California Department of Pesticide Regulation Announces $1 Million Dollars in Research Grants
SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) today announced that four California research teams will receive almost $1 million in grants for cutting-edge research to reduce risks associated with pesticide use in California.
The bulk of the funds will enable researchers to find ways to help reduce California’s dependence on chemicals that control soil-borne pests, known as soil fumigants and develop less toxic methods to deal with pests.
“It is exciting that despite the tight economy DPR is able to fund innovative research that can ultimately benefit all Californians,” said DPR Director Brian Leahy. “We believe these projects will ultimately provide agriculture with positive alternatives to using conventional pesticides.”
The funding was made possible after California legislators authorized DPR’s new Pest Management Research Grants Program in the State’s 2012/13 budget. The program funds research that develops practices to reduce use of high-risk pesticides and thus potential adverse impacts on public health and the environment.
Recipients of this year’s grants include:
- UC Santa Cruz, $399,304: The research will examine alternatives to soil fumigants and organophosphate insecticides to manage plant diseases, nematodes and root-destroying insects in crops like broccoli and Brussels sprouts on the Central Coast.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), $130,578: This proposal aims to eliminate nonessential fumigant usage by up to 50 percent in almond and stone fruit orchards in the Central Valley.
- UC Davis, $153,289: This grant will help fund further research on alternatives to the use of methyl bromide in strawberry nurseries.
- UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program) $302,542: The research explores ways to better manage pests that target lettuce and cole crops like broccoli while reducing the use of organophosphate insecticides that can contaminate local waterways.
The Pest Management Research Grant awards are building on recommendations in the Nonfumigant Strawberry Production Working Group Action Plan on how to develop and adopt alternative options to reduce reliance on fumigants in production agriculture.