Invasive Bagrada bug continues to spread to various counties in California. Compared to previous years, reports of Bagrada bug infestations came in quite late in 2013. They also seemed to survive cold winters. How they survive cold temperatures when there are no cultivated or weed hosts is not clear, but they can hide under vegetation, in the crop debris, or the top layer of soil.
Bryan Jones of San Francisco just reported seeing a Bagrada bug on his backyard grass. This is probably the first report of its spread to San Francisco. It was also reported from Fresno, Monterey, San Benito, and San Bernardino Counties, suspected to be present in Santa Cruz County in 2013, and appears to be in Kern County for a couple of years or more. Out side California, it is present in La Paz, Maricopa, Pinal, and Yuma Counties in Arizona, Luna, Santa Fe, Socorro, and Valencia Counties in New Mexico, and some parts of Utah and Texas. Unlike other invasive pests such as the brown marmorated stink bug or the Asian citrus psyllid which moved to the west coast from eastern parts of the US, Bagrada bug is moving to the east.
Regular monitoring, timely treatments during the early stages of plant development, crop rotation with non-host plants are some of the available management options. Using sweet alyssum or other hosts as trap crops does not seem to be an effective strategy accordingly to some research.
Bagrada bug Pest Alert can be downloaded from: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PDF/pestalert/bagradabug.pdf
Since many of the California producers in the North Bay use Rancho for cattle harvest this repost of an article by Rita Jane Gabbett from the Meating Place is timely.
"Rancho Feeding Corp., based in Petaluma, Calif., is recalling about 41,683 pounds of various meat products because they were produced without the benefit of full federal inspection, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said.
The following Rancho Feeding Corp. products are subject to recall:
- “Beef Carcasses”
- 50-lb. boxes of “Beef Feet”
- 20-lb. boxes of “Beef Oxtail”
- 50-lb. boxes of “Beef Hearts”
- 60 and 30-lb. boxes of “Beef Liver”
- 30-lb. boxes of “Beef Cheeks”
- 60-lb. boxes of “Beef Tripe”
- 30-lb. boxes of “Beef Tongue”
Beef carcasses and boxes bear the establishment number "EST. 527" inside the USDA mark of inspection. Each box bears the case code number “ON9O4.” The products were produced Jan. 8, 2014, and shipped to distribution centers and retail establishments in California.
The problem was discovered as a result of an ongoing investigation. FSIS believes the company produced product without full ante-mortem inspection as per federal regulations.
FSIS has received no reports of illness due to consumption of these products."
There will be a drought management workshop scheduled at the Sierra Research and Extension Center on January 29th. See the attached flyer for details. The December forage clipping at Sierra Research and Extension Center was 47.38 lbs /ac. The average is 482 lbs /ac. we are at 9.8 % of normal. I am available to discuss grazing planning and any culling decision if that is helpful for you.
Remember - DO NOT FEED YOUR WAY OUT OF A DROUGHT!
Hello Prospective Farmers!
Are you interested in being a farmer, but are not quite sure how to get there? The California Farm Academy (CFA), a program of the Center for Land-Based Learning in Winters, CA is a beginning farmer training program that helps you meet your farming goals and start your own farm business.
CFA is an 8 month program that trains beginning farmers in all aspects of agricultural production through field work, business planning, classes, and farm visits to give you a solid foundation in what you need to know to get started with your own farm business. At the close of the program you will have completed your own farm business plan and crop plan. Additionally, qualified graduates will have the opportunity to join the CFA Incubator Program and lease farmland for a reduced rate to help start your own farm business.
We are currently accepting applications! For more information see www.californiafarmacademy.org.
Maureen Thompson, Farm Program Manager and
Jennifer Taylor, Program Director
Farm Program Manager, California Farm Academy
Center for Land-Based Learning
5265 Putah Creek Road
Winters, CA 95694
In early January, 2013 the FDA issued two sets of proposed regulations related to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that could have significant impacts on farmers—small- and large-scale: the Produce Rule and Preventive Controls Rule for Human Food. The deadline for comments has been extended twice; it appears that November 15, 2013 will be the final deadline. Links and more information about submitting your comments to the FDA are below.
As I work on drafting my comments to submit to FDA about these proposed rules, it would helpful to get your input about the proposed rules. Please send your comments by November 8 to: email@example.com. Please share your thoughts about how the proposed rules would impact your farming operation.
Below, I have summarized some key provisions and provided links to other sources. I hope that you can take some time to review this information. FDA’s proposed rules could have a significant impact on your farming operation.
Proposed Rule on Preventive Controls for Human Food
The rule requires each facility covered by the rule to prepare and implement a written food safety plan, which would include the following: hazard analysis; risk-based preventive controls; monitoring procedures; corrective actions; verification; and recordkeeping.
These are some problems I see with the Proposed Rule on Preventive Controls:
Clarification is needed
The proposed Preventive Controls Rule includes provisions for exemptions and modified requirements. However, they are extremely difficult to understand. The relevant sections of the rule need to be clarified, as well as the associated guidance documents and educational materials.
Packing and Holding Activities should be explicitly exempt
Packing, sorting, grading and storing produce grown on the farm does not trigger the manufacturing/processing definition; however, these same activities involving produce grown on another farm classifies the farm as a “farm mixed-type facility”. These low-risk activities should be explicitly exempted from the requirements of the proposed rule.
Community Support Agriculture (CSA)s, Farmers Markets and Farm Stands must be explicitly identified as retail food establishments
The Food Safety Modernization Act includes language that specifically instructs the FDA to amend the definition of a retail food establishment to include CSAs, farmers markets and roadside farm stands. Under pre-existing law, retail food establishments are not “facilities” anddo NOT have to register with the FDA (the definition of “facility” as used in FSMA comes from that used in the Bioterrorism Act). However, this amended definition is not included in the FDA’s Preventive Controls rule. The FSMA Facts document—I Have a Farm--Does the Proposed Preventive Controls Rule Affect Me? (http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/ FSMA/UCM365377.pdf) states:
“FDA intends to amend the definition of “retail food establishment” to clarify that, in determining the primary function of an establishment, the sale of food products directly to consumers includes:
o Sales of food to consumers at a roadside stand or farmer’s market and
o Sale and distribution of food through a community –supported agriculture program.”
It is curious, nevertheless, that FDA did not simply include a similar statement in the proposed rule, despite the specific instructions in the FSMA. Furthermore, the word “intends” does not project the same level of certainty or commitment, as would a mandatory word such as “shall”.
Thus, CSAs and roadside stands that handle produce from another farm could be subject to the same manufacturing-related regulations as a large-scale fruit cannery; they would have to register with the FDA and comply with Hazard Analysis/Preventive Controls requirements. This vulnerability must be eliminated by including an amended definition of a retail food establishment within the proposed rule.
Key links regarding the Proposed Rule on Preventive Controls for Human Food:
Summary by National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition: http://sustainableagriculture.net/fsma/overview-and-background/what-is-the-preventive-controls-rule/
Check out if it applies to you as a farmer: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/UCM365377.pdf
Text of Proposed Rule: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2011-N-0920-0001
Comment on the Proposed Preventive Controls Rule: (click on the blue box in the upper right- hand corner: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-N-0920-0188
Please send your thoughts about how the proposed rules would impact your farming operation by November 8 to: firstname.lastname@example.org. I would like to incorporate them (without identifying the source) into my response to the FDA.
 Bold face font added.