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).

Meet the U.S. Wine Consumer

Who is the Core American Wine Consumer?

 

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

 

Jon Moramarco is managing partner of BW 166 LLC. The name BW 166 LLC is an homage to the family’s roots in the California wine business. Jon’s grandfather Giuseppe Moramarco, the tenth generation of his family to be involved in the wine business, acquired Bonded Winery 166 in downtown Los Angeles during Prohibition. A graduate of UC Davis, Moramarco started out young as vineyard laborer and progressed through both vineyard and winery jobs.

A lot has changed since then, and Moramarco explained current trends in U.S. wine consumption. “A core wine consumer is considered somebody who drinks wine at least twice a week or more. You have a certain segment of the society that actually has adopted wine as part of their daily life: 36% of legal drinking age adults drink 85% of the wine. You do the math; those people are drinking 100 bottles to 110 bottles a year. That’s truly the [consumer] target for most wineries for their marketing.”

Jon Moramarco
Jon Moramarco

Though wine is often associated with a level of mystery and romance, Moramarco shared, “I look at wine a little differently. I look at it as a way to enjoy life with friends. It’s an affordable indulgence but it’s also one of those things. Sitting around with friends and having a glass of wine with dinner, just makes the whole experience a little more enjoyable. The funny thing is, you can have a very good wine during a dinner with somebody you really don’t like, and wine doesn’t taste as good.”

The California wine industry continues to show healthy, steady growth with total volume growing about 4% a year. Varietal wines of good quality and reasonable price have seen quite a bit of growth in the market. Moramarco deciphered wine pricing as it relates to growth, beginning with two price-per-bottle categories, $7 – $12 and $12 – $20.

“Unfortunately,” Moramarco commented, “wines under $7, are a little softer, but it’s because consumers are trading up and drinking better. So the [trend] is that they’re not drinking as much of the less expensive wines, but they’re drinking more of the more expensive wines.”

Celebrating California Agriculture . . .

Celebrating California Agriculture . . .  An Ongoing Series

 

By Laurie Greene, Editor

 

Celebrating California agriculture is a refreshing perspective. Peterangelo Vallis, executive director of the Fresno-based San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association, has an astute viewpoint on California agriculture. Vallis said, foundationally, consumers loves farmers—unless those consumers have been exposed to oppositional or politicized messagingbut most have not been.

“You go talk to any random person in any city,” said Vallis. “If they’re not politicized, which most people aren’t, they are just trying to live their lives, eat their food and rear their children. And they love farmers because farmers make food,” Vallis said.

blue-diamond-a-can-a-week-is-all-we-ask
(Photo Source: Blue Diamond Growers)

“What have been some of the most effective agricultural campaigns in the country? Wendy’s ‘Where’s the Beef?’ Blue Diamond almonds, ‘A Can A Week, That’s All We Ask.’ These ads humanize who we are talking about.”

“How about the California Dancing Raisins? That was huge,” noted Vallis.  “Everyone in any part of the country remembers those raisins. That’s positive PR. That was positive recognition for Ag. We’ve got to be doing more of that.”

congress-created-dust-bowl Billboard on CA SR 99

Vallis advocates more positive PR, but says we need to take a different approach. “Instead of all these billboards running up and down [State Route] 99 that make us look like vigilantes with pitchforks, we need to take whatever money that took, buy some billboards in L.A. and San Francisco, Washington D.C., and New York with some happy kids, with a bowl full of veggies saying, “Thanks, mom! This was great!”

“This is basic, basic stuff because, realistically, we’re marketing the fact that we need help to make more food,” Vallis noted. “We’re making safe domestic food, but if we don’t engage with the people that are our customers, we’re never going to be able to get our ideas and our needs across, because we’re just not talking to the right audience.”

Statewide Drought Forces Californians To Take Drastic Measures For Water Conversation

“They’re not enough people here in the valley to move the needle. We’ve got to figure out a way to get San Francisco and L.A. appreciating our position, loving what we do, and trusting that we’re doing the very best job possible,” said Vallis.

Brexit Hurts Wine Exports To U.S.

Brexit-Devalued Pound Hurts Wine Exports To U.S.

 

Jon Moramarco, managing partner of Bonded Winery 166 (BW 166 LLC), is a third-generation wine professional at the company that his grandfather, Giuseppe Moramarco, a tenth-generation wine professional émigré from Italy, acquired BW 166 LLC in Los Angeles from the Jesuits during Prohibition.

 

Moramarco explained the effects of Brexit on wine imports to the U.S. “The UK pound has dropped in value versus almost every currency,” he began. “The UK will not want to raise their price in British pounds, so it will probably drive them to become interested in any exports to the UK from the U.S. They will want to have a lower price in U.S. dollars, which will be tough for producers to do in the U.S.”

shutterstock_87596773 wine bottles

Continuing, “Now those [EU] European wine exporters are going to say, ‘Well, I don’t want to sell at that price to the UK. I’m gonna go try and sell more in the U.S.'” noted Moramarco. “So we will see more imports coming into the U.S. from Europe.”

 

“So you kind of have a double whammy for wine,” Moramarco concluded, “because they’ve kind of lost the margin in one of their key markets.” He anticipated “difficulty in exports with people wanting to drop price,” as well as a greater “increase in people wanting to import into the U.S.”

CAWG Gears Up to Fight New Overtime Bill

Following Defeat of Overtime Bill AB 2757, CAWG Gears up to Fight New Overtime Bill AB 1066

By Laurie Greene, Editor

 

California Assembly Bill 2757, which called to end the 10-hour workday for farm laborers (by enforcing overtime) and to illuminate extra work time opportunities, was voted down in June 2016, but a new version of the bill, AB 1066, is back on the drawing table.

 

Brad Goehringtreasurer of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) Board of Directors and current chair of the CAWG State Government Affairs Committee, spoke about the process of fighting back on this bill. “We already beat it and we had a major victory in the California State Assembly earlier in the year. The author of the bill didn’t like that result, and it is all union-backed and backed by taxpayer groups like California Rural Legal Association, Inc. (CRLA),” Goehring said.

 

cawg

“But the pressure is back,” said Goehring, also a fourthgeneration winegrape grower and owner of Goehring Vineyards, in Clements, near Lodi. “They did a dirty gut and amend bill¹, which is a slide of hand and basically reintroduces the bill again under a different bill number. This time it’s going to start in the Senate and we’re expecting a tough battle; but we’ve got a very organized coalition of Ag associations and we’re going to put the same energy into fighting this that we did before,” explained Goehring.

 

“It was a bloody fight in the Assembly,” noted Goehring. “But still, we’re optimistic as there are plenty of no votes from the party that wanted this to go through that we think it will be hard for the governor to sign even if [the bill] makes that far.

 

Goehring maintained, “The key is to educate legislators that the bill would hurt farmworkers because it would force farmers to minimize work hours to prevent overtime payroll. In fact, farmworkers are pushing for this second bill to fail.”

 

“Where the lack of understanding lies is the clear line between the urban legislators and the rural legislators,” Goehring commented. “The urban legislators, ironically, are the ones who already hav $15 minimum wage laws in their towns—San Diego, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. These legislators are trying to cram it down our throats and our lives here in the rural areas. We’re not having any real hard times getting to agreement with either party, if they are in the rural areas. It’s the urban ones that are doing all the damage.”

 

“We’ve had these legislators out to our farms. We’ve walked away and let them talk openly with our employees, and our employees have told them they don’t want it,” Goehring said. “Our employees have told them that they want to make an honest living. They want to teach their kids how to do the same thing. Our employees have taken it one step further; we overheard them telling the legislators they are not even in favor of any of the entitlement programs because that’s not the way to make an honest living that they want for their kids.”

 

“With all that said,” Goehring concluded, “the urban legislators are turning their backs on and ignoring our employees. This is all about unions and CRLA. They don’t care about the employees—is basically what they’re saying,” noted Goehring.

 


¹GUT AND AMEND is when amendments to a bill remove the current contents in their entirety and replace them with different provisions. (Source:  California State Legislature Glossary of Legislative Terms).

BREAKING NEWS: Medfly Infestation in Los Angeles

BREAKING NEWS: Medfly Infestation in Los Angeles

 

A quarantine has been declared due to a Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) infestation detected in the city of Los Angeles. One adult male and five unmated females were detected in five traps between March 3 and 12, 2014, and four larvae were discovered in backyard fruit on March 18.

The Medfly can infest more than 250 types of fruits and vegetables, causing severe impacts on California agricultural exports and backyard gardens alike. Residents who believe their fruits and vegetables are infested with fruit fly larvae are encouraged to call the state’s toll-free Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) are working collaboratively on this project.

The 88-square mile quarantine is in central Los Angeles, near the University of Southern California. Additional information, including a map of the 88-square mile quarantine zone, is available at: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/medfly/regulation.html#index.

To eradicate the infestation, the increased release of sterile male Medflies began last week, at a rate of 250,000 flies per square mile per week, double the normal rate in that area.

The sterile male Medflies are brought to California by the joint CDFA/USDA sterile insect rearing facility in Los Alamitos, which prepares sterile flies for release everyday over the Los Angeles Basin.

The sterile release program has a proven track record of eradication in southern California. Sterile male flies mate with fertile female flies in the environment but produce no offspring.

The Medfly 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.

 The enhanced release area is approximately 25 square miles. In addition, properties within 200 meters of detections are being treated with an organic formulation of Spinosad, which originates from naturally-occurring bacteria, in order to eliminate any mated females and reduce the density of the population.

Finally, fruit removal will occur within 100 meters of the larval detection property in order to remove any fruit infested with eggs and larvae.

“Our pest prevention system to detect and respond to invasive species like the Mediterranean fruit fly is working well and according to design,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “The release of sterile Medflies is a proven method of eradicating an infestation. The key is to move swiftly and take action before the pests can cause widespread damage and become established.”

The quarantine will affect any growers, wholesalers, and retailers of susceptible fruit in the area as well as local residents – home gardeners are urged to consume homegrown produce on site and not move it from their property.

The eradication approach in the Los Angeles area is the standard Medfly program used by CDFA and it’s the safest, most effective and efficient response program available.