The detection of Asian Citrus Psyllid in in the Arroyo Grande area of San Luis Obispo County has triggered the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to issue a quarantine for the southern portion of the county. As reported in Spotlight last week, one psyllid was detected in the county and marks the ever-increasing spread of psyllid detections emanating from San Diego, north to a host of other counties, including Imperial, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernadino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura, as well as portions of Fresno, Kern and Tulare Counties.
Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), today announced that $48.1 million would be allocated to prevent the introduction or spread of plant pests and diseases that threaten America’s agriculture economy and the environment. The funds are being made available through the Farm Bill and include $2 million for protection against exotic fruit flies in California. Scientists have placed a high-cost on the damage invasive species have on the economy, estimating a total economic impact of $120 million annually.
Yet another county has been added to the list of those where Asian citrus psyllid has been detected. According to the Santa Maria Sun, the pest, which was detected on March 26, carries a citrus greening disease known as Huanglonbing and has been working its way north from San Diego County where it was first detected in 2008. Huanglonbing has no cure and is deadly to citrus trees. A quarantine is being established by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to prevent the spread of the pest.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE IRVINE, Calif. (February 7, 2014) -- Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif issued this statement following the signing of the Agriculture Act of 2014 by President Obama today in Michigan:
“On behalf of all the growers and members of Western Growers, I thank the President of the United States for signing into law the new five-year farm bill. On this occasion, I also want to express my deep thanks to Chairwoman Stabenow, Chairman Lucas, and Ranking Members Cochran and Peterson for the tremendous work they have done to complete this bill. Their hard work and the countless hours of work done by our industry champions in Congress -- especially our friends on the two Agriculture Committees -- has resulted in a good piece of legislation that will serve our industry well.
No bill, of course is perfect, but the hard work, fortitude and spirit of cooperation exhibited by all involved is a great example of what bipartisanship can accomplish. President Reagan used to talk about a shining city upon a hill and in a small way the farm bill serves as an important example of how legislation should and must be done in order to benefit us all. This farm bill is a product of tough negotiation, but it is also an example of what needs to be done more often in Congress -- all parties must work together and compromise for the greater good. I hope members of Congress point to the shining example of the farm bill as our nation grapples with other critical issues facing our industry, like immigration and the devastating drought we now face in California; all members of Congress need to focus on the greater good as they work cooperatively through problems.”
Today, the United States Senate voted 68 to 32 passing the long-awaited new Farm Bill (the Agricultural Act of 2014) which is a significant advance for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry. Of the 32 senators who voted against it, 23 were Republicans and nine were Democrats. The bill now goes to the White House. President Obama is expected to sign it into law this Friday in Michigan, the home state of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow.
House and Senate conferees concluded negotiations yesterday on the long overdue and much anticipated Farm Bill (The Agricultural Act of 2014). The legislation includes several important measures and spending increases for the specialty crop industry including: research, pest and disease prevention, state block grants, and child nutrition. The conference report is expected to be voted on in the House tomorrow and in the Senate on Friday. ACTION IS NEEDED BY YOU to ensure its passage in both chambers.