PCAs receive stewardship awards

WCPA recognizes outstanding work of three pest advisors Two pest control advisors from California and one from Arizona were selected this year to receive Western Crop Protection Asso- ciation/Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship WCPA/ CURES) stewardship awards.

Presented at the WCPA annual convention recently, Lin Evans of Phoenix, Ariz., and Fred Strauss of Tracy, Calif., and Mike Huffman from California's Sacramento Valley were selected from 10 nominees for the stewardship awards.

The WCPA / CURES industry stewardship award honors individuals for their environmentally and economically sound practices in crop, agronomic, pest control, industrial, turf, ornamental and regulatory services management.

Evans was nominated by the Arizona Crop Protection Association in recognition of his 26 years of service to the industry. He has been a crop protection association board member for eight years and a board member of the Vegetable Growers Association for four years. He is serving his second year on the Western Growers Association's Agritools Committee

As a representative of AZCPA, Evans has been on a commodity-wide committee to draft a first ever definition of "drift" that will be included in the Arizona Department of Agriculture rules. He also represents AZCPA in the rules making process at the Arizona Department of Agriculture where the industry is trying to strengthen the educational and experience requirements for becoming a licensed PCA.

Must understand rules Lin recently described his commitment to stewardship this way: "Being a PCA in central Arizona, my clientele defines the urban-rural interface. We have to be aware of our every action. A thorough understanding of all the regulations is essential. It is my responsibility as the "middle man" between the growers, regulators and the community to be sure that every application is made in accordance with accepted community standards."

The Gowan Co. of Yuma, Ariz., nominated Huffman for his 16 years as a PCA in California. He started with Dune Co. in Blythe, Calif., and 13 years ago joined John Taylor Fertilizers in the Sacramento area.

He has long been active in CAPCA and serves as its current president. He has conducted countless classroom visits as a Plant Doctor to teach children about agriculture. Huffman is also active in the Three Rivers Chapter of the California Young Farmers Educational Association where he has served as chapter president several times and has held other important offices. His volunteer time in these positions is spent promoting agriculture at local and statewide events such as the Sacramento Delta Pear Fair.

His most ambitious project in Young Farmers - which he has managed alone for nearly 10 years - is the statewide coloring contest. Huffman conducts a large publicity effort to contact classroom teachers statewide, raises money for prizes and postage, recruits judges, and distributes plaques and savings bonds to the winners. The contest winners' artwork has been displayed in the Sacramento Airport, CDFA and the State Capitol.

In presenting the award, Walt Johnson, WCPA director said, "Mike is known by the growers he services for his caring and technical approach to pest control. Growers in Blythe still remember him for strong technical knowledge and dedicated work ethic.

"Mike is fascinated by the biological systems in his crops. He is eager to help his growers and the agricultural industry with many extra hours conducting field demonstrations. He uses these to benefit growers by gaining special local need permits for minor crops grown in his area. The extra time he puts into such projects stands out in the industry."

Strauss was nominated by Novartis Crop Protection. Strauss has worked for 27 years in San Joaquin County, Calif.

He is a past CAPCA president and led the development of the association's Plant Doctor Program. He continues as an active classroom Plant Doctor instructor.

`Man of the Year' He was selected by the city of Tracy as the Agribusiness Man of the Year in 1997 and currently serves on the agriculture committee of the Tracy Chamber of Commerce, and co-chairs Tracy Boosters for the purchase of 4-H and FFA animals at the San Joaquin County Fair. He's regarded as the first industry retailer to commercially use weather stations and prediction models to aid in pest recommendations. He demonstrates the value of weather stations to growers by allowing them to see benefits on a trial basis and often extends the use of equipment at no charge for an indefinite period of time. Strauss is currently working closely with the University of California to fine-tune various weather prediction models.

The veteran PCA has been committed to Integrated Pest Management for his entire career in the agricultural business. He served on the UC Davis Committee that formulated the IPM program, and played a lead role as CAPCA president in 1988-89 to present IPM guidelines to the its membership.

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