Multi-Million-Dollar Initiative Dedicated to Sustainable Pest Control in Agriculture in USA
By Vipin Saini
During an event with the Mississippi Farm Bureau, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a $2 million dollar initiative that encourages smart, sensible, and sustainable pest control in agriculture.
Administrator Wheeler was also joined by U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Director Chris Wells, Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Andy Gipson, Mississippi State Senator Charles Younger, Mississippi Farm Bureau President Mike McCormick, EPA Regional Administrator Mary Walker, and EPA Chief of Staff Mandy Gunasekara for the announcement. The initiative, which is an extension of EPA’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP), expects to award grantees up to $200,000 to implement sustainable pest management practices that align with the agency’s goal of providing a healthier environment for all Americans.
This fiscal year, EPA expects to award approximately $2 million total for agricultural projects that explore innovative practices, technologies, education, and non-regulatory solutions that promote the adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. Traditional pest control involves the routine application of pesticides. IPM, in contrast, combines biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health and environmental risks.
EPA expects to issue a Request for Applications in January 2021 and applicants will have 45 days to submit their applications. Funding will be available to:
- States or state agencies, territories, city or township governments, and federally recognized tribes.
- Public and private universities and colleges.
- Other public or private nonprofit institutions and 501(c)(3) organizations (PESP membership is not an eligibility requirement to receive funding).
EPA’s PESP is guided by the principle that partnership programs complement the standards and decisions established by regulatory and registration actions. This partnership program has previously invested nearly $4 million annually to support more than 100 successful grants, awards, and collaborative efforts. These efforts have promoted IPM in agriculture, schools, integrated vegetation management on utility rights-of-ways, and shared information on tick management strategies and EPA region-specific projects on sustainable pest management practices.