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Results from the National Pest Management Priority Setting Exercise

Following a three-year virtual hiatus due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Pest Management Centre (AAFC-PMC) held its 21st annual national pest management priority setting workshop in a much-anticipated return to an in-person format in Gatineau, Quebec from March 21 – 23. The exercise was broken into three workshops, one per day, focusing on entomology, pathology and weed science over the course of the three days.

The meetings brought together a wide range of participants from across Canada, the United States, and other international partners including Brazil and the Netherlands. Participants included university and federal researchers, crop extension specialists, private consultants, provincial specialists, provincial minor use coordinators (PMUCs), registrant representatives, Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) and AAFC-PMC staff, growers and grower organization representatives.

The meetings were held to review the top priorities identified by each of the provinces’ horticultural and ornamental crop industries to establish the top national priorities for the minor crops sector. Priorities which were selected in the final ‘A’ round will guide AAFC-PMC’s field research program as research projects in the 2024 season and eventually support future minor use label expansion submissions sent to PMRA once complete. The goal of the workshops was to elevate 35 ‘A’ priorities for capacity analysis consideration – eight mainstream and two organic projects per discipline, plus five regional selections at the end of the workshops.

The opening day of the workshop was focused on entomology, and began with participant introductions, welcoming remarks from PMC staff and executive director Marcos Alvarez, and featured a moment of tribute where colleagues past and present came together to remember the memory of the late Gavin Graham, former provincial weed management specialist and PMUC for New Brunswick. The workshops commenced following a short break, and by end of day, resulted in the selection of six mainstream priorities, two below the day’s target of eight priorities, and two organic priorities for capacity consideration.

 

Day two focused on pathology and began with similar introductions, then featured a PMRA update and question period with acting executive director Frédéric Bissonnette. The priority setting process began, and then had a break between sessions just before lunch to celebrate 20 years of partnership between AAFC-PMC and stakeholders. The break featured an address from AAFC associate deputy minister Suzy McDonald highlighting many of the key accomplishments of the organization in the past 20 years. The workshop resumed after the lunch hour, then concluded with a full eight mainstream priorities being chosen, along with one organic priority for later capacity consideration.

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