- Author: Jim Downer
- Author: Chris M. Webb
Agriculture is more than food production. The term is used to describe the human cultivation of food, fiber and other products. Many people think of food farming and raising of livestock as the extent of agriculture, but there is much more to this powerful industry.
For approximately 10,000 years agriculture has shaped civilization. And in fact some say that agriculture has made civilization possible. Agricultural progress allowed groups of people the first alternative to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Continual improvements in methods and technology took people from subsistence agriculture to production levels. As the production continued to increase fewer people were needed in food and fiber production and were able to focus on other pursuits and careers.
Today agriculture includes foods, fibers, biofuels, biopharmaceuticals, bioplastics, lumber, cut flowers and nursery plants. New agricultural technologies already available and those in the research stage will continue to shape, expand and influence society both locally and globally.
Ventura County has a wide range of agricultural products and production. The size of our local farms are smaller than average; however, our growers efforts combine to form an impressive cumulate result. Using data from the most recent USDA Ag Census Profile, the market value of Ventura County agriculture is ranked 9th statewide and 10th nationwide. When the value of nursery and greenhouse crops are included our county is 4th both state and nationwide. To learn more about the types of agriculture products grown in Ventura County please see the crop reports released by the County of Ventura Agricultural Commissioner.
In addition to crop values, the local agriculture industry branches out and positively impacts our local economy with, transportation/shipping, packing houses, product manufacturing and development, landscape design and maintenance, and much more.
- Author: Chris M. Webb
UC’s Nursery and Floriculture Alliance has many trainings scheduled, including several in Southern California. You can find program details on their website.
Also on the site, you will find archived presentations available for viewing and links to resources to help growers conserve irrigation water and manage water quality issues.
The nursery and floriculture industry is big business in Ventura County. Even after experiencing a decline in sales during the recession, the most recent crop report lists nursery stock as our third highest value crop at $180,057,000 (down from $298,690,000 in 2007-2008). Cut flowers are in the number four spot and brought in $47,348,000 (down from $51,297,000 in 2007-2008).
This map shows where these crops are grown within the county.
- Author: Chris M. Webb
Research to fight Huanglongbing (HLB), the deadly citrus disease carried by the Asian citrus psyllid, is taking place throughout our nation and the world. Industry-wide urgency is funding a variety of research in search of a solution.
In 2010 a National Academy of Sciences panel concluded that genetic engineering “holds the greatest hope”. A promising genetic engineering study, developed by a scientist at Texas A&M’s Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center is moving into the field testing stage.
Using spinach defensin proteins to help protect citrus trees and then exposing the trees to the bacterium, lab and greenhouse studies show infection rates are very low even when the trees are exposed to higher concentrations of infected insects then would be found in a commercial grove. The type of defensing protein used in the study can be found in plants, insects and mammals.
To learn more please see the AP article, Spinach could be weapon against citrus scourge.
- Author: Chris M. Webb
Huanglongbing (HLB) the deadly disease carried by the Asian citrus psyllid has recently been detected in Los Angeles County.
UCCE Ventura County Farm Advisor Ben Faber, stresses that people are responsible for much of the movement of ACP. On their own, this insect roughly the size of a grain of rice, can travel about a mile over their lifetime.
The health of citrus trees, and the health of our local citrus industry, largely depends on the responsible handling and movement of plant materials and fruit. This is of particular importance when traveling out of the county, state or country.
Please see the message below from the CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture).
CITRUS DISEASE HUANGLONGBING DETECTED IN HACIENDA HEIGHTS AREA OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY
SACRAMENTO, March 30, 2012 – The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today confirmed the state’s first detection of the citrus disease known as huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening. The disease was detected in an Asian citrus psyllid sample and plant material taken from a lemon/pummelo tree in a residential neighborhood in the Hacienda Heights area of Los Angeles County.
HLB is a bacterial disease that attacks the vascular system of plants. It does not pose a threat to humans or animals. The Asian citrus psyllid can spread the bacteria as the pest feeds on citrus trees and other plants. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure; it typically declines and dies within a few years.
“Citrus is not just a part of California’s agricultural economy; it’s a cherished part of our landscape and our shared history,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “CDFA is moving swiftly to protect the state’s citrus growers as well as our residential trees and the many prized citrus plantings in our parks and other public lands. We have been planning and preparing for this scenario with our growers and our colleagues at the federal and local levels since before the Asian citrus psyllid was first detected here in 2008.”
Officials are making arrangements to remove and dispose of the infected tree and conduct treatment of citrus trees within 800 meters of the find site. By taking these steps, a critical reservoir of disease and its vectors will be removed, which is essential. More information about the program will be provided at an informational open house scheduled for Thursday, April 5, at the Industry Hills Expo Center, The Avalon Room, 16200 Temple Avenue, City of Industry, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.
Treatment for HLB will be conducted with the oversight of the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal-EPA) and will be conducted safely, with advance and follow-up notices provided to residents in the treatment area.
An intensive survey of local citrus trees and psyllids is underway to determine the source and extent of the HLB infestation. Planning has begun for a quarantine of the infested area to limit the spread of the disease by restricting the movement of citrus trees, citrus plant parts, green waste, and all citrus fruit except what is commercially cleaned and packed. As part of the quarantine, citrus and closely related plants at nurseries in the area will be placed on hold.
Residents of quarantine areas are urged not to remove or share citrus fruit, trees, clippings/grafts or related plant material. Citrus fruit may be harvested and consumed on-site.
CDFA, in partnership with the USDA, local agricultural commissioners and the citrus industry, continues to pursue a strategy of controlling the spread of Asian citrus psyllids while researchers work to find a cure for the disease.
HLB is known to be present in Mexico and in parts of the southern U.S. Florida first detected the pest in 1998 and the disease in 2005, and the two have now been detected in all 30 citrus-producing counties in that state. The University of Florida estimates the disease has tallied more than 6,600 lost jobs, $1.3 billion in lost revenue to growers and $3.6 billion in lost economic activity. The pest and the disease are also present in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina. The states of Arizona, Mississippi and Alabama have detected the pest but not the disease.
The Asian citrus psyllid was first detected in California in 2008, and quarantines are now in place in Ventura, San Diego, Imperial, Orange, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. If Californians believe they have seen evidence of HLB in local citrus trees, they are asked to please call CDFA’s toll-free pest hotline at 1-800-491-1899. For more information on the Asian citrus psyllid and HLB visit: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/acp/
- Author: Chris M. Webb
Cottony cushion scale, Icerya purchasi, is an easy pest to spot. Cottony cushion scale can infest a number of woody ornamentals and some crops.
While the pest themselves are orangish brown to red throughout their life stages, attached to the females are elongated, white cottony egg sacs. Each sac contains 600 to 800 red eggs. The egg filled sac may become two to three times as long as the body of the female. Combined the length can reach close to ½ an inch.
After the eggs hatch into crawlers, they settle along leaf veins and begin to produce the white cottony secretion they are known for. Each time they increase in size, they shed their outer skin leaving it behind before starting the process over.
To learn more about these pests and how to manage them, please see UC ANR’s Cottony Cushion Scale Pest Note.
- Identification and life cycle
Commercial growers can find pest resources by crop on this page of the UC IPM Online website.
Additional information can be found in the related publication, Stages of the Cottony Cushion Scale and its Natural Enemy, the Vedalia Beetle (Rodolia cardinalis).