Publications now available on two Edwards Plateau, Concho Valley grass invaders from Mexico

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has new publications on two opportunistic and invasive grasses from Mexico now spreading into some Edwards Plateau and Concho Valley pastures, said Dr. Morgan Russell, lead author of both publications.

Russell, AgriLife Extension range specialist at San Angelo, said the culprits are Mexican needlegrass, which is infiltrating mostly from oil and gas operations, and Mexican feathergrass, a popular ornamental, which is escaping landscapes and cropping up on rangeland. Continue reading

Pesticide resistant, crop threatening whiteflies found in Texas

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife

A pesticide-resistant population of common plant-damaging whiteflies has been found in Texas, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist.

Whiteflies are sucking, insect pests similar to aphids, and damage ornamental and food plants, said Erfan Vafaie, AgriLife Extension program specialist in integrated pest management, Overton. Adults are winged while young whiteflies lie flat against leaves and can be difficult to see with the naked eye.  Continue reading

Lice in cattle herds can bite producer profits

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife

A common wintertime pest in cattle herds – lice – can suck money from producers’ pockets, said Dr. Jason Banta, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist, Overton.

Banta said lice can infest cattle throughout the year, but more problems are seen from December to March.  Continue reading

NIFA Announces Support for Organic Agriculture Research, Extension, and Education

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of $17.6 million in grants focused on organic agriculture research, education, and extension activities. These grants are funded through a competitive process by NIFA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“America’s organic industry continues to be one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture,” said NIFA Director Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA strives to support the development and deployment of science-based best knowledge and practices to organic producers to help them grow their businesses while solving critical organic agriculture issues, priorities, or problems.” Continue reading

Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI)

The OREI seeks to solve critical organic agriculture issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research, education, and extension activities. The purpose of this program is to fund projects that will enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products. Priority concerns include biological, physical, and social sciences, including economics. The OREI is particularly interested in projects that emphasize research, education and outreach that assist farmers and ranchers with whole farm planning by delivering practical research-based information. Projects should plan to deliver applied production information to producers. Fieldwork must be done on certified organic land or on land in transition to organic certification, as appropriate to project goals and objectives. Refer to the USDA National Organic Program for organic production standards. Continue reading

Assistant Director, Western Plant Diagnostic Network

The Assistant Director, in consultation with the Director, oversees operations concerning the western region’s budget, staffing, training, data collection, equipment and facility availability, surge coordination, diagnostic protocol implementation and communications operations. In addition, the Assistant/Associate Director assumes a national leadership role in exercise and data analysis programs; and in liaison with key management in other organizations and agencies, write and set policy, negotiate agreements and determine protocols.

For more on the job, or to apply, go to https://www.employment.ucdavis.edu/applicants/jsp/shared/position/JobDetails_css.jsp .