Problem Solving, Hands-on
Several area farmers, a couple of crop consultants and industry reps (lender, chemical, etc.), a local Cornell Cooperative Extension field crops educator, and the New York Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program Field Crops Area Educator.
The field. Each farmer enrolls at least two fields–one alfalfa, one corn–and may also enroll fields of soybeans, grass, and small grains. Meetings conform to the needs of the participants and rotate from farm to farm.
TAg brings groups of farmers, agribusiness, and extension personnel together to teach, apply, and evaluate Integrated Crop Management (ICM) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) philosophy, techniques, and practices to the ever-changing conditions on the farm. To better evaluate the management aides offered by local agri-service providers.
Meet at key times in the cropping season. Observe and identify crop and pest problems. Determine and apply IPM and ICM techniques that are economically and environmentally sound. Each year new teams are started, and a participant may be a member for one year.
Because TAg Teams are based on small groups and hands-on learning, they are an ideal way for people in agriculture to learn new and better ways of protecting the environment while dealing with the many problems, issues, and regulations that affect farmers–and thus the millions of people they feed.
Since the program began in 1990, TAg Teams have run in 34 counties. At least 827 producers are now TAg alumni. These participants enrolled nearly 15,000 acres of alfalfa and field corn into the program. They have incorporated the skills they learned into the routine management of more than 153,000 acres of alfalfa and field corn, as well as other crop and livestock components of their farm operations.
In 2002 we had eight TAg Teams totaling 43 participants in six counties. They have about 985 acres enrolled in the program and are incorporating the skills they learn into the routine management of about 12,280 acres of cropland. Surveys show:
- 100% of respondents indicated that TAg Teams helped them to better understand their IPM role.
- 100% indicated that they are now more aware of pest biology and the options for managing pests during each season.
- 96% indicated they would continue routine pest Scouting on their farms.
- 88% indicated that TAg helped them realize the need for better timing and selection of their management practices.