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  IPM Institute Newsletter > Volume 3, Issue No. 4


IPM in the Marketplace, Vol. 3, Issue No. 4

About the IPM Institute

IPM Ecolabeling Progress Report, 2002

      Protected Harvest


      New Canadian IFP Program for Apples


Eco-Foods Guide and Other News

New IPM STAR® Certification

BMP Insurance to Hit Market

Last Call for Symposium Posters!

Tuft’s Conference Proceedings Due

Biointensive IPM

New Resources

About the IPM Institute

The IPM Institute of North America, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit organization formed in 1998 to promote and support marketplace recognition for goods and service providers who meet high standards for IPM.  Consumer support for IPM provides a powerful incentive for increasing IPM adoption in agriculture and communities!

The IPM Institute provides services to eco-label programs including IPM research, standards development, program management and inspector training and certification.  The Institute operates certification programs for IPM professionals, schools and other organizations and IPM products and services.

IPM in the marketplace is produced and distributed periodically with support from IPM Institute members.  For editorial comments or questions, or to unsubscribe, contact us.  Content may be reproduced and/or distributed for non-commercial purposes with attribution to the IPM Institute.  To join the IPM Institute, visit our Web site or e-mail us.

IPM Eco-labeling Progress Report, 2002

The past year has been marked by tremendous gains in IPM-based eco-labeling.  Who are the players and what’s been the progress?

Protected Harvest

Protected Harvest certifies Wisconsin potato producers that have met strict, biointensive IPM production and pesticide standards developed in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, the University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association.  These potatoes are marketing under the “Healthy Grown” brand.

Evaluation criteria include scouting and pest management in the field through storage, with soil and water quality standards under development.  A pesticide risk-ranking system prohibits use of specific high-risk pesticides and provides incentives for selection of least-risk options when a pesticide is necessary.  

Protected Harvest certified 11 growers and 4,000 acres of potatoes in 2001.  In 2002, 13 growers (representing 10,000 acres) and 8 handlers applied for certification.  Protected Harvest expects approximately 5,000 acres to be certified before the close of 2002. 

Inspections are performed by Sue Bellman of Great Lakes Ag Research and her staff. Bellman was trained and certified as an IPM eco-label inspector by the IPM Institute in 2001. 

According to Deana Sexson, Biointensive IPM Coordinator for the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension, “In 2001, over 1.6 million pounds of potatoes were sold under the ‘Healthy Grown’ brand. Getting the potatoes into the market place has been a slow process, but sales during 2002 have exceeded grower expectations, and Healthy Grown potatoes are now seen in mainstream grocery stores including Copps, Cub Foods, Woodmans and Whole Foods.” 

About 250 stores carry Healthy Grown potatoes, throughout the Midwest and East Coast of the United States.  For a complete list of participating grocery stores visit the Protected Harvest Website at www.protectedharvest.org.

Protected Harvest recently announced a new grant from US EPA Region IX to establish standards for dairy, almonds, tomatoes and stone fruit in California's San Joaquin Valley. Protected Harvest is well on its way towards reaching its goal of 20 new partnerships in the next four years to develop standards for new crops.

Food Alliance

The Food Alliance (FA) eco-label now certifies more than 175 growers in 12 states, including 42 different crops. 

Evaluation criteria include pest management, soil and water conservation and human resource management.  The organization is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, with an affiliated Midwest Food Alliance located in Minneapolis and a combined staff of 11.

In January, Food Alliance and Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association joined forces to increase direct seeded grain acreage in the Pacific Northwest to 2-million acres over the next five years.  Direct seeding uses conservation tillage to improve soil and water impacts, and grower economics.  Food Alliance, with assistance from the IPM Institute, developed specific evaluation criteria for direct-seeded systems in 2001.

In October, FA and Dining Services at Portland State University began providing Food Alliance-certified produce on campus.  This foray into institutional food service could mark a growing trend for institutional buyers.

Last month Food Alliance announced a new partnership with Earth Pledge, a non-profit based in New York, to establish a new Food Alliance Northeast affiliate.  Earth Pledge currently operates a successful “Farm to Table” program, linking 126 New York producers with consumers via a web site.

New Canadian IFP Program for Apples

In January 2002, the Canadian Horticultural Council received approval from the Canadian Adaptation and Rural Development Fund for a two-year Canadian Apple Industry National Integrated Fruit Production (IFP) initiative.  Based on IPM principles, IFP is a certification system designed to ensure high quality fruit, environmental stewardship and economic sustainability for producers. 

Funding partners include the Canadian Adaptation and Rural Development Fund, the Canadian Horticultural Council and World Wildlife Fund Canada.  Bernt Solymar of Earth Tramper Consulting has been hired by the project to work with participants to draft national and regional-specific IFP guidelines for Canada’s 2,500 apple growers.  Forty-two growers participated in a test of pilot guidelines this season.

Rainforest Alliance

A “Rainforest Alliance-Certified” eco-label on coffee, bananas, citrus, cocoa, forest products, green foliage and tourism operations certifies a producer’s commitment to “good neighbor” policies towards surrounding communities, adjacent parks and wild lands, worker safety and a healthy environment, accomplished in part through IPM methods.  Using international guidelines from the Forest Stewardship Council, the Rainforest Alliance’s Smartwood program certified over 13.9 million acres of forest in 2002.  Sustainable agriculture at the Rainforest Alliance increased the number of certifies farms in 2002 to 457, encompassing almost 150,000 acres.

In 2002, the Rainforest Alliance helped initiate the Social Accountability in Sustainable Agriculture collaboration focused on improving auditing processes for current crops and expanding to 12 crops within two years.  Partners in the collaboration include the Rainforest Alliance, Sustainable Agriculture Network, Social Accountability International, fair trade labeling organizations and International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements.

Also in 2002, Rainforest Alliance:

  • Certified two banana farms and 1,359 acres near Tisquisate, on Guatemala’s south coast.  Banana workers earn up to three times as much as Guatemala’s minimal wage for the agriculture sector, making these farms significant sources of good jobs. 

  • Certified two banana plantations in the Philippines.

  • Re-certified citrus farms serving as critical park buffers in Costa Rica.  Hurricane Irene plus low citrus prices delayed plans to certify orange farms in Belize.

Eco-Foods Guide and Other News

A new publication authored by Cynthia Barstow features IPM and eco-labels. The Eco-Foods Guide, written in a light and entertaining style, also addresses eating seasonally and buying local.

Barstow is a sustainable agriculture marketing consultant based in Amherst, Massachusetts.  She cut her IPM teeth by scouting in the Massachusetts IPM program.

Finally, the upcoming IPM Symposium in Indianapolis will feature several sessions on IPM eco-labeling, including a session organized by the IPM Institute.  Visit the IPM Institute web site for the latest news on the symposium.


New IPM STAR® Certification

How can consumers and stakeholders be confident that products and services they’re buying are truly IPM?  The number of IPM-certified food products in the marketplace continues to grow, and now pest management products and services will have the opportunity to share the IPM shelf-space. 

IPM STAR certification allows manufacturers and providers of pest control products and services to submit their wares for a professional evaluation.  Services are measured against criteria including IPM knowledge and experience of the provider, and use of IPM including monitoring and inspection, preventative non-chemical strategies and least-risk chemical controls as a last resort.  Certified products must meet a standard for least risk to health and the environment.

The new program is also available to professionals and organizations including schools, hospitals, parks and recreation areas, municipalities and other government entities who might benefit from an IPM performance evaluation and a formalized commitment to ongoing progress along the IPM continuum.

For more information, visit www.ipminstitute.org/ipmstar.htm.


BMP Insurance to Hit Market

Crop consultants, state conservation agencies and Extension advisors now have a tool to “put their money where their mouth is.”  They’ll be able to reassure farmers that their bottom line is not at risk when they follow cost-saving advice to reduce fertilizer inputs.

A recent survey of 1,928 farms in Wisconsin found that two out of three farmers apply excess nitrogen, while four out of five apply excess phosphorus for corn production.  Over-fertilizing has been a “cheap insurance” strategy for farmers and advisors concerned about nutrient loss due to excessive rain, or underproduction in bumper crop years.

In 2003, corn farmers in four states will be able to purchase insurance to protect them from yield shortfalls if they follow state-recommended nutrient management practices.  The new Nutrient BMP Endorsement is a federally subsidized product that will be offered by several crop insurers in Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The product is designed to help farmers, state agencies and others overcome persistent nutrient issues

A certified crop advisor must work with the farmer to prepare a nutrient management plan, following the state-recommended standards for phosphorus and nitrogen fertilizer rates including soil testing and manure and legume crediting.  The farmer then fertilizes a check, or comparison strip, at his or her traditional rate, and follows the state recommendation on the balance of the acreage.  If the yield on the check strip is more than 5% higher than the balance of the field, the farmer receives a payment.

The product presages insurance coverage for IPM techniques, such as corn rootworm scouting to determine need for treatment, which could potentially be added to the endorsement at a future date.

For more information, visit www.agflex.com.


Last Call for Symposium Posters!

Posters abstracts for the Fourth National IPM Symposium, scheduled for April 8-10 in Indianapolis, are due December 16, 2002.  The conference includes sessions on measuring IPM progress, marketing IPM to consumers and the general public, school IPM, risk management and many other topics.


Tuft’s Conference Proceedings Due

Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy organized a November conference attended by 200 participants from North America and Europe representing a range of label claims, including pest management, soil and water conservation, local production and fair labor practices.  Presentations covered consumer, retailer and distributor response to organic and IPM-labeled food products, marketing strategies and assessments of verification and pesticide risk-ranking systems.  See http://nutrition.tufts.edu/conted/ecolabels/program.shtml for proceedings.


Biointensive IPM

“Biointensive Integrated Pest Management (BioIPM) is a systems approach to pest management that is based on an understanding of pest ecology. It begins with steps to accurately diagnose the nature and source of pest problems, and then relies on a range of preventative tactics and biological controls to keep pest populations within acceptable limits. Reduced risk pesticides are used if other tactics have not been adequately effective, as a last resort and with care to minimize risks.”  - from Pest Management at the Crossroads, Benbrook et al., 1996, published by Consumers Union.


On the Web

 Canadian Adaptation and Rural Development Fund     www.agr.gc.ca/policy/adapt/index_e.phtml

Canadian Horticultural Council    www.hortcouncil.ca

Earth Pledge    www.earthpledge.org

Eco-Foods Guide    www.newsociety.com

Forest Stewardship Council    www.fscoax.org

The Food Alliance    www.thefoodalliance.org

Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association     www.directseed.org

Protected Harvest     www.protectedharvest.org

Rainforest Alliance     www.rainforest-alliance.org

You’ll find links to more than 16 IPM ecolabels at www.ipminstitute.org/links.htm

Visit www.eco-labels.org for Consumers Union’s ratings of more than 86 ecolabels, including 54 that use organic or IPM as a requirement.  New to the site in 2002 is a quick reference “report card” format that summarizes the evaluation on seven criteria deemed critical by Consumers Union.


New Resources

Two new publications have set the standard for measuring the impacts of IPM programs.  Albert Greene and Nancy Breisch of the US General Services Administration report that replacing sprayed pesticide formulations with baits and traps in 55 public buildings resulted in a 14-fold reduction in insecticide and rodenticide active ingredient applied and a 90% reduction in service requests by building occupants.

Charles Benbrook and collaborators report a 37% reduction in the toxicity of pesticides used in the Wisconsin potato industry between 1995 and 1999, measured via a “toxicity unit” system developed by the collaboration.  The system compiles risk rankings for pesticide active ingredients based on a suite of factors including acute and chronic toxicity to mammals, impacts on bees and other beneficials and non-targets, and potential for resistance development.  Data from the 2002 growing season indicate that 12 targeted high-risk active ingredients, accounting for 32% of the industry’s use in 1994, now account for less than 1%.

Benbrook, C.M., D.L. Sexson, J.A. Wyman, W.R. Stevenson, S. Lynch, J. Wallendal, S. Diercks, R. Van Haren and C.A. Granadino.  2002.  Developing a pesticide risk assessment tool to monitor progress in reducing reliance on high-risk pesticides.  Amer. J. of Potato Res. 79:183-199.

Greene, A. and N.L. Breisch.  2002.  Measuring integrated pest management programs for public buildings.  J. Econ. Entomol. 95(1):1-13.

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