USDA Announces more than $8 Million to Address Shifting Environmental Conditions and Impact on Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced nine grants totaling more than $8 million to study and develop new approaches for the agriculture sector to adapt to and mitigate the effects of changing environmental conditions. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.
“We have to develop robust plants, animals, and management systems that can flourish under challenging environmental conditions,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “We expect the outcomes of these investments will support American farmers and producers, and ensure their profitability.”

AFRI is America’s flagship competitive grants program for foundational and translational research, education, and extension projects in the food and agricultural sciences. The Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change Challenge Area aims to provide risk management information and tools to enable land managers to stay viable and productive, and reduce the use of energy, nitrogen, water, and greenhouse gas emissions.

FY16 grants being announced today, by state, include:
Climate Outreach and Extension:
• University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, $250,000
• New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, $249,900
• Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, $250,000
• University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, $248,900
Climate and Land Use:
• University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, $3,414,911
• University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, $3,414,911
• Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, $147,744
• George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, $35,300
• Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington, $49,260
Project details can be found at the NIFA website.

Among the grants, a New Mexico State University project aims to increase climate change literacy while supporting both adaptation and mitigation activities for different and diverse groups through a comprehensive program. A University of Florida project will identify and test climate adaptation and mitigation in fruit and vegetable supply chains using a holistic, systems approach based on crop, economic, and environmental modeling.
Since 2009, more than $150 million in research and extension grants have been awarded through AFRI in support of efforts to adapt to and minimize the impacts of climate change. Previously funded projects include a Kansas State University study focused on developing grazing management strategies in the Southern Great Plains to adapt regional beef production to changing conditions, such as heat and drought, while reducing its environmental footprint. This work in the Southern Great Plains will contribute to resilience and sustained productivity in the beef industry. A Washington State University study is dedicated to improving the sustainability and integrity of water resources and ecosystems in the Columbia River Basin threatened by dwindling water supplies, growing demand from multiple uses, low oxygen, algae blooms, and reduced biodiversity. Understanding how the demands on water resources are impacted by climate variability will factor into sound public policy to improve water conservation and quality.
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and promotes transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA support for the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel has resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability and ensure food safety. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts, sign up for email updates or follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA, #NIFAImpacts.

USDA is an equal opportunity lender, provider, and employer.

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USDA NIFA Announces More Than $8 Million to Address Shifting Environmental Conditions and Impact on Agriculture

NIFA announced nine grants totaling more than $8 million to study and develop new approaches for the agriculture sector to adapt to and mitigate the effects of changing environmental conditions. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change Challenge Area aims to provide risk management information and tools to enable land managers to stay viable and productive, and reduce the use of energy, nitrogen, water, and greenhouse gas emissions.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and promotes transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges.

https://nifa.usda.gov/program/afri-resilient-agroecosystems-in-a-changing-climate?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

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New York State IPM Program seeks Livestock and Field Crops IPM Coordinator

The New York State IPM Program is searching for a Livestock and Field Crops IPM Coordinator. An M.S. or Ph.D. (preferred) is required in entomology, plant pathology, weed science, agronomy, animal science, general agriculture or a closely related field; and the candidate must have experience in extension. The position is 80% extension and 20% research, and will be housed on Cornell’s main campus in Ithaca NY. Alternatively , the position could be housed on the Geneva NY campus if desired by the candidate. Please note that this position requires a wide range of knowledge and skills across field crops and livestock IPM. However, we realize that potential candidates may not have experience in all aspects of the position, but they must be willing to learn and grow into those areas.

A brief description of the position and the NYSIPM program are below. For further details and to apply, go to AcademicJobsOnline NYS IPM Senior Extension Associate.

Applications are accepted until a suitable candidate is found.

Summary Statement of Job’s overall purpose

The position of Livestock and Field Crops IPM Coordinator in the New York State IPM Program is needed to facilitate and lead statewide IPM demonstration, implementation, and research activities in Livestock (primarily Dairy and Beef Cattle), and field and forage crops production within Cornell Cooperative Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. This position addresses the needs associated with:

  • multi-county and statewide IPM program planning
  • impact documentation
  • evaluation of pest management practices
  • applied IPM research
  • on-farm demonstration of IPM
  • development of educational IPM programs and materials, and
  • promotion of IPM adoption by farmers.

This position requires multidisciplinary knowledge and activity including, but not limited to, the disciplines of entomology, plant pathology, weed science, and agronomy. Please note that this position requires a wide range of knowledge and skills across field crops and livestock IPM. We realize that potential candidates may not have experience in all the aspects of the position, but they must be willing to learn and grow into those areas.

The NYS IPM Program

The New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYSIPM) is a nationally recognized leader in the development and promotion of IPM practices. The mission of NYSIPM is to develop sustainable ways to manage disease, insect, weed, and wildlife pests and to help people use methods that minimize environmental, health, and economic risks. NYS IPM has both Agricultural and Community programs, with issues and settings that overlap. NYSIPM’s Agricultural IPM programming includes fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, and livestock and field crops. Community IPM is the management of insects, weeds, plant diseases and wildlife in all settings that are non-production such as lawns, gardens, landscapes, golf courses, parks, and buildings; and also includes invasive species and public health pests. The personnel of NYS IPM operate in a collegial and cooperative environment where teamwork is emphasized and appreciated.

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Wisconsin pallet maker fined for environmental fraud

From IPM in the South

By Rosemary Hallberg

Russel Wetenkamp, site manager for Timber Creek Resource in Wisconsin, pled guilty and was sentenced in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Wisconsin to criminal violations related to the Plant Protection Act (PPA).

Wetenkamp fraudulently marked wooden pallets indicating that they were compliant with the regulations under the PPA that govern the use of wood packaging material in international trade even though they had not been properly treated to prevent the spread of wood-boring pests. 

Wood pallets sold for international packing are required to undergo a heat-treatment process, which prevents insects or microorganisms from infesting the wood or contaminating products being transported on the pallets. After the wood is treated, it is marked by a stamp issued by the Secretary of Agriculture.

From November 2014 until April 2015, Wetenkamp, who was working as the Site General Manager of the Timber Creek Resources’ Newton, Wisconsin, facility, sold falsely stamped pallets to numerous customers.

As part of a plea agreement, Wetenkamp pled guilty to violating the Act and making a false statement (18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2); 7 U.S.C. § 7734(a)(1)(A)), which are both criminal charges.  Wetenkamp was sentenced to pay a $25,000 fine, complete a two-year probation term, and pay restitution in the amount of $18,748 to his customers.

Some sources say that Wetenkamp’s actions caused at least $344,000 in losses to his customers.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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Temperature inversion and herbicide applications

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The following tips were presented in a Delta Farm Press article related to the dicamba drift debate. Because some herbicide labels include instructions about not applying during a temperature inversion, I am including the tips below. You can read the entire article in Delta Farm Press.

Here are eight things about temperature inversion based on University of Missouri research you should know now.

1. What it is a temperature inversion?
On a typical day, cumulus clouds fill the sky as the sun radiates energy to the earth and warms the air. Warm air rises, because it is less dense. With warmer air rising, cooler air drops, is warmed by the earth and then rises. “It is a constant shuffling of air,”University of Missouri weed scientist Mandy Bish explains. “We feel this, because wind occurs.”

An inversion happens when the sun sets and is not warming the earth’s surface. The cool air sinks, the air shuffle stops, there is no wind and the cumulus clouds dissipate. Now, the cool air is trapped on the bottom.

2. Why is inversion a problem?
Warmer air temperatures near the earth’s surface allow volatile compounds to dissipate into the upper air levels. The problem with an inversion scenario — where cold air is trapped near the earth’s surface — is that it is very stable. “So when the air is not mixing, any particles suspended in that air stay suspended in the air,” Bish says. “If you have particles suspended in the air and you have a horizontal wind gust come through, it is going to push those particles somewhere else.” Think smog in a city.

3. When is the most likely time for a temperature inversion?
Last year, in June and July, inversions started at 6 p.m. and continued until 7 p.m. “That was a little bit alarming, because it is still daylight out,” Bish says. “The wind has died; it seems like a pretty good time to apply herbicides.” But it is not.

This year is showing that inversions last longer. For example, in June, there were 12 temperature inversions reported in Columbia, Mo. Eight of those lasted from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., Bish says. Most are lasting more than eight hours.

4. Does wind speed indicate inversion?
For the past two years, Missouri weather data recorded wind speeds every 3 seconds in March, April, May, June and July. Combining all of the data, Bish looked at where inversions occurred, and how often, at that inversion, the wind was speed less than 3 mph. “Over 90% of the time in June and July, when you have an inversion, wind speeds were less than 3 mph,” she says. “That is why we think wind speeds are an indicator of a temperature inversion setting in.”

5. Where do most temperature inversions form?
Some farmers believe inversions happen only in valleys. There is a type of inversion that can happen specifically over a valley, Bish says, but really, anyplace where the sun can hit the earth’s surface can have an inversion.

6. How locally restricted are these inversion?
Temperatures vary around the state, causing inversions to occur on different dates. However, in Missouri the entire state experienced inversion on the same day last month. “There were a couple of nights [June 24-25] with clear skies and calm winds across the entire state,” Bish says. “In every area we were monitoring, there was a temperature inversion those nights.”

7. Can you track or predict a temperature inversion?
Predicting temperature inversion is tricky. There are tools for farmers that record soil temperature and relative humidity, but not many for inversion potential, according to Bish. The University of Missouri has developed a real-time temperature inversion monitoring website for real-time temperature inversion monitoring.

Another tool that may help predict temperature inversion is Agrible’s Spray Smart phone app. The tool provides real-time data for inversion risk, atmospheric conditions, wind direction and wind speed.

8. Do smoke bombs work as a test for inversion?
Some herbicide labels say use a smoke bomb to see if there is an inversion. The University of Missouri tested the theory. Researchers lit off a smoke bomb at 4 p.m. when there was no inversion. The smoke dissipated within 50 seconds. Then they set one off at 7 p.m. The red smoke lingered well beyond a minute, indicating inversion. Bish says smoke grenades can validate an inversion, but more work still needs to be completed.

Posted in Agricultural IPM, Field Crop IPM, General Information, Press Release, Regulatory Information, Weed Management | Leave a comment

APHIS will accept proposals for FY 2018 NCPN cooperative agreements through Oct. 6

The NCPN provides high-quality, propagated plant material that is free of plant pathogens and pests that can cause economic losses to the American specialty crop industry. USDA’s goal is to create an effective, uniform, consistent, efficient, and highly self-sufficient network of clean plant centers serving the needs of specialty crop industry.

Funding will be provided to Land-Grant Universities, Non Land-Grant Colleges of Agriculture, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, State Governments, and Federal Agencies to support implementation and ongoing activities of the NCPN.

Funding priority is given to programs that address covered specialty crops and help develop and maintain a comprehensive, cohesive, and efficient clean plant network to address clean plant needs for diagnostics, therapy, and the establishment of foundations. NCPN funded specialty crops have focused on grapes, fruit trees, citrus, hops, berries, roses, and sweet potatoes.

About $5 million in cooperative agreements are anticipated to be awarded under the NCPN section of Farm Bill 2014 Section 10007. APHIS will announce the FY2018 projects selected for funding in the NCPN spending plan in late 2017. Once USDA issues its spending plan, successful candidates will then conclude their application process through ezFedGrants.

Detailed submission instructions for submitting proposals and an explanation of the evaluation process are available by reviewing the “NCPN FY 2018 Request for Proposals” document found on the APHIS Farm Bill Section 10007 website here: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/planthealth/section10007/ncpn

  • For FY 2018, applicants shall not submit an application to gov as in years past.  Rather applicants shall submit proposals and associated material directly to USDA, APHIS at ncpn@aphis.usda.gov
  • Submissions at this RFP stage should consist of harmonized work plans submitted by several applicants jointly for a specific crop or individual applicant work plans; associated financial plans; and any other requested documentation as per the RFP.
  • Questions about the FY 2018 Request for Proposals and review process should be directed to ncpn@aphis.usda.gov

The National Clean Plant Network Management Team

  • Tammy Kolt (301-851-2160)
  • David Prokrym (919-855-7578)
  • Erich Rudyj (919-855-7447)
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Trainings set at Texas’s IPM Experience House

From IPM in the South

By Rosemary Hallberg

From Insects in the City

by Michael Merchant, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Are you looking for pest control training using a practical approach? Do you have a new employee that you’d like to provide with some of the best training available?  Then you might be interested in the three new hands-on classes being offered this summer through the new IPM Experience House in Dallas.  Here are this summer’s classes with information on how to register:

  • Practical Mosquito Control for PMPs  July 20, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm. This class provides an introduction to mosquitoes and mosquito biology. We’ll go through some of the basics of mosquito adult and larval identification, learn how to identify mosquito risk zones around the home and how to communicate with customers about risks from mosquito-borne disease. Different insecticide application methods and equipment will be demonstrated. Training will include both classroom, and hands-on and outdoor training at IPM Experience House. Cost for the course is only $20 thanks to partial funding by the Centers for Disease Control. If you are interested, you’ll have to hurry. Click here for an agenda and information on how to register today.
  • Introduction to termite control for new technicians. Aug. 2, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm.  This class is designed to orient new termite technicians to the art and science of termite control. Termite control expert, Dr. Bob Davis, will be demonstrating practical field skills for setting up and executing a termite job. He is joined by Dr. Mike Merchant in the classroom to provide some of the basic biology of termites you need to know if you are to be on the top of your game. This is a great opportunity to train new or old employees in the field of termite control. Half of this class will be held in the classroom, and half will be outdoors, conducting a termite estimate and treatment. Cost for the course is $40, includes snacks and water. Click here for an agenda and registration information. 
  • General Household Pest Category Training. August 23, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. This fi rst-time offering provides the necessary Pest category training for new apprentices and an introduction to general pest control for new technicians. Topics to be covered include: introduction to entomology and the general orders of insects; general insect pests; mosquitoes; rodents and other animal pests; introduction to IPM and pesticides; and equipment used in pest control. This is a great opportunity to train new or old employees in the field of termite control. Half of this class will be held in the classroom, and half will be in the field, conducting pest control inspections at the new IPM Experience House, looking at specimens, and getting some introductory experience with monitoring and treatments. Cost for the course is $50, includes lunch, snacks and water. Click here for agenda and registration information. 

If you’ve not yet visited IPM Experience House, we are a new training facility designed to provide hands-on training experiences for pest management professionals doing structural pest control in Texas. We are located at 17360 Coit Road, Dallas, TX 75252.  Classes will meet in the Building E classroom (Whitehurst Education Building), and walking to the IPM Experience House for part of the training.  For a campus map, click here.  Additional questions can be directed to Sharon Harris at 972-952-9201.

IPM Experience House is made possible through the redesign of a former dormitory on the Texas A&M AgriLife Dallas campus, the facility is financially supported by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Texas pest control industry.  This summer will be a great time to check us out.

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USDA pollinator study examines forage quality

From IPM in the South

By Rosemary Hallberg

In Delta Farm Press

USDA’s Economic Research Service conducted a literature review of the effects of land use on pollinator health and examined the trends in pollinator forage quality over the last 30 years.

What did they find?

  • Honey bee mortality varied between 29% and 45% of colonies from 2010-11 to 2015-16, which is higher than previous decades.
  • Evidence points to population declines for several wild bee species including bumblebees, some butterflies, bats and hummingbirds.
  • Bee colonies are impacted by a variety of stresses. In spring 2015, nearly 45% of colonies were affected by varroa mites, 20% were affected by other pests and 17% were affected by pesticides.

Are the number of colonies increasing or decreasing?

  • Increasing as beekeepers in the United States have maintained and even increased the number of colonies over the last decade through intensive management of honey bee colonies.
  • The number of honey-producing colonies has increased by 9% from 2.44 million in 2007 to 2.66 million in 2015. Over the same period, the value of production of the top 10 pollinator-dependent crops grew by a weighted average of around 76%.

Give an example of an intensive management practice of a honey bee colony.

Splitting a honey bee colony and adding a new queen to one of the splits, systematic monitoring of colonies for pests and pathogens and supplemental feeding.

Do managed honey bees and native pollinators have the same vegetation needs?

  • Native pollinators benefit from access to nearby high-quality forage habitat that is rich in plants that provide pollen and nectar and nesting opportunities.
  • Managed honey bees, which are often trucked from place-to-place to provide pollinator services, need high-quality forage to improve colony survival rates.

Findings related to land use:

  • Forage suitability, which links pollinator forage quality to land uses and land covers, has been unchanged for 75% of the nation from 1982 to 2012.
  • From 1982 to 2002, the forage suitability index improved on about twice as many acres as it declined. From 2002 to 2012, the index declined on more acres than it improved.
  • In North and South Dakota’s summer foraging grounds, the forage suitability index decline more than the national average between 2002 and 2012. The change is driven by decreases in acres with high forage suitability index and increases in acres with low forage suitability index.

Source: USDA ERS

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USDA Announces $7.2 Million for Research on Plant-Biotic Interactions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 10 grants totaling $7.2 million for research on the interactions of plants, microbes, and invertebrates. This is the first round of grants awarded through the Plant-Biotic Interactions program, a joint funding opportunity established through a partnership between NIFA and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NIFA funding is made possible through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“The research to be supported by these grants will help reveal the mechanisms that govern how plants interact with the world around them,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “The expectation is that NIFA investments will result in tools for growers to help plants thrive in the face of pest and environmental constraints, along with other challenges.”
AFRI is America’s flagship competitive grants program for foundational and translational research, education, and extension projects in the food and agricultural sciences. The Plant Biotic Interactions program supports fundamental and applied research to provide a deeper understanding of the complex interactions between plants, and their associated microbes, and invertebrates. Through interagency cooperation between NIFA and NSF, this program allows seamless transitioning of research projects from basic sciences to user-inspired applied sciences that yield solutions to agricultural problems.

Among the FY16 NIFA grants:
• University of California, Davis, California, $542,620
• University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, $911,544
• University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, $863,489
• Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, $496,345
• Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $791,380
• Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $586,185
• Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, $634,320
• Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, $387,783
• South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota, $999,942
• Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $982,718

Project details can be found at the NIFA website.

Among the grants, a Tufts University project will investigate how plant-herbivore-microbe interactions shape the diversity of cabbage microbiomes. The team will also take a traveling microbiome discovery center to ten farmers’ markets located in low-income urban and rural areas of Massachusetts; exhibits in the discovery center use kimchi and sauerkraut, edible microbial ecosystems that millions of Americans eat every day. A South Dakota State University project will investigate how the symbiotic interactions between legumes, nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and fungi help legume plants obtain nitrogen and other nutrients, reducing the need for added nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers. The research may help improve yield and environmental sustainability of legume crops, which account for 27 percent of the world´s primary crop production.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and promotes transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA support for the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel has resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability, and ensure food safety. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts, sign up for email updates or follow us on Twitter @usda_NIFA, #NIFAImpacts.
USDA is an equal opportunity lender, provider, and employer

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Michigan State sets Garden Day for Aug. 5

MSU Garden Day 2017
Saturday, Aug. 5
8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Click here to register on-line
Click here for additional information

Join us for Garden Day 2017 and add a little spice to your life with Helen Yoest!

In Helen?s first presentation, Plants with Benefits, find out how 50 plants got their hot reputation ? and what modern science has to say about it. You?ll learn how to grow these plants in your home garden and take away some delicious recipes!

In her second presentation, My Forever Garden, find out how to make your garden manageable and more desirable than ever, leading to years of future enjoyment!

Additionally, you?ll enjoy your choice of two engaging workshops, Garden tours and perusing our Green Garden Marketplace for plants, garden accessories and other great buys! Also included is morning coffee, lunch, materials and parking.

2017 MSU Horticulture Garden Members: $76
Non-members: $86
All registrations after 5pm July 29: $96

Click here to register on-line

Click here for additional information

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