NIFA Supports Increasing Rural Prosperity through Education, Mentoring, and Technical Assistance Programs for the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced awards made to support the next generation of farmers and ranchers through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). The BFRDP program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, aims to help address issues associated with the rising age and decrease in the number of U.S. farmers and ranchers.

“According to the 2012 Agriculture Census undertaken by the National Agricultural Statistics Survey, the average age of the American farmer is approximately 59 years old,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program provides the training and resources to attract a wide range of communities – veterans, refugees, socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, women, individuals from underrepresented groups, small farmers, aspiring farm workers, and others – into farming and ranching.”  Continue reading

DSHS Issues Alert as Flea-borne Typhus Activity in Texas Increases

An increase this year in the number of cases of flea-borne typhus across multiple areas of the state is prompting the Texas Department of State Health Services to remind people to take precautions to prevent contracting the disease. A health alert issued today asks providers to consider a diagnosis of flea-borne typhus for people with fever and at least one other symptom of the disease. Typhus cases normally peak in Texas between May and July and again in December and January.

Flea-borne typhus, also known as murine typhus, is a bacterial infection that most commonly occurs when infected flea feces are scratched into the site of the flea bite or another break in the skin. Inhalation or mucous membrane contact with contaminated, dried flea feces are less common ways to contract the disease. Fleas are infected when they bite animals, such as rodents, opossums and cats, that can maintain and transmit the bacteria. Continue reading

2017 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Don’t Let Bed Bugs Hamper Your Vacation Plans

Holiday travel plans often involve nights spent away from home.  Learn practical tips for identifying signs of bed bugs before they hitch hike home with you. 

Date and Time: Friday, December 1 from 2:00-3:00 pm EST

Location: https://extension.zoom.us/j/885968890 Continue reading

APHIS Expands the Citrus Greening (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus) Quarantined Area in California

Effectively immediately, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the California citrus industry, is expanding the area quarantined for citrus greening (Huanglongbing) in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, and adding a quarantine area in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. APHIS is taking this action because of the positive detections of citrus greening in plant tissue samples collected in multiple locations.

APHIS is applying safeguarding measures on the interstate movement of regulated articles from the regulated areas in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. These measures parallel the intrastate quarantine that the CDFA initiated on September 8. This action is necessary to prevent the spread of citrus greening to non-infested areas of the United States. Continue reading

ATTRA Tipsheet Can Help You Control Whiteflies

Whiteflies are tiny, white insects that cause crop losses on a global scale. This tipsheet, “Whiteflies – Botanical Control Formulations,” offers advice and direction on eliminating these pests through botanical pesticides.

Download the publication free at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=576. Continue reading

APHIS Posts New Weed Risk Assessments

APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) has posted Weed Risk Assessments (WRA) for the following two weed species:

Continue reading

Organic grain, soybean study establishes early production recommendations

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

After one year of studying organic grain and soybean cropping systems, Texas A&M AgriLife scientists say they know more about what not to do moving forward.

Three Texas A&M researchers are using a $475,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant to study organic grain and soybean cropping systems over a three-year period. Continue reading

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Announces Support for Education, Mentoring, and Technical Assistance Programs to Help New Farmers and Ranchers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $17.7 million in available funding to support the delivery of education, mentoring, and technical assistance programs that help beginning farmers and ranchers in the U.S. and its territories. Funding is made through NIFA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 1, 2018, at 5 p.m. Eastern time. See the funding opportunity for details.

Southern pine beetles becoming a problem in Mississippi

In Delta Farm Press

Mississippi is having a breakout of tiny beetles that use pheromones to gather sufficient numbers of reinforcements to overwhelm healthy trees.

Current Mississippi Forestry Commission flyovers indicate nearly 5,000 separate Southern pine bark beetle outbreaks across the state. Outbreaks can range from just a few trees to more than an acre of infested and dying pines. Continue reading

APHIS Seeks Comments on several draft pest risk assessments

The governments of Swaziland, China and Brazil have asked USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to authorize the importation of various commodities for consumption into the continental United States.  APHIS has drafted a pest risk assessment that lists potential pests likely to remain on the commodity upon importation if no mitigations are applied.

These risk assessments include citrus, pomegranates and jujube. Continue reading