AgriLife Research project to examine, educate on organic wheat systems

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Organic wheat and beef may not be for everyone, but one Texas A&M AgriLife team is going to make sure producers in Texas know more about the possibilities than they currently do.

Dr. Curtis Adams, Texas A&M AgriLife Research crop physiologist at Vernon, will lead a new project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture in the Organic Transition Program. Continue reading

Upcoming Environmental Modeling Public Meeting on Assessing Exposure and Risk to Pollinators & Plants

On October 18, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency will hold an Environmental Modeling Public Meeting. This meeting provides a public forum for EPA and its stakeholders to discuss current issues related to modeling pesticide fate, transport, and exposure for pesticide risk assessments in a regulatory context. The focus of this meeting will be on “assessing exposure and risk to pollinators and plants,” and also includes additional modeling and exposure related presentations.

Pollinator presentations will address scientific issues related to managed and unmanaged bees, including colony simulations in a risk assessment context. Plant presentations include a description of a terrestrial and wetland plant exposure model and an evaluation of historical variability in seedling emergence and vegetative vigor control data. Additional modeling/exposure presentations examine a wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic pesticide exposure models. Continue reading

NIFA Invests in Research on Organic Agriculture and Animal Health

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Invests in Research to Help Boost Organic Farming, Ranching

WASHINGTON, D.C.  Oct. 11, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced grants to help farmers and ranchers grow and market high quality organic food, fiber, and other products. The grants are funded through the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and Organic Transitions Program (ORG). Read the full announcement at the NIFA website.

NIFA Invests in Research to Maintain Healthy Agricultural Animals

WASHINGTON, D.C. Oct. 11, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced support for research to help maintain healthy agricultural animals. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Read the full announcement at the NIFA website.

Vacancy for Entomologist in Plant Protection at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture

This a full-time, permanent position with the State of Minnesota located in St Paul, Minnesota. This position exists in the Pest Detection and Management Unit, which is part of the Plant Protection Division at Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

This position is classified as a Research Scientist 2 and duties for this position will include:

  • Direct policy and lead multi-agency planning efforts related to prevention, early detection and rapid response to invasive pests
  • Direct project staff and budgets, and work collaboratively with scientists and other professionals within the Department of Agriculture
  • Design surveys and other activities related to target pests, as well as analyze and report resulting data
  • Lead inspections and issue state directives in the case of detections of target pests, as well as investigate violations of quarantine or other MDA directives

Continue reading

Mexican fruit fly control needs citizen help to keep Texas citrus industry vibrant

by Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife

The success of the Texas citrus industry may hinge on a lot of variables, but a tiny fly and people with backyard citrus trees are high on the list.

Allowing fruit to linger on a tree provides a paradise for Mexican fruit flies by keeping their reproductive cycle in business, but that can slap a quarantine on citrus in the area and limit markets, according to Dr. Olufemi Alabi, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist in Weslaco. Continue reading

The North Central Consumer Horticulture IPM Working Group harnessed the power of the internet to reach gardeners with training modules

From the Connection, North Central IPM Center

The North Central Consumer Horticulture IPM Working Group harnessed the power of the internet to reach gardeners, including Extension Master Gardeners and garden center employees, in the United States and Canada with several webinars which were then enhanced into learning modules promoting IPM.

One online module, Process of Diagnosing Plant Problems, teaches the participant how to determine what is wrong with a plant through a series of questions and Extension resources. This step-by-step process is often a roadblock for Extension Master Gardeners as they help homeowners to diagnose what is wrong with their plants. Focusing on the process itself was a new approach to teaching. Continue reading

Webinar: Estimating Pesticide Risk to Improve Product Selection and IPM Program Evaluation

Pesticides are invaluable tools for food and fiber production, and undergo careful evaluation prior to registration and commercial availability. Post-registration risks remain, and can be managed through informed product selection, and use-specific mitigation measures. The Pesticide Risk Tool (PRT) is an innovative, science-based online software designed to help inform pesticide decision making. PRT can also be used to assess IPM program performance, comparing risk reduction over time, across program participants, and participants vs. non-participants. PRT addresses a wide range of concerns including risks to workers, consumers, birds, earthworms, small mammals, aquatic environments and pollinators; mechanics for estimating risks to each concern are described in peer-reviewed white papers available at https://pesticiderisk.org/about/materials. PRT is currently used in multiple certification and supply chain programs. This free webinar will introduce PRT including examples of how PRT is used by pesticide users and program managers to minimize risks. Certified Crop Advisors can earn 1 CEU (0.5 Integrated Pest Management, 0.5 Professional Development) just for watching. Continue reading