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Organic and IPM Working Group Releases White Paper on Sustainable Systems

November 12, 2015

The Organic and IPM Working Group released a new white paper Monday, entitled Organic Agriculture and Integrated Pest Management: Synergistic Partnership Needed to Improve the Sustainability of Agriculture and Food Systems.

The white paper is the result of more than a year of work to put on paper the Working Group’s shared vision for taking advantage of the synergies that exist between Organic and IPM. The goal of the white paper is to provide the information policy makers and other key decision makers in the public and private sector need to make informed decisions that will help make agriculture more sustainable and address environmental and human health threats.

Why Organic and IPM?

Organic and IPM have not yet reached their full potential to address environmental and human health threats. Both have that ability to address these issues in similar and synergistic ways. They both seek to promote environmental quality, farm viability, and human health by finding the least harmful ways to deal with on-farm pest and disease pressures.

However, for many years both have been underutilized and in some ways have been seen as in conflict, in that IPM, like sustainable agriculture more broadly, does not spurn all synthetic materials. However, IPM does seek to reduce and minimize the need for agri-chemicals by leveraging ecological processes, biodiversity, and cycles adapted for local conditions, which are the same techniques that Organic utilizes to reach the goal of not using any synthetic materials. As a result IPM is a key component of any organic system.

This paper explores the interactions of the two systems to find out how they are used, what they can learn from each other, and what needs to happen to promote and expand their adoption.

NSAC is proud to be part of the Working Group and hopes that this white paper furthers the dialogue about Organic and IPM. Both have much to teach us about how to move towards a sustainable agriculture and food system.


The White Paper makes several recommendation to push Organic and IPM forward:

  • Increase public and private support for long-term, interdisciplinary systems research that 
provides working models and field-scale demonstrations of both organic and advanced IPM 
systems that farmers, researchers and practitioners can use.
  • Facilitate adoption of sustainable practices through publicly funded programs that expand 
outreach, promote collaboration between IPM and organic proponents, and compensate 
farmers for ecosystem services provided.
  • Eliminate publicly funded programs that encourage unsustainable practices based on 
maximizing yield and profits at the expense of environmental quality and health.
  • Increase public incentives, including pesticide registration improvements for product and service providers to develop, formulate, market and sell more options that are compatible with organic and advanced IPM systems, including biologically based pesticides.

Organic and IPM Working Group

The Organic and IPM Working group is an assemblage of national leaders from the organic and IPM communities. These two groups share broadly overlapping interests in environmentally conscious food production. The Working Group has a goal of continuing to facilitate discussion and collaboration between organic and IPM leaders. The group, now comprised of over sixty individuals from around the country, welcomes a diverse membership of experts from such fields as agronomy, entomology, plant pathology, marketing and communications, which enables a multifaceted, transdisciplinary approach to sustainable agriculture.



Categories: Organic, Research, Education & Extension

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