The future prospects for specialty, ornamental and greenhouse crops in Michigan, pest management research on these crops, new pest management tools now available and the role of the IR-4 program in bringing these to specialty crops will be the focus of the Michigan IR-4 Meeting March 20, 2007. The meeting, for policymakers and stakeholders, runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the James B. Henry Center for Executive Development, 3535 Forest Road, Lansing, Mich. An optional workshop on submission of project clearance requests will follow.
The $87 billion U.S. farm bill, which sets farm policy for the next five years, could impact specialty crop growers. The Bush administration recently proposed a bill that would invest $1 billion over 10 years to establish a new Specialty Crop Research Initiative to provide science-based tools for the specialty crop industry. Focus areas of the new program will be to identify threats from invasive species, conduct research in plant breeding, genetics and genomics, and improve production efficiency, productivity and profitability.
There is no registration fee for the Michigan IR-4 Meeting. Space is limited; the registration deadline is March 16. To find out more, go to http://www.maes.msu.edu/news/ir4agenda.htm  or call Gwen Skinner at (517) 355-0123 or Satoru Miyazaki at (517) 336-4611.