NIFA Update July 17

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                           July 17, 2019

Making a Difference

A spined soldier bug nymph eats a cabbage looper larvae on a cabbage plant. Photo courtesy of Ricardo Perez-Alvarez.

A spined soldier bug nymph eats a cabbage looper larvae on a cabbage plant. Photo courtesy of Ricardo Perez-Alvarez.

Your Surroundings Will Determine Using Natural Enemies to Combat Pests

When cabbage looper moth larvae infest a field, sustainable growers will often try to control the pests by releasing large numbers of predators, such as ladybugs. That way they can avoid spraying expensive and environmentally harmful insecticides. Still, farmers have mixed results when they supplement their fields with beetles or other predators.

A new study of cabbage crops in New York -- a state industry worth close to $60 million in 2017, according to the USDA -- reports for the first time that the effectiveness of releasing natural enemies to combat pests depends on the landscape surrounding the field.

"The landscape context can inform how to better use this strategy in field conditions," said Ricardo Perez-Alvarez, the paper's first author and a graduate student in the lab of co-author Katja Poveda, associate professor of entomology. Brian Nault, an entomology professor at Cornell University, is also a co-author. Read the full Cornell University article.

NIFA provided funding for this study.


USDA Message

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USDA Announces $16 Million Funding Opportunity to Support Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers

USDA recently announced up to $16 million in available funding to help socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers own and operate successful farms. Funding is made through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program. “All farmers and ranchers deserve equal access to USDA programs and services,” said Mike Beatty, director of the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. “These grants will go a long way in fulfilling our mission to reach historically underserved communities and ensure their equitable participation in our programs.” Read the full USDA press release.

News for You

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Outcomes to Encourage 4-H for All

For over a century, 4-H has been welcoming young people from all walks of life and giving them a voice to express who they truly are. Extension directors and administrators have the 4-H Equity Toolkit to encourage young people to collaborate, share ideas, take risks, understand unique perspectives, and practice flexibility. The Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) and 4-H Leadership developed the 4-H toolkit as a shared commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Award Announcements

NIFA Invests $8.5 Million to Educate and Develop Agricultural Scientists and Professionals

NIFA recently awarded 75 Predoctoral Fellowship grants that support graduate education in agricultural related disciplines. These fellowships will develop new scientists and professionals to enter research, education, and extension fields within the food and agricultural sciences. The aim of these grants is to cultivate future industry, government, or academic leaders who are able to solve emerging agricultural challenges of the 21st century. These grants are a part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Education Workforce Development.

NIFA Invests $5.8 Million in Small and Medium Sized Farm Research

NIFA recently awarded 16 small and medium sized farm research grants designed to enhance farm income and improve the quality of life of farm communities. These research efforts focus on alternative crop enterprises, marketing, and scaling up fruit and vegetable production to overcome marketing constraints. This research will enhance the economic efficiency and sustainability of small- and medium-sized farms, increasing their viability and competitiveness in local markets. These grants are a part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities