Grants Available for Biological Integrated Farming

CDFA Offering Grants for Biological Farming Systems

 The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting grant applications for its Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS) Program and its Proactive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Solutions Program, administered by the Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis (OPCA).

BIFS GRANTS
The goal of the BIFS grant program is to fund on-farm demonstration and evaluation of innovative biologically-based farming systems that employ Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies. CDFA is responsible for supporting agricultural production in California by fostering innovative, efficient and scientifically sound practices.

Applications are due on 5 p.m., October 31, 2019. Detailed information on the Biologically Integrated Farming Systems program, including the application process and requirements, is available at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/opca/bifs.html.

OPCA received a one-time appropriation of $2 million for BIFS as part of the 2019-2020 budget that will be allocated in two blocks: $1 million in the current solicitation and another $1 million in 2020-2021.

PROACTIVE IPM SOLUTIONS GRANTS
The goal of the Proactive IPM Solutions Program is to anticipate exotic pests likely to arrive in California and to identify and test IPM strategies which can then be quickly implemented if the pests are detected. CDFA is responsible for preventing and mitigating invasive pests. Techniques resulting from this proactive approach will allow for rapid deployment of management plans.

Applications are due at midnight, October 31, 2019. Detailed information on the Proactive IPM Solutions Program, including the application process and application requirements, is available at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/opca/proactive-ipm.html

A total of $1.2 million amount is available for Proactive IPM Solutions in this grant cycle. Funds for the current Request for Proposal (RFP) come from two sources. First, OPCA received an annual appropriation of $544,000 for this and other research as part of the 2019-2020 budget. An additional $3.5 million was allocated in the 2019-2020 budget to specifically help California’s farmers transition away from chlorpyrifos, an insecticide that has long been used to combat newly-arrived invasive pests but is being phased out in California.

OPCA provides consultation to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) on pesticide regulatory matters. The office’s consultative activities focus on potential pesticide regulatory impacts and pest management alternatives that may mitigate or prevent such impacts on production agriculture. OPCA staff is also involved in other projects relating to pesticide use and alternatives. Information on the Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis is available at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/opca/.

Biopesticides Play a Bigger Role in Pest and Disease Control

By Colby Tibbet, California Ag Today Reporter

 

Pam Marrone, founder and CEO of Davis-based Marrone Bio Innovations, says biopesticides, a new frontier of pest control, works better when combined with conventional methods. “In the past, these biological products were standalone—like you see at your land grant colleges,” said Marrone.

“They would test standalone against the best cocktail chemicals. But where you see the best result is when they are incorporated into the mix,” said Marrone. “Likewise, nearly all the time, you see better results when biologicals are incorporated into the program than chemical-only programs, and you can validate that over and over again with on-farm demos,” added Marrone.

Marrone noted that biopesticides are price-competitive with traditional pesticides. “When you compare, dollar-for-dollar, today’s biopesticides are actually very cost-competitive. I think that’s a holdover from the past. There are high-priced and low-priced products—just like chemicals; you have sulfur and copper on the low end and chemical fungicides on the high-end.”

“It’s the same with biologicals. So, in our company, we looked at the full range of competitive products and priced in the middle-of-the-block to be competitive,” said Marrone.

“Historically the penetration has been in high-value fruits, nuts and vegetables,” Marrone said, “because of the issues of resistance, residues and worker re-entry. And that’s where the predominant use of these products remains, but there is now an interest is using them in the large-acre crops as well,” said Marrone.