Getting Ready for the Field Season

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Since Ron and I both are in the ag industry and run our own research programs, spring is a pretty busy time of year (realistically, when isn't a busy time of year?). The weather is starting to warm up and that means we get to leave our offices and labs and get outside!

Ron coordinates the Insect Management Trials for the Department of Crop Sciences at the university of Illinois. He works with ag companies to conduct sponsored research on products that different companies sell as well as other entomology research products. Bottom line right now -- Ron's getting his different trials set up, protocols entered, and waiting for the last of the seed and chemicals to come in. All with the help of his trusty comrades Nick and Josh -- luckily though, both Hannah and Caitlin are there to keep all three of them in line. While it's still early in the season, but the end of the year, all their hard work ends up in the annual program report: on Target.

On Target

I, on the other hand, coordinate surveys for invasive pests. I work with the department of agriculture and USDA to conduct surveys for insects, weeds, and plant pathogens that are a threat to Illinois agriculture and natural resources. The tricky thing for me - we're surveying for pests that aren't here yet (most of the time) or determining the range of the pest that has been discovered. Right, now I'm contacting cooperators for our exotic bark beetle and wood borer survey. Then its on to working on an invasive plant survey and publication and a soybean survey. All lot of people still don't have a good idea of what I really do. Hopefully as I keep you updated this summer, that will change. My website for work is slowly taking shape, but it still has a long way to go, but go ahead and learn more about the Illinois Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey.

We both end up traveling all over the state, but while Ron and crew are trekking through corn and soybean fields, I'll be making my way through parks, soybean fields, pallet recycling places, industrial areas, and all sorts of odd businesses. Want to come along?