Dr. Ayanava Majumdar (Dr. A), Extension Entomologist and State SARE Program Coordinator, AU Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology/Alabama Cooperative Extension System will be speaking during both the Pest Sounds and The Trifecta of Terror Saturday Sessions.
What role do you play in the local, organic food movement?
I serve as an educator and researcher for developing innovative solutions to pest management. In reality, I learn many ideas from producers and test them in controlled environments using scientific methods. Eventually information is refined and knowledge flows back to the producers in the form of integrated pest management or IPM recommendations. So the university and communities are both benefited. I focus on both experienced and beginning farmer training programs funded by numerous grants. Much of my research and educational information is on the Alabama Vegetable IPM (www.aces.edu/vegetableipm) and Alabama Beginning Farmer (www.aces.edu/beginningfarms) websites. I have produced many IPM publications with wide circulation and self-help videos for producers to increase the adoption of sustainable pest management methods.
Why are you excited to present about your topic and what are some key takeaways attendees will get from your session?
I am always excited about attending the Georgia Organics Conference since the farmers are like family to me. I have been attending for many years (since 2011) and done IPM workshops to benefit farmers in Georgia and beyond. Since Alabama and Georgia share so much of the soil and climate systems – my IPM recommendations are easily applicable beyond state lines. In 2018, attendees will learn new advances in insect pest management in high tunnels, with more emphasis on pest exclusion, biological control and microbial pest management tactics. A separate session is dedicated to discuss some highly threatening insect pests like flea beetles, aphids, yellowmargined leaf beetles, diamondback moths, fire ants, etc. I will bring some high demand publications along with a new IPM slide chart (for Urban Farms) to the meeting for free distribution. I always gather very useful feedback from growers at the IPM workshops and then at the exhibition where I will have a booth.
What is your vision for the future of organic farming in Georgia?
Organic farming provides a choice for consumers and the demand for organic food keeps rising. It is a multi-billion dollar industry nationally and I am hopeful that demand will keep rising. The work Georgia Organics does today is very relevant today and will remain extremely critical for the future of the organic farming industry in the state.
What about the Georgia Organics conference do you look forward to the most?
I think 2018 will be my seventh year attending the GO Conference. I not only enjoy doing the workshops but I love the discussions I have with producers. I learn so much from the farmers themselves. I always have a IPM Booth just so I can meet old friends and make new ones.