Blog Archives

Carolinas receive nearly $2 million in specialty crop grants

North and South Carolina farmers trying to combat pests and diseases attacking their blueberries, sweet potatoes and other specialty crops are getting help from the federal government. The U.S. Agriculture Department has provided nearly $ 2 million for a total of 35 programs in the Tar Heel and Palmetto states to research or promote home-grown fruits, vegetables and nursery plants.

The money will go to universities, local agencies and nonprofit organizations.SPECIALTY-GRANTS11213-SWEET-POTATOESGrowers of sweet potatoes, North Carolina’s number one produce crop, would benefit from a specialty crop grant project to eradicate the sweet potato weevil in North Carolina. It’s part of a $ 118 million national effort funded by the farm bill approved earlier this year. Its goal is to boost specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops. North Carolina received $ 1.175 million for 15 projects; South Carolina received about $ 602,000 for 20 projects.

North Carolina projects include assistance to specialty crop growers through a partnership with the Carolinas Farm Stewardship Association to develop a food-safety support program and to establish community-based, sustainable food-safety systems. And in a second project with the Farm Stewardship group, offer specialty crop producers seeking to take advantage of the high-value market for organic produce by helping them transition to certified-organic production.

Other North Carolina projects include a partnership with North Carolina State University to identify, collect, virus-test and propagate old and new cultivars in order to provide growers with a reliable source of productive muscadine grape plants and to establish baselines for an integrated pest management program to eradicate the sweet potato weevil in North Carolina.

South Carolina projects include partnering with the South Carolina Fruit, Vegetable and Specialty Crop Association to increase the visibility of the state’s specialty crops by rebranding the association and refocusing its media presence. Also, in cooperation with Lowcountry Local First, to increase the number of consumers eating specialty crops and increase the number of specialty crop growers by promoting the Growing New Farmers program.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the South Carolina Watermelon Association, will seek to increase the consumption of watermelon by providing education regarding its health benefits while promoting the South Carolina watermelon industry to retailers, wholesalers and the public through an extensive industry spokesperson program. Also, in cooperation with Clemson University, to develop a larger peach by using a wide and diverse set of germ plasm to accumulate many traits together into a single cultivar and distribute these findings to producers.

Also, in cooperation with the Coastal Conservation League, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture will try to create a stronger rural economy by increasing the volume of specialty crops distributed through local food hubs and managing the greater number of specialty crop farmers participating in the food hubs.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Carolinas receive nearly $2 million in specialty crop grants

North and South Carolina farmers trying to combat pests and diseases attacking their blueberries, sweet potatoes and other specialty crops are getting help from the federal government. The U.S. Agriculture Department has provided nearly $ 2 million for a total of 35 programs in the Tar Heel and Palmetto states to research or promote home-grown fruits, vegetables and nursery plants.

The money will go to universities, local agencies and nonprofit organizations.SPECIALTY-GRANTS11213-SWEET-POTATOESGrowers of sweet potatoes, North Carolina’s number one produce crop, would benefit from a specialty crop grant project to eradicate the sweet potato weevil in North Carolina. It’s part of a $ 118 million national effort funded by the farm bill approved earlier this year. Its goal is to boost specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops. North Carolina received $ 1.175 million for 15 projects; South Carolina received about $ 602,000 for 20 projects.

North Carolina projects include assistance to specialty crop growers through a partnership with the Carolinas Farm Stewardship Association to develop a food-safety support program and to establish community-based, sustainable food-safety systems. And in a second project with the Farm Stewardship group, offer specialty crop producers seeking to take advantage of the high-value market for organic produce by helping them transition to certified-organic production.

Other North Carolina projects include a partnership with North Carolina State University to identify, collect, virus-test and propagate old and new cultivars in order to provide growers with a reliable source of productive muscadine grape plants and to establish baselines for an integrated pest management program to eradicate the sweet potato weevil in North Carolina.

South Carolina projects include partnering with the South Carolina Fruit, Vegetable and Specialty Crop Association to increase the visibility of the state’s specialty crops by rebranding the association and refocusing its media presence. Also, in cooperation with Lowcountry Local First, to increase the number of consumers eating specialty crops and increase the number of specialty crop growers by promoting the Growing New Farmers program.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the South Carolina Watermelon Association, will seek to increase the consumption of watermelon by providing education regarding its health benefits while promoting the South Carolina watermelon industry to retailers, wholesalers and the public through an extensive industry spokesperson program. Also, in cooperation with Clemson University, to develop a larger peach by using a wide and diverse set of germ plasm to accumulate many traits together into a single cultivar and distribute these findings to producers.

Also, in cooperation with the Coastal Conservation League, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture will try to create a stronger rural economy by increasing the volume of specialty crops distributed through local food hubs and managing the greater number of specialty crop farmers participating in the food hubs.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Seed dormancy, a property that prevents germination, already existed 360 million years ago

An international team of scientists, coordinated by a researcher from the U. of Granada, has found that seed dormancy (a property that prevents germination under non-favorable conditions) was a feature already present in the first seeds, 360 million years ago.

Seed dormancy is a phenomenon that has intrigued naturalists for decades, since it conditions the dynamics of natural vegetation and agricultural cycles. There are several types of dormancy, and some of them are modulated by environmental conditions in more subtle ways than others.

In an article published in the New Phytologist journal, these scientists have studied the evolution of dormancy in seeds using a unique data group. This included the features of dormancy in more than 14,000 species. It is the result of Carol and Jerry Baskin’s work, the co-authors of this publication, who have been studying latency since the 60s.

The analyses conducted by this team of researchers have established that dormancy is as old as seeds themselves. In other words, the oldest among all seeds already had dormancy. ‘Of all possible types of dormancy, the oldest one already featured very sophisticated adjustments to environmental conditions,” according to the coordinator of this project, Rafael Rubio de Casas, a researcher from the Environment Department at the University of Granada, and the only Spaniard involved in this research.

Producing new species

The results of this project indicate that plants without dormancy tend to be less capable of diversification, i.e. to produce new species. “This can be due to the fact that dormancy facilitates that germination only takes place at the optimal moment, in spite of changes in the environment, due either to weather phenomena, or whether due to the fact that the seeds reach a new location after dispersal. This adjustment of the plant cycle to the new environment can reduce the probability of a particular species to become extinct,” Rubio de Casas pointed out.

Dormancy does not simply involve that seeds do not germinate when it is too hot or too cold, since under those conditions it is the environment itself which precludes germination. “What dormancy does is make sure that the seeds do not germinate even when conditions are favorable, which precludes germination after a summer storm, or during a few warm days in winter,” the U. of Granada researcher added.

However, not all plants have dormant seeds. Actually, many species of plants simply germinate at the moment when their seeds are exposed to favouable conditions. Besides, it appears that plants can acquire and lose the dormancy of their seeds in a relatively fast way as a result of natural selection.

“For instance, in the case of cultivated plants, dormancy is one of the first features that appear to have been lost over the domestication process, and for this reason the date for sowing is such an important parameter in farming,” according to Rubio de Casas.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Granada. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Seed dormancy, a property that prevents germination, already existed 360 million years ago

An international team of scientists, coordinated by a researcher from the U. of Granada, has found that seed dormancy (a property that prevents germination under non-favorable conditions) was a feature already present in the first seeds, 360 million years ago.

Seed dormancy is a phenomenon that has intrigued naturalists for decades, since it conditions the dynamics of natural vegetation and agricultural cycles. There are several types of dormancy, and some of them are modulated by environmental conditions in more subtle ways than others.

In an article published in the New Phytologist journal, these scientists have studied the evolution of dormancy in seeds using a unique data group. This included the features of dormancy in more than 14,000 species. It is the result of Carol and Jerry Baskin’s work, the co-authors of this publication, who have been studying latency since the 60s.

The analyses conducted by this team of researchers have established that dormancy is as old as seeds themselves. In other words, the oldest among all seeds already had dormancy. ‘Of all possible types of dormancy, the oldest one already featured very sophisticated adjustments to environmental conditions,” according to the coordinator of this project, Rafael Rubio de Casas, a researcher from the Environment Department at the University of Granada, and the only Spaniard involved in this research.

Producing new species

The results of this project indicate that plants without dormancy tend to be less capable of diversification, i.e. to produce new species. “This can be due to the fact that dormancy facilitates that germination only takes place at the optimal moment, in spite of changes in the environment, due either to weather phenomena, or whether due to the fact that the seeds reach a new location after dispersal. This adjustment of the plant cycle to the new environment can reduce the probability of a particular species to become extinct,” Rubio de Casas pointed out.

Dormancy does not simply involve that seeds do not germinate when it is too hot or too cold, since under those conditions it is the environment itself which precludes germination. “What dormancy does is make sure that the seeds do not germinate even when conditions are favorable, which precludes germination after a summer storm, or during a few warm days in winter,” the U. of Granada researcher added.

However, not all plants have dormant seeds. Actually, many species of plants simply germinate at the moment when their seeds are exposed to favouable conditions. Besides, it appears that plants can acquire and lose the dormancy of their seeds in a relatively fast way as a result of natural selection.

“For instance, in the case of cultivated plants, dormancy is one of the first features that appear to have been lost over the domestication process, and for this reason the date for sowing is such an important parameter in farming,” according to Rubio de Casas.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Granada. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Seed dormancy, a property that prevents germination, already existed 360 million years ago

An international team of scientists, coordinated by a researcher from the U. of Granada, has found that seed dormancy (a property that prevents germination under non-favorable conditions) was a feature already present in the first seeds, 360 million years ago.

Seed dormancy is a phenomenon that has intrigued naturalists for decades, since it conditions the dynamics of natural vegetation and agricultural cycles. There are several types of dormancy, and some of them are modulated by environmental conditions in more subtle ways than others.

In an article published in the New Phytologist journal, these scientists have studied the evolution of dormancy in seeds using a unique data group. This included the features of dormancy in more than 14,000 species. It is the result of Carol and Jerry Baskin’s work, the co-authors of this publication, who have been studying latency since the 60s.

The analyses conducted by this team of researchers have established that dormancy is as old as seeds themselves. In other words, the oldest among all seeds already had dormancy. ‘Of all possible types of dormancy, the oldest one already featured very sophisticated adjustments to environmental conditions,” according to the coordinator of this project, Rafael Rubio de Casas, a researcher from the Environment Department at the University of Granada, and the only Spaniard involved in this research.

Producing new species

The results of this project indicate that plants without dormancy tend to be less capable of diversification, i.e. to produce new species. “This can be due to the fact that dormancy facilitates that germination only takes place at the optimal moment, in spite of changes in the environment, due either to weather phenomena, or whether due to the fact that the seeds reach a new location after dispersal. This adjustment of the plant cycle to the new environment can reduce the probability of a particular species to become extinct,” Rubio de Casas pointed out.

Dormancy does not simply involve that seeds do not germinate when it is too hot or too cold, since under those conditions it is the environment itself which precludes germination. “What dormancy does is make sure that the seeds do not germinate even when conditions are favorable, which precludes germination after a summer storm, or during a few warm days in winter,” the U. of Granada researcher added.

However, not all plants have dormant seeds. Actually, many species of plants simply germinate at the moment when their seeds are exposed to favouable conditions. Besides, it appears that plants can acquire and lose the dormancy of their seeds in a relatively fast way as a result of natural selection.

“For instance, in the case of cultivated plants, dormancy is one of the first features that appear to have been lost over the domestication process, and for this reason the date for sowing is such an important parameter in farming,” according to Rubio de Casas.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Granada. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

€ 39 million EU support for the promotion of agricultural products

€ 39 million EU support for the promotion of agricultural products

The European Commission yesterday approved 27 programmes to promote agricultural products in the European Union and in third countries. The total budget of the programmes, the grand majority of which will run for a period of three years, is € 77.4 million of which the EU contributes € 39 million. The selected programmes cover a variety of product categories, such as fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, dairy products, quality products (PDOs, PGIs, TSGsand organic products), flowers, quality meat, as well as, for the first time, sheepmeat.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloş stated today: “I am pleased to confirm our support for these new promotion programmes. I hope they will boost consumption and sales at this difficult time. In the course of the last 5 years, we have become a net exporter of agri food products, with the value of exports accelerating faster than the volume, as consumers in other parts of the world appreciate the traditions, quality standards and tastes of Europe. These new measures will further enhance that reputation.”

By 15 June 2014, within the information and promotion scheme, the Commission services received 43 proposals for programmes targeting the internal market and third countries as part of the second wave of programme selection for year 2014. After evaluation, 27 programmes were retained for co-financing out of which 21 target the internal market and 6 target third countries. Third countries and regions targeted are: North America, Latin America, Middle East, South-East Asia, Japan, North Africa and Turkey.

Moreover, two of the accepted programmes are so-called multi-programmes, programmes from organisations located in different member states that jointly carry out a promotion campaign. In the context of the recently agreed reform of the promotion policy, this type of promotion campaigns will be even more encouraged.

Publication date: 10/31/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Produce for Kids reaches $5 million to support children’s charities

After the close of the 2014 Produce for Kids campaigns, the organization reached a milestone donation of more than $ 5 million raised to support local children’s charities. Through in-store campaigns, the digital Power Your Lunchbox Pledge, and with the help of retail and produce partners, Produce for Kids is making a substantial impact in local communities.

During Produce for Kids’ 12th year, campaigns were supported by 17 grocery store chains and more than 40 fresh produce companies, raising $ 453,000 to support children’s charities in retail partners’ local markets.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce that Produce for Kids has surpassed the $ 5 million mark in total donations raised,” John Shuman president of Produce for Kids, said in a press release. “When we started Produce for Kids 12 years ago, we never imagined that it would turn into such a year-round healthy eating resource for families or make the impact it has had in local communities throughout the country.”

New in 2014, Produce for Kids launched the first Power Your Lunchbox Pledge, a digital campaign encouraging families to pack healthier lunchboxes. Through a dedicated microsite, media and blogger outreach, and social media efforts, more than $ 5,000 was raised to support health and wellness classroom projects through DonorsChoose.org. The campaign resulted in nearly 15 million media impressions and more than 20 million social media impressions. The second annual Power Your Lunchbox Pledge will run from August 3 to September 18, 2015.

Moving into its 13th year, Produce for Kids’ flagship in-store campaign welcomes on several new retail partners. Partnership opportunities are open for produce companies at the following retailers: ACME Markets, Ahold’s GIANT and Martin’s Food Stores, Giant Landover, and Stop & Shop divisions; Associated Wholesale Grocers’ Major Savings, Advantage, Independent, Country Mart, Homeland and United divisions; Meijer Stores; Price Chopper; Publix Super Markets; and Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc.’s Pick n’ Save, Copps Food Center and Metro Market divisions.

In addition, Produce for Kids will be launching a new longer-term kids club loyalty program at Associated Wholesalers Inc. and Niemann Foods. The full marketing program will include in-store signage, shopper coupon booklets and promo item shipments.

If you’re interested in finding out more about a campaign or how Produce for Kids can support you with your healthy eating initiatives, please contact Mallory Hartz at mallory@produceforkids.com.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Produce for Kids reaches $5 million to support children’s charities

After the close of the 2014 Produce for Kids campaigns, the organization reached a milestone donation of more than $ 5 million raised to support local children’s charities. Through in-store campaigns, the digital Power Your Lunchbox Pledge, and with the help of retail and produce partners, Produce for Kids is making a substantial impact in local communities.

During Produce for Kids’ 12th year, campaigns were supported by 17 grocery store chains and more than 40 fresh produce companies, raising $ 453,000 to support children’s charities in retail partners’ local markets.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce that Produce for Kids has surpassed the $ 5 million mark in total donations raised,” John Shuman president of Produce for Kids, said in a press release. “When we started Produce for Kids 12 years ago, we never imagined that it would turn into such a year-round healthy eating resource for families or make the impact it has had in local communities throughout the country.”

New in 2014, Produce for Kids launched the first Power Your Lunchbox Pledge, a digital campaign encouraging families to pack healthier lunchboxes. Through a dedicated microsite, media and blogger outreach, and social media efforts, more than $ 5,000 was raised to support health and wellness classroom projects through DonorsChoose.org. The campaign resulted in nearly 15 million media impressions and more than 20 million social media impressions. The second annual Power Your Lunchbox Pledge will run from August 3 to September 18, 2015.

Moving into its 13th year, Produce for Kids’ flagship in-store campaign welcomes on several new retail partners. Partnership opportunities are open for produce companies at the following retailers: ACME Markets, Ahold’s GIANT and Martin’s Food Stores, Giant Landover, and Stop & Shop divisions; Associated Wholesale Grocers’ Major Savings, Advantage, Independent, Country Mart, Homeland and United divisions; Meijer Stores; Price Chopper; Publix Super Markets; and Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc.’s Pick n’ Save, Copps Food Center and Metro Market divisions.

In addition, Produce for Kids will be launching a new longer-term kids club loyalty program at Associated Wholesalers Inc. and Niemann Foods. The full marketing program will include in-store signage, shopper coupon booklets and promo item shipments.

If you’re interested in finding out more about a campaign or how Produce for Kids can support you with your healthy eating initiatives, please contact Mallory Hartz at mallory@produceforkids.com.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Carl Victor Fields scholarship awards top $2.2 million

Ten years ago, Monterey Mushrooms renamed its scholastic achievement program the Carl Victor Fields Scholarship Awards in honor of the late Carl Fields, recognizing his passionate dedication and commitment to helping our youth.

Since that time, the program has continued its work awarding scholarships to the dependent children of Monterey employees so that this school year of 2014-15, Monterey will be awarding $ 204,000 to 136 dependent students of Monterey employees.scholarShah Kazemi (right) congratulates recent scholarship recipients Bridget and Thalia Nieto, and Itzel Soto-Liu. Bridget is in her last year at University of California-Davis, majoring in sociology and political science, while Thalia has graduated and is planning to enter medical school. Soto-Liu is completing her degree in psychology at University of California-Santa Cruz. This brings the total scholarship monies awarded since the program’s inception in 1992, to over $ 2.23 million.

“As we look back on the beginning of this program to the present, we are gratified to see the many tangible rewards and benefits achieved through helping the children of our employees attain their scholastic goals,” Shah Kazemi, president of Monterey Mushrooms, said in a press release. “I know Carl would be pleased with the program’s success.”

And successes are many. All of Monterey’s facilities have seen multiple instances of dependent students entering and completing two- and four-year programs in fields such as science, business, physics, engineering and targeted technical training.

Of note, the Loudon, TN, facility has four students, including Juan Cahue, who are currently pursuing degrees in the medical field; Joe Cuevas and Juan Medina have graduated and are now employed as a mechanic and an air-conditioning specialist, respectively; and Clarke Tajte from Monterey’s Orlando, FL, facility has graduated with plans to pursue a higher degree in her field of pharmacology. There are similar success stories throughout all of Monterey’s 10 facilities.

Scholarship applications were received from Monterey’s multi-site facilities located throughout North America and awards are based on academic achievement, financial need and future potential. The awards are made for one year at a time for a total of four years if the student continues to meet the criteria of the program.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Carl Victor Fields scholarship awards top $2.2 million

Ten years ago, Monterey Mushrooms renamed its scholastic achievement program the Carl Victor Fields Scholarship Awards in honor of the late Carl Fields, recognizing his passionate dedication and commitment to helping our youth.

Since that time, the program has continued its work awarding scholarships to the dependent children of Monterey employees so that this school year of 2014-15, Monterey will be awarding $ 204,000 to 136 dependent students of Monterey employees.scholarShah Kazemi (right) congratulates recent scholarship recipients Bridget and Thalia Nieto, and Itzel Soto-Liu. Bridget is in her last year at University of California-Davis, majoring in sociology and political science, while Thalia has graduated and is planning to enter medical school. Soto-Liu is completing her degree in psychology at University of California-Santa Cruz. This brings the total scholarship monies awarded since the program’s inception in 1992, to over $ 2.23 million.

“As we look back on the beginning of this program to the present, we are gratified to see the many tangible rewards and benefits achieved through helping the children of our employees attain their scholastic goals,” Shah Kazemi, president of Monterey Mushrooms, said in a press release. “I know Carl would be pleased with the program’s success.”

And successes are many. All of Monterey’s facilities have seen multiple instances of dependent students entering and completing two- and four-year programs in fields such as science, business, physics, engineering and targeted technical training.

Of note, the Loudon, TN, facility has four students, including Juan Cahue, who are currently pursuing degrees in the medical field; Joe Cuevas and Juan Medina have graduated and are now employed as a mechanic and an air-conditioning specialist, respectively; and Clarke Tajte from Monterey’s Orlando, FL, facility has graduated with plans to pursue a higher degree in her field of pharmacology. There are similar success stories throughout all of Monterey’s 10 facilities.

Scholarship applications were received from Monterey’s multi-site facilities located throughout North America and awards are based on academic achievement, financial need and future potential. The awards are made for one year at a time for a total of four years if the student continues to meet the criteria of the program.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Carl Victor Fields scholarship awards top $2.2 million

Ten years ago, Monterey Mushrooms renamed its scholastic achievement program the Carl Victor Fields Scholarship Awards in honor of the late Carl Fields, recognizing his passionate dedication and commitment to helping our youth.

Since that time, the program has continued its work awarding scholarships to the dependent children of Monterey employees so that this school year of 2014-15, Monterey will be awarding $ 204,000 to 136 dependent students of Monterey employees.scholarShah Kazemi (right) congratulates recent scholarship recipients Bridget and Thalia Nieto, and Itzel Soto-Liu. Bridget is in her last year at University of California-Davis, majoring in sociology and political science, while Thalia has graduated and is planning to enter medical school. Soto-Liu is completing her degree in psychology at University of California-Santa Cruz. This brings the total scholarship monies awarded since the program’s inception in 1992, to over $ 2.23 million.

“As we look back on the beginning of this program to the present, we are gratified to see the many tangible rewards and benefits achieved through helping the children of our employees attain their scholastic goals,” Shah Kazemi, president of Monterey Mushrooms, said in a press release. “I know Carl would be pleased with the program’s success.”

And successes are many. All of Monterey’s facilities have seen multiple instances of dependent students entering and completing two- and four-year programs in fields such as science, business, physics, engineering and targeted technical training.

Of note, the Loudon, TN, facility has four students, including Juan Cahue, who are currently pursuing degrees in the medical field; Joe Cuevas and Juan Medina have graduated and are now employed as a mechanic and an air-conditioning specialist, respectively; and Clarke Tajte from Monterey’s Orlando, FL, facility has graduated with plans to pursue a higher degree in her field of pharmacology. There are similar success stories throughout all of Monterey’s 10 facilities.

Scholarship applications were received from Monterey’s multi-site facilities located throughout North America and awards are based on academic achievement, financial need and future potential. The awards are made for one year at a time for a total of four years if the student continues to meet the criteria of the program.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

USDA unveils $31.5 million grant to boost fruit, vegetable sales to SNAP recipients

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced up to $ 31.5 million in grants are available to test new ways to make fruits and vegetables more affordable to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants.

News of the program launch drew immediate praise by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and the United Fresh Produce Association.

“Helping families purchase more fresh produce is clearly good for families’ health, helps contribute to lower health costs for the country, and increases local food sales for family farmers,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Sept. 29 in Richmond, VA, where he announced the launch of the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive, a new farm bill program.

Under FINI, applicants may propose small pilot projects, multi-year community-based projects, or larger-scale multi-year projects that test strategies to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants through incentives at the point of purchase. Based on the type of project, USDA plans to award grants of $ 100,000 to $ 500,000, and applications are due on Dec. 15.

“We encourage our retail grocery members who operate stores in underserved communities to partner with their state SNAP agency and apply for a FINI grant,” said Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition and health at United Fresh, who added that the projects are likely to inform USDA programs in the future.

With 85 percent of all SNAP benefits redeemed at grocery stores, “we believe that scaling up produce incentives at grocery stores in underserved communities around the country will have the greatest public health reach by increasing access to a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables year round,” she said, adding that incentives can help SNAP families purchase more fresh produce and increase produce sales.

Stabenow praised the farm bill program she said was modeled after Michigan’s successful “Double up Food Bucks” program, which provides SNAP participants with tokens to purchase to locally grown fruits and vegetables.

“These new programs will not only empower low-income Americans to provide their families with more healthy fruits and vegetables, they will also help strengthen local economies by investing in local food systems and organic agriculture,” Stabenow said.

USDA listed the following project aspects it sees as priorities for funding:

  • Maximize the share of funds used for direct incentives to participants.
  • Test strategies that improve understanding how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants, which would inform future efforts.
  • Develop innovative or improved benefit redemption systems that could be replicated or scaled.
  • Use direct-to-consumer sales marketing.
  • Demonstrate a track record of designing and implementing successful nutrition incentive programs that connect low-income consumers and agricultural producers.
  • Provide locally or regionally produced fruits and vegetables, especially culturally appropriate fruits and vegetables for the target audience.
  • Are located in underserved communities.

The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will host a webinar for interested applicants on Oct. 2 at 2 p.m.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Food Lion bagged apples to help provide 1 million meals to families in need

Food Lion is partnering with its customers to help solve hunger by launching specially marked Food Lion Feeds bagged apples for sale in its stores. The effort will help provide 1 million meals to feed families facing hunger in local communities across the grocer’s 10-state footprint.

With the sale of each bag through Oct. 7, or while supplies last, Food Lion will donate five meals to local food banks, in partnership with Feeding America. The bags will maintain an MVP Sale price of $ 2.99 throughout the campaign, just in time for parents to pick up healthy snacks for children back in school.

Through Food Lion Feeds, Food Lion is uniting with customers and partners to help eliminate the difficult choices many families are forced to make when they are struggling with hunger. The specially marked bagged apples are the second of three in-store Food Lion Feeds campaigns in 2014.

Through the sale of special Food Lion Feeds reusable bags made available earlier this year, Food Lion will provide 1 million meals to local food banks in partnership with its customers. The specially marked apples are anticipated to provide an additional 1 million meals.

The in-store campaigns support Food Lion’s work toward its goal of providing 500 million meals to families in need in its local communities by the end of 2020.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Australia forecast to produce eight million trays of mangoes

Australia forecast to produce eight million trays of mangoes

The Australian mango industry is on track for one of its best seasons ever.

The national forecast is for a bumper harvest of about eight million trays, which is well up on last year’s crop of seven million trays.

Boyd Arthur, from the Australian Mango Industry Association, has been visiting mango growing regions across the north and says the flowering and fruit set in all areas has been impressive.

The Northern Territory is expected to produce half of the Australian crop during the 2014/15 season (four million trays), which will be a welcome relief for growers there, who last year suffered one of their worst season’s on record.

Mangoes from the Territory have been trickling into the market since June, but the harvest will ramp up in mid to late October.

Source: abc.net.au

Publication date: 9/5/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Ozone pollution in India kills enough crops to feed 94 million in poverty

In one year, India’s ozone pollution damaged millions of tons of the country’s major crops, causing losses of more than a billion dollars and destroying enough food to feed tens of millions of people living below the poverty line.

These are findings of a new study that looked at the agricultural effects in 2005 of high concentrations of ground-level ozone, a plant-damaging pollutant formed by emissions from vehicles, cooking stoves and other sources. Able to acquire accurate crop production data for 2005, the study’s authors chose it as a year representative of the effects of ozone damage over the first decade of the 21st century.

Rising emissions are causing severe ozone pollution in some of India’s most populated regions. Pollution in Delhi, the nation’s capital, has reached levels comparable to Beijing, one of the most polluted cities in the world, according to India’s Air Monitoring Center.

The main component of smog, ozone at ground level can cause leaf damage that stifles plant growth, injuring and killing vegetation. There are currently no air quality standards in India designed to protect agriculture from the effects of ground-level ozone pollution, according to the new study. Ground-level ozone is formed when nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds react with sunlight after the chemicals’ release from vehicles, industry, or burning of wood or other plant or animal matter.

According to the new study published Aug.14 in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, surface ozone pollution damaged 6 million metric tons (6.7 million U.S. tons) of India’s wheat, rice, soybean and cotton crops in 2005.

India could feed 94 million people with the lost wheat and rice crops, about a third of the country’s poor, according to Sachin Ghude, an atmospheric scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune, India and lead author of the new study. There are about 270 million Indians that live in poverty, according to the study.

Wheat — one of the country’s major food sources — saw the largest loss by weight of the four crops studied in the new paper, with ozone pollution damaging 3.5 million metric tons (3.8 million U.S. tons) of the crop in 2005. Another major food source, rice, saw losses of 2.1 million metric tons (2.3 million U.S. tons), according to the new study.

Cotton — one of India’s major commercial crops — lost more than 5 percent of its 3.3 million metric ton (3.6 million U.S. tons) annual output in 2005, costing the country $ 70 million, according to the new research.

Policy implications

Ghude said the new paper, which is the first to quantify how much damage India’s ozone pollution has caused the country’s major crops on a national level, could help policymakers craft new ozone pollution standards.

It could also help India, a country with a high rate of poverty, as the country implements a new law that subsidizes grain for two-thirds of the country’s residents, he said. The new food security bill requires the country to provide 61.2 million metric tons (67.5 million U.S. tons) of cereal grains — that include wheat and rice — to India’s poor each year at a subsidized rate. The new study found that the 5.6 million metric tons (6.2 million U.S. tons) of wheat and rice lost to ozone pollution was equal to 9.2 percent of the new law’s subsidized cereal requirement.

“The (amount of lost wheat and rice) are what surprised me,” said Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a professor of climate and atmospheric sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, at the University of California San Diego and a co-author of the new study.

Under the new law, residents who qualify to receive cereal at the subsidized rate can purchase 60 kilograms (132 pounds) of grain per year. Based on these numbers, the 5.6 million metric tons (6.2 million U.S. tons) of wheat and rice lost could therefore feed 94 million people in India, according to the new study.

Calculating ozone damage

The researchers calculated the amount of total crop damage from ozone pollution by comparing emissions estimates from 2005 with data about how much ozone each of the four crops could withstand. Plants start to exhibit damage when they are exposed to ozone levels that reach 40 parts per billion or above, according to previous research.

A computer model used by researchers calculated ozone levels during crop growing seasons that were more than 40 to 50 parts per billion over most of the country. The team ran the model with different emissions estimates to come up with an average amount of each crop that was lost due to ozone pollution.

India’s economic loss from ozone’s harm to crops amounted to $ 1.29 billion in in 2005, the study found. Declines in rice and wheat crops made up the majority of the loss, accounting for a combined $ 1.16 billion in losses, according to the new research.

Despite air quality standards passed in the 1980s to curb industrial and vehicle emissions, cities in India are some of the most polluted in the world, according to the World Health Organization. The number of vehicles on the road in India has nearly tripled in the past decade, with 130 million vehicles on the road in 2013 compared to 50 million in 2003, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation.

Long-term measurements of surface ozone over India — measured on the ground or by aircraft — are not available, making it difficult to get a clear picture of how ozone levels in the country have changed, Ghude said. But satellite-based studies show ozone has increased over the country in the last two decades, Ghude said. Warmer temperatures that are expected with climate change could also increase ground-level ozone, according to previous research.

Ramanathan said that unlike most studies, which look at the effect emissions will have on agriculture decades in the future, the new study examined how ozone emissions are already affecting crops in India. He said the new study could help spur interest in the issue and help policymakers enact new air quality standards or mandate use of new technology to cut emissions.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

USApple bumps crop size estimate to 263.8 million bushels

USApple bumps crop size estimate to 263.8 million bushels

The U.S. Apple Association says there are more apples out there than the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated on August 12.

USApple added 4.6 million bushels to the USDA number, pushing the national crop size to 263.8 million bushels in its estimate. USDA puts the crop at 259.2 million.

It would be the third largest crop since USDA began keeping records, but still well below the record 1998 crop of 277.3 million bushels.

Last year’s final crop size was 239.2 million bushels, according to USDA.

In its annual meeting in Chicago August 21-22, the U.S. Apple Association gathered industry leaders from across the United States, who met in regional sessions and reacted, state by state, to the numbers USDA had reported.

In the West, they didn’t find much fault with the USDA number from Washington. The crop there is a whopper, another record, 162 million bushels. The Washington industry expects to pack 140 million 40-pound boxes, leaving some 28 million bushels to go into processing or be left in the orchards.

California, plagued by extreme drought, will not quite accomplish the USDA number of 6.2 million bushels, and industry leaders cut its estimate back to 5.9 million.

The Western discussion was led by Dan Kelly of the Washington Growers Clearing House Association.

In the East, discussion was led by John Rice of Rice Fruit in Adams County, Pennsylvania. There was some grumbling about USDA numbers, but in the final figure the Eastern committee added 1.5 million bushels to the USDA number and pegged the Eastern crop at 55.9 million bushels.

Jim Allen, head of the New York Apple Association, said the New York industry production would be about 30 million bushels, up less than 300,000 bushels from the USDA figure.

But Allen found fault with USDA’s final estimate of the 2013 crop, which it estimated at 24.3 million. That is too low, by millions of bushels, he said, and said last year’s crop may have been even bigger, not smaller, than the one that’s coming. USDA did not do an August crop estimate last year—its funds were sequestered—and did a final estimate of the 2013 crop this year.

For marketing reasons, Allen said, it’s important to know that New York is dealing with a crop not much different than last year’s. “We have a vintage crop in the Northeast this year, but we can handle it,” he said. “We have invested in the facilities to do it.”

There are more apples in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New England than USDA reported, the Eastern USApple committee said, but fewer in North Carolina. All told, the USApple estimate added 1.5 million bushels to the USDA estimate for the East, bumping the estimated production to 55.9 million bushels.

In the Midwest, where Michigan is the dominant producer, the committee chaired by BelleHarvest Sales President Mike Rothwell, Belding, Michigan, found the USDA estimate for Michigan low by 2.5 million bushels and pushed it up to 28.7 million. This is the first back-to-back normal crop for Michigan since 2006-07, he said, where every-other-year freezes caused see-saw production and marketing problems for a would-be reliable supplier.

In Ohio, where USDA found 1.2 million bushels for its estimate, the USApple committee found 1.7 million, and production in Indiana will be larger than USDA estimates as well, it said.

According to the estimates, the Western crop, at 174.3 million bushels, would be 13 percent larger than last year’s and 18 percent bigger than the five-year average. The Eastern crop, at 55.9 million, would be 10 percent bigger than last year’s and 5 percent above the five-year average. The Midwestern crop, using USApple numbers, is 10 percent smaller than last year’s and 36 percent larger than the five-year average (which include two poor years in Michigan).

Nationally, the apple crop will be up 8 percent over last year, using the USDA number, and 15 percent over the five-year average. Using USApple numbers, the comparable figures are 10 and 17 percent larger.
 
Source: goodfruit.com

Publication date: 8/25/2014


FreshPlaza.com

USApple bumps crop size estimate to 263.8 million bushels

USApple bumps crop size estimate to 263.8 million bushels

The U.S. Apple Association says there are more apples out there than the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated on August 12.

USApple added 4.6 million bushels to the USDA number, pushing the national crop size to 263.8 million bushels in its estimate. USDA puts the crop at 259.2 million.

It would be the third largest crop since USDA began keeping records, but still well below the record 1998 crop of 277.3 million bushels.

Last year’s final crop size was 239.2 million bushels, according to USDA.

In its annual meeting in Chicago August 21-22, the U.S. Apple Association gathered industry leaders from across the United States, who met in regional sessions and reacted, state by state, to the numbers USDA had reported.

In the West, they didn’t find much fault with the USDA number from Washington. The crop there is a whopper, another record, 162 million bushels. The Washington industry expects to pack 140 million 40-pound boxes, leaving some 28 million bushels to go into processing or be left in the orchards.

California, plagued by extreme drought, will not quite accomplish the USDA number of 6.2 million bushels, and industry leaders cut its estimate back to 5.9 million.

The Western discussion was led by Dan Kelly of the Washington Growers Clearing House Association.

In the East, discussion was led by John Rice of Rice Fruit in Adams County, Pennsylvania. There was some grumbling about USDA numbers, but in the final figure the Eastern committee added 1.5 million bushels to the USDA number and pegged the Eastern crop at 55.9 million bushels.

Jim Allen, head of the New York Apple Association, said the New York industry production would be about 30 million bushels, up less than 300,000 bushels from the USDA figure.

But Allen found fault with USDA’s final estimate of the 2013 crop, which it estimated at 24.3 million. That is too low, by millions of bushels, he said, and said last year’s crop may have been even bigger, not smaller, than the one that’s coming. USDA did not do an August crop estimate last year—its funds were sequestered—and did a final estimate of the 2013 crop this year.

For marketing reasons, Allen said, it’s important to know that New York is dealing with a crop not much different than last year’s. “We have a vintage crop in the Northeast this year, but we can handle it,” he said. “We have invested in the facilities to do it.”

There are more apples in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New England than USDA reported, the Eastern USApple committee said, but fewer in North Carolina. All told, the USApple estimate added 1.5 million bushels to the USDA estimate for the East, bumping the estimated production to 55.9 million bushels.

In the Midwest, where Michigan is the dominant producer, the committee chaired by BelleHarvest Sales President Mike Rothwell, Belding, Michigan, found the USDA estimate for Michigan low by 2.5 million bushels and pushed it up to 28.7 million. This is the first back-to-back normal crop for Michigan since 2006-07, he said, where every-other-year freezes caused see-saw production and marketing problems for a would-be reliable supplier.

In Ohio, where USDA found 1.2 million bushels for its estimate, the USApple committee found 1.7 million, and production in Indiana will be larger than USDA estimates as well, it said.

According to the estimates, the Western crop, at 174.3 million bushels, would be 13 percent larger than last year’s and 18 percent bigger than the five-year average. The Eastern crop, at 55.9 million, would be 10 percent bigger than last year’s and 5 percent above the five-year average. The Midwestern crop, using USApple numbers, is 10 percent smaller than last year’s and 36 percent larger than the five-year average (which include two poor years in Michigan).

Nationally, the apple crop will be up 8 percent over last year, using the USDA number, and 15 percent over the five-year average. Using USApple numbers, the comparable figures are 10 and 17 percent larger.
 
Source: goodfruit.com

Publication date: 8/25/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Chiquita receives $611 million buyout offer

Chiquita Brands International, which in March announced a proposed merger with Dublin, Ireland-based Fyffes plc, received an unsolicited $ 611 million buyout offer from the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group.

The pair of companies proposed to acquire 100 percent of the outstanding stock of Chiquita Brands Inc. at a price of $ 13 per share in cash to Chiquita shareholders. This proposal represents a premium of 29 percent to Chiquita’s closing share price of $ 10.06 as of Aug. 8; however, since the offer was announced Chiquita’s stock has risen to more than $ 13 per share.

The proposal was conveyed to Chiquita in a letter to Kerrii Anderson, chairwoman of the Chiquita board of directors, and Edward Lonergan, Chiquita’s president and chief executive officer.

“If we are able to proceed on a timely basis with due diligence and discussions, we will be in a position to close the transaction before the end of the year, within the same timeframe [Chiquita has] indicated for the Fyffes transaction, without the execution risk and uncertainty inherent in that transaction,” the senior management team’s Michael Rubinoff said on behalf of the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group.

“Our proposal also offers a superior valuation compared to Chiquita’s historical trading multiples,” he said in the letter. “The proposed price, including the assumption of Chiquita net debt, represents an 11.8x multiple of Chiquita’s last twelve months reported Adjusted EBITDA.”

The proposed offer is not subject to any financing conditions.

“We believe discussions of a potential transaction are now particularly timely and appropriate as a result of the dismissal of the civil claims relating to Chiquita’s alleged involvement in the actions by the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, the results from your recent second quarter earnings announcement, and the market’s valuation of the Fyffes transaction,” Rubinoff said.

The Cutrale Group, which accounts for over one-third of the $ 5 billion orange juice market, has operations that include oranges, apples, peaches, lemons and soybeans. The Safra Group is an international group of companies and assets controlled by Joseph Safra. The Safra Group, with assets under management of over $ 200 billion and aggregate stockholder equity of approximately $ 15.3 billion, operates banks and invests in other businesses.

The companies asked Chiquita to respond by noon on Friday, Aug. 15.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Strawberry monitoring system could add $1. 7 million over 10 years to some farms

A University of Florida-developed web tool can bring growers $ 1.7 million more in net profits over 10 years than a calendar-based fungicide system because it guides growers to spray their crop at optimal times, a new UF study shows.

The Strawberry Advisory System, devised by an Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher, takes data such as temperature and leaf wetness and tells growers when to spray fungicide to ward off diseases. Growers can use the system by logging onto www.agroclimate.org/tools/strawberry or use the website to sign up for email or text alerts.

Before the system was developed, strawberry farmers traditionally sprayed weekly during the November-to-March growing season. Spraying more often than is needed wastes money and can lead to fungicide resistance, said Natalia Peres, associate professor in plant pathology, who led the system’s development.

Not all strawberry growers use the system, but this research might persuade them to do so, said Tatiana Borisova, an assistant professor in UF/IFAS food and resource economics department.

“The study will help additional producers to realize the benefits,” Borisova said. “Increased adoption of this system can increase the profitability of the strawberry industry in Florida, and it will help producers to stay competitive in the market.” Ekaterina Vorotnikova, a doctoral student in food and resource economics, worked on the study to identify how much the web tool could increase profits and yield by reducing spraying for anthracnose and botrytis, two of the crop’s deadliest diseases.

Using a 26-acre farm as her average, Vorotnikova took data collected at UF’s Gulf Coast Research and Education Center from 2006-2012 and put it into a 10-year model. She found that using the web tool increased net profit for strawberries with anthracnose by $ 1.7 million and $ 890,000 for those with botrytis. The increased profit stemmed mostly from decreased spraying, Borisova said.

Florida is the nation’s second-leading strawberry producer, behind California. Florida’s crop brings in $ 366 million annually, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

“Given that world strawberry production was worth about $ 4.3 billion in 2013, the development and adoption of expert systems for small fruit production operations can benefit millions of farmers worldwide,” Vorotnikova said.

In 2012 and 2013, a UF/IFAS survey found 96 percent of Florida’s strawberry producers said botrytis attacks their crop. Half said they get anthracnose every three to four years, while 40 percent said they get it every year. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they subscribe to text or e-mail alerts about anthracnose and botrytis risk levels from the system, Borisova said.

Traditionally, strawberry growers sprayed their crop with fungicide weekly. But this was not optimal, said John VanSickle, a UF/IFAS food and resource economics professor and a study co-author.

For example, if conditions do not induce diseases, growers sprayed unnecessarily, wasting chemicals and labor and increasing production costs. Second, if weather worsens unexpectedly, farmers might not be able spray. Third, too much fungicide helps build chemical resistance for the disease, VanSickle said.

The study, written by Vorotnikova, Borisova and VanSickle, was published online last month in the journal Agricultural Systems.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The original article was written by Brad Buck. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Strawberry monitoring system could add $1. 7 million over 10 years to some farms

A University of Florida-developed web tool can bring growers $ 1.7 million more in net profits over 10 years than a calendar-based fungicide system because it guides growers to spray their crop at optimal times, a new UF study shows.

The Strawberry Advisory System, devised by an Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher, takes data such as temperature and leaf wetness and tells growers when to spray fungicide to ward off diseases. Growers can use the system by logging onto www.agroclimate.org/tools/strawberry or use the website to sign up for email or text alerts.

Before the system was developed, strawberry farmers traditionally sprayed weekly during the November-to-March growing season. Spraying more often than is needed wastes money and can lead to fungicide resistance, said Natalia Peres, associate professor in plant pathology, who led the system’s development.

Not all strawberry growers use the system, but this research might persuade them to do so, said Tatiana Borisova, an assistant professor in UF/IFAS food and resource economics department.

“The study will help additional producers to realize the benefits,” Borisova said. “Increased adoption of this system can increase the profitability of the strawberry industry in Florida, and it will help producers to stay competitive in the market.” Ekaterina Vorotnikova, a doctoral student in food and resource economics, worked on the study to identify how much the web tool could increase profits and yield by reducing spraying for anthracnose and botrytis, two of the crop’s deadliest diseases.

Using a 26-acre farm as her average, Vorotnikova took data collected at UF’s Gulf Coast Research and Education Center from 2006-2012 and put it into a 10-year model. She found that using the web tool increased net profit for strawberries with anthracnose by $ 1.7 million and $ 890,000 for those with botrytis. The increased profit stemmed mostly from decreased spraying, Borisova said.

Florida is the nation’s second-leading strawberry producer, behind California. Florida’s crop brings in $ 366 million annually, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

“Given that world strawberry production was worth about $ 4.3 billion in 2013, the development and adoption of expert systems for small fruit production operations can benefit millions of farmers worldwide,” Vorotnikova said.

In 2012 and 2013, a UF/IFAS survey found 96 percent of Florida’s strawberry producers said botrytis attacks their crop. Half said they get anthracnose every three to four years, while 40 percent said they get it every year. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they subscribe to text or e-mail alerts about anthracnose and botrytis risk levels from the system, Borisova said.

Traditionally, strawberry growers sprayed their crop with fungicide weekly. But this was not optimal, said John VanSickle, a UF/IFAS food and resource economics professor and a study co-author.

For example, if conditions do not induce diseases, growers sprayed unnecessarily, wasting chemicals and labor and increasing production costs. Second, if weather worsens unexpectedly, farmers might not be able spray. Third, too much fungicide helps build chemical resistance for the disease, VanSickle said.

The study, written by Vorotnikova, Borisova and VanSickle, was published online last month in the journal Agricultural Systems.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The original article was written by Brad Buck. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily