Rationale for the iPiPE Cooperative Agricultural Project (CAP)


The rationale for the iPiPE CAP is based on the premise that food security will be challenged by the introduction and spread of new, foreign, and emerging pests (pathogens, insects, and weeds) that could result in catastrophic U.S. crop losses. We contend that:

Food security depends on an awareness of geographic distribution and severity of such pests (hereafter called target pests) as well as other important endemic crop pests.
Food security is also diminished by incremental, non-catastrophic situations that insidiously exacerbate pest management-related costs and risks. 

Consequently, producers need observations and their interpretation through expert commentary for early warning of target and other important endemic crop pests. Currently, stakeholders collect large quantities of target and other endemic pest observations, but usually do not share them in a timely way. Until comprehensive pest data sets are compiled centrally for sharing in a timely manner, stakeholders will be unable to take full advantage of cyberage Web technologies (e.g., smart devices and apps, large, rapid data transmission capacity, and cloud computing).

The iPiPE is a coordinated, Web-based, state-of-the-art information technology platform that enables the collection, management, and delivery of observations, advanced derivative products, expert commentary, and alerts on important crop pests. As such, it provides the mechanism for sharing pest observations and mitigation measures. 

Currently, private sector investment supports the iPiPE for a few selected endemic pests. The USDA CAP is supporting the addition of new iPiPE Crop-Pest programs. The private sector will have more incentive to increase support for iPiPE when data on target and other important endemic pathogens, insects, and weeds from these new programs becomes accessible through the platform. The result will be increased funding for iPiPE activities by the private sector, along with a shift in culture toward the near real-time sharing of crop pest observations. 

The iPiPE CAP is providing opportunities for students to be directly mentored in research and extension activities to enhance this cultural change.