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Monsanto Corn Rootworm Management Program Expanding

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Insect management program

Rick VierlingA successful run for the Corn Rootworm Management Program is now leading to an expansion of the program to cover all of the pests that can impact corn. Monsanto’s Insect Management Knowledge Program will be guided by an 11-person Advisory Committee. Dr. Rick Vierling, director of Research and Business Development at the National Corn Growers Association is a member of that group.

“It’ll cover areas from pest management to developing new predictive models on how resistance develops,” he said. “Sometimes I think the general public believes that insect resistance is something new that’s caused by GMO’s, but the fact is this has gone on forever and it will continue to go on forever. So this is just part of the normal good stewardship and sustainability that farmers need to use.”

He told HAT the committee will also look at mechanisms of pest resistance and how those mechanisms can be used to control pests. Also they’ll look at surveys of U.S. insect pest populations.

“Because these change. You know western rootworm may change its area a little bit and others may go back, so we have to understand what the pest populations are and how they’re changing so that we can use and modify our control methods to keep them in check.”

The committee’s work includes an education and training component to help farmers continually understand what steps they need to take to control pests and be profitable.

Vierling was the former director of the Indiana Crop Improvement Association’s Genetics Program and was an adjunct professor in Purdue University’s Department of Agronomy.

In the corn rootworm program there is currently $6 million in funding and 13 research projects underway. With the Insect Management Knowledge Program Monsanto is also providing merit-based awards of up to $250,000 per award per year for up to three years for projects that will enhance the collective understanding of insect management. Monsanto has committed an additional $3 million over three years to support this public sector research on insect management.

Potential applicants will find details at www.monsanto.com/insectmanagement, including key dates and instructions on how to apply.

Hear more from Dr. Vierling in the HAT interview, including his take on how important private funding is for public sector research efforts:Dr Vierling