February 14, 2018
USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
As the 2018 crop production season begins, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact producers nationwide to determine their plans for the upcoming growing season.
“Each year, the agriculture industry eagerly awaits USDA’s Prospective Plantings report, which provides the first survey-based estimates of U.S. farmers’ planting intentions for the year,” said NASS Southern Regional Director Jim Ewing. “The March Agricultural Survey provides the factual data that underpins these projections, making it one of the most important surveys we conduct each year.”
NASS will mail the survey questionnaire in February, asking producers to provide information about the types of crops they intend to plant in 2018, how many acres they intend to plant, and the amounts of grain and oilseed they store on their farms. NASS encourages producers to respond online or by mail. Those producers who do not respond by the deadline may be contacted for a telephone or personal interview.
NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified.
Survey results will be published in the Prospective Plantings and quarterly Grain Stocks report March 29. These and all NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov/Publications. For more information, call the NASS Southern Regional Field Office at (800) 253-4419.
February 09, 2018
By Jeff Helms
Legislation clarifying available tax credits for farmers investing in on-farm irrigation passed the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee Wednesday.
HB 260 by Rep. Donnie Chesteen, R-Geneva, specifies Alabama’s current irrigation tax credit applies to the purchase and installation of one qualified irrigation system or reservoir per taxpayer. It also clarifies that an eligible farmer may claim one credit during 2011-2017 and another during 2018-22.
Current law caps credit for the 2011-17 program at $10,000 and $50,000 for tax years 2018-22
HOSTED BY: The Alabama Cooperative Extension System
WHEN: Thursday, March 1, 2018
WHERE: Talladega County Extension Office (130 N. Court Street, Talladega, AL)
Speakers include Extension Vegetable Entomologist Dr. Ayanava Majumdar, Regional Extension Agent Dr. Chip East, Talladega County Extension Coordinator Henry Dorough, and SNAP Educator Meaghan Robertson.
The meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will end at 12 noon.
Farmer certification for the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, vegetable insect pests and their management in open field and protected agriculture. We will also have a vegetable question and answer session. This will be a very educational meeting for commercial producers as well as home gardeners.
To sign-up or for more information, contact the Talladega County Extension office at 256-362-6187 by February 27th.
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University), is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Everyone is welcome
Alabama Farmers Federation is supporting legislation this year to clarify existing tax credits for investment in on-farm irrigation. HB 260, sponsored by Rep. Donnie Chesteen, R-Geneva, specifies the credit applies to the purchase and installation of one qualified irrigation system or reservoir per taxpayer. It also clarifies that an eligible farmer may claim one credit during 2011-2017 and another during 2018-22. Read More
Gov. Kay Ivey has submitted General Fund (GF) and Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget proposals to the Alabama Legislature to fund state government without raising taxes. Ivey’s recommendations include appropriations for programs important to Alabama Farmers Federation members. The $2 billion GF would maintain $575,000 for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) to fund registration fees for Concentrated Animal Feed Operations (CAFOs). The governor’s ETF proposal would provide $400,000 for agribusiness education, including projects like Ag in the Classroom and Classroom in the Forest. Read More
Attend the Produce Safety Alliance Training Course For Free!
The Produce Safety Rule (PSA) portion of the Food Safety Modernization Act takes effect Jan. 26
Who Should Attend? Fruit and vegetable growers & others interested in learning about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. The PSA Grower Training course satisfies the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement.
What to Expect? The trainers will spend approximately seven hours of instruction time covering content contained in these seven modules
Intro to Produce Safety
Worker Health, Hygiene & Training
Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, & Land Use
Agricultural Water (Part 1 Production Water, Part 2 Postharvest Water)
Post-Harvest Handling & Sanitation
How to develop a farm food safety plan
Locations & Time:
January 27, 2018
Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe 2650 Co. Rd. 372 Elba, AL 36323 - 8:30 am to 5:00 pm w/ lunch provided.
To Register Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: (334) 897-3207 Cost: Free
February 6, 2018
Central Alabama Farmer’s Coop 2519 US Hwy 80 W Selma, Alabama 36701 - 8:30 am to 4:00 pm w/ lunch provided.
To Register Contact: Dallas County Extension Office phone: (334) 875-3200 Cost: Free
February 13, 2018
Alabama Extension Office 130 N. Court St. Talladega, AL 35160 - 8:30 am to 4:00 pm w/ lunch provided.
To Register Contact: Talladega Co. Extension Office phone: (256) 362-6187 Cost: Free
February 27, 2018
Lawrence Co. Agriculture Cntr 13075 ALA-157, Suite 6 Moulton, AL 35650 - 8:30 am to 4:00 pm w/ lunch provided.
To Register Contact: Lawrence Co. Extension Office phone: (256) 974-2464 Cost: Free
March 13, 2018
334 Agriculture Drive, Suite 104 Monroeville, AL 36460-8674 - 8:30 am to 4:00 pm w/ lunch provided.
To Register Contact: Monroe County Extension Office phone: (251) 575-3477 Cost: Free
Beginning Farmer's Guide to Financing and Insuring your Farm Business
Farmscape Solutions has partnered with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to increase awareness of and access to FSA programs and services provided to military veterans, beginning, limited-resource, and historically under-served farmers/ranchers.
Farmscape Solutions will conduct workshop training and demonstration events in Dallas, Clarke, Lee, and Macon Counties. The workshops are free to attend.
The three primary programs that the workshops will cover are the Tree Assistance Program (TAP), the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), and FSA loans including Farm Ownership/Operating Loans and Farm Storage Facility Loans.
Register Today! http://www.farmscapesolutions.com/in-the-news/workshops
DATES & LOCATIONS:
January 9-10, 2018 – Macon County
Macon County Extension Office, 207 North Main Street, Tuskegee, AL 36083
January 23-24, 2018 - Dallas County
Black Belt Research & Education Center, 60 County Road 944, Marion Junction, AL
January 31-February 1, 2018 - Lee County
Agricultural Center, 600 South 7th Street #3, Opelika, AL 36801
February 6-7, 2018 - Clarke County
Grove Hill Town Hall Courtroom, 111 Church St, Grove Hill, AL 36451
Farmscape Solutions, 41 West Main Street, Notasulga, AL 36866
www.farmscapesolutions.com (334) 740-8515 email@example.com
The 2017 AFVGA Annual Conference & Trade Show is scheduled November 16 & 17at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center, 1850 Lay Dam Rd. Clanton, Ala, 35045
Click here to see what is happening this year!
For Immediate Release
Monday, October 30, 2017 Contact: Amy Belcher 334-240-7126
Plant Disease Inspectors to Survey for Citrus Greening in Baldwin County
Montgomery, Ala. - Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) Plant Protection inspectors, along with USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) officers will soon begin conducting a survey for a harmful plant disease in Baldwin County. Inspectors will be searching for citrus plants with symptoms of citrus greening disease (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus), also known as Huanglongbing (HLB). The disease poses a serious threat to the citrus industry nationwide. The public’s assistance is needed in finding citrus plants in and around residences in the area.
The survey will begin Monday, November 6th, and last through Thursday, November 9th. Inspectors will cover the Lillian, Elberta, Gulf Shores, and Foley area. It is necessary for personnel to go door-to-door to conduct the survey. Surveyors will contact homeowners in the targeted areas and provide information about citrus greening and its insect vector, the Asian citrus psyllid.
Surveyors will carry photo identification and credentials from their respective agencies.
The purpose of the survey is to determine the extent that citrus greening exists in Alabama. Although it is significant threat to citrus plants, it poses no risk to people. The fruit from diseased plants is safe to eat but has an unpleasant, bitter taste.
One citrus plant tested positive for citrus greening during ADAI’s routine spring survey earlier this year. Officials ask for the public’s help in locating citrus plants. It is vital to determine the extent of citrus greening disease in Baldwin County in an effort to prevent it from reaching Alabama’s commercial citrus groves.
It is not always possible to detect diseased plants by sight, as symptoms may be difficult to identify. Residents can go onto the ADAI website and fill out the Citrus Greening Delimiting Survey form to allow Plant Protection officials to inspect citrus trees growing on their property. To report possible symptomatic trees on your property, contact the ADAI Plant Protection Division at 334-240-7228 to arrange an inspection of suspect trees.
For more information about the delimiting survey, please contact Christel Harden by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 334-240-7226.
If you have questions concerning Asian citrus psyllids or citrus greening, contact your local Extension office (http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/E/EX-0021/EX-0021.pdf) or the Auburn University Plant Diagnostic Lab (http://offices.aces.edu/plantlabauburn/).
For more information about citrus pests and diseases in the U.S., visit the USDA website: www.SaveOurCitrus.org.
From marketing and weed management to cucurbits and environmental controls, the Alabama Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (AFVGA) Conference and Trade Show is fertile ground for producer education.
The annual convention is Nov. 16-17 at the Clanton Conference & Performing Arts Center in Clanton. Registration is $100 and closes Oct. 23 at tinyurl.com/afvga17.
AFVGA Executive Director Mac Higginbotham called the conference and trade show a one-stop-shop for farmers to glean information and network.
“Alabama’s horticulture industry is booming in response to consumers buying more local fruits, vegetables and added-value products,” Higginbotham said. “Our conference is a great opportunity for new producers and seasoned growers to share information and learn from industry experts.”
Workshops will cover:
Fruit and berry production
Pollinator management and more.
Keynote speaker Dr. Amnon Erez will discuss peach production issues to close the conference. Erez works at Israel’s Agricultural Research Organization.
Trade show booths are $400 for industry and $300 for nonprofits, universities and agencies.
Attendees can tour Boozer Farms, a diversified family operation in Thorsby, for an additional $15. Educational sessions will be recorded and available on flash drives for $25. Lunch Nov. 16 is provided courtesy of the Alabama Farmers Cooperative.
The registration deadline is Monday, October 23.
Register online now for the AFVGA Conference & Trade Show!
Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center
1850 Lay Dam Rd. Clanton, AL, 35045
November 16 & 17, 2017
Registration will be $100 per person this year and includes a one-year membership to the AFVGA.
Alabama Farmers Federation members can save an additional $30 by registering with their Federation membership number.
Conference flash drive: $25 (contains presentations and videos that will be mailed after the conference).
Farm tours being offered for $15 per person. (Limited to 50)
Tradeshow cost for industry $400 per booth with two people attending ($40 for extra electricity), $75 for additional persons. Equipment display and sale of products is allowed at the conference.
Tradeshow cost for non-profit agencies and universities is $300 per booth with two people attending ($40 for extra electricity), $75 for additional persons.
How to register:
Online registration for attendees, exhibitors, speakers & vendors – Click here: http://www.cvent.com/events/2017-alabama-fruit-and-vegetable-growers-association-annual-conference-tradeshow/event-summary-093beb9c9f1a42ba92f9f0ce737ca82b.aspx?dvce=1
October 23, 2017
Produce Safety Alliance Training
September 28, 2017
8:00 am to 5:00 pm
2030 7th St. S.
Alabama Power Bldg.
Clanton, AL 35045
This course will provide a foundation in FSMA’s
Produce Safety Rule requirements and details on
how to develop a farm food safety plan.
Contact the Chilton Co. Extension Office
phone: (205) 280-6268, email: email@example.com
Who Should Attend:
Fruit and vegetable growers and
others interested in learning about
produce safety, the Food Safety
Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce
Safety Rule. The PSA Grower Training
course satisfies the FSMA Produce
Safety Rule requirement.
What to Expect:
The trainers will spend approximately
seven hours of instruction
time covering content contained in
these seven modules:
Intro to Produce Safety
Worker Health, Hygiene & Training
Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, &
Agricultural Water (Part 1 Production
Water, Part 2 Postharvest Water)
Post-Harvest Handling & Sanitation
How to Develop a Farm Food Safety
(Other Upcoming Dates & Locations Noted Below)
Upcoming Produce Safety Alliance Trainings:
September 28 (Clanton), November 1 (Dothan), November 7 (Blount County), November 10 or 12 (Selma): Alabama PSA Training. Location and more training dates to follow.
Watch the AFVGA Conference & Trade Show Video
The 2017 conference is scheduled for Nov. 16 & 17, 2017.
Registration will open September 29, 2017
Private Pesticide Applicator Training Class
October 4th, Tallapoosa Co. Extension Office(CST) 8:00 a.m. – noon
This class is designed for the farmers who need to take the private pesticide applicator test in order to purchase restricted use products. However, we will be discussing chemical safety and sprayer calibration at this class, so anyone who sprays pesticides on a large scale will benefit from this training, even if a restricted pesticide license is not needed. If you would like to attend this class call the Tallapoosa County Extension Office to make your reservation as seating is limited. A fee of $20 will be charged for this training and testing. An additional licensing fee of $25 will be sent to the Department of Agriculture and Industries by the applicant. The licensing fee is not included in the training and testing fee. Please plan to pay with a check (checks are preferred) made out the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) in the amount of $20 or with the correct cash amount. If you need more information contact Chip East (256) 846-0314 or Shane Harris (256) 825-1050.
The Tallapoosa County Extension Office (256-825-1050) is located downstairs in the Tallapoosa County Courthouse
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University), is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Everyone is welcome!
The 2017 AFVGA Annual Conference & Trade Show is scheduled for November 16 & 17
Location: Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center, 1850 Lay Dam Rd. Clanton, Ala, 35045
Registration will be $100 per person this year and includes a one-year membership to the AFVGA.
Alabama Farmers Federation members can save an additional $30 by registering with their Federation membership number.
Conference flash drive: $25 (contains presentations and videos that will be mailed after the conference).
Farm tours being offered for $15 per person.
Tradeshow cost for industry/exhibitors is $400 per booth with two people attending ($40 for extra electricity), $75 for additional persons. Equipment display and sale of products is allowed at the conference.
Tradeshow cost for non-profit agencies/universities is $300 per booth with two people attending ($40 for extra electricity), $75 for additional persons.
Online registration for attendees, exhibitors and vendors will begin September 29th, 2017
Registration deadline is October, 23, 2017
How to register:
Stay tuned and watch for the live link that will open on September 29!
Please see the information from the University of Arizona Extension concering the contaminated organic insecticide products with the active ingredient azadirachtin. Some are subject to a national voluntary recall.
Click here for more information:
Produce Saftey Alliance training is scheduled for Sept. 28 in Clanton, Alabama. This will be a great opportunity for fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act and the Produce Safety Rule to attend.
For more information and to print registration forms, go to
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has proclaimed Aug. 6-13 National Farmers Market Week. This is the 18th year the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has supported local producers by encouraging families to meet, and buy from, growers and other vendors at local farmers markets.
The proclamation Perdue signed notes farmers markets and other agricultural direct marketing outlets contribute approximately $9 billion each year to the U.S. economy and “serve as significant outlets by which small-to-medium, new and beginning and veteran agricultural producers market agricultural products, generating revenue that supports the sustainability of family farms and the revitalization of rural communities nationwide.”
Throughout the week, thousands of U.S. farmers markets will highlight the range of produce, fruit, meat, dairy and specialty products available from their local and regional farmers. USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory makes it easy to locate farmers markets in towns and neighborhoods across the country. Buying directly from farmers and ag entrepreneurs helps diversify farm incomes and supports other businesses by keeping more money in the local economy.
In addition to being good for farmers and convenient for consumers, farmers markets are a gathering place which build a sense of community.
The Alabama Farmers Federation's Mac Higginbotham said farmers markets help create a connection between farmers and consumers.
"Farmers markets bridge a gap between the producers who grow fresh food and the consumers who enjoy eating it," said Higginbotham, the Federation’s Horticulture Division director. "Recognizing the role farmers markets play in society is vital, and we appreciate Secretary Perdue encouraging consumers to support their local farmers."
By Stephanie Barlow, Senior Director of Communications, Watermelon.org
Watermelon is a summertime staple, and more prevalently, we’re seeing it available in our grocery stores all throughout the year. Delightfully and deliciously, we can have our watermelon as much as we like and as often as we like. Seedless watermelon has made our lives easier, adding to the convenience of taking watermelon on-the-go as a snack or a refreshing post-workout fuel. It also adds to the versatility we now have to play with watermelon in a huge variety of recipes.
But, the question is frequently asked (and often incorrectly assumed) about where seedless watermelons came from.
Seedless watermelons were invented over 50 years ago, and they have few or no seeds. When we say seeds we are talking about mature seeds - the black ones. Oftentimes, the white seed coats where a seed did not fully mature are assumed to be seeds. But this isn’t the case! They are perfectly safe to swallow while eating, and don’t worry - no watermelons will grow in your stomach despite the old wives’ tale.
So, how are seedless watermelons grown? Chromosomes are the building blocks that give characteristics, or traits, to living things including plants and watermelons. Watermelon breeders discovered that crossing a diploid plant (bearing the standard two sets of chromosomes) with a tetraploid plant (having four sets of chromosomes) results in a fruit that produces a triploid seed. (Yes, it has three sets of chromosomes.) This triploid seed is the seed that produces seedless watermelons!
In other words, a seedless watermelon is a sterile hybrid which is created by crossing male pollen for a watermelon, containing 22 chromosomes per cell, with a female watermelon flower with 44 chromosomes per cell. When this seeded fruit matures, the small, white seed coats inside contain 33 chromosomes, rendering it sterile and incapable of producing seeds. This is similar to the mule, produced by crossing a horse with a donkey – simple cross-breeding. And to be clear on the subject, this is not genetic modification. Cross-breeding is two parents and their offspring.
Importantly and interestingly, seedless watermelon still need to be pollinated by their seeded parent, so oftentimes growers will plant seeded and seedless in their field. However, the seeded commercial harvest and retail sales only add up to about 8%, meaning seedless watermelon makes up for 92% of all watermelon sales. Seedless watermelon is hugely popular in the United States and it is here to stay!
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 Contact: Amy Belcher 334-240-7126
Citrus Greening Plant Disease Detected in Alabama
Montgomery, Ala. – A plant disease that presents a serious threat to the U.S. citrus industry has been detected in Alabama. Federal and state plant health officials have confirmed the identification of citrus greening (CG), also known as Huanglongbing or HLB, which is caused by the bacterial pathogen Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus.
This is the first confirmation of citrus greening in Alabama despite biannual surveys for the pathogen by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI). The ADAI, along with the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will be conducting a delimiting survey to determine the extent that the pathogen may have spread. If the disease is limited to only a few trees, steps will be taken to eradicate the disease.
Citrus greening was found in leaf and insect samples from a residential property on Dauphin Island in Mobile County. ADAI officials have devised a plan of action. Surveillance teams will take additional samples for testing, survey the area around the site and gather data on the tree’s history, if possible. The delimiting survey will begin July 26, 2017, and should conclude by the end of the week. The citrus survey set to take place that week in the Wiregrass region will be postponed until the week of July 10th. Outreach and education to nurseries, plant dealers, and citrus hobbyists will be conducted concerning citrus greening in the near future as well.
Other than tree removal, there is no known cure or effective control for the disease once a tree is infected. Citrus greening reduces the quantity and quality of citrus fruits, eventually rendering infected trees useless. In areas of the world affected by citrus greening the average productive lifespan of citrus trees has dropped from 50 or more years to 15 or less. An infected tree declines and dies within 3 to 5 years. Before its eventual death, the tree produces fruit that is bitter and unusable and serves as a source of infection for other citrus trees in the surrounding area.
In our neighboring state of Florida, the citrus industry has been significantly affected by the rapid spread of citrus greening. According to a study conducted by University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension, since the first detection of citrus greening in Florida in 2005, orange acreage has been reduced by 26% and yield has decreased by 42%. Orange production dropped from 242 million boxes to 104.6 million boxes in 2014. Overall the impact on the citrus industry has been devastating.
The disease-causing bacteria are spread by the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). The insect was found in Baldwin County, Alabama in 2008, but no citrus greening bacteria was detected, even though molecular analysis of insects collected in the area was conducted. The discovery of psyllids in 2008 led to federal and state ACP quarantines of the entire State of Alabama in 2009.
Officials have begun the process to halt the movement of citrus plants from the area. With the confirmation of citrus greening in Dauphin Island, federal plant officials will seek to establish a citrus greening quarantine in Mobile County. Alabama agriculture officials have indicated that the state intends to take action to establish a parallel quarantine. The dual action makes it possible for federal regulators to hold the quarantine for CG only for those counties in Alabama in which the disease is present.
Citrus greening has been in Asia and Africa for decades. It was detected in Brazil in 2004 and Florida in 2005. For more information about citrus greening or questions about the delimiting survey, please contact Christel Harden by email at Christel.Harden@agi.alabama.gov or by phone at 334-240-7226.
Hosted by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Friday, July 21, 2017 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Hornsby Farms, 1235 Bufford Road, Auburn, AL
* Managing Insects in the High Tunnel: Dr. Ayanava Majumdar, Extension Vegetable Entomologist
* Weed Management on Vegetable Farms: Dr. Steve Li, Extension Weed Scientist
Please pre-register by calling the Macon County Extension office at (334) 727-0340 by Wednesday, July 19th.
Directions: From Auburn campus travel South College Street (US 29 South) for about 8.1 miles. Then turn left onto Bufford road for about 1.2 miles, and the farm will be on the right.
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University), is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Everyone is welcome.
FCIC Nursery Insurance is offered in all 50 states. The Risk Management Agency of the United States Department of Agriculture recently awarded a contract to conduct research to obtain information for a proposed new alternative nursery insurance program referred to as Nursery Value Select and identify issues related to the proposed program.
Watts and Associates, Inc. (W&A), a private economic consulting firm based in Billings, Montana, was contracted to conduct a targeted study to evaluate the efficacy of the new concept and gather stakeholder input regarding its appropriateness. W&A has completed nearly 100 contracts focused on crop insurance over the last 16 years.
As part of the required gathering of stakeholder input, W&A is hosting stakeholder input meetings in the following city: Mobile, AL (June 28, 2017 at the Mobile County Extension Office, Jon Archer Agricultural Center 1070 Schillinger Rd., N. Mobile, AL)
One meeting will be focused on gathering input from Nursery operators and will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
A second meeting focused on gathering input from other Nursery industry stakeholders (Crop Insurance agents, insurance company representatives, association representatives, extension specialists, etc.) will be held from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
W&A is interested in collecting comments, opinions, observations, and thoughts about the proposed Nursery Value Select concept from industry stakeholders.
All stakeholders are welcome and any information regarding possible improvements to the insurance product concept is encouraged. A discussion will be held with the stakeholders in attendance regarding risks faced by the industry, value of insurance as a risk management tool, observations of what aspects of the current Nursery Insurance product the concept addresses, what aspects can be incorporated into and improved with the use of the new concept, and other relevant feedback.
W&A is interested in having a conversation with all stakeholders: producers, extension agents, crop association and crop insurance industry representatives.
If you are unable to attend, you can provide your input to Dr. Alan Baquet at W&A by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alabama peach producers are seeing low yields from this year’s crop, thanks to few chill hours, drought conditions and a late frost.
The Alabama Farmers Federation’s Mac Higginbotham said the state’s peach crop faced a culmination of factors leading to below-average production.
“We’ve had a bad peach crop because of rocky weather,” said Higginbotham, the Federation’s Horticulture Division director. “Last summer’s drought set us back, so we went into fall not in great shape. Then, low chill hours combined with a late frost just added too much stress on the trees.”
In a recent press release, Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Edgar Vinson said trees receiving a low number of chill hours — or hours when temperatures were below 45 degrees — played a huge role in reduced production.
“The chill hours we received this year were among the lowest on record,” said Vinson, a fruit specialist. “At least 800 to 850 chill hours are preferred to satisfy the chill hour requirement of most of the peach varieties, and the requirement for many of those varieties was not met. This caused delayed, sporadic blooming or no blooming at all, which was frequently the case.”
Leaf budding and expansion was also reduced, causing concern for tree survival, said Vinson.
In 2015, Alabama peach orchards produced 11 million pounds of peaches and generated $6,182,000 from about 1,500 acres. In 2016, production decreased to 7 million pounds, and this year's growers estimate Alabama lost about 75 percent of its crop.
“It’s hard to say what numbers this year will look like,” said Higginbotham, who is also Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association executive director. “But if you want peaches, now is time to start looking as you pass local markets, because they won’t last long.”
According to a recent study by Auburn University’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, the fruit, vegetable and tree nut industries have a $161.5 million impact on Alabama. Those industries provide more than 1,100 jobs and produce over $2 million in indirect business taxes.
Farmers learned new and innovative methods to help improve and increase strawberry production in Alabama at a meeting in Cullman June 8.
Nearly 50 farmers heard crop-trial updates from leading horticulture experts that included innovative site selection, irrigation, crop protection methods and more.
Among the experts was Auburn University Department of Horticulture Extension Specialist Edgar Vinson who spoke on variety and crop-protection trials.
“Variety selection is a valuable part of production goals,” Vinson said. “There is an increased interest in growing strawberries in Alabama, and we plan to implement more pre- and post-emerging herbicides next year to reduce weeds.”
Attendees also heard from Virginia Tech Extension Specialist Allen Straw, who said it’s vital farmers learn new ways to produce a better crop.
“With most things in agriculture, if you don’t keep up, you’ll fall behind, and it’s hard to catch back up,” Straw said. “We try to give farmers ways to keep their farms economically stable while keeping them up to date on more practical methods.”
Blount County farmer Jimmy Witt said he learns something new from every meeting, adding he agrees farmers should continue to learn new ways to remain financially viable.
“I’ve heard Dr. Straw speak several times now, and continue to learn things to take back to my own farm,” said Witt, who is Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (AFVGA) northern district director. “I’m constantly searching for ways to improve my operation, whether to save me money, make me money or improve my crop. That’s why these meetings are so important.”
AFVGA was among the sponsors for the grower meeting. AFVGA began in 1980 and is a nonprofit organization with members in 51 of Alabama’s 67 counties. Its mission is to promote, advance and protect Alabama fruit and vegetable farmers and their ability to grow, harvest and market their products. Alabama’s fruit & vegetable farming generates an annual economic impact of nearly $109 million and about 1,300 jobs.
AFVGA partnered with the Alabama Farmers Federation in 2016 to increase membership and promote fruit and vegetable production to a wider audience.
To view the meeting in its entirety, please visit https://auburn.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=60c986ff-d5f3-42bc-bf23-c964a24b6b02.
Photo Cutline: Increasing and improving strawberry production was the topic of a meeting in Cullman, June 8. From left are Doug Cox of Grant; Virginia Tech Extension Specialist and strawberry expert Allen Straw; and AFVGA Northern District Director Jimmy Witt of Hayden.
The smile on Cullman County farmer Jeremy Calvert’s face expressed pure joy as he watched students at Cullman City Primary School (CCPS) enjoy sweet strawberries from J. Calvert Farms May 16.
Calvert provides produce for the Farm to School Program, which connects farmers and students so the next generation can enjoy farm-fresh produce while meeting people who grow their food.
He said it’s important to bridge the gap between producers and consumers, especially with young students who may not know much about conventional agriculture.
“We’ve been able to put strawberries into Cullman City Schools, and it’s a great opportunity for us,” Calvert said. “We can show the children where their food comes from and give them the chance to eat fresh produce.”
CCPS first-graders Makena Evans and Mary Claire Ray, both 7, tried to outmaneuver each other for the last strawberry on a plate they shared.
“I think they taste really good,” Evans said.
CCPS Lunchroom Manager Donna Avery said she is thankful for local farmers like Calvert who supply the school with farm-fresh produce.
“We’re just so excited when we’re able to get fresh food right off the vine from farmers in our area,” Avery said. “The kids love it and will pick the fresh goodies over canned fruits or vegetables every time. We hope we’re able to get more fresh food products in the future.”
The Alabama Farmers Federation’s Mac Higginbotham said it’s important the public meets farmers who grow their food.
“Showing folks, especially children, where their food comes from is almost priceless,” said Higginbotham, the Federation’s Horticulture Division director and Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association executive director. “If we can continue to connect with the public, we can promote the importance of agriculture and the benefits of farm-fresh produce.”
Supplying schools with fresh food doesn’t just benefit students. It also provides farmers with income on food that otherwise may waste. And that’s something Calvert doesn’t take for granted.
“Our nation is becoming more and more urbanized,” Calvert said. “I hope we can simultaneously show these kids how and where the food they’re eating is produced, cultivate a better understanding of agriculture and help the farming community.”
Alabama Farm to School is sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, the Food Bank of North Alabama, the State Department of Education and the Druid City Garden Project. Learn more at alabamafarmtoschool.org.
Fruits and vegetables are undeniably healthy, but these crops also boost Alabama’s economy, according to a recent analysis by Auburn University (AU) and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station economists.
The report revealed the state's fruit, vegetable and nut industries have an economic impact of $161.5 million and are responsible for 1,121 jobs in Alabama.
“Specialty crops definitely are a potential growth area for Alabama,” said Deacue Fields, a study leader who chairs the AU College of Agriculture’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. “We grow a lot of corn, cotton, soybeans and peanuts (in Alabama), but in terms of profitability per acre, specialty crops rank highest.”
Production and processing of fruits, vegetables and tree nuts are important to both state and national agricultural and manufacturing industries, said Fields, who has studied the produce industry throughout his career. Alabama ranks seventh in the U.S. in sweet potato sales, eighth in pecan sales and 12th in watermelon sales. While a portion of fruits, vegetables and tree nuts enter fresh markets, other sales go to processors for freezing, canning, drying and pickling. Each sector creates economic activity and jobs within its own industry, he added.
The Alabama Farmers Federation’s Mac Higginbotham agrees most specialty crops grown in the state are for fresh markets.
“We’ve done an excellent job marketing and promoting local sales, and now we have an abundant supply of products that could be utilized through further processing,” said Higginbotham, the Federation’s Horticulture Division director and Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association executive director. “We’re selling a lot of high-quality produce at farm markets. If we could invest in processing infrastructure to use what’s not sold at fresh markets, it would create tremendous new opportunities for our farmers.”
A Specialty Crop Block Grant Program through the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries funded the study. Fields and co-investigator Zhimei Guo, a post-doctoral fellow, worked on the analysis nine months.
Fruits and vegetables are grown in sold in every Alabama county. While there's been an uptick in demand for organic specialty crops, consumers will pay even more for local products, Fields said.
“There are opportunities for serving these local markets — selling to individuals, restaurants and others,” he said. “When the water crisis hit in California, a lot of people were looking at Alabama because of our favorable climate. We have the capacity to grow our fruit and vegetable production, and that isn’t the case with some of our row crops.”
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on May 11 announced a 12-month extension for implementation of the revised final Certification and Training of Pesticide Applicators (C&T) rule.
According to a news release, EPA received feedback from states and stakeholders that more time and resources are needed to prepare for compliance with the rule. The extended timeline will enable EPA to work with states and provide adequate compliance and training resources.
According to a news release, Perdue made the announcement standing by barges filled with agricultural products along the banks of the Ohio River. As part of a reorganization of USDA, Perdue also announced the standing up of a newly-named Farm Production and Conservation mission area to have a customer focus and meet USDA constituents in the field.
Finally, Perdue announced that the department’s Rural Development agencies would be elevated to report directly to the secretary of agriculture in recognition of the need to help promote rural prosperity.
Perdue issued a report to announce the changes, which address Congressional direction in the 2014 Farm Bill to create the new undersecretary for trade and also are a down payment on President Trump’s request of his cabinet to deliver plans to improve the accountability and customer service provided by departments.
AUBURN, Alabama--With another growing season under way, Alabama’s fruit and vegetable producers should consider less well-known marketing options to sell their harvest. Kevin Burkett, an agribusiness management specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System said while farmers markets, grocery stores, roadside stands and wholesale distribution are good options, they are not the only marketing outlets … Continue reading Going Beyond: Additional Markets for Fruit and Vegetable Producers
Peach Crop Insurance Meeting
March 2, 2017
6:00 - 8:00 P.M.
Alabama Cooperative Extension will host an evening meeting with the USDA Risk Management Agency.
Join us as Risk Management Specialists come to speak on peach crop insurance and gather information from producers on possible updates to the program. A portion of the program will be producers responding to surveys on what kinds of peaches they grow. Agenda will include:
• Overview of the Peach Multi-Peril Crop Insurance
• Changes in the Peach Crop Insurance Program for 2018
• What Peach Varieties Should be Insured?
The meeting will be held at the Alabama Green Industry Training Center
5521 Cahaba Valley Rd, Birmingham, AL 35242
For questions call:
REGISTER FOR THE SMALL FRUIT AND GRAPE PRODUCTION WORKSHOP & DEMONSTRATION
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
CHILTON RESEARCH AND EXTENSION CENTER
120 COUNTY ROAD 756, CLANTON, AL 35045
This workshop will focus on strawberry production and research updates, muscadine and hybrid bunch grape production, research and cultivar selection, blueberry production and budgets for small fruit crops. Both indoor and field presentations including hands-on grape pruning demonstrations will be offered.
This workshop is free and open to the public.
Pre-registration is required by Monday, March 6th. To sign-up, or for more information, please call Donna Daniel at the CREC, 205-646-3610.
by Marlee Moore, Alabama Farmers Federation
The Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association’s annual fall conference is slated for Nov. 17-18 at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center in Clanton. The conference will focus on farm visits, hands-on training and the ever-changing fruit and vegetable industry.
Conference registration has been reduced to $85 this year and includes a one-year membership to the AFVGA. Alabama Farmers Federation members can save an additional $30 by registering with their Federation membership number. Registration will open Oct. 7 & ends Nov 7. Check in starts at 7:30 a.m. Nov. 17, with the opening session starting at 8:30 a.m.
The Federation’s Mac Higginbotham said this conference is a prime networking opportunity for Alabama’s specialty crop farmers.
“Fruit and vegetable production is rapidly growing in Alabama,” said Higginbotham, the Federation’s Horticulture Division director. “Through this conference, we’re creating a community for farmers to share groundbreaking ideas that will change Alabama agriculture for the better.”
Conference topics include conventional and organic growing methods; crop production; pest management; and traditional and alternative crops.
“Our goal is to help farmers improve their bottom lines,” Higginbotham said.
Attendees can also visit Penton Farms in Verbena to see peach production and marketing, as well as U-pick strawberry and pumpkin patches. The farm tour is offered twice Nov. 17 at a cost of $15.
In addition to general sessions, the conference will have a trade show. Booths are available for $300 each.
Online registration for attendees, exhibitors & vendors Click here:
Registration deadline is November 7, 2016
The Alabama Farmers Federation recently welcomed a new member to its agricultural family – the Alabama Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (AFVGA).
Read the full story:
Landowners are knocking on USDA’s door, trying to enroll land into the increasingly exclusive CRP. The government saw the strongest competition for entry in the 30-year history of CRP when it held the first general sign-up in three years. The acceptance rate announced in May was the lowest ever, a scant 22%.
The squeeze reflects the decision by lawmakers to scale down CRP as part of cost cutting in the 2014 farm law. It was a popular idea; enrollment was dropping anyway during the commodity boom. The CRP peaked at 36.8 million acres in 2007, but by fall 2015, it was down to 24.2 million acres, its smallest size since the late 1980s. Economist Dave Widmar says the transition was an important factor in expansion of corn and soybean acreage. Beginning October 1, CRP enrollment will be limited to 24 million acres until a new farm bill is written.
Now that commodity prices are in a multiyear rut and CRP’s annual payments are more competitive, it will be hard for Congress to reverse direction, say farm lobbyists. The mood in Congress, driven by fiscal conservatives, is to cut spending rather than to expand programs. After the near-death experience of June 20, 2013, when the House defeated a farm bill for the first time ever, farm groups are worried about prospects for the 2018 farm bill.
“That’s the big question,” says Ferd Hoefner of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “Will there be a farm bill overall?”
The CRP is popular, says another farm lobbyist, but with austere funding, the 24 million-acre ceiling isn't likely to be raised nor is USDA likely to hold another general sign-up soon. The CRP will remain, but it will increasingly be squeezed down and the criteria for entry going up. It’s a budget thing.
Created during the 1980s agricultural recession with the unspoken goal of tamping down crop production, CRP has evolved to put more emphasis on protecting fragile land, reducing erosion, protecting water quality, and improving wildlife habitat. While general sign-ups are becoming rare, continuous enrollment is available for targeted projects such as filter strips along waterways.
While USDA says it accepted 411,000 acres from the general sign-up, it notes a record 860,000 acres entered CRP through continuous enrollment during fiscal 2015, and more than 1 million acres might be accepted this year. Continuous enrollment could keep the CRP enrollment near the 24 million-acre ceiling through 2019.
Contracts on a combined 11.6 million acres expire in 2020, 2021, and 2022, nearly equal to half of the entire CRP. With turnover looming for such a large block of land, the 2018 farm bill could become the forum for deciding if CRP will shrink, hold steady, or expand.
Original Article: http://www.agriculture.com/news/business/will-congress-change-its-mind-after-scaling-down-the-crp
North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota may not seem like soybean country. Dig a bit deeper, though, and you’ll find the area is a thriving hub for this hardy legume.
“Soybean acres continue to move north,” says Alan Scott, DuPont Pioneer technical product manager. “Wheat would have been grown in the western half of Minnesota (and North Dakota) back in 1994. Now, a lot of those acres have moved to corn and soybeans.”
North Dakota soybean acres have mushroomed from around 750,000 acres in 1994 to 6 million acres in 2014.
“Cass County (the east-central North Dakota county that borders Minnesota) has the largest soybean acreage of any county in the U.S.,” says Scott. “This has been a trend for the past 20 years and frankly, I don’t see it changing. It has displaced wheat due to economics.”
Scott and other DuPont Pioneer scientists met with agricultural reporters this week on a tour of the company’s soybean research facilities in the Midwest.
The Upper Midwest isn’t just soybean country, though. It’s also chlorosis country, with soybean plants riddled by the iron chlorosis calling card of chlorotic leaves and stunted plants.
A frustrating factor for managing iron chlorosis is that there’s no one factor that causes it.
A combination of factors like soil pH and calcium carbonate salts contribute to the malady, says Scott. It also varies from location to location.
“Even in a field, areas will vary (for iron chlorosis),” says Scott. “That is what it makes it tough to characterize.”
Dry weather worsens iron chlorosis, says Scott. “If weather is on the dry side, you don’t get that flushing of the calcium carbonates. Since we were dry earlier this spring, we are seeing higher-than-normal iron chlorosis, especially in west-central Minnesota.”
Enter Tolerant Varieties
Planting soybean varieties that tolerate iron chlorosis are the best way to deal with the malady. DuPont Pioneer rates varieties that tolerate iron chlorosis on a scale of 1 to 9. The higher a variety ranks on the scale, the better it tolerates iron chlorosis.
“If you have a rating of 8, you will see (tolerance) performance, regardless of location,” says Nadia Krasheninnik, a DuPont Pioneer research scientist.
Molecular marker technology has helped develop varieties that tolerate iron chlorosis with no yield drag. Molecular markers are DNA regions that can be associated with different genes and traits, note DuPont Pioneer officials. Scientists rapidly screen for markers to pick traits faster than possible with traditional breeding and speed product development.
“It also gives us the ability to cut through the misconception that some varieties with iron chlorosis tolerance had a bit of yield drag,” adds Scott. Yield drag doesn’t exist with these varieties, he notes.
Original Article: http://www.agriculture.com/how-to-battle-iron-chlorosis-in-soybeans