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‘UC Wolfskill’ walnut will allow earlier harvest

by Amy Quinton

Posted on Saturday February 13, 2021, 11:58 am

UC Davis researchers have bred a new walnut variety designed to provide growers a way to harvest earlier and boost the harvest efficiency of California's $1.6 billion walnut industry.

The new “UC Wolfskill” walnut has yield, quality and light color similar to Chandler, which is a late-harvesting walnut and the state's leading variety. UC Wolfskill was bred in 2003 from a cross of Chandler with the Solano walnut. UC Wolfskill combines the color and shell traits of Chandler with the earlier harvest date and kernel fill of Solano.

“The release of UC Wolfskill means growers can spread out their harvest and still have a really high-quality nut that will fetch top-notch prices and provide similar yields,” said Pat J. Brown, breeder and professor with the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences.

Over 99 percent of the nation's walnuts are grown in Ca...

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Additional Assistance for Certain Producers Through Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Offered


Posted on Saturday February 13, 2021, 11:55 am

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide additional assistance through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), expanding eligibility for some agricultural producers and commodities as well as updating payments to accurately compensate some producers who already applied for the program. Producers who are now eligible and those who need to modify existing applications due to these updates can contact USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) until Feb. 26. Some of these changes are being made to align with the recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 while others are discretionary changes being made in response to ongoing evaluation of CFAP.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has left a deep impact on the farm economy, and we are utilizing the tools and monies available to ease some of the financial burd...

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Dead Trees Fuel Wildfire Severity in Sierra Nevada

by Kat Kerlin

Posted on Saturday February 13, 2021, 11:52 am

California’s drought of 2012-2016 killed millions of trees in the Sierra Nevada — mostly by way of a bark beetle epidemic — leaving a forest canopy full of dry needles. A study published from the University of California, Davis, and the U.S. Forest Service helps answer concerns about what effect dense, dead foliage could have on subsequent wildfires and their burn severity. In the study, published in the journal Ecological Applications, scientists found that the presence of recently dead trees on the landscape was a driver of wildfire severity for two large fires that occurred toward the end of the drought: the 151,000-acre Rough Fire in 2015 and the 29,300-acre Cedar Fire in 2016. The publication is the first field-based study to document the important role recently dead trees can play in exacerbating fire severity in California forests that are historically adapted to frequent...

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USDA to Conduct 2020 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey


Posted on Saturday February 13, 2021, 11:47 am

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct the 2020 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey, which began in December. First conducted in 2015, this Census of Agriculture special study will look at local and regional food systems and provide new data on how locally grown food in the United States are marketed and sold. The results will be available in November 2021. "Federal funding and policies for local and regional food systems were greatly expanded by the last three Farm Bills and it is our job as a federal statistical agency to help measure this part of the agriculture sector,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “We are excited to provide the first official federal data on marketing practices for local food since 2015 and therefore a five-year comparison point to inform policies and business in this area.”

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Red imported fire ants may be challenging to eradicate, but they can be controlled

by Jeannette E. Warnert

Posted on Saturday February 13, 2021, 11:44 am

As winter turns into spring, Southern California residents who live in areas where the red imported fire ant has taken hold will want to keep a close eye out for colonies establishing themselves in lawns, parks, schools and golf courses. Red imported fire ant (RIFA) arrived in California in 1989, and is widespread in residential and commercial areas of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and adjoining areas of Los Angeles County. True to its name, the fire ants inflict painful, burning stings when they crawl onto people working, walking or resting on infested turf grass and other outdoor areas. For some people, RIFA bites and stings can lead to life-threatening anaphylactic shock.

RIFA is difficult to eradicate, but care and attention can reduce the population to a level that minimizes the risk of injury, said Siavash Taravati, UC Cooperative Extension integrated...

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