New Citrus PSA Shows Homeowners HLB Threat

New Citrus PSA Shows Homeowners HLB Threat

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

Without the involvement and aid of backyard citrus growers to prevent the spread of the invasive Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) and the citrus-deadly Huanglongbing (HLB) disease vectored by the ACP, consumers would no longer have the opportunity to enjoy fresh citrus. Deadly Plant Disease Threatens California Citrus, the newest public service announcement (PSA) from California Citrus Pest Disease and Prevention Program (CCPDPP) conveys this message to residential citrus growers, according to Joel Nelsen, California Citrus Mutual (CCM) president, in order to keep all citrus safe from HLB.

Nelsen said the citrus PSA announcement “shows a family in the backyard barbequing and doing what families do on a weekend.”  They walk over to their row of three citrus trees in the backyard when an orange falls off the tree and disappears, followed by the disappearance of all three trees. Nelsen said the PSA zeros in on the family members’ confusion at the disappearance of the oranges and the trees, all associated with the HLB infection.

CCPDPP’s new PSA is a way for homeowners to understand the importance of keeping citrus safe from HLB, said Nelsen, ”because as much as they’re emotionally tied to their trees, so are the growers in our industry. We don’t want to see anyone’s tree get eliminated because of HLB.”


Prevent HLB; Check Your Citrus Trees for Asian Citrus Psyllid

In a new four-minute video, University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) scientists encourage California farmers and home citrus growers to check new growth on their citrus trees for Asian citrus psyllid infestation. As ACPs spread Huanglongbing (HLB) disease, a serious, incurable threat to both the citrus industry and backyard citrus trees, scientists aim to minimize the ACP population until researchers find a cure.

A flush of new leaf growth on citrus trees announces spring in California. The emergence of feathery light green leaves is particularly attractive to Asian citrus psyllids (ACP), signaling a critical time to determine if the trees are infested with ACPs.

“We encourage home citrus growers and farmers to go out with a magnifying glass or hand lens and look closely at the new growth,” said Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) citrus entomologist. “Look for the various stages of the psyllid – small yellow eggs, sesame-seed sized yellow ACP young with curly white tubules, or aphid-like adults that perch with their hind quarters angled up.Save Our Citrus

Pictures of the ACP and its life stages are on the UC ANR website. Call the California Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Exotic Pest Hotline at (800) 491-1899 with any findings.

The UC ANR ACP website provides help in finding the pest and taking action.

(Source: UC ANR)


2021-05-12T11:03:03-07:00March 30th, 2016|

Agriculture Science Recognition Awards, Part 2 – Meghan Loper

Agriculture Science Recognition Awards, Part 2 –

Meghan Loper Receives Fresno State Science Recognition Award

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

Assemblyman Jim Patterson joined Dr. Sandra Witte, dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at California State University, Fresno (Fresno State) and Lawrence Salinas, Fresno State’s executive director of Government Relations, at the 23rd Assembly District’s 2016 Agriculture Science Recognition Awards on March 17 at Fresno State.

California Ag Today will highlight each of four Fresno State students in the Fresno State Honoree series, Meghan Loper, Megen Morales, Elizabeth Mosqueda and Nick Wolfenden, who were selected from among several students nominated for their dedication to the future of agriculture in the Central Valley.

“These brilliant students represent the best of the best,” said Assemblyman Patterson. “Their devotion to making a difference in our agriculture science community is to be commended and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.”


Meghan Loper, is a master’s student at California State University, Fresno (Fresno State), in the poultry science field, working on animal welfare.

“She currently has a bachelor’s degree in animal science and livestock production management,” said California Assemblyman Jim Patterson. “She also teaches the animal health, welfare and poultry production class in the Poultry Science Department,” noted Patterson.

Most recently, Loper researched the economic significance of the number of chickens living in the same chicken house. Her study quantified the amount of chickens per house and its effect on economic return with the goal of understanding the threshold at which the number of chickens starts to have a negative impact on animal welfare. “She hoped the work would provide information to people about the importance of the welfare of chickens in the poultry industry,” said Patterson, “as the issue is obviously becoming more of a hot topic industry-wide, as well as for consumers, and it even touches the California Legislature.”

Loper has been a member of the Poultry Science Club and the Enterprise Manager of the Foster Farms Poultry Education and Research Facility at Fresno State for the last three years. She volunteers for a local 4-H Club and will be organizing a second FFA field day in April.

Loper is also involved with animals of a different type; she has raised 12 guide dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

“This is an individual, as are our other three honorees, who is making plans and getting prepared to make a living, but you are also making a life,” Patterson said to Loper. “And it is that life that we honor today.”

Loper said, “We have been experimenting with the different amount of birds that can be put into production house. What is too many? What is not enough? And, what’s going to be best for the birds in the long run,” Loper elaborated.

“I’m hoping to get a job in the poultry industry,” said Loper. “I want to make a difference somehow.”


2021-05-12T11:05:57-07:00March 29th, 2016|

Lorsban Under Scrutiny

Chlorpyriphos (Lorsban) Must be Used More Carefully

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) reports an important, broad-spectrum organophosphate insecticide known as Chlorpyriphos, or Lorsban, may be further restricted due to evidence of potential human health and environmental risks, presence (parts per billion) in some California waterways, and pressure from the EPA. Brian Leahy, director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, said, “Chlorpyriphos is an important tool and we know there are important times when you have to use it.”

Registered and widely used in agriculture across the nation for more than 40 years, DPR has made it a restricted-use material. Leahy said, “We are trying to work with the grower community to improve how they use it. We are also working with UC IPM to look at essential needs, but we know that as we look at Chlorpyriphos, we are going to have to put additional restrictions on it.”

“We simply need for it to stay on target, and not be getting into the human body. We are seeing that it is, and we are going to continue to make sure that people use it thoughtfully and wisely,” he said.

And Leahy is very confident that growers can use this material and keep it on target, “I have seen farms that use it only when they really need it, and that is what we want. We can’t lose this tool and we are going to keep it only by showing we can greatly reduce off-site movement to the human body and watersheds,” he noted.



According to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources 2014 Chlorpyrifos Report entitled, “Identifying and Managing Critical Uses of Chlorpyrifos Against Key Pests of Alfalfa, Almonds, Citrus and Cotton“:

Chlorpyrifos plays a critical role in many IPM programs for controlling pests that threaten the productivity and economic well-being of California producers and in maintaining the high quality standards required by consumers and international export markets. This active ingredient also allows production of animal feed to support the important dairy industry in California. For some pests, chlorpyrifos is one of the last effective organophosphate insecticides available and may provide an important alternative mode of action for insecticide rotations to prevent the development of resistance to newer insecticide products. For others, this product is one of very few products with international registrations with established maximum residue limits (MRLs) that allow unhampered trade. Chlorpyrifos may also be a key tool for controlling invasive pests as well as endemic pests occasionally found in extremely high population densities. 

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation reports that the combined use of chlorpyrifos in alfalfa, almonds, citrus, and cotton has decreased since 2006. 

Although newer insecticides are also available to manage some pests in these four crops, there is a continued need to preserve the availability of chlorpyrifos for specific situations.

Assessing the Health Risk of Pesticides,” California Department of Pesticide Regulation

2021-05-12T11:03:04-07:00February 16th, 2016|

Zacky Back in Poultry Business

Zacky Back in Poultry Business

By Kyle Buchoff, Assistant Editor

Lillian Zacky, a very familiar name in the Central Valley poultry industry, told an interesting story about the family’s business, “My father-in-law, Samuel Zacky, started this business in 1928. He would go into the country, which is now a metropolis, pick up chickens, take them back to his market—Sam’s Poultry Market in Los Angelesand process them there. He thought that was the future; there would always be a corner poultry market. But my husband [Robert Zacky] said, ‘This is not going to be forever, and I don’t want to do this forever. So let’s sell to a supermarket because they are going to have packages of poultry in there.’ My father-in-law would not believe that. But anyway, it worked out.”

Sam's Poultry Market (Photo Source: The Zacky Farms Story,

Sam’s Poultry Market (Photo Source: The Zacky Farms Story)

Zacky Farms flourished. Lillian Zacky recalled, “We started with chickens, we did turkeys at Thanksgiving, and now we are doing turkeys all year-round.”

In 2001, the family sold their chicken business to Foster Farms, Zacky explained, “with a non-compete for 10 years. Now that the non-compete is over, we are back in the chicken business because it is our passion, our family passion.”

The buyout terms also dictated the “Zacky” name could never appear on trade-packed chicken, but they could put Zacky on their other products, including Zacky Farms chicken franks and lunch meat. “But, anyway,” Zacky said, “for the chicken, it is now ‘Lillian Z’ because we wanted to put that ‘Z’ at the end.”

Lillian views the poultry business is a way of life. “It is not just a business,” she explained. “It is something we enjoy, plus we bring quality and health to the public. I feel what we produce for the consumer is what we would have for our own family.”

2016-05-31T19:27:01-07:00December 15th, 2015|

Nuts May Prevent Cancer

Nut Consumption May Prevent Cancer

The review, carried out by Marco Falasca, Ilaria Casari and Dr. Tania Maffucci at The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University, found evidence suggesting eating nuts may prevent cancer by providing a protective effect—chemoprevention—in cancers including colorectal, pancreatic and endometrial cancer in women and prostate cancers in men.

It is already well established that increased nut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of major chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus, but the team also identified research showing a significant inverse association between nut consumption and death from cancer. Based on their findings, the authors suggest that nut consumption should be considered as a tool of intervention to reduce the burden of cancer.

The review highlighted a range of components that nuts contain that may contribute to their anticancer properties, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components as well as a range of phytochemicals, vitamins and micronutrients, plus dietary fiber, of which nuts are a rich source.

Professor Falasca commented, “Although there is strong evidence that nut consumption is related to the prevention of several diseases including cancer, more support is needed to research the mechanism of action and to find a direct correlation. We’re also a step in the right direction to support the claim that we should have nuts as one of our five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables in order to prevent diseases.”

Globally, cancer is on the rise; the World Health Organization (WHO) reports there were more than 14 million cases of cancer diagnosed and 8.2 million deaths in 2012, up from 12.7 million cases and 7.6 million deaths in 2008. By 2025, more than 19 million cancer diagnoses are predicted. Up to 40% of cancer cases are estimated to be linked to unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, being overweight, alcohol consumption, low fruit and vegetable intake, occupational hazards, and exposure to sun and sunbeds.

power of pistachios for cancer prevention

Power of pistachios for cancer prevention

Arianna Carughi, PhD, Nutrition Research Science Advisor for American Pistachio Growers, said: “Pistachios are a nutrient and fiber-rich wholefood and contain a number of bioactive compounds that may be useful at the cellular level. This review highlights the potential of nuts, such as pistachios, as a tool in the fight against cancer and further adds to our understanding of the important contribution that nuts can make to health and wellbeing.”

At 160 calories, one ounce of pistachios contains less than two grams of saturated fat and six grams of protein per serving. Pistachios make the perfect snack and can be included as part of a healthy diet.

Sources: Falasca M, Casari I& Maffucci T. Cancer Chemoprevention With Nuts. J Natl Cancer Inst 2014: 106(9), American Pistachio Growers

2016-05-31T19:30:31-07:00February 16th, 2015|


SACRAMENTO, January 7, 2015 – A portion of Madera County has been placed under Asian citrus psyllid quarantine for the following the detection of one ACP northeast of the City of Madera, in the Madera Lake area. The quarantine zone measures 100-square miles, bordered on the north by Road 603; on the south by Avenue 15; on the west by Road 26; and on the east by the Madera Canal. A link to the quarantine map may be found here:

The quarantine prohibits the movement of citrus and curry tree nursery stock out of the quarantine area and requires that all citrus fruit be cleaned of leaves and stems prior to moving out of the quarantine area. An exception may be made for nursery stock and budwood grown in USDA-approved structures that are designed to keep ACP and other insects out. Residents with backyard citrus trees in the quarantine area are asked not to transport citrus fruit or leaves, potted citrus trees, or curry leaves from the quarantine area.

ACP county-wide quarantines are now in place in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura counties, with portions of Madera, Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Clara counties also under quarantine.

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, such as curry trees, are susceptible hosts for both the insect and disease. There is no cure once a tree becomes infected, the diseased tree will decline in health and produce bitter, misshaped fruit until it dies. HLB has been detected just once in California – in 2012 on a single residential property in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County. This plant disease does not affect human health.

Residents in the area who think they may have seen ACP or symptoms of HLB on their citrus trees are urged to call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899. For more information on the ACP and HLB, please visit: .

2016-05-31T19:30:35-07:00January 7th, 2015|

American Pistachio Growers Pair with Anheuser-Busch and Michelob ULTRA Beer

First Ever In-Store Promotions for American Pistachio Organization


Fresno-based American Pistachio Growers is joining with Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, Missouri, to promote the perfect pairing: the perfect smart snack and the perfect beer for adults with active lifestyles.

Starting now and through 2015, pistachio lovers can save up to $6 on the purchase of American Pistachio Growers member-branded pistachios and a 12-pack or larger of Michelob ULTRA.

This partnership between American Pistachio Growers and Anheuser-Busch’s Michelob ULTRA recognizes the increasing number of Americans who are eating healthy and staying fit. Pistachios are an ideal post-workout and daily snack and host a significant number of nutrients required to stay healthy. Additionally, pistachios are the lowest-in-fat snack nut grown in the United States. Michelob ULTRA is a superior light beer with 95 calories and 2.6g carbohydrates, and a proven favorite among adult consumers who enjoy a socially active lifestyle.

Beginning with the season of New Year’s resolutions — when many commit to health and fitness goals, the joint promotion will run through the National Football League playoffs and the Super Bowl; a time of many parties and gatherings. Three additional promotional periods are scheduled for Fourth of July and Labor Day gatherings, and kick-off of the fall football season.

“This is our first initiative at point of sale, to identify and promote pistachios grown and processed by the hundreds of members that make up American Pistachio Growers. It is a strong nationwide rollout, with a leading retail partner, and more than 19,000 stores participating including supermarkets, mass market retailers and drug stores,” says Judy Hirigoyen, Vice President, Global Marketing. Hirigoyen continues, “This concept was tested successfully in a few states in 2014. Research continues to reveal the health attributes of pistachios and industry growth confirms they are a popular choice as more Americans are choosing nutritional snacks.”

American Pistachio Growers view the Michelob ULTRA and pistachios partnership as a natural collaboration. The Michelob ULTRA beer line has long been associated with numerous athletic contests including running and cycling events, PGA Tour golf tournaments and ATP Tennis. American Pistachio Growers have teamed with several high-profile athletes including British pro cyclist Mark Cavendish, professional big mountain snowboarder and adventurer Jeremy Jones, pro sports team nutrition managers and is the “Official Snack” of USA Water Polo’s Men’s and Women’s Teams.

Details of the instant coupons and rebates on a state-by-state basis can be found on the American Pistachio Growers website

2016-05-31T19:32:10-07:00December 24th, 2014|

Upcoming CDFA Meeting to Discuss Dairy Digester Research Program

Dairy Digesters Are Needed to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is developing a new program, the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program, authorized by the Budget Act of 2014 (Chapter 25, Statutes of 2014). CDFA was appropriated $12 million dollars from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to provide financial assistance for the installation of dairy digesters in California, which will result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

CDFA will administer the program in two phases, beginning with Phase I, Dairy Digester Development and Phase II, Research. An estimated $11 million in competitive grant funding will be awarded to provide financial assistance for the implementation of dairy digesters that result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions and provide other environmental benefits (Phase I). An estimated $500,000 will be made available for research and demonstration projects that improve the economic performance of dairy digesters (Phase II).

Three public stakeholder meetings have been scheduled in November 2014 to explain the new program and to receive comments and suggestions. These public meetings will be held on the following dates and at the following locations:

Thursday, November 6, 2014 – 2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

University of California Cooperative Extension Stanislaus County

3800 Cornucopia Way

Room: HI

Modesto, CA 95358


Monday, November 10, 2014 – 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

University of California Cooperative Extension Tulare County

4437 S. Laspina Street (Across the street from World Ag Expo)

Room: Tulare County Agricultural Building Auditorium

Tulare, CA 93274


Thursday, November 13, 2014 – 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Includes Webinar access!

California Department of Food and Agriculture

1220 N Street Room: Auditorium

Sacramento, CA 95814


The meeting on November 13 will include a webinar to allow remote attendance.


More information about this program is available on the CDFA Environmental Stewardship websiteFor additional information on dairy digesters, click on: California EPA Digesters and California EPA Anaerobic Digestion.

2016-05-31T19:32:18-07:00October 28th, 2014|

Bayer CropScience’s New West Sacramento Facility to Focus on Biopesticides

Biopesticides Are Valuable Part of Pest and Disease Control

By Colby Tibbett

Bill Stoneman is the executive director of the Biopesticide Industry Alliance, which is dedicated to fostering adoption of biopesticide technologies through increased awareness about their effectiveness and full range of benefits to a progressive pest management program.

“These are very important tools in terms of resistance management because they allow us to target alternative modes of action against pests. Biopesticide technologies are tools in the quiver, as well as the chemistries we are currently using and developing,” said Stoneman.

Biopesticides offer many other benefits, such as no maximum residue level (MRL) issues, reduced preharvest intervals and decreased reentry intervals.

Bill Stoneman, Biopesticide Industry Alliance Executive Director

Bill Stoneman, Biopesticide Industry Alliance Executive Director

“What you’re going to find, is that they will be used in rotation with the chemical pesticides or other cultural methods to prevent plant diseases and insects. I think you’re going to see more development in the seed treatment area. Again, seed is a good delivery mode to get things to the plant’s roots, and that’s where a lot of these materials are effective, from the plant-disease perspective,” said Stoneman.

With regard to insect control, Stoneman said, “We’re going to see new things coming into the marketplace. Some insect-specific viruses are going to be expanding in the U.S. soon, with applications on a variety of crops—but very insect specific—so in other woBill Stoneman Bayer Crop Science West Sacramentords, they kill only that insect, so there is no harm to pollinators or beneficials,” said Stoneman.

This will be more common in the future, according to Stoneman, “I think we will see as a trend going forward more reliance on the biologicals, pollinators, tailored pest control programs and IPM approaches to preventing any damage to those natural control forces in agriculture,” said Stoneman.

A big step for Biopesticides in California was the recent grand opening of the Bayer CropScience’s $80 million investment in their biologics and seed business in West Sacramento. It will focus on this new frontier of pest and disease control.


Adrian Percy, Bayer CropScience Global Research and Development (Source:

Adrian Percy, Bayer CropScience Global Research and Development (Source:

Adrian Percy, global head of research & development (R&D) with Bayer CropScience, explained Bayer’s decision for the West Sacramento location, “First and foremost, California is an amazing hub of agricultural innovation. We have UC Davis just down the road, which we have close ties to. In 2012, we purchased AgraQuest, which was based in Davis, so basically we’re moving them into this new facility which is much bigger and more state-of-the-art than what they were using previously,” said Percy.

“We’re really excited because here we will be researching brand-new applications based on bacterial-based products, fungicides, insecticides, etc. In addition, we will be developing new vegetable seed varieties,” said Percy.

Among the advantages of these new biologic tools for growers is avoidance of MRLs, a big boon for vegetable growers. “We see a lot of advantages for these types of products. And this is one of the fastest growing sectors both for us as a company, but also in general. What we are seeking to do now is bring next generation products to the marketplace which are even better than the ones we have today,” said Percy.

“These kinds of products, I think from a stewardship and management perspective, are very advantageous to the grower,” he added.

2016-05-31T19:33:25-07:00September 17th, 2014|

House Members Seek to Update Endangered Species Act

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04), Rep. Cynthia Lummis (WY), Rep. Randy Neugebauer (TX-19), and Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02) this week introduced four limited bills to improve and update the  Endangered Species Act (ESA).


The bills are supported by all of the Members of the ESA Congressional Working Group, representing districts across the nation, and are based on the recommendations and findings of their report and input from a broad array of stakeholders, including the Western Governors‘ Association.


California Ag’s interest is on how the revised ESA would affect the Biological opinion on Delta Smelt and Salmon that has drastically cut contractual water supplies issued through the pumps.
The four bills focus on transparency and species recovery. The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a Full Committee legislative hearing on these bills on Tuesday, April 8.


“These are very simple, straightforward, and common sense bills and provide a good starting point as we begin the legislative process for improving the Endangered Species Act,” said Chairman Hastings.


“The bills are, by design, narrowly focused and something that both Republicans and Democrats can support. Increasing transparency; posting data online; enhancing state, local, and tribal participation; and reducing taxpayer-financed attorney’s fees to help direct taxpayer dollars towards recovery efforts are small, but important steps in making smart and sensible updates to the ESA.”

2016-05-31T19:38:05-07:00March 31st, 2014|
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