The National Cotton States Arthropod Pest Management Working Group (NCSAPMWG) is a collaboration of entomologists from land-grant universities specializing in management of arthropod pests of cotton, corn, soybean, grain sorghum, and wheat in all cotton producing states from California to Virginia. Originally, the group convened for the first meeting in 1978 in Orlando, FL, and was called the “1978 National Cotton Pest Management Seminar.”
The first meeting involved 34 university scientists from across the Cotton Belt to discuss IPM strategies to manage yield limiting insect pests of cotton, especially the Heliothine complex. Over the years, the focus of the group has been primarily on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and all of its supporting technologies. Although the original focus of the meeting was on arthropod pests of cotton across the Cotton Belt, the introduction of transgenic Bt crops in 1996 renewed interests in cross-commodity strategies of management.
With the approval of the “Natural Refuge” concept for cotton by US-EPA in 2008, the group voted unanimously to expand the original cotton meeting to include entomologists from cotton producing states with expertise in non-cotton commodities, specifically corn and soybean. Today the group still meets annually and is made up of 35-45 entomologists from land-grant universities with expertise in all broad-acre crops traditionally grown in the southern United States. The makeup of the group that attends the meeting has always and will continue to include entomologists from all of the cotton producing regions of the U.S. through special invitation only by the designated organizer and committee.
Importantly, the agendas discussed each year are developed independently by the membership of the group. While representatives of private industry support and attend the meeting, all discussions are led and managed by the participating university entomologists. The independence of this group has been critical to the free flow of ideas among its participants and for industry representatives to be made aware of issues and learn how to better steward insecticides and traits for the betterment of the agricultural community.