Texas AgriLife Extension  
The Texas AgriLife Extension logo is recognized across the state.  
Texas AgriLife Extension
has a Critical and Primary Role in the Texas IPM Program

The concept of IPM was initiated in many states during the early 1970s. Federal support funding through the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) helped to push the concept of IPM aloft.

By 1977, Cooperative Extension had supported the implementation of 52 pilot programs across 33 states. Within Texas, the agency conducted pilot programs in two primary growing regions. As the success story of the IPM pilot programs spread, growers in other farming regions of the state became interested in establishing programs in their respective regions.

  AgriLife Extension IPM Agent
  A Texas IPM Agent evaluates pest problems in a cotton field. The agent works closely with farm growers in addressing pest problems in their farm fields.

At the state level, IPM program implementation became the responsibility of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. The Texas program, however, is different from that of any other state in that it is a coordinated, cooperative effort on the part of Texas AgriLife Extension, Texas Pest Management Association (TPMA) and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA).

TPMA is a grower funded and grower managed organization that cooperates directly with AgriLife Extension to implement IPM concepts at the grassroots level. Extension provides the professional entomologists that provide leadership within each established IPM program unit. A program unit is comprised of one or more counties in a region. Extension Agents - IPM are employed by AgriLife Extension, however field scouts who collect program data are employed by the grower organization.

The TDA helps to further the state's IPM program through much needed grant funding. These funds are used to investigate new IPM technologies, and to help disseminate valuable information to both farm growers and urban interests.

AgriLife Extension
Remains Critical to Program Success

Texas AgriLife Extension evolved through the Land-Grant University System model. The idea is the envy of many other countries that continue to struggle with supplying their populations with ample and safe supplies food.

The Extension concept has historically been based on efforts to disseminate research information to the public. These efforts continue as Extension personnel work directly with farm growers to implement IPM program guides. The Texas IPM program requires a basic, but fundamental, one-on-one contact with farm growers that focuses on open communication. Extension provides IPM educational information and expertise, while farm growers take the new found knowledge and incorporate it into their individual farming operations.

IPM Agents  
Texas AgriLife Extension IPM Agents keep up to date on the latest IPM program tools and advancements.  

The cooperation between TPMA and AgriLife Extension has created an optimal environment for the moving of practical research from experimental field trials to applied science at the farm level. The Texas program represents an optimal approach of farm growers working directly with Extension personnel to help the program through a continuing evolutionary process. The program has allowed a two-way communication tunnel that allows Cooperative Extension to disseminate program information to growers. Growers communicate back to Extension basic concerns regarding insect pests, and their experiences with new IPM technologies.

As the program continues to evolve, farmers have become active, participating partners with Cooperative Extension. This reflects back to the one-on-one contact of growers working directly with Extension to attack pest problems in a rational and judicious manner.

The role of AgriLife Extension in IPM program implementation remains essential to the success of the effort. What began only as pilot programs on a limited number of farms and commodities, has flourished into a multi-commodity, multidisciplinary effort to address agricultural pest problems on a significant number of crop acres.

The participation of AgriLife Extension is no less important today than it was when IPM programs were in their infancy. In fact, the role and responsibility of the agency in implementing IPM program goals has grown. If Extension IPM programs are to continue to expand and thrive in the next decade, increased political support is an absolute necessity. IPM program success stories must be articulated in a unified effort, easily understood, and with a clear mission to legislators, policy makers, and urban citizens.

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