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Tristeza-infected trees removed at Lindcove

The top story in the Fresno Bee business section this morning reports on the relatively high number of citrus trees that had to be removed at the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center this year due to citrus tristeza virus infection.

Reporter Robert Rodriguez interviewed Lindcove director Beth Grafton-Cardwell. According to the article, she told him that the number of cotton aphids, the pest that is spreading the disease from tree to tree, was high this year.

"We had the best-case scenario for transmitting the virus," Grafton-Cardwell was quoted in the story. "And that's why we saw the numbers jump up."

Citrus trees at the Lindcove REC are the parents of most of California's commercial citrus trees. Nurseries rely on the center's true-to-type bud wood to propagate trees for the industry. But a delay in bud wood release isn't the only side effect of the spread of tristeza virus.

Grafton-Cardwell told the Bee: "The disease problem we have right now has not only affected our abilty to release clean bud wood, but it affects our research as well."

Perhaps the Fresno Bee's headline writer said it best when he topped Rodriguez' story with the title: "Virus bedevils citrus growers."

Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 12:08 PM

Podcast gets UC's take on sustainability

The Web site Science and Society posted a podcast last week of an in depth interview with Tom Tomich, director of the ANR Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. Tomich also is director of the UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute.

According to its Web site, Science and Society's audio program focuses on medical breakthroughs, energy and the environment, space exploration, nanotechnology, and K-12 science education. It aims to promote public awareness and understanding of science and enhancement and enrichment of math and science education.

When host David Lemberg opened the show with Tomich by asking him to define "sustainability," he quoted a phrase from "Our Common Future," a 1987 report from the UN World Commission on Environment and Development. Sustainable development, Tomich said, "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs."

To go directly to the podcast, click here.

Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 10:22 AM

Heat stress again in the news.

The ABC news television affiliate in Fresno reported last night that the death of a farmworker in the San Joaquin Valley two weeks ago may have been due to heat stress. The 54-year-old Mexican national died next to a packing house on the outskirts of Kettleman City.

A prolonged heat wave last summer prompted UC Cooperative Extension to gather information for the public about avoiding heat-related illnesses. Articles on the how the body handles heat and how to cope with heat are included in a heat stress media kit available online. A downloadable information card in pdf format has the basics in easy-to-read English and Spanish. In addition, audio messages about coping with heat may be accessed by calling UC's phone-in message system AsisTel at 1-800-514-4494.

The messages related to heat stress are:
No. 161- Why heat stress happens
No. 162 - How to avoid heat related illnesses
No. 163 - Employers role in combating workers’ heat stress
No. 164 - Heat stress doesn’t only happen in hot weather

Posted on Friday, May 25, 2007 at 9:35 AM

Summer news tips for the media

Even though the first day of summer is toward the end of June, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the season for sun and recreation. The UC Agriculture and Natural Resources communicators network have taken this opportunity to compile news tips that will be of interest to the media and their clientele during the summer months.

Each tip can stand alone, providing useful information to make the summer safer, plus includes the name, phone number and e-mail address of a UC academic expert on the topic who can provide additional information if a reporter wishes to flesh out a story. The topics are:

-Food safety in the ‘Good Old Summertime’
-Preventing the itch
-Rattlesnake season poses concerns for pets and other animals
-Death cap mushrooms spreading in California
-Insects are biological indicators of water quality
-Know your watershed before you eat fish
-Thirsty children and pesticides
-Swimmers’ handmade dams are havens for pesky black flies

Posted on Thursday, May 24, 2007 at 10:27 AM

We're still No. 1!

Whenever I travel in the United States or overseas, I like to tell people that I come from the No. 1 ag county in the world. That's impressive. Today, the Fresno Bee reports that Fresno County has retained the title for yet another year.

The total gross production value of Fresno County crops and livestock was the highest ever in 2006 at $4.85 billion, up 4.41 percent from 2005, the Bee story quoted Fresno County agricultural commissioner Jerry Prieto Jr. Seven commodities generated more than a quarter-billion dollars in revenue here: grapes, almonds, tomatoes, poultry, cattle and calves, milk and cotton. 

Fresno County UC Cooperative Extension has supported the Fresno County agriculture industry for 89 years with research and education programs. Currently, nine farm advisors work with the area's superb farmers. In addition, the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center, which houses 24 researchers affiliated with UC Davis, Berkeley or Riverside, is located in Fresno County. There is no doubt that UC's presence contributes to the county's continued agricultural success.

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 9:58 AM

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