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Graduate Training in Plant Health Risk Management for Crop Biosecurity Enhancement


The goal of this USDA-CSREES National Needs Fellowship project is to increase national and international crop biosecurity through specialized education and training in plant health risk management. Supporting project objectives are to train internationally oriented and technologically advanced plant health professionals and to promote cooperation and information exchange on plant health risk management.

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NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: This project is justified by the need for additional experts in the US government and agricultural industries to expeditiously solve plant health problems and mitigate associated risks. The individual disciplines that comprise agricultural science are justifiably narrow in focus in order to successfully conduct research to preserve and improve plant health. Broadly trained, interdisciplinary plant health practitioners are needed on the doctoral level to synthesize and apply the large quantity of complex information generated by ongoing agricultural research to prevent the introduction of alien pests and take rapid action to minimize deleterious impacts should a pest introduction occur. This project addresses the national need for the multidisciplinary graduate training of professionals in agricultural and life sciences. Individuals will be trained in all aspects of plant health including plant pest risk assessment and management.


APPROACH: Proposed approaches to goal accomplishment are broad based doctoral level training of students in prevention, diagnosis, monitoring and integrated management of plant health problems, delivery of specialized graduate level instruction in plant health risk management, and exchange of key research and educational personnel to serve as instructors and mentors. Broad based instruction in plant health will be accomplished within the highly successful, multidisciplinary Plant Medicine Program at the university of Florida that leadsg to the Doctor of Plant Medicine degree. Students accumulate 120 graduate credits in relevant agricultural science disciplines, including 90 credits in coursework and 30 in internships. Fellows will receive additional advanced training through a Certificate Program in Plant Health Risk assessment and Management that requires 16 credits, including at least nine internship credits. Internships are conducted with national and international cooperators. Information exchange on plant health risk management will occur through classroom instruction, and colloquia on emerging plant health issues.
PROGRESS: 2005/09 TO 2009/08 <BR>
Two Doctor of Plant Medicine (DPM) Students and USDA-CSREES NNF fellows, Denise Thomas and Brian Jackson received general training in plant health management required for the DPM degree and specialized training in crop biosecurity required for the Certificate in Plant Pest Risk Assessment and Management. The training was delivered through coursework, internships, meeting attendance and related activities. Internships completed by Thomas included a diagnostic project with the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and training with the permitting group of the USDA/APHIS/PPQ, Frederick, MD. Jackson completed internships with the potato production company Black Gold, Live Oak, FL and the crop consulting firm Agrimanagement, Inc., Yakima, WA. Both students also completed internships at the USDA/APHIS/PPQ Center for Plant Science and Technology (CPHST), Raleigh, NC. Jackson and Thomas completed the DPM degree and Certificate in Plant Pest Risk Assessment and Management in May and December of 2008, respectively. PRODUCTS: Brian Jackson revised and updated the webpage for the Certificate in Plant Pest Risk Assessment and Management Program: gement/PlantPestRiskAssessmentandManagement.html. This certificate program provides an opportunity for graduate students at the University of Florida to develop the personal and professional competencies required to effectively conduct and lead plant pest risk assessment and management on the local, national and international level. Jackson completed a data sheet on a pest of regulatory concern, the moth Cryptoblabes gnidiella. This pest data sheets will be used as a key component for a future Pest Risk Analysis (PRAs) that will be conducted by CPHST. Denise Thomas revised and updated the IPM Florida website: The website is designed to assist extension specialists, county extension faculty, master gardeners, master naturalists, receptive producers and land managers, and urban constituents with the education and training process by making information on new pest management technologies more accessible. IPM tactics are also presented as a means to minimize the detrimental impacts of exotic species, reduce the risk of outbreaks and epidemics, conserve pesticides against resistance, and reduce overall crop production costs. Thomas also completed a data sheet on a pest of regulatory concern, the spherical mealybug Nipaecoccus viridis. Thia pest data sheet will be used as key component for a future Pest Risk Analysis (PRAs) that will be conducted by CPHST. Thomas also completed data sheets on the fruit borers Deudorix epijarbas and D. isocrates for a PRA in progress. <BR>OUTCOMES: Two USDA, CSREES NNF fellows were broadly trained in plant health management with an emphasis on crop and plant biosecurity. Through this training they have been made aware of the complexity and difficulty in protecting agricultural crops from pests and diseases and have been prepared for careers related to this area. <BR> DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES: The activities of the project have been disseminated by the Plant Medicine Program website, including the Certificate in Plant Pest Risk Assessment and Management webpage and through presentations at meetings. The two fellows and the program director presented posters and gave an invited presentation at the USDA, CSREES National Needs Fellowship Conference, Sept. 16-17, 2007 in Washington, DC. FUTURE INITIATIVES: The project is being continued by three new students funded by a subsequent USDA, CSREES, NNF grant.
IMPACT: 2005/09 TO 2009/08 <BR>
Two students were broadly trained in plant health management and in agricultural regulatory procedures and policy and the importance of such activities has been more widely disseminated in the US.

McGovern, Robert
University of Florida
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