New tick species discovered in North Carolina

Recent tick surveys sent to the US Department of Agriculture identified a longhorned tick on an opossum in Polk County, North Carolina. The longhorned tick is an exotic species from Asia that is a serious pest of livestock.

The tick was initially identified in New Jersey in 2017, but further research into other reported ticks that may have been misidentified have revealed that the first recorded case of this tick was on a white-tailed deer in August 2010 in West Virginia. Before its introduction in North Carolina, the tick had been positively identified in Arkansas, New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia. Continue reading

NIFA Invests $15.4 Million in Sustainable Agroecosystems: Functions, Processes and Management

USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture recently awarded 35 Sustainable Agroecosytems grants that will improve the sustainable management of agro-ecosystems (agricultural, forest and range) while maintaining or improving the supporting natural resources and ecosystem services. The funded research will improve our understanding of the interactions among physical, chemical, and biological processes that determine the health and quality of soil, water and air resources, and how these respond to natural and human based changes and management. Other research will provide science-based information that integrates the complex interactions between natural processes and management practices, and that is needed to make decisions to support agricultural production, including bioenergy and biobased product feedstocks, maintain or improve ecosystem services, and avoid critical thresholds of irreversible damage or loss to our natural resource base. These grants are a part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

NIFA Invests $7 Million to Improve Plant Breeding for Agricultural Production

USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture recently awarded 22 Plant Breeding for Agricultural Production grants that will advance development of publicly available cultivars bred to improve the production efficiency, yield, sustainability, resilience, healthfulness, product quality, and value of U.S. agricultural plants while increasing farmer profitability and exports. The awards include both classical and genomics-enabled plant breeding research focused on pre-breeding and germplasm enhancement, cultivar development, selection theory, and applied genetics. Further, NIFA and the National Peanut Board will co-fund three of these awards, taking advantage of a provision in the 2014 Farm Bill that encourages these types of public-private research partnerships. More information about NIFA’s commodity boards program is available on the NIFA website. These grants are a part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

Webinar: Biosecurity & Western Governors’ Association Invasive Species Initiative launch

Western Governors’ Association Chair and Hawaii Gov. David Ige will highlight the importance of invasive species management in the West and announce the locations of regional workshops as part of his Chairman’s Initiative during a webinar TODAY at 1:30 MT. Leaders in invasive species data management will also discuss WGA’s Invasive Species Data Management Protocol, a new effort to improve the interagency exchange of invasive species occurrence data in the West. Learn more and register now.

The webinar is TODAY at 1:30 Mountain time.

The webinar will be moderated by WGA Policy Advisor Bill Whitacre. Panelists include: Chuck Bargeron, Associate Director for Invasive Species and Information Technology, Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health, University of Georgia; Pam Fuller, Program Leader, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, USGS; Stinger Guala, Director of Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON), USGS; Jamie Reaser, Executive Director, National Invasive Species Council; and Lori Scott, Interim President & CEO, and Chief Information Officer, NatureServe.