The December 2009 issue of the Journal of Extension includes an article about the outreach strategy used in the Eco-Apple Project: Extending Expertise Through Conference Calls and Blogging. Due to the limited number of apple IPM consultants in Wisconsin and the high cost of hiring consultants, few Wisconsin apple growers have been able to take advantage of professional consultant expertise in implementing IPM on their orchards. To address this need, the Eco-Apple Project launched a blog in 2006 and free weekly conference calls with an apple IPM consultant in 2007. We found that the combined package of Web and telephone communications had a low cost relative to one-on-one service, gave growers a chance to learn from each other, saved the IPM consultant time, and was useful to growers.
Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
University of Wisconsin-Madison