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USDA’s “Beagle Brigade” Helping to Prevent African Swine Fever from Entering U.S.

by USDA

Posted on November 2018

When Hardy, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trained detector dog, sniffed out a roasted pig head in traveler baggage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International airport early this month, it underscored the efforts USDA and its partners are undertaking to keep African Swine Fever (ASF), a swine disease that could devastate the U.S. pork producers, from entering the country.

USDA continues to train dogs at its National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Georgia. The center is designed and equipped to train detector dog teams (canines and handlers), like Hardy’s, to safeguard American agriculture. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine program and the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) use detector dog teams, known as the Beagle Brigade, to search for prohibited agricultura...

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Candid Conversation with National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)

by NOSB

Posted on November 2018

An educational session at the 2018 Organic Grower Summit (OGS) will provide attendees an opportunity to hear from two members of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), providing an overview of the agency responsible for recommendations on a wide range of issues involving the production, handling, and processing of organic products.

The session, Candid Conversation with NOSB Members, will feature an in-depth look at how the Board makes recommendations on organic production practice standards and materials allowed or prohibited for use in the production and processing of organic foods. The session will also include a question and answer period with OGS attendees.

The session will be moderated by Melody Meyer, president of Source Organics, and will feature NOSB Chair Tom Chapman, senior sourcing manager, ingredients, Clif Bar, Inc.; and newly-elected NOSB mem...

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USDA Website Puts Soils Information, Tools at Your Fingertips

by USDA

Posted on November 2018

USDA has re-designed its Soil Tools web page, to now serve as a one-stop source for new, leading-edge tools and technologies to help farmers, ranchers, and other land users understand, evaluate and conserve soils.

Managed by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the web page offers single-site access to soil data and maps, soil databases, digital soil applications, climate data, descriptions of soils, ecological sites, statistical packages and soil-property calculators. The USDA maps and information are free with no user ID or password required.

“Along with air, sunlight and water, soil is one of the four building blocks of life on earth,” said Dave Hoover, Director of the National Soil Survey Center. “Soil is tied, in some way, to everything we use as a society. This new web portal makes it easy to find and use soils data, and provides u...

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New UC ANR cost study for growing hybrid sunflower seeds helps farmers estimate costs

by Pamela Kan-Rice

Posted on November 2018

A new study on the costs and returns of producing hybrid sunflower seed in the Sacramento Valley has been released by the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' Agricultural Issues Center for farmers who are considering growing hybrid sunflower seeds.

“Although the acreage is relatively small – about 50,000 acres in the Sacramento Valley – hybrid sunflower seed is an important crop because California growers produce the seed for planting stock, destined to be planted in many areas around the world for oilseed and confectionary snack food markets,” said Sarah Light, UC Cooperative Extension agronomy advisor and co-author of the cost study.

Authors Rachael Long, Mariano Galla and Light received input and reviews from fellow UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors and agricultural industry cooperators for the study, which is based on a typical farm in the Sac...

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For ag the state is many, and more

by Ag at Large Don Curlee

Posted on November 2018

Presenting California as the nation’s largest farm state projects a massive agricultural behemoth, but its growth profile is really composed of many diverse units and locations, each massive in its own right.

For example, grapes are one of the state’s largest volume commodities, but specifying the type of grapes produced will tell more of a geographic tale than you might expect. Center of production for sweet and tasty table grapes is in Kern County, specifically Delano, overflowing into neighboring Tulare and Fresno Counties at a lesser scale.

If your vineyard is in Napa it goes without saying that you produce grapes for wine, with your neighboring vintners in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties unconsciously committed to the same output. But don’t overlook Temecula, center of wine grape production in Southern California.

For grapes dried for rai...

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