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Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station [Rutgers Environmental Stewards]

IPM Blueberry Technician

Host Agency Info:
Name: Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County
Address: 6260 Old Harding Hwy. Mays Landing, NJ  08330
Phone: 609-625-0056
Supervisor Name:  Gene Rizio / Dean Polk
E-mail of supervisor: rizio@aesop.rutgers.edu

Nature of Host Agency: University 

Project Description:
     The Program: The RCE Blueberry IPM program is an educational/service program for commercial agriculture in New Jersey. Driven by environmental monitoring and field scouting, and relying on up-to-date research, the program strives to help growers produce high quality fruit while minimizing inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers. The program also seeks to optimize use of such practices as the use of reduced risk strategies, computerized phenology models of insects and diseases, mating disruption and other biological intensive management practices, and GIS technologies. The program works cooperatively with researchers in demonstrating new technologies and measuring the impact of reduced risk pest management practices.

Job Duties: Technicians are responsible for regular data collection (1- 2 times per week per site), identifying pest presence, identifying beneficial arthropods, completing IPM reports for participating growers, mapping pest presence, entering data into a database, the use of GPS receivers and GIS databases where appropriate, and plant tissue and soil sampling when needed. Technicians may share duties on field research projects with entomology and plant pathology specialists.

Desired Qualifications: Technicians should have coursework in biology, chemistry, entomology, plant pathology, and/or GIS databases. Competence in MS Excel and Access is helpful. During the growing season technicians spend almost 100% of their time outside in field conditions. Students must want to work in the field, and learn new concepts that contribute to the well being of agriculture in New Jersey. The data taken by technicians is used to manage over $100 million of crop value, reduce the environmental impact of traditional agricultural systems, and minimize non-point source pollution.

Compensation:  Field Technicians are paid hourly from $9-$12/hr, depending on background and experience. Technicians will be on an expense account basis for mileage reimbursement for vehicle use.

Nature of anticipated impact: Social,  Economic,  Environmental

Evaluation Plan:

Outcome measurements/benefits for program:

            Through the use of data gathered by the intern, pesticide use will be minimized. Plant nutrient use and non-point source pollution will be minimized; (As measured by lab based fertilizer recommendations vs. normal balanced fertilizer use).
            Growers will treat with pesticides only when needed using only the minimal rates required.
            Growers will become aware of pest issues prior to becoming economic problems, thereby maximizing fruit quality.
Learning Objectives in plan (If any):

Outcome measurements for intern:

            Will be able to recognize key blueberry  insect and disease pests.
            Will become competent in sampling methods for the above pests.
            Will gain knowledge of integrated pest management principles.