Analysis of social, fiscal, and structural factors affecting integrated pest management programs in Missouri and implications for future programs to protect water quality
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Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has experienced a resurgence of interest due in part to continuing reports of drinking water contamination by agricultural pesticides. In response to the decertification of certain pesticides used for soil insect control on corn, in the early 1970s federal programs established Cooperative Extension Service sponsored IPM programs in several midwestern States to promote insect scouting on corn and cotton. This report documents the various factors which facilitated the growth and decline of these programs in Missouri and the ongoing transformation of such services into the private sector and other agencies. The objective of this report is to provide policy prescriptions to enhance the future adoption of IPM in Missouri and other areas that will facilitate the protection of water resources. Research in Missouri regarding pesticide use practices and water quality issues indicates that there is a considerably higher incidence of IPM use in counties that historically had, or still currently have, Extension sponsored programs. Interviews were conducted with University personnel responsible for implementing these programs, county Extension agents responsible for overseeing the programs, private sector businesspeople who are currently offering IPM services, and farm opeators who previously used, and/or now participate in, IPM Extension programs or private services. Interviewees were asked what factors contributed to the success, failure, and/or transformation of the county programs. Results indicate that these factors include quality and turnover of the scouts, committment of the Extension agent, economic and climatological variables, institutional support, and packaging IPM programs with other programs such as irrigation.