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Ervin collaborates with national team on USDA grant to study herbicide resistance
Author: Christina Williams
Posted: May 22, 2014

David Ervin, a Senior Fellow of the PSU Institute for Sustainable Solutions, has been tapped for an interdisciplinary team of scientists working on new ways to control herbicide-resistant weeds. The study will be funded by a research grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 

The project, based at Iowa State University, will use the $910,000 grant to collect new data to develop and facilitate adoption of strategies that manage herbicide-resistant weeds in major crop systems.

Ervin is teamed with Micheal Owen, an agronomy professor at Iowa State, the project lead, and a team of economists, sociologists, and weed scientists from the University of Arkansas, University of Arizona, University of Minnesota, Michigan State University, and North Carolina State University. 

“This research project on addressing growing herbicide resistance grew out of my work with the National Academy of Sciences on the sustainability of genetically engineered crops,” said Ervin, who is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Management and Economics at Portland State University. “In this project, I will lead research on developing community-based programs to sustainably manage weed susceptibility to herbicides, an important ecosystem service.”

The research will focus on what Ervin calls a “common pool resource,” that is impacted by all the herbicide users in a particular area. Avoiding excessive herbicide resistance and avoiding the return to more environmentally damaging weed control practices will require collective action on the part of all the growers in the region. 

The USDA’s NIFA program announced $6 million in grants this week to universities, college and federal labs across the country.  The grants, made by NIFA through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s Food Security challenge area, support research, education and extension efforts to increase food security and improve food production. The goal of the challenge area is to increase agricultural productivity and the availability and accessibility of safe and nutritious food.