History of IPM Florida

Dr. Russell F. Mizell, III was the first half-time State IPM Coordinator for Florida from March 1997 to December 2000.  His administrative contacts were Dr. Christine Waddill, University of Florida, Southern Region IPMInstitute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Dean for Extension and Dr. Richard Jones, Dean for Research.  With Dr. Norm Nesheim, Dr. Mizell became Co-Director of the Southern Region Integrated Pest Management Center in 2000.  They hired the first Southern Region IPM facilitator, Dr. Shani File.  The Center was moved to North Carolina in 2001. 

Accomplishments for 1997-2000 included reviews of well-developed state IPM programs in New York, Texas and California to help design a statewide IPM program for Florida.  A primary goal was updating and expanding the UF/IFAS pest management guides to incorporate IPM recommendations along with the lists of chemical pesticides.  In cooperation with Julie Graddy, Don Poucher and Dr. Howard Beck, a USDA telecommunications grant was obtained that led to both the Extension Digital Information System (EDIS) and Distance Diagnostic Information SystemNIFA (DDIS).  Statewide leadership and coordination were provided for IPM, including assistance in obtaining grant funding, a newsletter that communicated program activities, and national representation for Florida.  Funding was obtained from USDA, CSREES (now the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, NIFA)  to develop a brochure for the U.S. Congress on tomato IPM in Florida, and a number of projects were completed on IPM for ornamental and vegetable crops.

Dr. Norman C. Leppla became the first full-time State IPM Coordinator for Florida in April 2001.  That year his administrative contact was Extension Dean Christine Waddill but in 2002 it became Dr. Joan Dusky, UF/IFAS Associate Dean for Extension.  Drs. Norm Nesheim, Director, Pesticide Information Office; John Capinera, Chairman, Entomology and Nematology Department; and Mike Martin, Senior Vice President, UF/IFAS were particularly helpful in establishing the second generation IPM Florida program.  During that first year, Dr. Jim Cuda provided guidance and crucial grant funding from the Sustainable Agricultural Research and Extension (SARE) program, and Tom Fasulo served as the webmaster.  Marion Douglas served as webmaster during subsequent years, and Rebecca McNair (2003) and Dr. Rebecca Baldwin (2006) assisted with special projects.  Administrative staff members of the Entomology and Nematology Department provided essential support, particularly Sharon Hoopaugh and now Linda Pedersen (fiscal), and Pam Howell and Nancy Sanders (clerical), Jane Medley (graphic arts), and Steve Lasley (information technology).  Assistant State IPM Coordinators have included Dr. Barbra Larson (2003-2004) and Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman (2004-2008).

IPM Florida has been linked closely with the UF/IFAS Plant Medicine Program that was initiated by Dr. George Agrios in 1999 and has been directed by Dr. Robert McGovern since 2002 (http://dpm.ifas.ufl.edu).  Plant Medicine students have served as IPM specialists for specific project areas.  Dr. Daniel Sonke (2001-2005) was responsible for building content on the website and completed projects on IPM for woody ornamental plants and a commercial pesticide database, Dr. Esther Dunn, now Serrano, (2001 -2005) developed an IPM Toolbox of educational exercises primarily for Master Gardeners, Dr. Stephanie Dickerson, now Bledsoe, (2002) assisted with the woody ornamental plant project, Dr. Angela Vincent (2004) worked on a landscape IPM project, and Dr. Heidi HansPetersen (2005-2006) organized the IPM Florida Innovation Grants Program and led an effort to compile the first IPM guide for Florida.  Dr. Denise Thomas (2006-2008) was a USDA, CSREES, National Needs Fellow who significantly upgraded the IPM Florida website, e.g., added valuable Extension materials and created the Grants Showcase.  She also published two papers in scientific journals.  Dr. Joyce Merritt (2007-2009), another Plant Medicine student, managed the Grants Showcase, created thrips pest management webpages, and produced important publications and Extension materials.  Kevyn Juneau contributed a pioneering project that helped to advance the University of Florida IPM program for student housing and obtain Green Shield certification, and published his M.S. thesis in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management.  Dr. Kirk Martin co-authored with Dr. Thomas a CD on Florida's major agricultural pests and a training manual for IPM in university housing, and initiated a major project on identifying pests of citrus.  Current Plant Medicine/IPM Florida students include Ken Johnson and Rafael Vega, both National Needs Fellows.  Ken and Kevyn provided technical support for a project on pasture IPM in cooperation with the Agronomy Department, while Rafael serves as webmaster for the IPM Florida and Plant Medicine Programs.  Rafael led a special project with the UF/IFAS Pesticide Information Office to prepare a study guide for the Principles of Pesticides course.  Erika Machtinger is completing her M.S. project on biological control of filth flies and has been accepted into the Entomology and Nematology Department Ph.D. program.  She will begin serving as coordinator of the department's teaching assistants in 2012.  In fall semester 2011, Ziyi Zhang (Mike) and Angie Beltran began their M.S. programs in Entomology.

Accomplishments since 2001:

  • Established a comprehensive, statewide IPM program for Florida encompassing agriculture, communities and natural areas.  Areas of activity included People and Communities, Ornamentals and Turf, Vegetables, Watersheds and River Basins, Pasture and forage Crops, Citrus, and Deciduous and Small Fruits.  IPM Florida serves as a model for other states with less developed infrastructures (report: IPM Florida- First 5 Years).
  • FL Ag pests CDEnhanced the IPM Florida website to contain success stories, projects, reports, Extension resources, presentations, teaching resources, grant funding, employment, a Grants Showcase and selected links (http://ipm.ifas.ufl.edu).  Featured are a CD on "Florida's Major Agricultural Pests," a "Grower's IPM Guide for Florida Tomato and Pepper Production," the "Grants Showcase," "School IPM," "Campus IPM," and "Thrips Pest Management."
  • Established an IPM grants support program that has cooperatively generated more than $4 million for multidisciplinary research and Extension projects in entomology, nematology, agronomy, horticulture, plant pathology, and agricultural engineering.  An internal IPM Florida Innovation Grants Program funded approximately 55 projects for a total of $260,000.  Several projects were selected for multi-county expansion, e.g., School IPM, Biological Control Brain Bowl, and Landscape Management IPM.
  • Denise ThomasCreated Extension resources in response to the needs of Cooperative Extension clientele, e.g., "Integrated Pest Management in Florida" the first CD on IPM projects in the state, "Grower's IPM Guide for Florida Tomato and Pepper Production" as a model for future guides, "Tomato & Pepper Insects" identification deck and screensaver as companions to the guide, "IPM Toolbox," "Good Lawn Bugs" identification deck, "Florida's Major Agricultural Pests" CD, and "Integrated Pest Management Policy and Treatment Guidelines for University Housing Pest Control Technicians."
  • Initiated cooperatively a new biosecurity/biosafety educational capability, including a "Certificate in Plant Pest Risk Assessment and Management" in the Plant Medicine Program and an undergraduate curriculum in the Entomology and Nematology Department.  Specialized courses, colloquia, and internships lead to employment opportunities in regulatory organizations, e.g., USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine; Department of Homeland Security; and state departments of agriculture.
  • IPMProvided guidance to UF/IFAS and allied organizations: Entomology and Nematology Department (committees, advising, mentoring), IFAS (Tenure & Promotion, York Lecture and other committees), Plant Medicine Program (Curriculum Committee); Association of Natural Bio-control Producers (Liaison Council); Entomological Society of America (Environmental Entomology- Editorial Board, Subject Editor, committees); International Organization for Biological Control, Arthropod Mass Rearing and Quality Control Working Group (Co-Chairman); Workshop for Insectary Managers and Insect Rearing Specialists (Mississippi State University, co-founding instructor); Center for Biological Control, Florida A&M University (Chairman Advisory Committee, member Courtesy Faculty); Caribbean Invasive Species Working Group (co-founder, member); Florida Entomological Society (Florida Entomologist- Associate Editor, committees).
  • Received recognition: (N. C. Leppla) Fellow, Entomological Society of America (2009); Certificate of Appreciation, International Organization for Biological Control, AMRQC (2007); Entomologist of the Year Award, Florida Entomological Society (2006); Award for Excellence in IPM, Entomological Society of America, SEB (2005); Team award for mole cricket biological control, Florida Entomological Society (2003); Jim App Award for Outstanding Design Team in Extension (2002); Dedication of Workshop, International Workshop on Rearing Quality Insects (2001).  (J. L. Gillett-Kaufman) Group Extension Gold Image Award, UF/IFAS (2008); Annual Achievement Award for Extension, Florida Entomological Society (2008); Southern Region IPM Center, Friends of IPM, Future Leader Award (2008), Group Extension Gold Image Award, UF/IFAS (2007); two Group Extension Bronze Image Awards, UF/IFAS (2007); Group Extension Silver Image Award, UF/IFAS (2006).  (K. J. Juneau) Student Paper competition, 3rd place (2009). Joyce Merritt was elected as DPMSO president in 2009 and Ken Johnson has replaced her and was elected in 2010. Kirk Martin was elected DPMSO Vice President in 2009 and Andy Vega has replaced him in 2010. Andy Vega was also awarded a scholarship from the Agronomy Soils Club for active participation in developing a community garden project. Kirk Martin received a scholarship from Orchard Island Juice company to attend the Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference during July and August 2009.

Updated: September 4, 2009