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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 and prioritize the industry’s pest management challenges and identify its needs in terms of education, research, and regulatory issues.

Bob Gix, co-chair of the Fresh and Processed Pear Committees’ research subcommittee, said the plan covers pests in the widest sense—insects, diseases, and animals—as well as the inputs that impact them, such as irrigation, tree vigor, economics, and labor.

With university, state, and federal research funds being limited, research needs that are well documented and supported by the industry are expected to have the best chance of being addressed.

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 also held meetings in each growing region to gather input from other growers about their challenges.

“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,” she said.

The completed plan might be used in a number of ways:

• To help researchers justify projects to successfully compete for federal research funds.

• To ensure that the goals of WSU pear researchers match grower and industry priorities.

• To help the industry communicate with state and federal legislators or regulators about the concerns of pear growers.

• To demonstrate the industry’s pesticide labeling and product needs to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

• To create a focused direction for pear research and ensure the best results from grower investments.

Funding to write the plan was obtained through the Fresh and Processed Pear Committees’ research subcommittee.

For more information, e-mail Murray at murramar@science.oregonstate.edu or call her at (541) 231-1983.