I am writing this article on a day in December (December 5, to be exact) during which the temperature is supposed to approach 70°F. It's almost winter, right? Ah yes, another unusual end to a truly unusual year. From a pest management standpoint, 2001 cannot be characterized as "normal." (As I have said in the past, I believe the definition of a "normal" year is the average of 10 abnormal years). Insect outbreaks of "Biblical proportions," resistant weed species, new ways to assess soybean cyst nematode populations, invasive pest species, and increasing interest in new technologies for pest control all were harbingers of what lies ahead for pest managers in this century.|
As always, we hope you will rely on articles in the Bulletin to help you prepare for and manage pest problems in ways that are both economic and environmentally sound. The authors who write articles for the Bulletin do their level best to keep you current regarding pest and crop developments throughout Illinois, and elsewhere when appropriate. Please communicate with us frequently to let us know what is occurring in your "neck of the woods" and to offer your opinions about our reporting and crop management recommendations. We strive to facilitate two-way communication.
In the past I have promised changes in both the appearance and navigability of the Bulletin on the Web. Unfortunately, for reasons too numerous to catalog, those changes have not been accomplished. However, both the new IPM Web site and the new version of the Web-based Bulletin are "under construction" behind the scenes, and I have every reason to believe that changes will be implemented during 2002. In the meantime, the Bulletin on the Web continues to enjoy enormous readership during the growing season, suggesting that the information is both timely and useful. We trust that the changes we make will enhance both the appearance and the usability of our electronically delivered information.
As the end of any year draws near, we tend to reflect on the events that unfolded over the preceding months. Our nature in agriculture is to reflect on the past growing season, make necessary adjustments, learn as much as we can, and begin planning for next year. However, our perspectives, and even our actions, have been changed profoundly by the tragedies and acts of heroism we witnessed on and after September 11, 2001. Consequently, it's more important than ever to count the blessings that our country and our country's agriculture bestow upon us. During the forthcoming holidays, I encourage everyone to be thankful for what we have, reflect on losses we witnessed and/or experienced, and nurture hope for a splendid future. I know I will.
On behalf of all of the authors and other contributors to the Bulletin, I thank you for your continued interest in our efforts and for the support you have provided for so many years. We look forward to working with you again in 2002.--Kevin Steffey