Economic impacts of extension integrated pest management programs in the United States

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Integrated pest management (IPM) is an approach to pest control which emphasizes the Integration of biological, cultural, and chemical control methods for optimal pest management. The purpose of this thesis is to empirically examine the level and distribution of net economic benefits of Extension IPM, and to assess the relative importance of socioeconomic factors in affecting the adoption of IPM in the states of Indiana, Virginia, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Massachusetts, Mississippi and the Northwest region.

Budgeting and hypothesis testing procedures are used to conduct a net returns analysis. Consumer-producer surplus analysis is used to assess IPM benefits to producers and consumers. Finally, a polychotomous logit model is used to assess the importance of socioeconomic factors affecting IPM adoption.

The results of these analyses show significantly higher returns and less variability of returns per acre for users of IPM as compared to non-users. Moreover, consumers receive significant positive economic gains. However, pesticide cost and the variance of pesticide cost per acre increase with increasing levels of IPM use in several states but decrease in a few others. Gross farm income, percent family income from farming, frequency of contacts with Extension agents, and the education level of respondents are the most important factors related to adoption of IPM. A typical user of IPM is white, male, with at least some college education, has frequent contacts with Extension agents, has a relatively large farm, higher gross farm income, and a higher percent family income from farming.