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Additional Commodities Eligible for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced an initial list of additional commodities that have been added to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made other adjustments to the program based on comments received from agricultural producers and organizations and review of market data. Producers will be able to submit applications …

NMSU Researchers Examine Robotic Harvesting, Data Gathering in Chile Pepper Fields

Increasingly scarce irrigation resources and labor availability are key components impacting the sustainability of the New Mexico chile pepper industry.   New Mexico State University’s Center of Excellence in Sustainable Food and Agricultural Systems is providing a grant for the first year of research in the use of mobile robotics to address both of these issues.“The purpose of the seed …

PMA Launches the Essentials of Produce Safety — Online Professional Training Program

The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has announced the launch of its eLearning certificate course Essentials of Produce Safety, an entirely online, affordable and in-depth program covering the key challenges and best practices in produce safety. The course is the first certificate program in PMA’s new educational platform offering, FreshEd Academy. The course was developed in partnership with Intertek Alchemy, the …

Attracting Natural Enemies of Pests to Your Field

Dr. Eric Brennan is a Research Horticulturist at ARS’s Crop Improvement and Protection Research Unit in Salinas, CA. Dr. Brennan specializes in crop production and climate-smart farming. Welcome Dr. Brennan (EB) to Under the Microscope (UM): UM – You have a rather novel alternative approach to control insect pests like aphids in lettuce without using pesticides, called conservation biological control. Please explain:  EB – Sure, biological …

NMSU Extension Offers Online Produce Safety Training June 29-30

Harvesting of vegetables and fruits is beginning. Soon fresh produce will be available at growers’ markets.   In preparation for providing for this season’s harvest and sales, a food safety practices course is available to growers to meet the regulatory requirements included in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule.New Mexico State University’s Cooperative …

NMSU, Xerces Society Present Supporting Pollinators, Beneficial Insect Webinars

New Mexico State University has partnered with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation to host a free virtual course series to inform farmers, educators and the general public about pollinator and beneficial insect conservation in gardens and farms in northern New Mexico. “The six-part weekly series, “Supporting Pollinators and Beneficial Insects in Backyards and on Farms,” will consist of one …

Organic Trade Association Honors Jeff Huckaby of Grimmway Farms

Jeff Huckaby, currently President of Grimmway Farms and Cal-Organic Farms, is being honored by the Organic Trade Association as Organic Farmer of the Year. Huckaby started farming organically in 1999 as a farm manager for Grimmway in Bakersfield, California, growing several hundred acres of organic carrots. In 2000, he took over all of Grimmway’s organic farming operations throughout California. A …

Field Fresh Farms Expands Retail Distribution in Response to Market Changes

Field Fresh Farms (fieldfreshproduce.com), a leading grower/shipper of conventional and organic produce, has responded to market changes and consumer demand created in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, by building upon existing relationships and expanding its retail presence by establishing new collaborations. In conjunction with this move, the company has refreshed its branding and website, and developed new conventional and organic …

USDA Issues First Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Payments

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has already approved more than $545 million in payments to producers who have applied for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. FSA began taking applications May 26, and the agency has received over 86,000 applications for this important relief program. “The coronavirus has hurt America’s farmers, ranchers, …

Watermelon Board Pivots Nutrition Education Strategy to Digital Model

The National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) is realigning resources to adapt to a new climate while focusing on summer sales. Unlike years past when summer months meant in-person events, the socially-distanced approach adjusts marketing and promotional efforts to continue to position watermelon as the go-to choice for kids and families. NWPB has been partnered with the world’s only rock & …

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