Hi Andrew -

<I personally think that IPM,  as it
has been described to me,  is too easy and doesn't seem to encourage
producers to strive hard enough for "chemical free produce".

David answered:

<<You make good points. My reply is that better someone be on the 
fence than spraying indiscriminately. IPM is a step in the right 
direction, if not the ultimate solution, and perhaps can teach 
farmers to BEGIN to work with, not against, nature .
I admire your advocacy of more difficult but lasting solutions. 
Keep on..

I think there's another point here too - that there are many different
definitions of the term "IPM."  

My understanding of the _original_ definition was that you do certain steps
(identification of the pest and what level is unacceptable of that pest;
removing conditions that encourage that pest; etc.) before even considering
a chemical solution of any kind, and then if a chemical is deemed necessary
by some criteria (ex. "life threatening situation if one doesn't use it"
might be one) you choose the least toxic in the smallest area of the
smallest amount and the shortest duration.  

However, I've seen lots of other definitions out there, including ones
promulgated by the chemical companies where the first option they give for
a problem is a chemical solution!  I like flexible approaches, but from
this I also see that the problem with gray is that it allows those who'll
manipulate within the range.  In my work, this range of definitions has
resulted in the term IPM becoming almost useless.  Personally, I'd like to
see the word reclaimed to be what my original understanding of it was, or
create another word (or added word to IPM) that means that.

I appreciate you bringing up this issue - very important!

Patricia Dines