CAE’S EPA ASSISTANCE AGREEMENTS AND ARRANGEMENT WITH PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS
In 1997, AFT's Center for Agriculture in the Environment was approached by the Pew Charitable Trusts and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help establish private-public partnership projects to implement integrated pest management programs across the country. IPM helps farmers reduce the impacts of pest control practices on the environment while maintaining or increasing profits. The use of IPM on farms can help AFT reach two of its desired outcomes: widespread adoption of healthy farming practices and increased farm profitability.
Pew Charitable Trusts asked CAE to manage their funds for these projects. The funding from U.S. EPA for these projects was to be provided as part of an assistance agreement between AFT and U.S. EPA. Four multi-year private-public partnership projects were established as models in California, Washington, Michigan and North Carolina. The Center for Agricultural Partnerships, directed by Larry Elworth and supported by Pew, developed and directs the projects with input from Pew, EPA, and CAE and AFT oversees the funds. Although projects are uniquely designed to address critical problems, they also have two key elements in common: 1) the participants themselves manage the projects; and 2) their decisions are based on extensive on-going evaluations of the economic, social, agronomic and environmental consequences. This market- and issue-driven evaluative feedback loop is critical, and goes a long way to ensuring participant buy-in to the projects.
The first Assistance Agreement drafted by AFT and EPA was a five-year agreement for up to $2.5 million covering the project period 09/08/97 to 09/07/01. It was called the Strategic Pest Management Program, C R 825618-01. The agreement was to "develop new opportunities for agricultural producers to improve the economic and environmental performance of their pest management systems through education, hands-on project assistance, the analysis of successful case studies and the development of practical models."
This agreement was supplanted by a new five-year agreement for up to $3 million, Design for the Environment for Farmers, R-82856801-01, that runs 09/08/00 to 09/07/05. This agreement provides "opportunities for agricultural producers to improve the economic and environmental performance of their pest management systems." The project manager for both agreements is Harry W. Wells, EPA OPP/BBPD.
As of January 2002, 37 IPM projects are underway or completed. We have identified most of these projects through Request for Proposals and rigorous review processes. Over the last five years, we have managed $4,508,000 in funding from EPA and Pew Charitable Trusts and permanently changed the stewardship behavior of at least 400 farmers managing 91,000 acres. Ultimately, we will directly improve stewardship on 150,000 acres with these projects. The cost averages out to about $30/acre. We have not yet measured the broader impacts on the farming communities around our project sites.
In addition, on August 2001, CAE signed a one-year $218,000 Assistance Agreement with EPA Region 10 to manage IPM projects to help farmers comply with the Food Quality Protection Act. We are offering $307,000 in competitive grant funds to groups seeking to implement IPM projects in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. These funds include $100,000 from our federal EPA Assistance Agreement. AFT’s Pacific Northwest Regional Office is helping us review and oversee the projects. We posted a Request for Proposals in September and are currently choosing between 14 qualified applicants. EPA Region 10 has already announced its intention to extend its Assistance Agreement with us for a second year. EPA Region 5 approached us in February 2002 to establish a similar assistance agreement covering Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.