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From the
Office of National Programs

Collaboration, the backbone of research at ARS, helps to strengthen the efforts of scientists, broaden the reach to a wider range of stakeholders, and find solutions more quickly to the most pressing and challenging problems in agriculture. This theme underscores a symposium being organized by Steve Young, ARS national program leader, and Jim Kells, professor of weed science at Michigan State University, entitled, “WSSA research priorities survey results: 13 federal agency-perspectives and -funding opportunities”, which will take place at the annual meeting of the Weed Science Society of America on February 1 in Arlington, Virginia.

Along with ARS, 13 other Federal Agencies will be represented and include Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), US Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), US Geological Survey (USGS), National Park Service (NPS), US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Department of Defense (DOD), Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and National Science Foundation (NSF). These agencies support weed science research or invasive plant management, or both, through grant funding, technical assistance, and scientific studies. They represent a diversity of stakeholders who may be separated geographically yet have a common focus on weeds and invasive plants in crop, terrestrial, and aquatic systems.

With a panel of thought leaders from federal agencies and engagement from participants at the symposium, ideas will emerge on how best to use information from a recent WSSA-member survey in the development of a national roadmap for weed science. Young and Kells believe the symposium will provide an opportunity for a productive dialogue among federal agency leaders and WSSA members. By focusing on research needs, program support, and national initiatives in weed science, new relationships will be developed, and current ones will be strengthened.