USDA Confirms Additional Cases of Virulent Newcastle Disease in Backyard Birds in California 

California Backyard Chickens Succumb to Newcastle Disease

News Release Edited By Patrick Cavanaugh

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed five additional cases of virulent Newcastle disease in backyard exhibition chickens in California—two in Los Angeles County, one in Riverside County and two in San Bernardino County.

A complete list of confirmed cases is available on the USDA’s website at www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/vnd.

Virulent Newcastle disease has not been found in commercial poultry in the United States since 2003.

No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat.  In very rare instances, people working directly with sick birds can become infected.  Symptoms are usually very mild and limited to conjunctivitis. Infection is easily prevented by using the standard personal protective equipment.

Samples from the flocks were tested at the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System (CAHFS).  The APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, confirms all findings. APHIS is working closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to respond to these findings and to conduct an epidemiological investigation. Federal and State partners are also conducting additional surveillance and testing in the area.

In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through their state veterinarian or USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at Biosecurity for Birds.

NEW TULARE COUNTY ASIAN CITRUS PSYLLID DETECTIONS NEAR EXETER  

BREAKING NEWS 

 

The Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s office announced TODAY that one additional Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) has been detected on a trap south of the city of Exeter. The latest interception was confirmed by the California Department of Agriculture (CDFA). Maps and current information are available on the Agricultural Commissioner’s website by visiting: http://agcomm.co.tulare.ca.us/default/.

CDFA has already begun to saturate the affected area with detection traps in order to determine the extent of any infestation.The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and CDFA will work collaboratively to determine what steps are taken next.

The Asian citrus psyllid is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening. All citrus and closely related species are susceptible hosts for both the insect and the disease. There is no cure once a tree becomes infected. The diseased tree will decline in health, producing bitter, misshaped fruit until it dies. To date, HLB has been detected on just one residential property in the Hacienda Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles.

“Our staff will continue to support the efforts of our $750 million citrus industry, as well as our residential citrus owners,” said Tulare County Ag Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita. “I want to emphasize that citrus fruit is safe to eat and the disease is not harmful to human health.”

Residents in the area who think they may have seen the pest are urged to call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899 or the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner at (559) 684-3350. Media inquiries related to technical questions about Asian Citrus Psyllid and Huanglongbing disease are encouraged to contact Katie Rowland, Account Coordinator for Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Inc. at (661) 817-3638. For additional inofrmaiton, click on the USDA’s Save Our Citrus website.

 

 

 

 

 

BREAKING NEWS: Two New ACPs Found in One Trap Near Exeter

CDFA Has Saturated Exeter Area with Extra ACP Detection Traps

The Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s offices announed TODAY that two additional Asian citrus psyllids (ACP) have been detected on one trap south of the city of Exeter. The latest interceptions were confirmed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Maps and current information are available on the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s website.

CDFA has already begun to saturate the affected areas with detection traps in order to determine the extent of any infestation.The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and CDFA will work collaboratively to determine what steps are taken next.

The ACP is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening. All citrus and closely related species are susceptible hosts  for both the insect and the disease. There is no cure once a tree becomes infected. The diseased tree will decline in health,producing bitter, misshaped fruit untilitdies. To date, HLB has been detected on just one residential property in the Hacienda Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Tulare County Ag Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita said that her staff will continue to support the efforts of our $750 million citrus industry, as well as our residential citrus owners. “I want to emphasize that citrus fruit is safe to eat and the disease is not harmful to human health,” said Kinoshita.

Residents in the area who think they may have seen ACPs are urged to call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899 or the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner.

Media inquiries related to technical questions about Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing (HLB) disease are encouraged to contact Katie Rowland, Account Coordinator for Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Inc. at (661) 817-3638.

The best way to fight HLB is to suppress the spread of ACPs which can carry it. So, California Citrus Research Board hired Nuffer, Smith, Tucker, (NST) a public relations firm, to raise awareness of ACPs and HLB, especially among the many California homeowners with backyard citrus trees who may unknowingly be harboring the pest, and to encourage the public to take necessary steps to save California citrus.

 

 

 

USDA to Help Farmers Diversify Weed Control Efforts

USDA Addresses Herbicide Resistant Weed Control

Edited by California Ag Today

 

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced TODAY the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking steps to address the increase of herbicide resistant weeds in the country’s agricultural systems.

In California, glyphosate resistant weeds are found throughout the state, and growers are warned to minimize using the material back-to-back during weed control. More information can be found http://info.ucanr.org/weed_sept/.

“Weed control in major crops is almost entirely accomplished with herbicides today,” said Vilsack. “USDA, working in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency, must continue to identify ways to encourage producers to adopt diverse tactics for weed management in addition to herbicide control. The actions we are taking today are part of this effort.”

To help farmers manage their herbicide-resistant weeds more holistically and sustainably:

  • USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer financial assistance under its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for herbicide resistant weed control practices that utilize Integrated Pest Management plans and practices.
  • Later this year NRCS will be soliciting proposals under the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) Program for innovative conservation systems that address herbicide resistant weeds.
  • USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will actively promote use of best management practices (BMPs) in design protocols for regulated authorized releases of genetically engineered (GE) crops and will include recommendations for BMPs with the authorization of field trials of HR crops.
  • USDA is partnering with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) and is providing funds to develop education and outreach materials for various stakeholders on managing herbicide resistant weeds. The Secretary has directed Dr. Sheryl Kunickis, Director of the USDA Office of Pest Management Policy, as the point person leading this effort with the USDA.

 

USDA works with the EPA

The issue of herbicide resistant weeds has become one of increasing importance for agriculture. When herbicides are repeatedly used to control weeds, the weeds that survive herbicide treatment can multiply and spread.

With EPA’s announcement TODAY on the registration of new uses for herbicide mixtures containing the herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate (in the Enlist® formulation) in conjunction with new genetically-engineered crop varieties, farmers have more tools for improved management of emerging populations of herbicide-resistant weeds in corn and soybeans crops. In its decision for 2,4-D use on genetically modified corn and soybean, EPA has outlined new requirements for registrants as part of a product stewardship program.

The USDA Office of Pest Management Policy worked with EPA to address the issue of herbicide resistance through appropriate label language that will require registrants to develop a stewardship program for the herbicide, develop training and education on proper use of the product that includes diversifying weed management, investigate and report nonperformance, and develop and implement a remediation plan for suspected herbicide resistant weeds.

EPA intends to require the same stewardship plans for all new applications for product registration on genetically modified crops with the goal being to encourage effective resistance management while maintaining needed flexibility for growers.

USDA recognizes that the problem of herbicide resistant weed control will not be solved solely through the application of new herbicides. USDA has worked with the Weed Science Society of America for a number of years on identifying best management practices for farmers and on addressing impediments to adoption of those practices.

USDA will continue to work to ensure that growers have the diverse tools they need to address the management of herbicide resistant weeds.

Sources: USDA, CDFA

USDA Reopens Chinese Market Access for California Citrus

Source: CDFA

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that California citrus farmers will be able to resume exports to China this season. California citrus exports are valued at $30 million annually.

“Resuming trade before the start of the 2014 citrus shipping season is the result of a lot of effort by a number of USDA employees, who worked very closely with their foreign counterparts to resolve China’s concerns,” said Vilsack. “Their extra effort means California citrus growers can once again ship to this important market.”

A series of scientific exchanges between the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine (AQSIQ) resulted in an agreement for California citrus to again be exported to China.  APHIS and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service worked closely with the U.S. citrus industry to ensure the successful outcome.

In April 2013, California-origin citrus was suspended from entering the Chinese market due to interceptions of brown rot (Phytophthora syringae), a soil fungus that affects stored fruit.  Over the next year, USDA worked with China to address China’s plant health concerns and reopen the market for California citrus exports.

Noting the importance of the Chinese market for U.S. citrus producers, Secretary Vilsack raised the issue with Chinese officials during the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in December 2013.  In April 2014, APHIS and AQSIQ officials met to discuss a proposed work plan that included protocols to effectively reduce the pest risk on citrus product shipped to China.  As a result of these discussions, U.S. and China officials finalized an agreement to resume exports on Aug. 3, 2014.

The Obama Administration, with Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, has significantly expanded export opportunities and reduced barriers to trade, helping to push agricultural exports to record levels.  U.S. agriculture is experiencing its best period in history thanks to the productivity, resiliency, and resourcefulness of our producers and agribusinesses.

Today, net farm income is at record levels while debt has been halved since the 1980s.  Overall, American agriculture supports one in 12 jobs in the United States and provides American consumers with 83 percent of the food we consume, while maintaining affordability and choice. Strong agricultural exports contribute to a positive U.S. trade balance, create jobs, boost economic growth and support President Obama’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014.