Legume Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (PIPE) Workshop held on 22-23 February 2006 in Kansas City, MO


to evaluate the prototype 2006 PIPE components and suggest improvements to the system. The 2005 USDA Soybean Rust Information System is transitioning to the USDA Legume PIPE for 2006. The national platform has been expanded to include additional leguminous crops and an array of legume pests and diseases. Beginning in 2006, the PIPE will also enable growers to document their good management practices for insurance purposes. A prototype of the new USDA Legume PIPE has been constructed to accommodate these additions with new monitoring protocols and electronic (Internet and PDA) forms for collecting data on soybean rust and soybean aphid in sentinel plots and Internet forms to allow growers to document their management practices as they relate to commentary provided by state extension specialists. Two workshops have been organized to evaluate the new features of the pest information system. Forty two participants including state extension specialists, USDA administrators, insurance industry agents, and representatives of soybean grower groups met at the first of these workshops. They evaluated the prototype 2006 PIPE components and suggested numerous improvements to the system.


Annalisa Ariatti, Illinois, aua15@psu.edu
Heyward Baker, RMA, heyward.baker@rma.usda.gov
Dave Bell, RMA, dave.bell@rma.usda.gov
Gary Bergstrom, New York, gcb3@cornell.edu
Bob Black, RHIS, robert.black@rainhail.com
Mitchell Buck, RMA, Mitchell.Buck@rma.usda.gov
Kitty Cardwell, CSREES, KCardwell@csrees.usda.gov
Ted Cremers, NCIS, Ted.Cremers@naucountry.com
Erick DeWolf, Pennsylvania, edd10@psu.edu
Marty Draper, South Dakota, Martin.Draper@sdstate.edu
Loren Giesler, Nebraska, lgiesler1@unl.edu
Julie Golod, Pennsylvania, golod@zedxinc.com
Bruce Gossen, Canada, GossenB@AGR.GC.CA
David Hall, NCIS, davidh@ag-risk.org
Glen Hartman, Illinois, ghartman@uiuc.edu
Don Hershman, Kentucky, dhershma@uky.edu
Randy Higgins, Kansas, rhiggins@oznet.ksu.edu
Amenda Hodges, Florida, achodges@ufl.edu
Scott Isard, Pennsylvania, sai10@psu.edu
Doug Jardine, Kansas, jardine@plantpath.ksu.edu
Anne Jenkins, RMA/RMSD, anne.jenkins@rma.usda.gov
Linda Kull, Illinois, lkull@uiuc.edu
Dean Malvick, Minnesota, dmalvick@umn.edu
Matthew Mitchell, RMA, matthew.mitchell@rma.usda.gov
Daren Mueller, Iowa, dsmuelle@iastate edu
Roger Nuss, RMA, roger.nuss@rma.usda.gov
Coanne O'Hern, APHIS, coanne.e.o'hern@aphis.usda.gov
Matt O'Neal, Iowa, oneal@iastate.edu
Bob O'Neil, Purdue, rjoneil@purdue.edu
Dave Paul, RMA, dave.paul@rma.usda.gov
Sue Ratcliffe, North Central IPM Center, sratclif@uiuc.edu
John Rupe, Arkansas, jrupe@uark.edu
Kent Ryun, RMA, kent.ryun@rma.usda.gov
Howard Schwartz, Colorado, Howard.Schwartz@ColoState.EDU
Greg Shaner, Indiana, shanerg@purdue.edu
James R. Shelton, RMA, James.Shelton@rma.usda.gov
Laura Sweets, Missouri, SweetsL@missouri.edu
Kelley Tilmon "South Dakota entomologist" Kelley.Tilmon@sdstate.edu
Jim VanKirk, Southern IPM Center, jim@SRIPMC.ORG
Mark Zarnstorff, NCIS, markz@ag-risk.org


Scott Isard, Heyward Baker & Kitty Cardwell welcomed participants, reviewed the agenda and the objectives of meeting. Workshop participants introduced themselves.

General Session

Scott Isard and Julie Golod presented the prototype 2006 PIPE. They introduced the new "look" of the restricted site explaining how it was organized. Features including the pull down menu of pests, various overlays, user tools, the calendar and national commentary, signature capability, the alerts signup procedure, impact reports, and links to other informational websites were among the topics discussed. The observer forms were also presented highlighting the new setup procedure and flexibility of use for both soybean aphid and rust data entry. Uses of the specialist's tool were explained to participants including linking documents, coloring maps, and filling the commentary form. The discussion then transitioned to the new public website. The observation and state update maps were presented. The session ended with a discussion of the Good Management Practice Form.

Breakout Sessions

Participants were divided into three groups with plant pathologists, entomologists, RMA, insurance industry, and administrators represented in each. The breakout sessions were led by the Soybean Rust Regional Coordinators, Erick DeWolf, Loren Giesler, and Don Hershman with Julie Golod, Annalisa Ariatti, and Scott Isard as recorders. The groups were charged with evaluating the features of the 2006 PIPE that had been introduced in the general session. Each group was given a hypothetical scenario involving the spread of soybean rust and soybean aphid within the U.S. The groups were asked to work through the scenarios as if they were state specialists and then to used the specialist commentary as if they were growers to fill out Good Management Practices (GMP) Forms. During this process, participants were asked to discuss and note ideas for improving the functionality of the 2006 PIPE.

Many ideas for improving the PIPE were suggested and discussed by participants. Some of the more notable are include on the following list which is organized by "form".

Good Management Practice (GMP) Form

  1. Change name of guideline button on GMP form - make into next button.
  2. Provide a link in form to allow grower to see images of growth stage. Include more common/descriptive identification of the growth stages and an unknown option in the pull down menu.
  3. Remind growers as they leave the GMP form to SAVE if they so desire.
  4. Need explanation or "help" button for each field in GMP form. Grower needs better instructions regarding what information is requested.
  5. Add a field for name of individual who prepared the report and date.
  6. Rename Field Number field to Field ID and convert into a text box.

Observation Form

  1. Rename Site Management field - Pest Control field.
  2. Make system for identifying multiple plots and multiple plantings in individual plots easier for observers to comprehend. Dynamically tie host and cultivar fields to the observation form.
  3. Add request for tillage practice.
  4. Add request for previous crop planted at location.
  5. Included units on form where appropriate.
  6. Add comment section to the setup form.
  7. Rethink how the observation form is structured to be convenient for all users.

Public Website

  1. Consider needs of color blind users. Include a hatch pattern with red and green. Also, consider the requirements of the web reading software utilized by seeing impaired users.
  2. Soybean aphid people wanted to show point data to public rather than turn counties colors. Can we provide a method for them to view the observation map and click on a button to put the point data on the public website? Could we add a -, =, and + to the color circles to indicate change from last observation. Consider what type of change generates a public alert, if any?
  3. Replace Update Map as first screen with navigation page that allows user to navigate quickly to crop/pest combination.
  4. Use appropriate USDA logos.
  5. Make the question mark the default tool.
  6. Provide a way for users to communicate comments/feedback about the website.
  7. Allow users to select how often to receive alerts (daily or when they are sent) and if they want combined soybean rust/aphid alerts.
  8. Include a rollover tool that identifies the name of a county.
  9. Include a navigation tool that allows the users to locate a specific county, city, etc.

Restricted Website

  1. Redesign commentary entry to separate entry of information by pest.
  2. Allow use of urls in commentary.
  3. Combine commentary in public site adding update date to front of paragraphs.
  4. Restrict combined length of commentary in scouting and management box to fit on Good Field Management (GMP) Form.
  5. Rename the 'more' button for expanding the commentary window to 'expand'.
  6. Add e-mail and user defined logos to the specialist signature.

The discussion of many of these ideas continued into the social period and over dinner.

General Session

Burleson Smith initiated the Thursday morning session with a presentation on the vision for PIPE. He emphasized the unprecedented cooperation among USDA agencies, LGU's, state agencies, and industry that made the USDA Soybean Rust Information System successful in 2005. He urged the group to expand PIPE gradually in a manner that insured success.

The education component of the 2006 PIPE was presented by Jim VanKirk and Sue Ratcliffe. VanKirk explained that the focus of the effort would be on teaching growers and other how to use the website to manage their crop and to document their good management practices. Ratcliffe proposed a number of educational programs and led a discussion on how best to expedite their development and use the media to communicate pertinent information to growers.

Synthesis of Breakout Sessions
A discussion of the key suggestions raised in the breakout sessions the previous day was led by Erick DeWolf, Loren Giesler, and Don Hershman with the goal of reaching group consensus on how to modify the prototype 2006 PIPE. The discussion focused on three elements: the look and functionality of the "front" page, the structure of the specialist commentary, and the informational requirements of the Good Management Practice (GMP) form. A lively discussion ensued. Key elements of this discussion are summarized in the Specialist and RMA/Insurance Industry Reports below.

Summary Session
Two groups were charged with summarizing the outcomes of the many workshop discussions. The leaders of the breakout sessions (Erick DeWolf, Loren Giesler, and Don Hershman) were asked to focus their comments on the general appearance of the website and the structure and functionality of the commentary section. A group composed of RMA and Insurance Industry participants led by Heyward Baker was charged with providing recommendations for the GMP form. The two groups met for about 45 minutes during the coffee break and afterwards presented their reports.

RMA/Insurance Industry Report
Heyward Baker presented the RMA/Insurance Industry report emphasizing the utility of the proposed GMP form for the growers, crop insurance industry and USDA Risk Management Agency. Baker suggested a number of modifications to the prototype. He asked that the form include documentation of the state specialist scouting and management commentary covering the period 15 days prior to the report file date. A field to allow growers to document other sources of management information was requested. This information could include crop condition, varietal resistance, recent chemical applications, CCA recommendations as well as media news reports. A field to allow growers to enter general remarks should also be included. The final field would direct growers to explain their management actions and record when they were taken. In addition, the RMA group suggested that a report listing the scouting and management commentary chronologically for selected dates would be extremely useful.

Specialist's Report
Erick DeWolf and Loren Giesler presented the Specialist's report. DeWolf recommended that last years look for the website be maintained where possible. An opening text screen should contain the PIPE vision and appropriate logos. Buttons on the opening page should link to the soybean rust and soybean aphid observation maps. Other pages in the website should have a toggle button to allow users to switch between pests. DeWolf suggested that the State Update map be tied to a pest and that it should maintain color for 10 days after the last update and then revert to white. The white color would be redefined as Not available/Older than 10 days. The report contained a recommendation for enabling book marking at various zoom levels to facilitate direct access to the observations maps. The website programmers were asked to keep phone modem users in mind as they design the website.

Dr. Giesler presented recommendations for the State Specialist commentary. He requested a capacity for both joint and separate insect and disease commentary entry boxes. Both insect and disease commentaries would be integrated into the public State Specialist commentary with the order of presentation dependent on the entry path of the user and organized by category. Each category box would have a time tag and the latest entry on crop stage would have precedent over earlier crop stage entries.

Wrap Up.

Kitty Cardwell thanked all participants for their time and effort at the workshop indicating that in her opinion the group had made a lot of headway. Scott also thanked participants indicating that their suggestions were very useful and would be incorporated into the 2006 protocol as rapidly as possible. He promised that the work would be complete before the second 2006 PIPE evaluation workshop. He indicated that many important decisions still needed to be made before the 2006 growing season especially related to soybean aphid reporting protocols and the presentation of aphid observations. He asked participants to encourage the entomologists in their respective states to attend the second PIPE workshop in St. Louis