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Dr. Frank Zalom Receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Pioneering Work in IPM


Photo courtesy of UC Davis/UCCE

In a recent virtual ceremony hosted by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, Dr. Frank Zalom was honored with a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for his remarkable 40-plus year career as a distinguished professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis. The Almond Board of California (ABC) proudly recognizes Dr. Zalom's outstanding contributions to integrated pest management (IPM) practices for all major almond inspect pests, including with navel orangeworm. 

Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Zalom has been a driving force behind the advancement of IPM practices in California crops, fostering economic sustainability, environmental stewardship and human health. His dedication to reducing insecticide use, minimizing runoff impacts, lowering pesticide exposure and streamlining application processes has significantly shaped the landscape of pest management in agriculture. 

As a pivotal figure from 1980 to 2018, Dr. Zalom served as the first Extension IPM Coordinator for the Statewide UC Integrated Pest Management Program, and from 1986 to 2002, he directed the program, establishing it as a gold standard for accurate and up-to-date IPM knowledge. 

One of Dr. Zalom's noteworthy collaborations was with the Almond Board of California in the 1980s, where he worked alongside UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisors to develop a groundbreaking pest management program for Navel Orangeworm in almonds. This program, which included winter sanitation, early harvest and the development of a degree-day model, led to a substantial reduction in Navel Orangeworm damage and insecticide use, benefitting the entire almond industry. 

In a recorded message, Dr. Zalom expressed his gratitude for the award, acknowledging the generational efforts that preceded him in developing the IPM concept. He thanked administrators and fellow IPM enthusiasts, including those at the Almond Board of California, for their critical roles in transitioning IPM research into practical applications. 

"I'd like to thank the department for honoring me with this recognition. There was an entire generation of individuals who came before us that framed and developed the IPM concept. We owe them a deep gratitude for bringing the importance of the approach to the attention of decision-makers and passing their passion for IPM onto the next generation of scientists, consultants, and farmers who tried to refine IPM and promote its implementation," said Dr. Zalom. 

Highlighting the almond industry's significance, Dr. Zalom shared, "I want to acknowledge the visionary leadership associated with many California commodity boards and consultant organizations that I have had the pleasure to work with during my career. A good example is the Almond Board of California, whose longtime production and environmental research directors, Bob Curtis and Gabriele Ludwig, have set the standard for how a major farming industry can bridge seemingly disparate interests to create an acceptable outcome for all stakeholders." 

Dr. Zalom's legacy in the almond industry and beyond is a testament to his unwavering commitment to sustainable and holistic pest management approaches. His impact will continue to resonate, shaping the future of IPM practices and inspiring the next generation of consultants, specialists, researchers, and decision-makers in the agricultural landscape.