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WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that the average cost of pest control is approximately 34 percent of a farmer's variable crop production costs and traditional pest control practices result in crop losses of 10 to 30 percent due to pests; and

WHEREAS, integrated pest management (IPM) and integrated crop management (ICM) -- which includes crop water and nutrient management -- are tools that strive to enhance the profitability of crop production by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools to improve pest management; and

WHEREAS, IPM/ICM reduce pesticide and fertilizer use, reduce grower production costs, reduce farm worker, consumer, and school children’s exposure to pesticides, and increases quality and safety for all the residents of New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, precisely timed pesticide applications are recommended when economic thresholds are reached; improving control of the target pests while reducing pesticide usage and saving farmers time and money; and

WHEREAS, the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) and Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension (RCRE) are leaders in the development and support of IPM/ICM and have been nationally recognized for excellence; and

WHEREAS, RCRE IPM programs are strongly embraced by growers of a wide variety of crops in New Jersey; growers participating in the RCRE Fruit IPM program on average reduced pesticide use by 40 percent over the last 10 years, when compared to traditional pest control practices; and

WHEREAS, RCRE IPM programs have helped farmers to improve environmental quality by incorporating low risk pesticides into pest management programs, preventing the unnecessary use of pesticides, and protecting farm workers and school children from pesticide exposure; and

WHEREAS, RCRE IPM programs have also provided new marketing opportunities and opened export markets; and

WHEREAS, the New Jersey School IPM Act stipulates that IPM be practiced in public, private and charter schools, but no funding exists for educational program outreach; and

WHEREAS, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages IPM/ICM practices and the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides competitive cost sharing funds to new participants who enroll in IPM/ICM programs to offset some of the program costs; and

WHEREAS, stable funding for ICM and IPM programs in New Jersey is a critical issue for New Jersey farmers, food quality, the environment and the general public, and major support for IPM/ICM has been provided in past years through discretionary funds from the NJAES-RCRE State appropriation; and

WHEREAS, budget cuts to the NJAES have jeopardized the future of the RCRE IPM-ICM programs and services to farmers and the public and although RCRE has maintained programs by reallocating resources and personnel, key vacancies remain unfilled.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 92nd State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on February 14, 2007, fully endorse and encourage the use of IPM-ICM programs by the agricultural community.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call upon the Governor and the State Legislature to reauthorize an annual line item of $750,000 in funding to NJAES/RCRE to ensure the future success of existing IPM/ICM programs in fruit and vegetables and further expansion of the IPM/ICM programming in field crops, ornamentals and nursery crops, school IPM and internet and media outreach to clientele and the general public.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we recommend that RCRE include IPM/ICM functions in more county extension positions which are jointly funded by local, county and NJAES State funds.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the USDA NRCS to continue to promote IPM/ICM benefits and successes; and expand efforts to encourage more growers to participate in IPM/ICM programs by making EQIP cost share funds available to all growers participating in IPM/ICM programs with cost share reimbursement paid over the life of the contract.