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Pesticide Transition Project Advisory Committee to Meet

WENATCHEE, Wash. — The advisory committee to the Pest Management Transition Project will meet next week in Ellensburg.

The meeting will be held Thursday, Feb. 28 from 10 am to 3 pm in the Hal Holmes Community Center, 209 N. Ruby Street in Ellensburg. The meeting is open to the public and the agenda provides two periods for brief public comment, one at 11:45 am and another at 2 pm.

The Pest Management Transition Project was launched last year to assist the state’s apple growers transition from organophosphate insecticides to effective alternatives such as integrated pest management while maintaining their financial viability.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the phase-out by 2012 of azinphosmethyl, or AZM, the organophosphate insecticide widely used to control the key apple pest, codling moth.

According to Jay Brunner, director of the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center and member of the PMTP executive committee, reducing the use of organophosphates will have environmental benefits and reduce worker exposure.

“The fact is that transitioning away from organophosphates will require more sophisticated management and will increase the costs of apple pest control,” says Brunner. “The good news is that research-based knowledge is available on new technologies to help transition to IPM, and our goal is help growers successfully make the transition.”

The PMTP will rely on education and communication to share information, establish grower “implementation units” to share their experiences with adopting IPM practices, and assess and document the implementation process.

Brunner says that those wishing to comment on the PMTP but unable to attend the meeting will be able to provide input through the project’s Web site: http://www.pmtp.wsu.edu/.

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