AFVGA Industry News


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Citrus Greening Plant Disease Detected in Alabama

posted 06/22/2017

NEWS RELEASE

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.


High Tunnel and Vegetable Weed Management Meeting/Tour

High Tunnel and Vegetable Weed Management Meeting/Tour

posted 06/20/2017

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.


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Crop Insurance Listening Session for Proposed Nursery Growers

posted 06/16/2017

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 abaquet@wattsandassociates.com.


Peach Crop Threatened from Low Chill Hours, Drought

Peach Crop Threatened from Low Chill Hours, Drought

posted 06/16/2017

Caleb Hicks

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.


Strawberry Farmers Learn Latest Production Methods

Strawberry Farmers Learn Latest Production Methods

posted 06/09/2017

By Caleb Hicks

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.


Farmers Connect with Students Through Farm to School Program

Farmers Connect with Students Through Farm to School Program

posted 05/18/2017

Caleb Hicks
(334) 613-4005

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.


A Healthy Impact: Fruits and Vegetables Boost Alabama's Economy

A Healthy Impact: Fruits and Vegetables Boost Alabama's Economy

posted 05/17/2017

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.”

Click here for a full copy of the AU release.


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EPA extends timeline for pesticide applicators rule

posted 05/15/2017

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.

Read more @ http://fruitgrowersnews.com/news/epa-extends-timeline-pesticide-applicators-rule/


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Reorganization plans detailed by ag secretary Perdue

posted 05/15/2017

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.

Read more @ http://vegetablegrowersnews.com/news/reorganization-plans-detailed-ag-secretary-perdue/


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Going Beyond: Additional Markets for Fruit and Vegetable Producers

posted 05/08/2017

By Maggie Lawrence

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


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Peach Crop Insurance Meeting

posted 02/24/2017

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?

Listening

The meeting will be held at the Alabama Green Industry Training Center

5521 Cahaba Valley Rd, Birmingham, AL 35242

For questions call:

205-245-5365


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SMALL FRUIT AND GRAPE PRODUCTION WORKSHOP AND DEMONSTRATION

posted 02/24/2017

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.


Register online for the 2016 Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Annual Conference and Trade Show

Register online for the 2016 Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Annual Conference and Trade Show

posted 10/07/2016

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.

To register for the 2016 Conference & Tradeshow:

Online registration - click here: http://www.cvent.com/events/2016-alabama-fruit-and-vegetable-growers-association-annual-conference-tradeshow/event-summary-667a7939ca5d45a3b14d55c7494505ea.aspx

To view the conference agenda - click the PDF here: http://afvga.org/admin/assets/uploads/y3KhFIdTwjDqAW47ZesoMHvg.pdf

Registration deadline is November 7, 2016


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Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association’s Annual Fall Conference

posted 09/21/2016

FRUIT & VEGETABLE GROWERS CONFERENCE SCHEDULED FOR NOV. 17 18

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.

For conference details and agenda click http://afvga.org/conferences or visit afvga.org to register.

Online registration for attendees, exhibitors & vendors Click here:

http://www.cvent.com/events/2016-alabama-fruit-and-vegetable-growers-association-annual-conference-tradeshow/event-summary-667a7939ca5d45a3b14d55c7494505ea.aspx

Registration deadline is November 7, 2016


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AFVGA Joins Federation

posted 08/12/2016

The Alabama Farmers Federation recently welcomed a new member to its agricultural family – the Alabama Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (AFVGA).

Read the full story:

http://m.alfafarmers.org/stories/news-detail/alabama-fruit-vegetable-growers-association-joins-federation#.V6yoZvkrJph


Will Congress change it's mind after scaling down the CRP?

Will Congress change it's mind after scaling down the CRP?

posted 07/25/2016

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


How to Battle Iron Chlorosis in Soybeans

How to Battle Iron Chlorosis in Soybeans

posted 07/25/2016

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.

Chlorosis Challenge

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


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2016 Conference Preview

posted 05/31/2016

The annual conference promises to be the best this year with field trips, eight educational sessions, and a large tradeshow. Check out the link for more information.


2015 Conference Preview

2015 Conference Preview

posted 05/09/2016

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