- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
“To say that Dr. Mary Louise Flint has been key to the success of California agriculture is not a misstatement or exaggeration,” Borg told the attendees. “The greatest threats to California's agriculture are the myriad of introduced and native pests and diseases. Keeping agricultural pests and diseases at bay while preserving the environment by an informed, balanced and interdisciplinary approach, an approach that is a hallmark of UC Davis.”
Borg, who chaired the Meyer Award Committee and served as the emcee at the dinner, noted that Flint was part of the original team that established the UC IPM Program in 1980. Since then her passion and vision for ecologically based IPM has influenced almost every aspect of IPM in the state, he said.
Before introducing her, Borg said: “I want to put her work in the context that it deserves and to do that, we need to understand a little about the significance of California agriculture.”
“In 2012 California was the top agricultural state in cash receipts at $44.7 billion. Iowa was second at $31.9 billion. Using data from 2007, Paul F. Starrs and Peter Goin in their Field Guide to Agriculture (UC Press 2010) make the case, for $37 billion in cash receipts for California's crops represents an agricultural economy of between $200-$300 billion.”
Borg related that when he “first started as an agriculture librarian over 30 years ago, I was introduced to Mary Louise Flint's work in IPM.” He praised her legendary status in California agriculture, “especially with regard to the University of California's role in California agriculture.”
He read a portion of the nomination letter by Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, that said: “Her name is synonymous with IPM, pest control alternatives, and public service, not just in California and the United States, but worldwide.” Parrella also noted that Flint “has been heavily involved in the leadership, creativity and success of UC IPM Program since 1982 and is UC IPM's longest-tenured employee.”
The UC Davis entomologist traced her history with the organization. “I remember attending the California State Fair in the early 1980s and being somewhat horrified to find the UC Master Gardeners answering questions using the Ortho Problem Solver and the Rodale Guide to Organic Gardening,” she said. “I was told that they relied on these books because UC provided very little garden pest management information.” That helped motivate her to write “Pest of the Garden and Small Farm.” From there, she and her colleagues moved on to Pest Management Guidelines, Pest Notes, Quick Tips, UC IPM website, UC IPM kiosk, our YouTube channel, blog and Twitter.
Flint is the third entomologist (Frank Zalom, 2004, and Thomas Leigh, 1988) to receive the Academic Federation award, first presented in 1971.