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The Role of Crop Profiles and Pest Management Strategic Plans in IPM Data

dragon fruit and coffee berry borer

Hosted by the National IPM Database, Crop Profiles and Pest Management Strategic Plans offer a treasure trove of guidance for growers and integrated pest management pros. During the workshop that gathered stakeholders to discuss the revision of the Pest Management Strategic Plan for coffee in Hawaii in 2020, attendees toured Kupa’a Farms in Maui and examined dragon fruit (left) and coffee berry borers (Hypothenemus hampei). (Photos by Robin Boudwin)

By Robin Boudwin

Robin Boudwin

Robin Boudwin

Have you ever needed crop and pest management information? If that is the case, do we have some data for you. Many people have never heard of Crop Profiles and Pest Management Strategic Plans, which are valuable documents that provide information to a variety of stakeholders.

In our new guide published last week in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management, we discuss these two sources of data that are highly beneficial, yet widely unknown. As the 25th anniversary of their inception draws closer, the production of Crop Profiles (CPs) and Pest Management Strategic Plans (PMSPs) is once again gaining momentum, and we invite you to get involved with the creation of new data and revision of old data.

What are Crop Profiles and Pest Management Strategic Plans?

Crop Profiles contain information on crop production and pest management on individual agricultural and specialty crops and other important settings. Some examples of niche settings include schools, livestock, and rights-of-way, and they are specified by individual territory or state in the United States. Pest Management Strategic Plans build on Crop Profiles by taking a pest-by-pest approach to identify the grower management practices, timelines of worker activities, efficacy of controls, pollinators and beneficials, resistance management techniques, and priorities of the commodity across state lines. It is a summary of the known integrated pest management (IPM) data compiled about the crop.

Why were they developed?

Crop Profiles and Pest Management Strategic Plans were developed in response to the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Pest Management Policy and land-grant universities work with the Regional IPM Centers to facilitate the development of these documents.

Coffee PMSP workshop

Stakeholders such as principal investigators, IPM Center representatives, entomologists, plant pathologists, weed scientists, extension professionals, and representatives from grower associations, private industry, regulators, IR-4, and other interested parties gather for workshops that inform the content of Pest Management Strategic Plans. Shown here is the coffee PMSP workshop held at the Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo, Hawaii in 2020. (Photo by Robin Boudwin)

Who creates them and who uses them?

Stakeholders such as principal investigators, IPM Center representatives, entomologists, plant pathologists, weed scientists, extension professionals, and representatives from grower associations, private industry, regulators, IR-4, and other interested parties gather for a one-day workshop to talk about the pests that are threatening and damaging their crops. Growers share their experiences with the efficacy of the physical, biological, and chemical controls. Priorities are identified to document and promote research, education, extension, and regulatory actions in support of the commodity. Data for the CPs and PMSPs are entered by the lead authors and reviewed by the Regional IPM Center directors.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses CP and PMSP documents to help with the regulatory decision-making process. The documents provide an intermediary process to protect the anonymity of grower respondents while conveying accurate information to the EPA. Researchers use the documented priorities to identify pest problems and management gaps that warrant research efforts during grant applications.

Where can Crop Profiles and Pest Management Strategic Plans be found?

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded the Southern IPM Center at North Carolina State University to develop a website database application, the National IPM Database, to provide online functionality to develop, revise, and search for CPs and PMSPs. Currently, approximately 1,000 CP and PMSP documents and 6,000 priorities for over 50 crops are housed in the National IPM Database. The documents are an easily accessible source of crop production and pest management information for a diverse audience.

Why are these not widely known? How do we get involved? 

Over the years, participation has declined due to producer confidence that key pesticides would still be available. Regulators typically only use information that is less than five years old, so there is great value in building on historical data and adding in the future. We want to bring awareness to these valuable sources of crop and pest management data and recognize stakeholder contributions to the field of IPM. Contact your Regional IPM Center to get involved.

Robin James Boudwin, PMP, is the application and database developer of the National IPM Database at the Southern Integrated Pest Management Center located at North Carolina State University. Email: robin_boudwin@ncsu.edu.

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