Prioritizing research, education and regulatory pest management needs of organic potato farmers through participatory strategic planning

USDA funding of organic farming research and outreach is disproportionate compared to the amount of U.S. certified organic land. According to Organic Farming Research Foundation’s State of the States 2nd Edition, 0.3 – 2% of U.S. farmland is certified organic, but only 0.06% of land grant research acres is certified organic. This project addressed the disparity of organic research and Organic Farming Research Foundation’s goal of obtaining a fair share of research funding for organic foods and farming. This project took a solid step towards increasing the funding to organic agriculture through USDA pest management programs. Specifically, the project ensured strong organic farmer input in the development of an organic potato pest management strategic plan prioritizing research, education, and regulatory needs of organic potato farmers in the West. The pest management strategic plan (PMSP) for organic potato production in the West is the first plan developed for an organically produced crop. PMSPs include background information on nematodes, insects, diseases, weeds, and vertebrates of concern, along with the research, regulatory, and education needs of highest priority identified by the workgroup. The workgroup consists of farmers, researchers, extension specialists, regulators, and commodity group representatives. The information on pest and weed management in the document comes from a variety of sources, including extension bulletins and communications with farmers and researchers. Previously developed PMSPs are available online at