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A second Asian insect is lurking

by Don Curlee

Posted on Thursday October 24, 2019, 6:44 pm

With California’s citrus industry on full alert against the Asian citrus psyllid, another Asian visitor may be poised to marshal its destructive forces against the state’s dynamic wine industry. The assault could amount to wine tasting at its worst.

The latest invader is the spotted lantern fly, a Chinese native that has been seen to spread to apple trees and other plants from its original citing in NewYork, moving to Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia. Experts at the University of California, Riverside believe it might be on its way to California and wine country.

Long before the lantern fly’s potential arrival the researchers have a good idea about how to control it, but the likeliest control agent is a tiny parasitic wasp, also from China, which will need to be imported. These wasps called anastatus orientalis feature a needle-like appendage t...

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USDA Announces $16.2 Million to Support Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers


Posted on Thursday October 24, 2019, 6:39 pm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will issue $16.2 million in grants to provide training, outreach, and technical assistance to underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers. This funding is available through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program), managed by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE).

“All farmers and ranchers deserve equal access to USDA programs and services,” said Mike Beatty, director of the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. “2501 grants go a long way in fulfilling our mission to reach historically underserved communities and ensure their equitable participation in our programs.”

The 2501 Program was created through the 1990 Farm Bill to help socially disadvant...

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NASS announces release of 2017 Census of Agriculture Race, Ethnicity, and Gender Profiles

by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service

Posted on Thursday October 24, 2019, 6:34 pm

Census Special Study data releases and data collections coming

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the 2017 Census of Agriculture data tabulated by race, ethnicity, and gender. Located on the NASS website, these national, state, and county-level data profiles highlight number of farms, land in farms, land use, value of sales, and producer characteristics, such as years of experience, average age, and more. Redesigned and containing more information than in previous years, the producer profiles provide insights on: women; Hispanic, Latino or Spanish; American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; Black or African American; Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander; and white producers. Data are available for geographies with 30 farms or more operated by a specified group.

“The Census of Agriculture is the on...

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State Tests Show Low or No Pesticide Levels in Most Fruits and Vegetables in California

by California Department of Pesticide Regulation

Posted on Thursday October 24, 2019, 6:25 pm

Once again, tests showed that the vast majority of fresh produce collected by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) met national pesticide residue standards. During its 2018 survey, DPR found 95 percent of all samples had no detectable pesticide residues or were actually below levels allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).

The findings are included in DPR’s just released 2018 Pesticide Residues in Fresh Produce report.

"We want to ensure that fresh fruits and vegetables, imported from other countries or grown right there in California are safe to consume,” said Val Dolcini, acting director of DPR.

The 2018 report is based on year-round collection of 3666 samples of produce, from dozens of different countries, including those labeled as “organic.” DPR scientists sampled produce from various grocery...

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Thinking about growing romaine or organic strawberries? UC ANR releases sample costs

by Pamela Kan-Rice

Posted on Wednesday September 25, 2019, 11:05 am

Farmers who are considering growing romaine hearts or organic strawberries in California's Central Coast region can get some help determining whether the crop will pencil out for them. UC ANR Agricultural Issues Center and UC Cooperative Extension have released sample costs to produce and harvest organic strawberries for fresh market and romaine lettuce hearts in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. A major difference between growing strawberries organically and the conventional practice is in weed control. “Weed management is especially challenging for organic strawberry production because soil fumigation and most herbicides are not allowed under organic regulations,” said Mark Bolda, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Santa Cruz County. “Weeds in furrows between the beds can be mechanically cultivated during the growing season, but most of the weeding will need to be done b...

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