The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has recently implemented new regulations related to direct marketing and food safety. While they could increase growers' costs, they also have the potential to foster more favorable market conditions for smaller farms engaged in direct marketing.
The major provisions in these new regulations are summarized below. It would be helpful to review CDFA's Small Farm Food Safety Guidelines http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/i_&_c/sffsg.html since they are referenced in two of the pieces of legislation. If you have any questions or concerns about these new regulations, please email Shermain Hardesty, Leader of the UC Small Farm Program, firstname.lastname@example.org.
AB 224 CSA Programs (Gordon—signed September 28, 2013)
- Authorized CDFA to adopt regulations establishing a registration program for CSA producers, including those supplying multi-farm CSA
- $75 annual fee, $25 for each amendment
- Required CDFA to post Small Farm Food Safety Guidelines
o Cover safe production, processing, and handling of both non-potentially and potentially hazardous foods.
Are independent of any of the federal FSMA's pending requirements.
- Imposed specific requirements related to the labeling and maintenance of consumer boxes and containers that are used in CSA programs to deliver farm products in order to facilitate traceback
o Label the consumer box or container used to deliver farm products to the consumer with the name and address of the farm delivering the box or container
o Maintain the consumer boxes or containers in a condition that prevents contamination
o Inform consumers, either by including a printed list in the consumer box or container or by delivering a list electronically to the consumer, of the farm of origin of each item in the consumer box or container
o Maintain records that document the contents and origin of all of the items included in each consumer box or container, in accordance with department regulations
o Comply with all labeling and identification requirements for shell eggs and processed foods imposed pursuant to the provisions of the Health and Safety Code, including, but not limited to, the farm's name, physical address, and telephone number
o Specified that a registered California direct marketing producer is an approved source, subject to compliance with specified provisions of the law, and that any whole uncut fruit or vegetable or unrefrigerated shell egg grown or produced in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and food safety guidelines shall be deemed to be from an approved source.
AB 1871 Certified Farmers Markets (Dickinson—signed September 26, 2014)
- Raised fee paid by Certified Farmers Markets for their vendors from 60 cents to $2 daily. Only farmers used to pay the fee, but now extended to all vendors, including food and crafts sellers in non-agricultural sections
- Required farmers to register with County Ag Dept. and pay a fee annually
- When farmers get their Certified Producers Certification for selling at Certified Farmers Markets, required them to attest that they are “knowledgeable of and intend to produce in accordance with” good agricultural practices (GAPs)--as outlined in CDFA's Small Farm Food Safety Guidelines (see http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/i_&_c/sffsg.html)
- Authorized use of the term “California grown” and similar terms for marketing, advertising, or promotional purposes only to identify food or agricultural products that have been produced in the state or harvested in its surface or coastal waters, and made the fraudulent use of the term or a deliberately misleading or unwarranted use of the term a misdemeanor
AB 1990 Community Food Producers (Gordon—signed September 26, 2014)
- Defined “community food producers” as an approved source that includes, but is not limited to, community gardens, personal gardens, school gardens, and culinary gardens
- Permits a community food producer or gleaner to sell or provide whole uncut fruits or vegetables, or unrefrigerated shell eggs, directly to the public, to a permitted restaurant, or a cottage food operation if the community food producer meets all of the following requirements in addition to any requirements imposed by an ordinance adopted by a local jurisdiction:
(2) Agricultural products shall be labeled with the name and address of the community food producer.
(3) Conspicuous signage shall be provided in lieu of a product label if the agricultural product is being sold by the community food producer on the site of production. The signage shall include, but not be limited to, the name and address of the community food producer.
(4) Best management practices as described in CDFA's Small Farm Food Safety Guidelines, but not limited to, safe production, processing, and handling of both nonpotentially hazardous and potentially hazardous foods (see http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/i_&_c/sffsg.html)
(5) Egg production shall be limited to 15 dozen eggs per month.
- Permits a local city or county health enforcement office may require a community food producer or gleaner to register with the city or county and to provide specified information, including, but not limited to, their name, address, and telephone number
Identifying nontarget crop and ornamental plant damage from herbicides has become much easier with the launch of a new online photo repository by the Statewide IPM Program, University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Herbicides applied to manage weeds may move from the site where it was applied in the air or by attaching to soil particles and traveling as herbicide-contaminated soil. When an herbicide contacts a nontarget plant, a plant it was not intended to contact, it can cause slight to serious injury. Herbicide injury also occurs when the sprayer is not properly cleaned after a previous herbicide application. Herbicide residue can be found in the spray tank, spray lines, pumps, filters and nozzles so a sprayer must be thoroughly cleaned after an application. Dry herbicide particles can be redissolved months later and cause herbicide damage to plants. Economic damage includes reduced yield, poor fruit quality, distorted ornamental or nursery plants, and occasionally plant death.
Accurately diagnosing plants that may have herbicide injuries is difficult. In many cases, herbicide symptoms look very similar to symptoms caused by diseases, nutrient deficiencies, environmental stress and soil compaction. Plant disease symptoms such as mottled foliage, brown spots or stem death and plant pests such as insects or nematodes cause foliage to yellow and reduce plant growth similar to herbicide injury.
Dr. Kassim Al-Khatib, weed science professor at UC Davis and director of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM), has gathered nearly a thousand photos of herbicide-damaged plants, drawn from his own and others' research. The images are cataloged to show damage that can occur from 81 herbicides in more than 14 specific herbicide modes of action, applied in the field to demonstrate the symptoms or when known herbicide spray has drifted onto the plant.
Each image is characterized with the name of the plant, mode of action of the herbicide, and notes the specific symptoms of damage. Together these photos provide a comprehensive archive of damage to over 120 different crops and ornamental plants by known herbicides, which users can easily compare with what they see in the field.
Also included in the repository is information about the modes of action of various herbicides and an index of example herbicide trade names and active ingredients. Users can learn how unintended injury from herbicide occurs from misapplication and carryover from previous crops in addition to drift and herbicide-contaminated tanks.
The repository can be found at http://herbicidesymptoms.ipm.ucanr.edu. Increased knowledge about what causes herbicide damage and how it occurs can lead to fewer cases of herbicide injury occurring through drift or herbicide-contaminated tanks. Using the repository can increase the skill to correctly identify plant damage. Correctly identifying damage as herbicide injury and not from a plant pest or nutrient deficiency can prevent unnecessary applications of pesticides or fertilizers. Fewer applications can lessen the risk of harm of pesticides and fertilizers to people and the environment.
Soil application of the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum protects strawberry plants from spider mite damage
Entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana is known to endophytically colonize various plants and provide protection against arthropod pests. Information of such endophytic interaction of another entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum (=M. anisopliae) is limited.
A greenhouse study was conducted in 2010 to evaluate the endophytic potential of B. bassiana (commercial isolate GHA and a California isolate SfBb1) and M. brunneum (commercial isolate F52 and a California isolate GmMa1). Strawberry plants were grown in pots and fungal inocula were applied to the potting medium, vermiculite. When roots and aerial parts were periodically sampled, surface sterilized, and plated on selective media, B. bassiana grew from roots, petioles, pedicels, leaf lamina, sepals, and calyxes whereas M. brunneum was never detected from those tissues. It was initially thought that M. brunneum did not colonize strawberry plants.
However, there was an accidental infestation of twospotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae on strawberry plants meant for another repetition of the endophyte study with M. brunneum isolates. Among those plants, 32 were treated with M. brunneum isolates and 20 were untreated control plants. Treatments were administered by applying 100 ml of conidial suspension at 1X10^10 conidia/ml concentration around the base of each potted plant. Each isolate had 16 strawberry plants. Mite counts were not taken as the plants were initially intended for endophyte evaluation and leaves could not be destructively sampled. But the proportion of plants damaged by mite infestations were recorded 10 and 14 days after fungal inoculation.
Plants treated with M. brunneum isolates appeared to withstand spider mite infestations better than untreated controls. Since M. brunneum could not be detected in the plant tissue in the previous attempt, it was not clear at that time how the fungus helped strawberry plants to withstand mite damage.
A recent study using scanning electronic microcopy showed that M. brunneum endophytically colonized cowpea plants. It is possible that M. brunneum colonized strawberry plants, but could not be detected using selective medium technique. Another study demonstrated that B. bassiana and M. brunneum promoted the growth of cabbage plants and improved the biomass. In the current study, M. brunneum probably improved the moisture absorption in strawberry plants through mycorrhizal interaction and helped withstand the spider mite infestations which are usually worse in plants under water stress. Fungal toxins in strawberry plants might have also impacted spider mites in a manner similar to the effect of endophytic B. bassiana on green peach aphid, Myzus persicae, in a different study. Observations from the current study indicate the potential of M. brunneum as an endophyte in protecting plants from arthropod damage. Additional studies are required to further investigate this interaction.
Acknowledgment: Thanks to Dale Spurgeon, USDA-ARS for providing laboratory and greenhouse resources for this study.
Dara, S. K. and S. R. Dara. 2015. Entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana endophytically colonizes strawberry plants. UCANR eNewsletter Strawberries and Vegetables, February 17, 2015.
Dara, S. K., S. S. Dara, and S. S. Dara. 2014. Entomopathogenic fungi as plant growth enhancers. 47th Annual Meeting of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology and International Congress on Invertebrate Pathology and Microbial Control, August 3-7, Mainz, Germany, pp. 103-104.
Golo, P. S., W. Arruda, F. R. S. Paixão, F. M. Alves, E.K.K. Fernandes, D. W. Roberts, and V.R.E.P. Bittencourt. 2014. Interactions between cowpea plants vs. Metarhizium spp. entomopathogenic fungi. 47th Annual Meeting of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology and International Congress on Invertebrate Pathology and Microbial Control, August 3-7, Mainz, Germany, pp. 104.
Vega, F. E., F. Posada, M. C. Aime, M. Pava-Ripoll, F. Infante, and S. A. Rehner. 2008. Entomopathogenic fungal endophytes. Biol. Con. 46:72-82.
Entomopathogen Beauveria bassiana is a soilborne fungus which is commercially available for pest management in organic and conventional agriculture. Although numerous studies demonstrated the interaction of B. bassiana with various arthropod hosts as a pathogen, information on its interaction with plants is limited. Some recent studies investigated the endophytic (growing inside the plant) interaction of entomopathogenic fungi with different species of plants in an effort to understand the impact on arthropods feeding on the plants and antagonistic effect on plant pathogens. When an entomopathogen is present in a plant as an endophyte, it may not cause infection in its arthropod host, but can affect its growth and development through (fungal) toxins. This interaction could be utilized to improve pest control efficacy and improve plant health.
To evaluate the ability of B. bassiana to endophytically colonize strawberry plants, two greenhouse studies were conducted in 2010 using a commercial isolate (GHA) and a California isolate (SfBb1). The first study examined three methods of inoculating strawberry plants where dry conidia of B. bassiana were mixed with potting medium (1X10^7 conidia/gram of vermiculite), strawberry roots were dipped in conidial suspension (1X10^7 conidia/ml) prior to planting, or 100 ml of conidial suspension (1X10^7 conidia/ml) was applied at the base the plant. Care was taken to prevent the contamination of aerial parts of plants with fungal inoculation. Each treatment had four potted plants and a set of untreated plants was used as control. Root, petiole or pedicel, and leaf lamina or sepal or calyx samples were collected 1, 3, and 6 weeks after inoculation to test for the presence of B. bassiana. Plant material was plated a selective culture medium after surface sterilization with bleach solution. Fungal growth from the plant tissue was microscopically examined and identified. Beauveria bassiana emerged from all plant tissues – roots underground to all aboveground parts – throughout the observation period. Among the inoculation methods, root dip and application of conidial suspension caused 52 and 44% of tissue colonization, respectively, followed by 4% colonization from mixing dry conidia.
The second study was conducted to evaluate colonization of B. bassiana at 1X10^9, 1X10^10, and 1X10^11 conidia/ml concentrations. Application of conidial suspension was chosen as it was the easiest means of inoculation and also practical to administer through drip irrigation system in the commercial fields. Treatments were administered by applying 100 ml of respective concentrations of conidial suspensions around the plant base. Plant tissues were sampled 1, 3, 6, and 9 weeks after inoculation using the abovementioned protocol.
Data were subjected to statistical analyses and significant means were separated using Tukey's HSD test.
Both commercial and California isolates colonized all sampled strawberry plant parts for up to 9 weeks after inoculation (Fig. 1). Due to the limited number of plants used in the study, sampling could not be continued beyond 9 weeks.
Fig. 1. Proportion of various plant parts endophytically colonized by commercial (GHA) and California (SfBb1) isolates of B. bassiana at 1, 3, 6, and 9 weeks after inoculation (WAI).
When concentrations were compared, fungal colonization of plants was the highest at 1X10^11 conidia/ml only for the commercial isolate (Table 1). There was no significant difference among conidial concentrations for the California isolate. In general, colonization was first noticed in roots and then the fungus moved up to the aerial parts. This trend was more evident for the commercial isolate with significant differences at 1X10^10 conidia/ml. Although not significant, it appeared that the commercial colonized strawberry plants more than the California isolate.
Table 1. Proportion of different strawberry plant parts endophytically colonized by commercial (GHA) and California (SfBb1) isolates of B. bassiana at various conidial concentrations.
*Average colonization of all plant parts for GHA isolate was significantly different at different concentrations P=0.03). Means followed by the same lowercase letter or no letter in the column were not significantly different.
**Colonization was significantly different among different plant parts at 1010 conidia/ml for GHA (P=0.01). Means followed by the same uppercase letter or no letter in the row were not significantly different.
These are the first studies to demonstrate that B. bassiana endophytically colonizes strawberry plants. The impact of endophytic B. bassiana on arthropod pests attacking strawberry plants was investigated in other studies.
Acknowledgment: Thanks to Dale Spurgeon, USDA-ARS for providing laboratory and greenhouse resources for these studies./span>
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