Author – Stephen Flanagan, WSR Assistant RFC
The Western Region IR-4 group had a lively strategy and planning meeting in Mt Vernon Washington with old hands present along with new state representatives from Nevada, Colorado and Montana. Tim Miller, weed scientist, based at the Mt. Vernon WSU station acted as host for our group and reminded us on several occasions of his imminent retirement.
With new state liaisons in attendance, we discussed the general responsibilities of SLRs, the development of needed outreach materials, and how to successfully advocate for IR-4. With Commodity Liaison members Alan Schreiber and Lori Berger the group discussed funding and long range advocacy for the IR-4 project. Van Starner from headquarters led a discussion on the upcoming “week of workshops” and the group engaged in a discussion about the new integrated solutions projects and how they will be handled at the workshops in Maryland.
The last session of our first day focused on reviewing potential projects for the 2020 season and specifically which projects would likely be nominated by various stakeholders. Maninder Walia from the University of Nevada was attending her first IR-4 meeting and asked several questions about her role as a new state liaison and how to advocate for the IR-4 Project in her state. Jane Stewart and Zack Miller (Colorado State and Montana State, respectively) asked numerous registration and project questions relevant to the inner-mountain states. Alex (Jiahuai) Hu, University of Arizona, was also a first time participant from the University of Arizona. Having newcomers present gave us the opportunity to spend a bit more time unpacking the IR-4 Project processes which to others are remarkably routine and old rote.
What’s an SLN? 24C? IR-4? What happened to IR-1, IR-2 and IR-3?
We didn’t really discuss those long lost Inter-Regional Research precursor projects, but the group and sidebar discussions covered a wide range of pest management and registration topics. Our final day in Mt Vernon was spent touring the WSU research station and several specialty farms including tulips, organic market farming, an oyster and clam “field” and a visit to Sakata Seeds a premier vegetable seed company based in the Skagit Valley.
Two whirlwind days, some dodging of spring rains, and interactions with researchers and growers, comprised a solid meeting preparing for the year ahead. We extend our congratulations to Dr. Tim Miller on his retirement and a friendly welcome to our new State Liaison Representatives in the Western States