Golf Course Management

MAR 2015

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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38 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.15 For everyone involved in the pest control discussion — homeowners, farmers, pest con - trol operators, environmentalists and legisla- tors, in addition to golf course managers — pesticide resistance remains a serious concern. Last month, well-known National Pub - lic Radio personality Diane Rehm invited Aaron Hobbs, president of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) to join a panel discussion tackling the issue. GCSAA has been allied with RISE, a specialty chemical trade organization, on national, state and local levels for more than 20 years. Hobbs was joined on the NPR show panel by Les Glasgow, herbicide technical prod - uct lead for Syngenta; Erik Olson, director of health programs for the Natural Resource Defense Council; and Andy Dyer, professor of biology at the University of South Carolina and author of "Chasing the Red Queen: The Evolutionary Race Between Agricultural Pests and Poisons." Rehm opened the show with a ques - tion about the challenges of weed resistance management and whether there is a need for new solutions, setting the stage for an extensive conversation about the issues and challenges. Each panelist shared his distinct perspective, but Hobbs was able to bring into focus one commonality in the various views — the sup - port for an integrated approach. Hobbs pointed out that pesticides can be important tools and solutions to a prob - lem, noting, "Whenever you're approaching a pest problem, whether it's a weed or an in - sect, you have to take an integrated approach. I think that's something we can all agree is the way to go. "You have to take that thoughtful, inte - grated approach to address that problem," he continued. "Fortunately, we have those solutions that help us deal with those prob - lems now." The herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) was singled out for the panel's scrutiny, with Syngenta's Glasgow commenting, "Be - cause it (Roundup) was so good, it was used ev- erywhere on every crop. The future is about di- versifying." Glasgow added that it takes the Environ - mental Protection Agency at least 10 years to review new pesticide products to ensure they can be used safely. Although he used the phrase "chemical arms race" to describe past pesticide use and resulting resistance issues, Dyer acknowledged that pesticide application professionals are more aware of the potential for harm. Hobbs also emphasized the importance of education, proper use and application, and continued evolution of pesticide technology. "If resistance becomes an issue, and we're looking at bringing a new solution to the table, they are not broad solutions; they are tar - geted," he said on the show. "The innovation cycle brings a product to market that is more targeted to be more specifc to the pest prob - lem we're trying to solve, as well as softer and Presented in Partnership with Aquatrols (environment) Racing against resistance friendlier to those benefcials in the feld." Glasgow supported Hobbs' emphasis on ed - ucation, saying, "Education and training pro- grams are crucial. We do have the tools, and we keep developing the tools, and it's really about educating those making the decisions about how these products are used." Olson shared concerns about the impact of pesticide use on milkweed and the monarch butterfy habitat, and Rehm directly asked Hobbs for a response. He referred to the im - portant role pesticides play in invasive spe- cies management. "There are invasive plant species that come in and compete with milkweed, making it dif - fcult to grow, thrive and provide that habitat," he said. "We are invested as an organization today in efforts to create more habitat for pol - linators, particularly along rights-of-way. … For monarchs in particular, we are partner - ing with groups today where these herbicide tools are one of the frst ways to create that sustainable long-term habitat of the monarch butterfy." Listen to the complete panel discussion on the Diane Rehm Show website at http:// environmental_outlook_the_race_against_ pests_and_weeds or track Hobbs' online conversation at Myths . Left: Photo by John A. Anderson/ Below: Aaron Hobbs

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