pioneer, using certified organic practices and an IPM approach to manage pests on its 950 acres in Mendocino County. The Bonterra (Fetzer) brand is the No. 1 selling wine made with organic grapes in the United States.
For more than 20 years, Bonterra Vineyards has been an innovator in developing cover crops to attract beneficial insects; using weather forecasting to monitor for pests and diseases; mechanically controlling under-the-vine weeds; and conserving and enhancing habitat to attract beneficial insects and birds. On some of its vineyards, Bonterra also grazes sheep and chickens between vines to control pests and weeds and provide soil nutrients. In addition, it has collaborated with the local Resource Conservation District on creek restoration projects.
Bonterra has a long history of working with University of California Cooperative Extension scientists and others on pest management and related research. Bonterra staff regularly provide education through seminars, workshops, conferences, field events and technical advising to growers on organic and sustainable viticulture practices. More information is available at www.bonterra.com or by contacting Maggie Peak, public relations manager, or call (502) 774-7140.
Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California
This Sacramento-based nonprofit that represents 63 mosquito and vector control districts promotes IPM principles to control mosquitoes and other vectors to protect public health. It has been a leader in the transition from vector management based primarily on pesticides to IPM strategies that include water management and biological controls. This change includes a switch from broad-spectrum pesticides targeted at adult mosquitoes to less-toxic pest-specific larvicides such as insect growth regulators and biopesticides.
The association educates government agencies and environmental groups about IPM to control mosquitoes in wetlands, storm drains and other permanent and temporary water sources; rears and provides mosquito fish as a form of biological control; and works with banks and realtors to prevent foreclosed home swimming pools from becoming mosquito breeding sites. The association worked with state departments to develop a manual, Best Management Practices for Mosquito Control on California State Properties. It also helped develop CalSurv, a nationally recognized surveillance system that monitors West Nile virus (WNV) activity by testing mosquitoes, dead birds, sentinel chickens, horses and people.
The association produces posters, fliers and other outreach materials for its members and partners designed to educate the general public about the importance of eliminating standing water where mosquitoes could breed and other IPM strategies to prevent exposure to WNV and other vector-borne diseases. More information about the association is available at www.mvcac.org or by contacting Executive Director Catherine Smith or call (916) 440-0826.