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Managing Herbicide Resistance: A Community-Focused Approach

Posted by Nick Bergmann, University of Idaho | November 3, 2022

When I arrived on the Palouse in June 2021 to take over for Dr. Katie Dentzman on a project looking at community-based management of herbicide resistance, I didn’t know much about agricultural production, weed ecology, or cropping systems. I still don’t know much about these topics, but it’s not from a lack of effort. As many of you know, these subjects take years to learn and lifetimes to master. I’m not a producer, an agronomist, or a weed scientist. Instead, I’m a social scientist (geographer) tasked with trying to help figure out a path forward for managing herbicide resistance across the PNW. The project that Katie began has transformed over the past 18 months. In this post, I will give you a project update and then invite you to participate in our ongoing effort.

Last winter we held monthly producer-focused meetings in three communities within the PNW (North-Central Washington, Palouse, Camas Prairie). The point of these meetings was to establish a core group of producers along with agronomists, conservation planners, resource specialists, weed scientists, and other stakeholders focused on creating innovative ways to proactively manage for herbicide resistance. We were curious to learn what paths forward excited producers and what types of “community management” might be possible. While we attempted to make each meeting useful, the overarching goal was to explore how each group wanted to engage with potential ways to proactively address herbicide resistance and then begin to build capacity for each group to realize their interests in a meaningful way. As university researchers, we prioritized listening and learning from producers and other community stakeholders.

I want to thank everyone that has participated in meetings thus far. Although the project is still in its early stages, we’ve found that focusing on a community-scale perspective has yielded creative directions that hopefully can help better serve the needs of producers and improve capacity to proactively address and manage for herbicide resistance as it unevenly spreads across our region. We are particularly encouraged with personal and institutional connections and networks that already exist and how this project may be able to further enhance them to improve herbicide resistance management.

As the snow begins to fly and we all spend more times indoors, we are excited to start having more regular meetings again. If you’d like to join the conversation at one of our existing communities or if you think your community would be a good place to start a conversation, please let me know. My office number is (208) 885-4012 and my email is You can also leave a comment below, and I will do my best to respond quickly.

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