Citrus Greening Solutions – Research Fuels Creative Options for Detection, Prevention

Editors Note:  We’re back! It’s been a few months since last I posted – and for good reason. I’ve been knee-deep (pen / computer deep doesn’t sound right) in working on my 1st book. More on that at a future date. Although I’m currently in rewrites, you can expect to see a bit more from me here. And hopefully you’ll let me know how you like what you read! So onwards!

Citrus Greening is devastating the citrus industry. Photo courtesy of USDA, Flickr

$3.3 billion. That’s what the National Agricultural Statistics Service rates the value of the citrus industry in the United States. Yet danger and some of the industry’s greatest challenges lurk in citrus groves across the country – devastating pests and diseases.

The Department of Homeland Security estimates invasive species annually cause $136 billion in overall lost agricultural revenue in the U.S.

The Asian Citrus Psyllid, which creates a disease-causing bacteria known as Huanglongbing (HLB) or citrus greening, is one of the citrus industry’s most destructive insects. It has infected commercial and residential citrus trees across the country from Florida to Texas to California. The disease clogs an infected tree’s vascular system, preventing fruit from maturing and eventually killing the tree.

To learn more about what’s being done to combat this devastating disease – including some innovative projects that are showing great promise – check out the full article here.

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Compost – a Smart Way to Better Soil Health

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the December-January issue of AgMag magazine

Photo courtesy of normanack

Compost – a decaying mixture of organic matter that can include dead leaves, food waste, animal manure, even coffee grounds – is a solution to many soil-related problems.

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There’s hope for farmers who want to raise farm animals humanely

If you know any farmers, you know that earning a living is very difficult. Much money is spent – on equipment of all sorts, high labor costs and a myriad of other things – and the markets are volatile at best. Farmers who raise livestock – be it cattle, chickens or hogs – know that the demand from consumers for humanely raised animals is growing.

Change, however, costs money, something that’s usually in short supply for the American farmer.

But there’s hope out there and resources that farmers can reach out for to help them transition to a third-party certification of humanely raised farm animals.

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A new food label is coming our way – Certified Transitional

Certified Transitional graphic page 1If you read labels – and as an informed consumer you really need to – you know that there are MANY labels out there. Too many in fact.

But get ready because another one’s on the way. This one, though, actually makes sense. Continue reading

Buyers beware – organics from China may be hazardous to our health

Walmart misrepresents products as Organic - againThe demand for organic foods continues to grow. But should we blithely accept something that’s USDA certified as safe?

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Who does the USDA really represent? Surely not the public’s welfare

Genetically engineered Diamond back moth by Oxitec

With all the hoopla across the country about whether or not to pass legislation that would give the public the right to know what’s in the food we eat and about preventing carcinogenic pesticides from being used on our food crops, the idea that the U.S. Department of Agriculture would flagrantly disregard concerns of environmentalists and concerned citizens seems at odds with its public charter. Yet that’s apparently what’s happened.

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“Certified Naturally Grown” label brings trust and confidence to consumers

It’s tough for consumers to make sense of the many food certification labels

There’s a steadily growing plethora of food certifications out there and it’s getting pretty confusing for consumers to make sense of them. And the label “natural” has become downright suspicious and meaningless.

Among the confusion, there are labels we can trust out there, including Non-GMO Verified and perhaps Certified Humane. Now it seems there’s another one that smaller farmers are embracing and that’s trustworthy.

Certified Naturally Grown (CNG), a grassroots non-profit created by a handful of farmers from New York’s Hudson Valley who were committed to organic practices, has ts own set of standards and certification process. Continue reading