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Pear industry representatives in Oregon and Washington are collaborating to create a Pest Management Strategic Plan for pears. The goal of the project is to document the industry’s pest management challenges and identify its needs in terms of education, research, and regulatory issues. The PMSP plan could be used by scientists when applying for grants for pear research. It might also be used to support registration of critical pest controls.

Katie Murray, faculty research assistant with Oregon State University in Corvallis, who is drafting the PMSP document, has put together a working group of 25 pear growers and field horticulturists from the Medford, Hood River, Wenatchee, Yakima, and Okanogan growing districts. She is also holding meetings in each region to gather input from other growers. Three meetings will be held in Washington during the last week of July.

“I think it’s really important for growers to be there so they can have input as to what goes in the document,” Murray said. “The more growers that come to the meetings to talk about their pest challenges, the more of that gets reflected in the end product. This has been a need for a while for the industry to come together and have some targeted items that they want to focus on.”

Locations and dates are:

Omak: Koala Street Grill, 914 Koala Drive, July 29, 3 to 5 p.m.

Wenatchee: Washington Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, 1100 North Western Avenue, July 30, 1 to 3 p.m.

Yakima: Washington State University Extension Office, 2403 South 18th Street, Union Gap, July 31, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

The working group will meet in August to review the information gathered and identify the most critical needs to be included in the plan.

Funding to write the plan was obtained through the pear research sub-committee of the Fresh and Processed Pear Committees, which manage the federal marketing order for Northwest fresh pears.

Bob Gix, committee co-chair, said this is an important step for the pear industry, which is an important one buit has less clout than the apple industry. "It's very important we have a unified voice."

Gix stressed that the plan will cover pest management in its broadest sense and will include mites, bacterial diseases such as fireblight, fungal diseases, and even issues relating to nutrients, water, labor, and economics.

Growers planning to attend one of the meetings are asked to email Murray or call her at (541) 231-1983,