APHIS Rescinds the Federal Order Prohibiting the Importation of Certain Citrus Fruit from the Berkane Region in Morocco due to Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Ceratitis capitata)

Effective immediately, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is lifting the Federal Order (DA-2016-79) issued December 23, 2016, which prohibited the importation of tangerines, clementines, mandarins (Citrus reticulata), and sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis) produced in, moved through, or shipped from the Berkane Region in Morocco into the United States. Prior to the Federal Order prohibiting such imports, tangerine, clementine, mandarin, and sweet orange fruit could be imported to the United States subject to commodity import requirements and operational work plan (OWP) safeguards. APHIS took action to ban the citrus due to the detection of live Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) larvae in Berkane citrus at a U.S. port of entry. Continue reading

Webinar: Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change: A Scientist-Manager National Network

In this Climate Learning Network-ANREP Climate Science Initiative collaborative webinar, the first of 2018, Courtney Peterson, Research Associate in the Forest and Rangeland Stewardship Department at Colorado State University, discusses the Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC) project, a multi-region network of replicated sites testing ecosystem-specific climate change treatments across a gradient of adaptive approaches designed to translate three adaptive silver culture options, creating resistance, promoting resilience, and facilitating forests’ response to change, into on-the-ground, operational-scale research. Continue reading

Plant breeding is key to sustainable farming, CommonGround says

in Southwest Farm Press

by Cathryn-Wojcicki-NCGA

For more than seven years, CommonGround volunteers have served as resources for consumers who have questions about how their food is grown. In a newly-released video http://bit.ly/2AKymxo, CommonGround Iowa volunteer Sara Ross shares her perspective on plant breeding innovation with the help of a fellow mom – and plant breeder – Jessie Alt.

“Plant breeding innovation will help us continue to be sustainable and improve on our sustainability so our sons can one day possibly step into the role of farmer on our family farm,” says Ross. Continue reading

Study finds rotating with corn boosts cotton yields

In Delta Farm Press

Cotton following corn in rotation resulted in an average 8.9 percent to 17.1 percent yield increase compared to continuous cotton in a 12-year study at Mississippi State University.

Wayne Ebelhar, MSU research professor and agronomist, discussed the long-term research project at the recent Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio. The study was conducted on two sites, the Centennial Farm at Stoneville, Miss., where cotton has been grown continuously “for at least 100 years,” Ebelhar says, and the Tribbett farm, which is not as productive as the Stoneville location. Ebelhar says the yield advantage comes from “the rotation effect. All other factors were the same.” Continue reading

Three Funding Opportunities Announced: Organic Ag., Collaborative Robotics, and Crop Breeding

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture has announced three new funding opportunities: Organic Transitions, the National Robotics Initiative through AFRI, and Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research.

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Announces Support for Organic Agricultural Programs

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $3.8 million in available funding to address critical issues related to organic agriculture. Funding is made through NIFA’s Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants – Organic Transitions (ORG) program.

The ORG program supports the development and implementation of research, extension, and education programs that enhance organic livestock and crop production. Organic agricultural systems provide many ecosystem services, and natural resources stewardship is a key principle in organic farming.

The deadline for applications is March 29, 2018. See the funding opportunity for details. Continue reading

Our Farms, Our Future Conference: Crafting a Vision for Sustainable Agriculture

What’s your vision for the future of sustainable agriculture? Join our nation’s leading farmers, ranchers, researchers and educators in St. Louis on April 3-5, 2018 to explore a wide range of innovative, sustainable solutions to agriculture’s most pressing dilemmas.

The Our Farms, Our Future Conference will address major food sustainability trends with presentations by a diverse group of farmers and ranchers using a wide range of systems to produce vegetables, grains, fruit, cattle, hogs, poultry and other livestock sustainably.

Please join us! Register now. Continue reading

Robotic weeding may be the way of the future

The future of weeding is here, and it comes in the form of a robot.

The growing popularity of robotic weeders for specialty crops has grown partly out of necessity, says Steven Fennimore, an extension specialist at the University of California, Davis. Specialty crops are vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes, and onions. They are not mass-produced like corn, soybeans, and wheat. Continue reading