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Release Date: 11/5/2001
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office, 415/947-4306

     SAN FRANCISCO   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today $454,200 in new grants today that will fund nine agricultural projects throughout California that will develop ways to lessen pesticide use and support environmentally responsible farming practices.

     The grant program is part of the EPA's efforts to implement the Food Quality Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1996, which establishes stricter health standards for pesticide residues in food.  Under this law, the EPA and U.S. Department of Agriculture collaborate in supporting growers and commodity groups as they develop new pest management strategies that conform to more protective standards.

     The newly funded projects will reduce the use and risks of pesticides, particularly organophosphate, carbamate and other carcinogenic compounds, and encourage farmers to adopt environmentally responsible and economical integrated pest management. The projects are coordinated by the EPA's Regional Agriculture Initiative, which carries out a variety of educational, outreach, and partnership activities that support farming systems that are environmentally sound, economically viable and socially responsible.  

     "This funding represents the EPA's continuing commitment to work with the farming community, academia, other government agencies and non-profits to lessen pesticide use and risk in California," said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the Cross Media Division in the EPA's Pacific Southwest office in San Francisco. "Ultimately these projects will result in improved environmental and health conditions for everyone from the field workers who apply pesticides to the consumers who enjoy the produce."

$200,000 -- University of California  Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program, Biologically Integrated Farming Systems Project (Davis).  The project entails research and implementation of integrated biologically based practices and reduced pesticide use through public-private partnerships in several commodities, including prunes, almonds, apples grapes, dairies, strawberries. (Marco Barzman, 530/754-8548)

$84,000   Organic Farming Research Foundation (Santa Cruz) The foundation will support research and development of organic farming methods for pest and disease management. (Bob Scowcroft, Don Burgett, 831/426-6606)

$30,000   Center for Agricultural Partnerships On-farm trials and outreach on pheremones & other integrated pest management methods will be performed, which leads to reduced use of pesticides on walnut production in the Central Valley. (Larry Ellworth, 828/285-9340)

$30,000   Minor Crops Council (Visalia) The council will identify pest management priorities and develop strategies for 10 commodity groups. (Lori Berger, 559/799-8266)

$30,000   Sonoma County Grape Growers (Santa Rosa) The project involves on-farm experiments, educational activities, and demonstrations on pest management alternatives for wine grapes in Sonoma.  (Nick Frey, 707/206-0603)

$30,000   University of California Riverside Entomology Department (Coachella Valley) Scientists will work with growers to research and develop integrated ant control and biocontrol, as alternatives to pesticide use for table grape pest management. (Daniel Gonzalez, 909/787- 3086)

$22,000   California Prune Board (Fresno) The board will use the funding to develop a pest management strategy and a database to track its pest management methods. (Gary Obenauf, 559/447-2127)

$20,000   University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (Davis) Scientists from this program will conduct on-farm research and demonstration of the use of weather models for disease management in strawberries, which can potentially help reduce fungicide use.  (Jenny Broome, 530/754-8547)

$8,200   California Tree Fruit Agreement Field days, outreach to farmers and demonstrations will be conducted on integrated pest management methods for managing insects in peaches, plums and nectarines, aimed to reduce pesticide risks and use. (Gary Van Sickle, 559/638-8842)