Organization of the iPiPE CAP

The iPiPE CAP organizational structure is depicted in the figure below. There are three project areas: Governance; Crop-Pest Programs; and iPiPE Platform. 

Project Organization Scheme


Governance

The iPiPE Governance project area has two components: 

  • ADVISORY BOARD
  • PROJECT DIRECTORS (PDs)
The Advisory Board includes the four regional IPM Center Directors, a NPDN RegionalCenter Director, the Associate Director of Bugwood, the Director of the NSF-NCSU Center for IPM, and private sector stakeholders from prominent grower associations, industry partners, and government agencies. 

The Board: 

      • Promotes iPiPE activities at national and international levels 
      • Develops linkages with other pest monitoring programs, NPDN diagnostic labs, and related organizations and agencies sponsoring pest research and monitoring projects 
      • Assists the PDs in strategic planning and pursuing new funding opportunities

The IPM Center Directors on the Advisory Board plays a key role in competitively selecting crop-pest associations to be funded as iPiPE Crop-Pest Programs:

      • The NPDN Regional Center Director provides liaison with state and regional diagnostic facilities
      • The Associate Director of Bugwood oversees the national pest observation repository 
      • The CIPM Director provides a liaison with key federal partners
Private and public sector stakeholders on the Advisory Board are critical ambassadors charged with engaging other members of the agriculture community in iPiPE. PD Isard chairs the Advisory Board and directs daily operations of the iPiPE. Co-PD VanKirk manages fiscal activities and administers the competitive process for selection of Crop-Pest Programs. At the beginning of each year, the entire membership of the Governance project area meets with Coordinators of both the Crop-Pest Programs and iPiPE Platform components (see figure above) at the iPiPE Project Mixer (iPMx). During Years 2-5 they will be joined by iPiPE stakeholder and student participants. The purpose of the iPMx is to reinforce and promote the iPiPE vision of progress through sharing and face-to-face interaction. 


Crop-Pest Programs (CPPs)

The iPiPE Crop-Pest Programs are selected using three criteria: 

    • COMMITMENT FROM EXTENSION PROFESSIONAL(S) TO COORDINATE iPiPE CAP EXTENSION AND EDUCATION ACTIVITIES
    • THREATS FROM NEW, FOREIGN, OR EMERGING PESTS
    • IMPORTANCE OF THE TARGET CROP TO U.S. FOOD SECURITY

Crop-Pest Programs are distributed among major U.S. agricultural regions. Seven Crop-Pest Programs will be initiated in each of the first four years of the five-year iPiPE CAP, and each will be funded for two years. Crop-Pest Programs have three types of participants: Program Coordinators (Extension professionals overseeing activities and submitting observations); undergraduate student summer interns; and stakeholders who submit observations.

The Program Coordinator: 
      • Selects and mentors two undergraduate summer interns each year 
      • Engages other stakeholders (including other extension specialists) to use the iPiPE
      • Updates or creates new pest management guidelines and commentaries as warranted

Undergraduate interns, with Program Coordinator mentoring:

      • Monitor daily pest observations submitted to the iPiPE 
      • Help develop and disseminate extension materials to stakeholders participating in Crop-Pest Programs

It is expected that students will be engaged in iPiPE activities for about one-half of each work day. Interns will also assist in a local plant diagnostic laboratory (e.g. NPDN) where they will gain hands-on experience diagnosing plant diseases, weeds, and/or damage from insect pests. They will also work to maintain electronic databases, contributing to the laboratory’s mission. Two to four undergraduate students will be trained in each Crop-Pest Program (depending on whether the internships extend one or two summers) so that by the end of the CAP, the iPiPE team will have trained 56-112 undergraduate students in extension and diagnostic activities.

Crop-Pest Program stakeholders contribute crop and pest observations to the iPiPE. Stakeholders include but are not limited to producers, crop consultants, industry representatives, extension professionals, county agents, and researchers. In return, the iPiPE provides tools and products to increase efficiency of stakeholder pest scouting and decision-making.

Tools include: 

    • Personal electronic (virtual) notebooks for recording and exporting pest observations
    • Smart mobile device apps for in-field data collection and communication
    • Scheduling software for automatic product delivery

Products include:

      • Customized reports that integrate pest observations and predictive model output 
      • Expert interpretive commentary from extension professionals
      • Electronic alerts about pest activity

Social media tools are used to communicate pest images, educational materials, and other products. They are also used to support open forums for exchange of information among stakeholders, student interns, and extension professionals within Crop-Pest Programs. As a result of these social media “conversations,” extension professionals become more aware of information needs of stakeholders and adjust the format and content of their commentaries and management recommendations accordingly. 


iPiPE Platform

The iPiPE Platform project area has four components (Fig 1):

    • RESEARCH
    • EDUCATION
    • IT SERVICES  
    • EVALUATION

Each component has a team of workers led by a Coordinator. Work on the four iPiPE Platform components is tightly integrated with key iPiPE personnel (Isard, Russo, and Project Coordinator) belonging to all three teams.

Research component:

The iPiPE CAP research is focused on the early detection of new, foreign, and emerging pathogens, insects, and weeds having national/regional impact. Its emphasis depends on the pest’s geographic distribution and importance to crop production. 

Research includes historical analyses and future predictions of: 

      • Pest entry; 
      • Expansion (year-to-year) of geographic distribution
      • Seasonal incursions into production regions 

These analyses and predictions are being conducted using four online modeling programs developed by PI Russo and PD Isard: Modeler, Aerial Trajectory, Climate Analyst, and Risk Analyst. The Modeler enables researchers to construct pest-specific models using generalized parameterization schemes including a generic pest forecast system. The Aerial Trajectory model simulates the atmospheric spread of pests. The Climate Analyst is used to predict the potential distributions of pests and their likely appearance in specific geographies based on daily weather data. Finally, the Risk Analyst enables the integration of model and algorithm output from the Modeler, Aerial Trajectory, and Climate Analyst programs with “pathway” data to create maps of possible entry and/or movement of new, foreign, and emerging pests threatening the U.S. The research component of the iPiPE CAP is coordinated by PI Louws and Dr. Magarey with assistance from PI Russo and PD Isard.

Outreach and Educational component

The iPiPE CAP will train 58-116 undergraduate student interns in extension and diagnostic activities through extensive hands-on experiences. It also provides instruction to participating stakeholders on how to use cyberage technologies for monitoring and informational products for IPM. Student education activities are conducted through Crop-Pest Programs and local diagnostic labs.

The Education component of the iPiPE Platform assists individual Crop-Pest Program Coordinators and local diagnostic lab personnel in this effort. 

The Education component develops and utilizes a series of online learning modules to:

      • Educate interns on core concepts related to food security
      • Communicate to interns and stakeholders the iPiPE philosophy of “progress through sharing” 
      • Provide instructions to interns and stakeholders on iPiPE functionality 
      • Assist interns in monitoring the iPiPE database for observations of pests not endemic to a production region, and in detecting errors in identification of endemic pest observations submitted to the platform 
      • Inform stakeholders on use of the iPiPE for crop and pest monitoring and informational products for IPM. The iPiPE platform Education component is coordinated by PD Isard
IT Services component 

The IT services component of the iPiPE serve technical needs of Crop-Pest Programs, Research and Education platform components, and the Evaluation Team. It has the following responsibilities: 
      • Hosting and maintaining hardware, software, and communications for the iPiPE platform 
      • Data upload and database management
      • Online and smart device data entry, data sharing, data backup, and data archiving
      • Platform expansion to accommodate new Crop-Pest Programs 
      • Integration of the iPiPE and other third-party model products 
      • User access to set up weather input and pest parameters for online models 
      • Hosting for online learning modules to support undergraduate student intern and stakeholder education
      • Statistical analyses of iPiPE usage patterns stratified by tool, information product, and Crop-Pest Program
 The IT Services component of the iPiPE platform is coordinated by PI Russo with assistance from PD Isard. 

Evaluation component

The primary roles of the Evaluation component are to help Crop-Pest Program Coordinators engage stakeholders to participate in iPiPE and to evaluate progress toward achieving the proposed iPiPE outputs and outcomes.  This component is directed by Jean-Jacques Dubois from the Southern Region IPM Center with the assistance of the impact evaluation specialists from the other regional IPM Centers.  The North American IPM Institute and the NCSU Center for Survey Research are also key players in this component.  The IPM Institute develops IPM Elements with assistance from the Crop-Pest Program Coordinators.  IPM Elements are concise lists of IPM and related practices that are crop and region-specific. They are very efficient resources for determining which practices are recommended by the Crop-Pest Program Coordinators and their Extension colleagues.  They can be used by growers to (i) identify additional IPM and other conservation practices appropriate for crops in a growing region, (ii) as a self-assessment tool to measure how many of the available practices are in use on a specific farm or field and (iii) document the extent of IPM adoption to buyers or for NRCS incentive programs.  The NCSU Center for Survey Research uses the IPM Elements to develop surveys which they administer to Crop-Pest Program stakeholders to assess their use of IPM before and after participating in the iPiPE. The evaluation team also:

      • Conduct annual evaluations of each Crop-Pest Program and iPiPE Platform component 
      • Report to the Advisory Board 

Near the end of the grant period, the Evaluation Team will also assess the impact of the iPiPE CAP on food security, IPM adoption, and farm profitability. At the start of Years 2-5, the Advisory Board and PDs will use the Evaluation Team’s report to assess CAP activities, outputs and outcomes, and make adjustments to the iPiPE strategic plan. PD Isard will work with the Coordinators of the Crop-Pest Programs and iPiPE Platform components to implement the strategic plan.