Tuesday, May 28, 2024

New Resource For Pesticide Information

By Wayne Buhler, Assistant Department Head and Extension Specialist, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University

The Pesticide Environmental Stewardship (PES) website, found at www.pesticidestewardship.org, is a resource for information on proper pesticide handling and environmental stewardship. The site is designed for anyone who applies, sells, stores or disposes of pesticides; provides advice or training on pesticide use; or is involved in pesticide stewardship or regulation. Each major topic area, of which there are currently 18, contains research-based information, links to key external resources and federal and state regulations where appropriate.

The goals of the PES website are to:

  1. Summarize general principles of pesticide stewardship
  2. Provide category-, pesticide- and geography- specific stewardship principles where appropriate
  3. Direct users to key resources (links), by stewardship topic, category of use, pesticide and location, including state-specific regulations
  4. Improve critical thinking and decision- making skills regarding pesticide and non-pesticide options and potential impacts through assessment tools that are in development.

All content appearing directly on the PES website is not copyrighted and may be used or adapted by Extension and other educators to support or enhance their current pesticide education efforts. This includes the various “Pesticide Stewardship” brochures in the “Resources to download” link on the homepage. PES content is directly linked to the USDA’s eXtension website where PES is recognized as a Community of Practice. Content is vetted by subject matter experts where available.

Educational materials are continually being solicited and editorial support is encouraged from many stakeholders or partners that include agrochemical industry, government agencies, national grower organizations and other professional groups. See list of PES website “Supporting Organizations.”

New Labels May Refer To The Site
I serve as the national coordinator and have recruited a dynamic team of colleagues that has contributed substantially to the development of PES. Since the inception of the website project in the mid- 2000s, team members include Ron Gardner, Cornell University; Carol Black and Carrie Foss, Washington State University; Jim Wilson (retired), South Dakota State University; Fred Whitford, Purdue University; and Clyde Ogg, University of Nebraska. Dean Herzfeld, University of Minnesota; Patricia Hastings, Rutgers; and Kerry Richards, Penn State will participate in 2014. The website retains independence from specific companies, universities or states.

The PES website is entirely funded with external monies administered by the Center for IPM (CIPM). CIPM was established in 1991 as part of the National Science Foundation’s Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers Program. CIPM involves scientists from universities across the nation through grants, contracts or other formal working relationships to foster IPM in both agricultural and urban settings. It is housed within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University.

The PES website has garnered an enthusiastic response from educators across North America, members of the “Supporting Organizations” and leaders of national regulatory agencies. It has been selected as the national clearinghouse for PPE Educational Materials, which will be developed, updated and approved by the National Pesticide PPE Training Solutions Committee.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires that 2014 labels of certain neonicotinoid pesticides contain a text box that lists specific application restrictions to protect pollinators. Among these statements, the label advises applicators to log onto the Pollinator Protection module of the PES website for information on protecting bees and other insect pollinators.

Enhancements to the site continue, and it is accessible by smart phones.

Buhler is the statewide coordinator of the Pesticide Safety Education Program and Director of the Southern Region Pesticide Safety Education Center.

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