APHIS Issues Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the National Fruit Fly Cooperative Control Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is posting a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the national fruit fly cooperative control program for public comment. The draft EIS considers potential environmental impacts from each of the alternatives proposed for the national fruit fly cooperative control program should various non-native fruit fly species be detected in the United States or its associated territories.

APHIS’ preferred alternative is to eradicate exotic fruit fly infestations using an integrated pest management approach, which includes chemical and nonchemical control measures. Chemical options may include applying insecticides and/or using detection and control attractants. Nonchemical control methods include sterile insect technique (SIT) and fruit stripping from areas in and around detection sites. Continue reading

EU to ban pesticides that harm bees

The European Union made a key breakthrough on Friday to completely ban pesticides that harm bees and their crop pollination.

The 28 member states got a large majority, representing some three-quarters of its population, backing the ban on the three prevalent neonicotinoid pesticides which will take effect at the end of the year. The decision builds on a limited ban which has been in effect since 2013. Continue reading

2018 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series – This Friday on FLEAS

Don’t forget this month’s All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar will take place this Friday, May 4 at 1:00 pm Central Time. Fleas have you down? A pest of both homes and our pets, populations can quickly get away from us. Running and grabbing a pesticide generally doesn’t work unless you understand their biology and life cycle. Join us as Dr. Nancy Hinkle, Professor Veterinary Entomology, University of Georgia, gives a webinar filled with information to help us get flea populations under control BEFORE they escalate. We hope you can attend the webinar live, but if you are unable to make it, a recording will be posted online next week.

Webinar link: https://auburn.zoom.us/j/209793415
Continue reading

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Sustainable Agricultural Systems

Applications to the FY 2018 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS) Request for Applications (RFA) must focus on approaches that promote transformational changes in the U.S. food and agriculture system within the next 25 years. NIFA seeks creative and visionary applications that take a systems approach, and that will significantly improve the supply of abundant, affordable, safe, nutritious, and accessible food, while providing sustainable opportunities for expansion of the bioeconomy through novel animal, crop, and forest products and supporting technologies. These approaches must demonstrate current and future social, behavioral, economic, health, and environmental impacts. Additionally, the outcomes of the work being proposed must result in societal benefits, including promotion of rural prosperity and enhancement of quality of life for those involved in food and agricultural value chains from production to utilization and consumption. See AFRI SAS RFA for details. Continue reading

Pollinators are important to water and soil conservation

In Southwest Farm Press

The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, and Texas Wildlife Association are joining other state agencies and organizations in a statewide campaign to highlight the importance of voluntary land stewardship in Texas. Soil and Water Stewardship Week is April 29 through May 6, 2018, and the focus this year is “The Importance of Pollinators to Soil and Water Conservation in Texas.”

Pollinators include the birds and the bees (butterflies, bats, beetles, moths, and even small mammals) and are vital for production agriculture, our food supply, and the preservation of our natural resources. Many Texas farmers, ranchers, foresters, and urbanites recognize the importance of these insects and animals, and are attempting to regenerate pollinator populations by implementing voluntary conservation practices on private and public lands. Texans have been working with their local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) for over 75 years to voluntarily implement conservation practices that protect and enhance our soil and water resources.  Continue reading

NIFA Announces New Funding Opportunity for Sustainable Agricultural Systems

NIFA has announced the availability of up to $80 million in funding for integrated projects to increase sustainable production of food and agricultural products. Funding is made through a new program in NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI)  Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS) program. AFRI is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, which aims to address challenges in food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences. Continue reading

May 3 webinar to focus on mesquite, mixed brush herbicide treatments

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Mesquite and Mixed Brush Herbicide Treatments will be the topic of the May 3 natural resources webinar conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service ecosystem science and management unit.

The webinar is part of the Texas Range Webinar Series scheduled the first Thursday of each month from noon to 1 p.m., said Pete Flores, AgriLife Extension webinar coordinator in Corpus Christi. Continue reading