USDA NIFA needs input on Centers of Excellence

Based on language in the 2014 Farm Bill (Section 7214), we are seeking input from the public and applicants to any of NIFA’s competitive grant programs on how NIFA will provide priority to Centers of Excellence in the receipt of funding from its competitive research or extension grant programs.  NIFA will be holding web-based listening sessions to gather input that will be used in developing a process for consistently providing priority consideration to these Centers of Excellence.  Stakeholder input is welcome at any time, but to be incorporated into planning for the 2015 cycle, it should be received by July 31, 2014, via email to (please put “comments” in the subject line) or via fax to 202/690-1260 addressed to Centers of Excellence Implementation Team.

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Armyworms are chomping through Mississippi crops

In Delta Farm Press

Armywormageddon: That’s the term Angus Catchot has coined this year for what he says is “by far been the biggest armyworm invasion we’ve ever seen in the Mid-South.”

And the worm influx isn’t crop specific, he said at the joint annual meeting of the Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corporation and the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Cotton Policy Committee.

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Bermudagrass stem maggots on the move across Florida pastures

In Southeast Farm Press

By Liza Garcia-Jimenez, University of Florida

The first high populations of Bermudagrass stem maggot are now occurring in Central Florida and likely will be seen in North Florida any day now, if not already.

The adult stage of this pest are small flies.  The flies lay eggs in Bermudagrass fields of all types.  The maggots or larva hatch and burrow in the top node of the plant and feed, eventually killing the top leaf shoot.  Loss of both quality and quantity of Bermudagrass hay results. Producers should be on the lookout for BSM populations, signs of which are manifested by a brown coloring to the field that should be green.

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Worms reported in early season North Carolina soybeans

In Southeast Farm Press

There are reports of worms in early season soybeans in North Carolina, but at this point density levels aren’t a concern, according to North Carolina Extension entomologist Dominic Reisig.

After sampling numerous fields, Reisig says there are spots where corn earworm and tobacco budworm are present. In a blog posting, Reisig explained that identification is the first step if worms are present in your soybeans.

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Pesticide regulations in United States schools

When used properly, pesticides can be valuable tools that reduce risks from pests. However, in schools and childcare settings, pesticides should be used with greater care to reduce risks to children. Many U.S. states have encouraged this care by passing laws governing pesticide use in schools. An article in the summer 2014 issue of American Entomologist takes a closer look at these laws in various states and makes several recommendations for safety regulations for schools in general.

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Tick-borne disease video available

Thanks to Anna Perea, Technical Communications Specialist of CDC and Connie Austin, DVM of IDPH, last September’s tickborne diseases webinar is now available at, or at the link below: