ASHE COUNTY — An Innovative Integrated Pest Management Grant is available to help High Country fruit and vegetable farmers explore and employ biological and biorational pest control strategies, according to N.C. Cooperative Extension Agent Richard Boylan, who serves Ashe and Watauga Counties.

The grant is open for up to 30 total fruit and vegetable farms in Ashe, Avery and Watauga Counties to receive and try $500 worth of integrated pest management products, such as beneficial insects, beneficial nematodes, beneficial fungi and plant-extract-based pesticides, among others, Boylan said in an email. Farmers are expected to document the costs, benefits, and efficacy of the pest management products provided, according to Boylan.

“By covering the costs of one or more pest control products to be employed during the 2019 growing season, the grant will give you the chance to try one or more new products and strategies toward managing a pest which has been a problem in your crops,” Boylan said in an email. “The goal is to help farmers be more successful in local fruit and vegetable production while also gathering information about how effective these products and strategies can be in this region.”

Home gardeners and hobbyists need not apply, as the grant is designed for farmers who sell their fruit and vegetable crops, according to Boylan. The application form is quick and mostly multiple-choice, and the last day to apply is Thursday, Feb. 28, Boylan said.

To apply for Innovative IPM grant-funded supplies, fill out the application form at this link: https://goo.gl/forms/5bMTK0KKc6bCDg272.

More information about the Innovative IPM grant program can be found at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DImsPfWnpC_mBi6RhbArSd-tU8KpUGz96fVpA7SRFjA/edit?usp=sharing.

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