Sugarcane aphids make growing sorghum difficult for Georgia farmers

By Sharon Dowdy, University of Georgia

Sugarcane aphids have turned their back on their namesake and become a major pest for Georgia’s grain sorghum growers. The pest began infesting fields in the state two years ago and, last year, devastated farmers who chose not to apply spray controls, said University of Georgia small grains entomologist David Buntin.

“Farmers who didn’t spray last year didn’t harvest a yield, and others had to spray three to four times,” said Buntin, a UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences researcher based on the university’s campus in Griffin, Georgia. Continue reading

Forest Health Specialist

The Virginia Department of Forestry is seeking a well-organized and motivated individual to support the agency’s Forest Health Program under the supervision of the Forest Health Program Manager. The incumbent: assists with field surveys and documentation of major forest insect and disease problems, including the southern pine beetle, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, and thousand cankers disease; assists with monitoring other forest health issues of high concern including non-native invasive plants and issues associated with meteorological events; provides outreach and assistance to landowners, foresters, and other customers with forest health related problems or concerns; utilizes GIS to assemble data and generate outbreak maps from ground and aerial surveys; and helps manage and implement landowner cost-share programs as assigned. The position may also include assistance with programs related to the restoration of diminished species such as the American Chestnut and Longleaf Pine or Shortleaf Pine.

Deadline for applications is March 17, 2016.

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Register for March 9, 2016, Public Meeting on Updating the Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology

On October 30, 2015, under the auspices of the National Science and Technology Council, the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy held a public meeting to discuss the memorandum entitled, “Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products,” issued by the Executive Office of the President in July 2015. This meeting was the first of three public engagement sessions on this topic. Continue reading

The National eXtension Conference 2016 coming soon

Outstanding professional development. National speakers offering innovative thinking and methods for conducting Cooperative Extension work. Many opportunities to engage with other Extension professionals from across the U.S.

If you are thinking of coming and haven’t registered already, please go to the NeXC 2016 website and begin, at least, by making your hotel reservations this week. The conference hotel block ends on February 29. After February 29, rooms will be available on a first-come basis at the hotel’s regular rate, not our conference rate. Continue reading

National Zika Virus Pest Alert released

In response to the emergence of the Zika virus in the Americas, a national pest alert has been developed by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded Regional Integrated Pest Management Centers. The pest alert and links to additional resources are available at http://ncipmc.org/action/alerts/zika.php to assist individuals in reducing their exposure to mosquitoes as well as discussing ways to eliminate mosquito larval and pupal development sites. The pest alert can be downloaded, printed and distributed as needed.   Continue reading

Lifting of fruit fly quarantine spells victory in Florida

In Southeast Farm Press

by Tom Nordlie, University of Florida

The lifting of an agricultural quarantine in Miami-Dade County Feb. 13 signaled victory over the invasive Oriental fruit fly and a return to business as usual for growers within a 99-square-mile area that includes vegetable farms, nurseries, packing houses, residential neighborhoods and much of the state’s commercial tropical fruit acreage.

The fruit fly, known scientifically as Bactrocera dorsalis, is known to feed on more than 400 crops, including scores grown in Florida, Payne said. Once established, the insect may cause 25 to 50 percent losses in food-crop harvests. In August 2015, specimens began to appear in south Miami-Dade County fruit fly monitoring traps, prompting FDACS to impose a temporary quarantine on 99 square miles that include an agriculture-dependent area known as The Redland. Altogether, the county’s agricultural activities generate $1.6 billion in revenues each year. Continue reading

Office Manager, IPM Institute

Full-time (30 hours) office manager position available with an independent non-profit organization working to improve sustainability in agriculture and communities through Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and other best practices. Continue reading