Volunteer Stories

Carl Bannon

Georgia

Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia Farmer-to-Farmer

Name: Carl Bannon
Current title/profession: Territory Manager – Corteva Crop Protection
Current hometown: Northern California


ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW

Name of project: IPM practices for Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) management in hazelnuts and Beet Armyworm management in row crops
Location of the project: Georgia
Organization that sent the volunteer: ACDI/VOCA


VOLUNTEER IMPACT

I recently completed a USAID funded assignment with the Farmer to Farmer program in the Eastern European country of Georgia.  The program was administered by the development agency, ACDI/VOCA.  The local hosts were the UN FAO team in Georgia.  This was my second Farmer to Farmer assignment.

My objectives were to train the UN FAO team in IPM practices for Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) management in Hazelnuts and Beet Armyworm management in row crops such as fruiting vegetables and corn.

Most farms in Georgia are 1 hectare or less.  Georgia is developing global markets for their agricultural products. Georgia has great soil and water resources and climates that can grow a wide variety of crops.  One of the biggest challenges is adoption of new technology and information systems to growers.  The UN FAO is a key partner in developing an Extension system and is partnering with agribusiness.

Hazelnuts is the largest crop in Georgia.  Three years ago, the crop experienced over 80% losses due to an infestation of the BMSB. Most growers were unprepared and did not have capacity to manage BMSB.

USAID has funded several projects to manage BMSB with the Georgian Hazelnut Growers Association, the National Food Agency and other development agencies.  I visited with representatives of the Georgian Hazelnut Association and several hazelnut growers.  We discussed IPM practices such as monitoring BMSB with pheromone traps, insecticide efficacy and timing and resistance management.

We visited a hazelnut processing facility run by the Hazelnut Growers Association.  It was encouraging to see that the damage from BMSB had been significantly reduced when growers were using the management program developed with US AID Funding.

I networked with the scientists working with the USAID in Georgia, such as Entomologist Greg Krawzyk from Pennsylvania State University to develop an IPM package for Hazelnuts. The pheromone trap company Trécé, was instrumental by providing demo pheromone traps for BMSB and Beet Armyworm and provided technical assistance.

I developed an IPM package for BMSB IPM for the UN FAO team to use with growers.  This includes information such as monitoring and scouting, understanding damage symptoms, and orchard border management practices such as attract and kill stations.  I also provided the latest BMSB management with insecticides, application technology, resistance management and pesticide safety

The second objective of the assignment was to provide training and develop an IPM package for the UN FAO staff in Beet Armyworm management in row crops such as corn and fruiting vegetables grown in the central and eastern part of Georgia.

The UN FAO team has been training growers in using new technologies and demonstrating new vegetable varieties and corn hybrids such as Pioneer® brand Optimum® AQUAmax® hybrids with improved drought tolerance.  They had an infestation of Beet Armyworm in their demonstration plots and many farmers in the region were experiencing damage from this pest.  

The UN FAO had a Farmer Field School to demonstrate conservation tillage, hybrid Pioneer Corn with AQUAmax® and I gave a presentation on Beet Armyworm management for about 40 growers and agency staff.

It was rewarding for me to work in enriching the lives of others. I feel honored to have over 30 years of experience with University Extension, Pioneer Hi-Bred, DuPont Crop Protection and now Corteva where I have gained knowledge that I can share with others.

Hazelnut Grower near Zugdidi, GE

Georgian Hazelnut Farmer

Hazelnut Orchard new Zugdidi, GE

Members of the Georgia Hazelnut Growers Association and me (2nd from left with Pioneer cap)​​​​​​​

Hazelnut Samples at Hazelnut processing facility run by Hazelnut Growers Association

Farmer Field School near Lagodehi, GE

Farmer Field School near Lagodehi, GE ​​​​​​​

Allan Pineda (UN FAO Agronomist) and Zaza Kerelashvili (Cartlis AgroSystems) at a Cartlis Farm Center in Lagodekhi, GE​​​​​​​

Back to Volunteer Stories