Mexican Fruit Fly Quarantine in Portion of Los Angeles County

Three Flies Detected in Long Beach

CDFA News Release

A portion of Los Angeles County, including the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, has been placed under quarantine for the Mexican fruit fly following the detection of three flies, including two mated females, within the City of Long Beach. Mated females are significant because they indicate a breeding population that increases the risk of spread of this pest. CDFA is working collaboratively on this project with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office.

The quarantine area measures 79 square miles, bordered on the north by CA-91; on the south by the Pacific Ocean; on the west by I-110; and on the east by Palo Verde Avenue. A link to the quarantine map may be found here: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/mexfly/regulation.html.

Sterile male Mexican fruit flies will be released in the area as part of the eradication effort. The release rate will be approximately 325,000 sterile males per square mile per week in an area up to 50 square miles around the infestation.  Sterile male flies mate with fertile female flies in the natural environment but produce no offspring. The Mexican fruit fly population decreases as the wild flies reach the end of their natural life span with no offspring to replace them, ultimately resulting in the eradication of the pest.  In addition, properties within 200 meters of detection sites are being treated with an organic formulation of Spinosad, which originates from naturally-occurring bacteria, in order to remove any mated female fruit flies and reduce the density of the population. Finally, fruit removal will occur within 100 meters of properties with larval detections and/or mated female detections.

The quarantine affects any growers, wholesalers, and retailers of susceptible fruit in the area as well as nurseries that grow and sell Mexican fruit fly host plants. Those businesses are all required to take steps to protect against the spread of the pest. At the Long Beach/Los Angeles ports, exports as well as imports may be impacted depending on specific circumstances. The quarantine will also affect local residents growing host commodities on their property. Movement of those commodities is not permitted. Residents are urged to consume homegrown produce on site. These actions protect against the spread of the infestation to nearby regions, where it could affect California’s food supply as well as backyard gardens and landscapes.

The Mexican fruit fly can infest more than 50 types of fruits and vegetables. For more information on this pest, please see a pest profile at: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/go/MexFly.  Residents who believe their fruits and vegetables may be infested with fruit fly larvae are encouraged to call the state’s toll-free Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.

While fruit flies and other invasive species that threaten California’s crops and natural environment are sometimes detected in agricultural areas, the vast majority are found in urban and suburban communities.  The most common pathway for these invasive species to enter our state is by “hitchhiking” in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers as they return from infested regions of the world.  To help protect California’s agriculture and natural resources, CDFA urges travelers to follow the Don’t Pack a Pest program guidelines (www.dontpackapest.com).

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.

URGENT HLB Quarantine UPDATE

HLB Quarantine Update

A Huanglongbing (HLB) quarantine is now in effect in part of Los Angeles County following the detection of HLB in four citrus trees.

On July 10, a kumquat tree on a residential property was confirmed to be infected with the incurable HLB disease. After extensive surveying and testing in the area, three more diseased trees were found nearby. The four diseased trees were on four separate properties close to one another. The tree varieties include kumquat, lime, mandarin and calamondin.

California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has already removed two of the diseased trees and is currently working with the homeowners at the other two properties to remove those trees as soon as possible. See the CDFA press release below for more details on the resulting quarantine.

QUARANTINE FOR HUANGLONGBING DECLARED IN SAN GABRIEL, LOS ANGELES COUNTY

SaveOurCitrusSACRAMENTO, July 22, 2015 – An 87-square mile quarantine in the San Gabriel area of Los Angeles County has been added to the existing huanglongbing (HLB) quarantine in the Hacienda Heights-area following the detection of the citrus disease huanglongbing, or citrus greening.

Additional information, including a map of the quarantine zone, is available at the CDFA Save Our Citrus website The quarantine boundaries are: on the north, E. Orange Grove Boulevard; on the east, N. Lemon Avenue; on the west, Griffin Avenue; and on the south W. La Habra Boulevard.

This area is part of a much larger quarantine already in place for the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), the pest that spreads bacteria causing huanglongbing (HLB). The new quarantine will prohibit the movement of all nursery stock out of the area, while maintaining existing provisions allowing the movement of only commercially cleaned and packed citrus fruit. Any fruit that is not commercially cleaned and packed, including residential citrus, must not be removed from the property on which it is grown, although it may be processed and/or consumed on the premises.

“The success of any quarantine depends on cooperation from those affected,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “The stakes couldn’t be higher for California citrus. We urge residents in the San Gabriel-area to do all they can to comply.”

CDFA, the USDA and the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner’s continue their work to investigate the source of the disease, to survey and test for it throughout the Los Angeles Basin, and to continue with ground treatment of citrus trees within 800 meters of the find sites – which began earlier this week. In the long term, the strategy is to control the spread of ACPs while researchers work to find a cure for the disease.

Huanglongbing has been confirmed four times in San Gabriel, in a kumquat tree on a residential property, in a lime tree on an adjacent residential property, and in calamondin and mandarin trees on residential properties in close proximity to the original find. The disease is bacterial and attacks the vascular system of plants. It does not pose a threat to humans or animals. The Asian citrus psyllid can spread the bacteria as the pest feeds on citrus trees and other related plants. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure; it typically declines and dies within a few years.

Huanglongbing is known to be present in Mexico and in parts of the southern U.S. Florida first detected the disease in 2005, and the University of Florida estimates that the disease causes an average loss of 7,513 jobs per year, and has cost growers $2.994 billion in lost revenue since then. Huanglongbing has also been detected in Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A total of 15 states or territories are under full or partial quarantine due to the presence of the ACP: Alabama, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Asian citrus psyllid was first detected in California in 2008 and quarantines for the pest are now in place in 17 California counties. If Californians believe they have seen evidence of huanglongbing in local citrus trees, they are asked to please call CDFA’s toll-free pest hotline at 1-800-491-1899 FREE. For more information on the Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing, please visit: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/acp/.

HLB Found in LA

Huanglongbing Detected on LA County Pre-Symptomatic Kumquat Tree

 

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm Director; Laurie Greene, Editor, California Ag Today

 

#CitrusMatters
#CitrusMatters (provided by Bayer CropScience, in partnership with California Citrus Mutual)

“It’s disappointing, but fortunately it was found in a residential area,” commented Joel Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual (CCM), on the second discovery of Huanglongbing  [wong-long-bing] (HLB), or citrus greening, in California. CCM refers to HLB as “a death sentence for California citrus” as once the plant is infected with this bacterial disease, there is no known cure.

Joel Nelsen
Joel Nelsen, president, California Citrus Mutual

“HLB was detected in plant material taken from a kumquat tree in a residential neighborhood in the San Gabriel area of Los Angeles County,” Nelson stated. “The 20-year-old tree was in the front yard of a residence and had not yet shown any symptoms.”

The San Gabriel neighborhood is located about 15 miles from Hacienda Heights, where the first HLB case in the state was detected in 2012 in a residential citrus tree. The  An aggressive trapping program for the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), a pest known to spread the HLB bacteria as it feeds on citrus trees and other plants, has been ongoing ever since this first finding, including in the San Gabriel area.

“It’s fortunate that the homeowner is quite cooperative,” said Nelsen, “and other neighborhood homeowners are allowing officials to run PCR tests (polymerase chain reaction) on samples of their trees to determine if the disease is present.” PCR analysis is a sensitive research technique for detecting and identifying small numbers of bacteria in plants via DNA amplification.

Nelsen declared, “This find is exactly what the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program is designed to do. PCR testing of a random sampling of leaves and stems in the area, as our program prescribes, enabled us to hit a positive” before symptoms appeared.

“We do not know how long the tree had been diseased,” said Nelsen, “but we do know that we have been trapping ACPs there for a long time and had not found any HLB before. You do not want to

Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program

find anything,” Nelsen said, “but when you do, you want to find it before it becomes an epidemic.”

In a statement on Friday, California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross said, “Citrus is a cherished part of our landscape and our shared history, as well as a major agricultural crop.” CDFA has been planning and preparing for HLB detections since before the first ACP was detected in the state in 2008. Quarantines are now in place in 17 California counties.

Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner Kurt Floren will mobilize his team over this week to check on citrus trees in plant nurseries that fall within the 800-meter radius around the infected tree area. A spray protocol is already in place for all citrus trees within the 800-meter radius.

“More traps are going out so we can try to delineate the scope of the problem. Hopefully it will be nothing more than this one tree, like the solitary diseased tree we found in Hacienda Heights,” Nelsen said.

Resources

To support the citrus industry in its fight against HLB, go to California Citrus Mutual Action Center.

 

For questions about the ACP or HLB, visit or call CDFA’s toll-free pest hotline at 1-800-491-1899.

 

View the Distribution Map  of ACP, HLB and parasites in California published by the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

USDA's free "Save Our Citrus" iTunes app
USDA’s free “Save Our Citrus” iTunes app

 

Visit the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program.

 

Verify plant symptoms at USDA’s SaveOurCitrus website.

 

For information and ACP solutions, go to #citrusmatters, provided by Bayer CropScience, in partnership with California Citrus Mutual

 

UC ANR Horticulture Advisor Retires After 28 Years

John Kabashima wrapped up his horticultural career on July 1, after 28 years with University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. Nursery professionals lauded the UC Cooperative Extension advisor’s service to the nursery and landscape industry and to homeowners in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

“He’s one of the few people who could translate science into business with a sense of candor and fact-based conversation,” said Robert Crudup, president of Calabasas-based Valley Crest Tree Company, of Kabashima.” John has long-term vision, which he used throughout his career to move the nursery industry forward.”

John Kabashima
John Kabashima, UC ANR

“He is smart about political science as well as plant science,” Crudup said. On a regular basis, Kabashima would warn growers about emerging issues that were likely to affect the nursery industry, such as regulations to control the spread of polyphagous shot hole borer, red imported fire ant and palm borer.

“He’s been very, very valuable,” said retired nurseryman Gary Hayakawa, noting that Kabashima not only contributed research on pest control and water issues for the nursery and landscape industries, but also persuaded people from UC campuses, the California Department Food and Agriculture and industry to work together. “Before he was involved in issues, the work was all separate. Industry didn’t have input,” Hayakawa said. “What John has done is to work with all three to form a coalition.”

Crudup, whose company has nursery operations in Los Angeles, Ventura, Alameda and San Joaquin counties, agreed.

“John’s biggest contribution was his work with the glassy-winged sharpshooter subcommittee,” said Crudup, who served on the subcommittee. “He brought a voice of reason that helped counterbalance emotional sides of the discussion.”

“His ability to act as the primary liaison between the nursery industry, CDFA, the UC, the county agricultural departments and the wine and grape industries was the primary reason this part of the GWSS (glassy-winged sharpshooter)  program was so successful and, more importantly has resulted in the continued viability of the California nursery industry in light of significant regulatory pressures,” said Bob Wynn, who was statewide coordinator of the CDFA Pierce’s Disease Control  Program and who  continues to oversee the program as senior advisor to Secretary Karen Ross.

“The CDFA, with advisement and counseling from John, developed what is known as the Approved Nursery Treatment Program, which allows nurseries in the infested areas of the state to ship by merely treating the plants with an approved treatment,” Wynn said.  “John was the primary author in the development of the nursery ‘Approved Treatment Best Management Practices’ document published in 2008. The use of this document has allowed the nursery industry to save millions of dollars in regulatory compliance costs over time.”

A native of Los Angeles, Kabashima says he started working in his family’s nursery business as soon as he was tall enough to water 1-gallon nursery plants.  “After killing thousands of plants, I was finally allowed to manage the family business from 1970 to 1976,” he quipped.

In 1976, his family sold the nursery and Kabashima enrolled at California Polytechnic University, Pomona. After he  earned a B.S. in agricultural biology from Cal Poly Pomona in 1979, he was hired by UC Riverside horticulture entomologist Pat Morishita as a lab technician. While working at UC Riverside, Kabashima earned a  master’s degree in pest management. He would later complete a Ph.D. in entomology at UC Riverside.

Kabashima earned his MBA at Pepperdine University in 1986 while managing the Ornamental Horticulture Division at Target Specialty Products. In 1987, the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources recruited him to become a UC Cooperative Extension environmental horticulture advisor in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

Over the years, he has studied the management of insects, diseases and weeds in horticulture production systems, biological control of exotic pests, and water-related problems in landscapes, golf courses, nurseries, municipalities and watersheds.

In 1998 Kabashima took over the fledgling UC Master Gardener Program in Orange County, which as of now has trained more than 300 UC Master Gardener volunteers to extend research-based information on gardening and horticulture to the public.

The UCCE environmental horticulture advisor has also served as director of UC Cooperative Extension in Orange County and interim director of the UC ANR South Coast Research and Extension Center.

In 1994, when Orange County filed for bankruptcy and the Board of Supervisors voted to discontinue funding and housing for the local UC Cooperative Extension, Kabashima worked with Gary Hayakawa to keep UCCE in the county.

“When Orange County cut Cooperative Extension’s budget, we found out that without extension you don’t have 4-H or Master Gardeners,” Hayakawa said. To preserve the UC Cooperative Extension programs, Hayakawa, who was an Orange County Fair Board member, helped Kabashima  secure office space in trailers on the fairgrounds. In 2014, the UCCE office moved from the fairgrounds to UC ANR South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine.

Kabashima belongs to many professional organizations including the Entomological Society of America, California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers, Nursery Growers Association, Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture, United Agribusiness League, and San Diego Flower and Plant Association. The scientist has served on numerous government and industry advisory committees.

Throughout his career, Kabashima’s achievements in education and research have been recognized by various organizations. To name a few, he received the 1987 Education and Research Award from the Orange County Chapter of the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers (CANGC), 1993 CANERS Research Award from CANGC, 2002 Nursery Extension Agent Award from the American Nursery and Landscape Association, 2008 Western Extension Directors Award of Excellence, 2010 Entomological Society of America’s National IPM Team Award and the 2011 California Agriculture Pest Control Advisors Association Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture Award. In 2014, he and his friend Hayakawa were inducted into the Green Industry Hall of Fame.

Being a UCCE advisor has suited Kabashima. “I love learning new things, sharing that information with others, and using my skills to solve problems facing California, such as the ever-increasing arrivals of exotic and invasive pests,” he said. The avid photographer has been able to unite his avocation with his vocation. His photographs of insects have been used to illustrate textbooks, websites and news articles.

“Success in one’s field is often a combination of natural ability, informal and formal training and education, being mentored, and networking with collaborators and colleagues, all sprinkled with a little bit of luck and support from one’s family and friends,” Kabashima said.

In retirement, Kabashima plans to seek new culinary experiences with his wife Janet and daughter Misa, at  home and in their travels together. He has been granted emeritus status by UC ANR and he will continue his efforts to help UC Irvine save trees on its campus that are infested with polyphagous shot hole borer.

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researchers and educators draw on local expertise to conduct agricultural, environmental, economic, youth development and nutrition research that helps California thrive. Learn more at ucanr.edu.

LA Declares Citrus Matters TODAY

LA Citizens And Commercial Citrus Growers Highlight Deadly Citrus Disease And Why Citrus Matters

LOS ANGELES (July 2, 2015) – California’s citrus industry is threatened by the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), a tiny pest that can transmit the world’s deadliest citrus disease, Huanglongbing (HLB). Currently, all of Los Angeles County is under quarantine[1] for the psyllid, which continues to spread across the state. Along with Bayer CropScience and California Citrus Mutual, City Councilmember Gil Cedillo announced TODAY, July 2 that, “Citrus Matters” to Los Angeles. During the event, commercial citrus growers from the region were recognized for their contributions to the state of California and acknowledged the devastating disease that could destroy the state’s citrus industry. The announcement also serves to highlight the role Los Angeles residents must play in protecting California’s $2.4 billion commercial citrus industry through the #CitrusMatters initiative.Citrus Matters to Los Angeles

Citrus Matters Logo

To date, the psyllid has reached 15 counties throughout Southern California[2]; however, HLB has been recorded in only one tree in California[3] – a lemon/pummelo tree found on residential property in the Hacienda Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles in 2012. For every Californian who cares about citrus, that tree, which has since been removed and destroyed, serves as a warning that all citrus trees are at risk of being affected, from the trees that decorate their neighborhood to the commercial groves nearby.

The #CitrusMatters initiative from Bayer CropScience and California Citrus Mutual encourages all residents of California and Los Angeles – where there are more citrus trees on residential property than in commercial groves – to take action to help prevent the spread of the ACP. It is essential that homeowners with citrus trees on their property understand how to protect their trees and know what to do if they suspect trees are infected. If left untreated, the insects can move quickly from one tree to the next, eventually spreading to the commercial groves that cover much of Southern and Central California.There are a number of ways the Los Angeles community can get involved with the campaign to help prevent the spread of ACP and protect California citrus, including:

  1. Spreading the word and increasing awareness about the disease, the ACP and why they love citrus, using the hashtag #CitrusMatters. Through each use of the hashtag (now through September 30), Bayer CropScience will contribute $1, up to $25,000, to advance existing and future research to find a solution to HLB in California.
  2. Visiting CaliforniaCitrusThreat.org to access HLB and ACP resources specific to Los Angeles County.
  3. Monitoring their trees, contacting the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Exotic Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899 if they think they’ve spotted an infestation and having their trees checked.
  4. Becoming familiar with solutions[4] available that can protect against ACP in their trees

CA Citrus Mutual

The citrus industry has a storied history in Los Angeles. Southern California’s first orange grove[5] was planted at San Gabriel Mission in 1804, and the state’s very first commercial citrus operation[6] was established in what is now downtown Los Angeles.

“Almost all of us native Los Angelenos have some kind of memory of grabbing a lemon off of the trees in our yards growing up or stepping outside during the spring and taking in the fresh scent of orange blossoms,” said Cedillo when he presented the announcement. “The city of Los Angeles recognizes the contribution citrus adds to California’s economy and our residents’ lives.”

“The Los Angeles area has played a vital role in the industry’s history,” said Joel Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual. “We’re excited to see residents celebrate citrus and rally around our mission to protect it from the spread of HLB.”bayer-cropscience-logo

The #CitrusMatters initiative is part of the ongoing effort by Bayer CropScience to provide citrus growers across the nation with solutions to help combat ACP and HLB. To learn more about the #CitrusMatters initiative and how homeowners, commercial citrus growers and citrus lovers alike can help save citrus, visit CitrusMatters.us.

For more information on Bayer CropScience’s citrus portfolio, please visit: https://www.bayercropscience.us/crops/citrus!

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[1]http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/citrus_greening/downloads/pdf_files/nationalquarantinemap.pdf

[2] http://www.californiacitrusthreat.org/pdf/ACP-Quar%20Expansion_2-17-2015_CA-AZ.pdf

[3] http://californiacitrusthreat.org/news/huanglongbing-citrus-greening-disease-found-in-california.php[4] http://www.bayeradvanced.com/find-a-product/insects-pests/fruit-citrus-vegetable-insect-control

[5] http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=924

[6] http://californiacountry.org/features/article.aspx?arID=695

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Bayer CropScience is committed to bringing new technology and solutions for agriculture and non-agricultural uses. For questions concerning the availability and use of products, contact a local Bayer CropScience representative, or visit Bayer CropScience online at www.bayercropscience.us.

Visit the Bayer Connect – Social Hub for all Bayer CropScience social media, recent news, blog posts, videos and more.

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About Bayer CropScience

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, the subgroup of Bayer AG responsible for the agricultural business, has annual sales of EUR 9,494 million (2014) and is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. The company offers an outstanding range of products including high value seeds, innovative crop protection solutions based on chemical and biological modes of action as well as an extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture. In the area of non-agricultural applications, Bayer CropScience has a broad portfolio of products and services to control pests from home and garden to forestry applications. The company has a global workforce of 23,100 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is available at: www.press.bayercropscience.com.

About California Citrus Mutual

California Citrus Mutual (CCM) is a citrus producer’s trade association whose 2,200 grower members comprise 60 percent of California’s 275,000 acre, $2.4 billion citrus industry. The Exeter, California-based organization was founded in 1977 by those who felt the need to unite their fellow growers into a cohesive, powerful force. Throughout the years, CCM has brought to fruition many of the goals of the founding fathers and has developed into a dominant force from within as well as outside the industry.  Having attained the privilege to be called the “voice of the citrus grower,” CCM remains the vessel which successfully navigates the often rocky waters of the business interest of its membership. For more information on CCM, visit www.cacitrusmutual.com.

Oriental Fruit Fly Quarantine in Portion of Los Angeles County

A portion of Los Angeles County has been placed under quarantine for the oriental fruit fly (OFF) following the detection of nine adult OFF in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County near the City of Inglewood.

The quarantine zone in Los Angeles County measures 81 square miles, bordered on the north by Avalon Boulevard; on the south by E Victoria Street; on the west by S La Cienga Boulevard; and on the east by California Avenue.  A link to the quarantine map may be found here: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/go/offq.

To prevent the spread of fruit flies through homegrown fruits and vegetables, residents living in the fruit fly quarantine area are urged not to move any fruits or vegetables from their property.  Fruits and vegetables may be consumed or processed (i.e. juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal) at the property where they were picked.

To help prevent infestations, officials ask that residents do not bring or mail fresh fruit, vegetables, plants, or soil into California unless agricultural inspectors have cleared the shipment beforehand, as fruit flies and other pests can hide in a variety of produce.  It is important to cooperate with any quarantine restrictions and to allow authorized agricultural workers access to your property to inspect fruit and oriental fruit fly traps for signs of an infestation.

“Our system to detect invasive species like the oriental fruit fly is working well and according to design,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross.  “The key is to respond quickly and take action before the pests can spread.”

Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), CDFA uses “male attractant” technique as the mainstay of its eradication effort for this pest.  This approach has successfully eliminated dozens of fruit fly infestations from California.  Trained workers squirt a small patch of fly attractant mixed with a very small dose of pesticide approximately 8-10 feet off the ground on street trees and similar surfaces; male fruit flies are attracted to the mixture and die after consuming it.

The male attractant treatment program is being carried out over several square miles surrounding the sites where the oriental fruit flies were trapped.  A map of the treatment area is available online at:  www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/go/ffmaps-peps.

On or near properties where fruit flies have been detected, additional measures include removal of host fruits and vegetables, fruit cutting to detect any fly larvae that may be present, and treatment of host trees and plants with the organic-approved material spinosad.

The oriental fruit fly is known to target over 230 different fruit, vegetable, and plant commodities.  Damage occurs when the female fruit fly lays her eggs inside the fruit.  The eggs hatch into maggots and tunnel through the flesh of the fruit, making it unfit for consumption.

While fruit flies and other invasive species threaten California’s crops, the vast majority of them are detected in urban and suburban areas.  The most common pathway for these pests to enter the state is by “hitchhiking” in fruits and vegetables brought back illegally by travelers as they return from infested regions around the world or from packages of home grown produce sent to California.  The oriental fruit fly is widespread throughout much of the mainland of Southern Asia and neighboring islands including Sri Lanka and Taiwan.  It is also found in Hawaii.

Residents with questions about the project may call the department’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.

Everyone Plays a Part in Protecting California Citrus

Protecting California Citrus

By Victoria Hornbaker; Ag Alert 

Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its final crop estimate for the Florida orange crop, reflecting a reduction of 30 million cartons in total production from the previous season. There is no denying the devastating impact that Huanglongbing has had on the Florida citrus industry since the disease was first discovered in 2005. A drive through Florida citrus country will offer vastly different scenery than that of California’s premier citrus-producing regions.

In some respects, the California citrus industry has been fortunate to learn from the situation in Florida and has taken a very proactive approach to protect itself from a similar fate. In 2009, the industry supported a mandatory self-assessment to fund a comprehensive treatment and trapping program to manage the insect carrier of HLB, the Asian citrus psyllid, and prevent HLB from taking hold.

The Asian citrus psyllid is now endemic throughout a majority of Southern California, particularly in dense, urban areas where citrus trees can be found in six out of every 10 backyards. In March 2012, HLB was discovered for the first time in a backyard citrus tree in Los Angeles County. Although there have not been any additional confirmed cases of HLB since then, as an industry we must remain vigilant statewide in order to protect our $2 billion citrus crop.

Currently, there are eight counties in California that are entirely quarantined for the Asian citrus psyllid: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura. Additionally, portions of Fresno, Kern, San Luis Obispo and Tulare counties are also under quarantine for the Asian citrus psyllid.

The total quarantined area statewide is now 46,530 square miles. Maps are available online at www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/go/acp-quarantine.

With a large portion of the state’s commercial citrus production now within quarantine zones, it is increasingly important that growers and packers are up to date on current regulations and protocols, to best manage psyllid populations and prevent the pest from spreading any further.

There are two approved options under the Bulk Fruit Movement Performance Standard available for commercial citrus growers and packers to comply with the quarantined regulations: Remove all leaves and stems/plant debris using a field cleaning machine, or apply a University of California integrated pest management-recommended material within 14 days prior to harvest.

There are no restrictions on moving fruit with leaves and stems if shipping to a packinghouse or processing facility located within the same quarantine boundary.

Asian citrus psyllids can easily “hitchhike” on citrus plant debris, so it’s important that we all do our part to minimize the movement of plant material between work sites. It is strongly recommended that growers and packers work with farm labor contractors, picking crews, pesticide applicators and hedging/topping services to ensure that all equipment, picking bags, field bins, clothing and gloves are free of stems and leaves before leaving the field.

We all have a commonality in agriculture and can understand the pressures posed by invasive insects and diseases. This is a fight that no commodity can win without the support of homeowners and consumers, which is why everyone with a backyard citrus tree should:

  • Not move citrus—Do not move citrus plants, plant material or fruit into or out of a quarantine area or across state or international borders.
  • Inspect your trees—Inspect your citrus trees for signs of the psyllid or HLB whenever watering, spraying, pruning or otherwise tending to trees.
  • Plant responsibly—Plant trees from reputable, licensed California nurseries.
  • Talk to your local nursery—Ask about products that are available to help stop the Asian citrus psyllid.
  • Graft with care—Use only registered budwood that comes with source documentation.
  • Be mindful of clippings—Dry or double-bag plant clippings prior to disposal.
  • Cooperate—Cooperate with agricultural officials who are trapping and treating for the Asian citrus psyllid.

By working together, we can help stop the Asian citrus psyllid and protect California citrus from Huanglongbing.

California Program Helps Needy Families Buy Fresh Produce at Farmers Markets

Source:  Claire Fleishman

With tight budgets and children to feed, recipients of federal nutrition assistance were rarely seen at farmers markets, where the words “affordable” and “fresh” didn’t often mix. That is changing, thanks to a state program that is in line to get a big boost in federal support.

More and more recipients are stepping up to market managers’ tables, swiping their card from CalFresh (nationally known as SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), and getting a bonus good for fresh produce.Under the Market Match Program, CalFresh recipients can get $10 a week in bonus scrip for fruits and vegetables for every $10 they spend at farmers markets. Over 30,000 CalFresh participants have used the scrip at 130 markets statewide, creating more than $1 million in additional income for farmers at these markets.

Locally, the bonuses are available at a number of farmers markets, including Altadena, Long Beach and Canoga Park. Federal and state officials are trying to expand the bonuses to other farmers markets to help stem an old problem: low-income recipients using federal nutrition assistance to purchase unhealthful products, particularly high-sugar sodas and junk food.

The matching money comes from the California Market Match Consortium, which was founded five years ago by farmers market operators and community organizations. The consortium is funded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and a variety of private donors. Recently the Los Angeles County agency First 5 LA, which draws on tobacco tax money to help programs benefitting young children, became a partner.

More funding is on the way. The 2014 Farm Bill allocated $100 million over the next five years for incentive programs. A new California Assembly bill proposes a Market Match Nutrition Incentive Fund of $2.75 million per year for five years, to maximize capture of federal dollars. With these funds, all 854 markets in California could participate. SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, feeds one in seven people in the nation. It dispenses $8 billion in California. But beneficiaries of the program, especially children, also suffer high rates of obesity and diabetes, which have been linked to cheaper, sugary foods.

California has the most cases of diabetics in the nation, and spending in the state to treat the disease in 2012 approached $28 billion, according to American Diabetes Association data. New York City tried to ban the use of SNAP funds for buying high-sugar drinks in 2010. Beverage manufacturers and some civil libertarians objected, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs SNAP, vetoed the idea.

In lieu of curbing the supply of junk food — a politically unattractive option — public health advocates are working hard to change the demand by making healthful foods cheaper and more attractive.

Carle Brinkman of the Berkeley-based Ecology Center, which assists farmers markets statewide with implementation of electronic benefit transfer programs, said, “Instead of being punitive, we like to incentivize (healthful) food choices. We can give customers who wouldn’t normally shop at farmers markets a boost, and at the same time, send additional funds to small- and medium-size farmers.”

The question now is: Will the incentives change decades of entrenched habits? Initial signs are positive. In Massachusetts, a USDA Healthy Incentives pilot project followed 55,000 SNAP households for a year; some were credited with 30 cents for every dollar spent on targeted produce. Spending on fruits and vegetables was higher for those receiving incentives at a rate that was both “statistically significant and … nutritionally relevant,” the study concluded.

And a recent survey by the California Consortium found that nearly 3 of 4 Market Match shoppers came specifically for the match. They leave with bags of fresh produce and new ideas from nutrition classes frequently held in conjunction with Market Match.

At one market recently, a rapt audience of about 20 women and children absorbed a “Rethink Your Drink” lesson as a dietitian stirred a frosty pitcher of ice water laced with mint and cucumber slices. Delicious, several women agreed, and even cheaper than soda.

North Hollywood High School Ag Students Keep Tradition Alive and Will Make Future Bright

Source: Karen Ross, California Agriculture Secretary

Many decades ago, now-urban Los Angeles County was agrarian. In fact, it was once the largest Ag county in California. In that more pastoral time, North Hollywood High School had a 100-acre farm.

Since then, it has seen its footprint shrink to eight acres and is now surrounded by apartment buildings and other developments. However, that smaller plot of land is still very productive! I had a chance to see it for myself recently.

Ag students at North Hollywood High, including FFA members, work hard to maintain a farm that serves the community – including a flourishing community garden. The students raise money for the farm, themselves, without funding assistance from the school district.

When I visited, they had just completed their annual petting zoo fundraiser, which is widely supported by the community.  It was a special treat to see twins born earlier that morning to a pygmy goat!

As usual, I was impressed by the poised, confident, articulate students who are proud representatives of FFA.  I love spending time with them because they represent the promise of a future bright with possibilities.

Whether they go on to have careers in agriculture or not, they certainly will be better citizens and well informed consumers, which make for healthier communities!

There is no doubt in my mind that that North Hollywood FFA officers, Nicholas, Thomas, Jocelyn, Casey, Josh and Letitia have benefited from their FFA experience. Our future is in good hands with young people like them.