USDA Grants Assist in Science-Based Biotechnology Risk Assessment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced more than $4 million in grants that will provide federal policy makers with scientific knowledge to identify and develop appropriate management practices to minimize any risks associated with genetically engineered animals, plants, and microorganisms. The grants were made by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

“It is critically important that we base policy decisions around sound, high-quality science that analyzes the risks of introducing new biotechnologies,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “The grants we are awarding today will give policy makers and regulators the information they need to continue making decisions that keep the American people and our food supply safe.”

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New sustainable agriculture certification at Greenville Tech includes pest management

The NEW! Sustainable Agriculture Certificate program was developed in response to a need expressed by leaders of the region’s agribusiness. The group had seen the surge in the number of start-ups in a variety of related ventures, and too often the passion and enthusiasm wasn’t rounded out by the business knowledge needed to make the business itself sustainable. Greenville Technical College’s certificate program is structured to provide solid foundation in farming as a profession.

This 36 credit hour program is part of Greenville Technical College’s highly respected Culinary Institute of the Carolinas. Well-established among restaurant and food service professionals, the CIC offers students in the Sustainable Agriculture program the benefit of interaction with chefs for a more comprehensive understanding of quality food production and handling.

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There is no “I” in IPM; it’s all about TEAM.

This article by Janet Hurley of Texas A&M AgriLife is about school IPM programs; I thought it was worth sharing region-wide.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is like football.  In football, it takes a team to win or lose a game.   No single person is the breaking point.  Successful IPM requires people management and teamwork.  A solid IPM program requires several groups of people to work in conjunction with one and another, and to practice the basic principal that no one person is responsible for everything.   Taking ownership of one’s actions and helping others is a basic principle of advanced society.   IPM and the indoor air quality (IAQ) program use these principles and embrace the famous Ben Franklin quote, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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EPA Registers New Biochemical Miticide to Combat Varroa Mites in Beehives

The Environmental Protection Agency has registered a new biochemical miticide, Potassium Salts of Hops Beta Acids (K-HBAs), which is intended to provide another option for beekeepers to combat the devastating effects of the Varroa mite on honey bee colonies and to avoid the development of resistance toward other products. Rotating products to combat Varroa mites is an important tactic to prevent resistance development and to maintain the usefulness of individual pesticides.

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Mississippi sorghum growers were ready for sugarcane aphids

In Delta Farm Press

After causing significant challenges in 2014, sugarcane aphids did not catch Mississippi’s grain sorghum growers by surprise this year.

“We are not sure if sugarcane aphids were not as bad as last year or if we just did a better job using insecticidal seed treatments,” said Angus Catchot, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “One big difference was that we were more educated in our control efforts. No one was caught by surprise, and everyone had budgeted for control.”

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Pesticide resistant head lice

Pediculosis, or “lousiness”, is one of the most prevalent communicable conditions in the United States. Head lice can infest people of all ages, but children are prone to infestations due to their play activity and close physical contact. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “an estimated 6 million to 12 million infestations occur each year in the United States among children 3 to 11 years of age.” 

According to a new paper (Yoon 2015) delivered at the American Chemical Society Smithsonian.com head lice are now tougher to control than ever. In 25 states head lice have become highly resistant to the most commonly used lice shampoo treatments, including pyrethrins and the pyrethroid insecticide permethrin. In fact, most states (104 out of 109 samples) tested so far have lice that are resistant to these over-the-counter lice treatment options (Yoon 2015). Continue reading

Managing Head Lice in Schools – EPA Webinar, October 20

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Center of Expertise for School Integrated Pest Management (IPM) will host a webinar, “Managing Head Lice in Schools,” on October 20 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

This webinar will explore the epidemiology, public health significance, diagnosis, treatment, and control of head lice. An emphasis will be placed on IPM-based control strategies. The webinar will feature:

  • Richard Pollack, Senior Environmental Health Officer, Harvard University
  • Nicole Bobo, Director of Nursing Education, National Association of School Nurses
  • Deborah Pontius, Health Services Coordinator, Pershing County (Nevada) School District

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Organic Certification Field Day

Please join the  Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and SC Experts for an Organic Certification Field Day. The field day will take place at Pelion High School & WP Rawl Farm, beginning at Pelion High School.

October 15, 2015
8:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Pelion High School,  600 Lydia Dr. Pelion, SC 29123 Continue reading

Researchers discover contenders in molecular arms race of major plant disease

Researchers have discovered how a tiny viral protein enables the infection of a complex plant, and the finding could lead to understanding viral diseases in other plants, animals and humans, according to a team of Texas A&M AgriLife Research biochemists.

The study is reported this month in the journal eLife.    

Dr. Xiuren Zhang’s lab in College Station focused on how plants can defend themselves against viral attacks by experimenting with the effect of mosaic virus on arabidopsis, a model plant widely used in research. Continue reading

IPM Enhancement Grant RFA is public!

We are pleased to announce the release of the 2016 Request for Applications (RFA) for the IPM Enhancement Grants. Deadline for proposals is Friday, November 20, 2015 at 5 PM EST.

The IPM Enhancement Grants Program (IPMEP) is a foundational mechanism used by SIPMC to address important issues affecting the region that has produced many significant outputs and favorable outcomes addressing Global Food Security challenges including invasive species, endangered species, pest resistance, and impacts resulting from regulatory actions. We use a competitive process each year to solicit and select projects for funding.

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