$1 Million BIFS Grant to Address Pest Control in Walnuts

Brian German Industry, Nuts & Grapes

A project looking to address pest control in walnuts is being funded through the Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS) grant program from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The BIFS grant that was recently announced will provide $1 million to support a project looking at more sustainable pest control practices. 

BIFS grant

A team of collaborators led by project leader Sara Tiffany of Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) will be establishing multiple demonstration sites throughout Sacramento and the San Joaquin Valley. The team will be implementing pheromone mating disruption and other biological control programs in the 40-acre demonstration sites. The project, “Promoting Biologically Integrated Orchard Systems in Walnuts in Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys,” will be conducted over the next three years.

Through the BIFS grant, the team aims to expand low-risk pest control practices in addressing pests such as coddling moth and navel orangeworm. Chlorpyrifos, which has typically been the most common material used to address these pests, will no longer be available to California growers. The project team will be working to help walnut producers adopt non-spray practices and other alternatives to help mitigate damage from invasive pests. There will be significant industry outreach and farmer-to-farmer information exchange as part of the project. 

The project team consists of CAFF staff, University of California Cooperative Extension specialists and personnel from the California Walnut Board. There will be a series of field days that will be scheduled at the demonstration sites, so that industry members, PCAs, and CCAs can learn more about season-specific pest management activities. Other online materials such as podcasts, videos, and industry publications will also be made available and distributed to industry members.

Governor Gavin Newsom proposed funding for the BIFS grant program, which was ultimately included in the CDFA Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis budget. The previous BIFS program ran from 1995 to 2010. Originally a project of CAFF, it transitioned to a grant program administered by the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program based at UC Davis. The program has received supplemental funding and cooperation from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West