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.

Dennis Nuxoll

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.

Ken Gilliland

AgSafe, an agriculture-based safety organization, has developed a food safety training course for produce harvesting. This class will be helpful to everyone in the produce business especially those involved in harvesting specialty crops.  It will give supervisors, foremen, crew leads and field workers basic knowledge regarding sanitation and hygiene principles that are often noted in food safety audits. 
 

Greg Nelson

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