California’s agricultural industry faced many enemies last year, including wildfires, droughts, and an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary Zischke, along with the Grower-Shipper Association, said the industry is tackling another challenge this season. This is a multi-million dollar reduction in leafy vegetable production caused by infected plants.
Today, diseases such as Pythium wilt, which infects the roots of various lettuce plants, and Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus (INSV), which damages plants, are destroying many crops in the Salinas Valley region. Researchers have stated that they are not dangerous to humans.
“There are quite a few counties in the county. For example, if you go to a farm in Gonzales, you can actually see the damage,” says Zischke. “We know that the virus doesn’t seem to like heat and it looks like it’s being built. There are still more insects running this kind of virus, maybe because of the good weather. May. “
She estimates that losses in the local agricultural industry were between $ 75 million and $ 100 million, based on the lack of control over damage and illness throughout the year.
Zischke explained that another issue is the need for farm advisors and entomologists to address the epidemic of these diseases.
“UC Cooperative Extension always has many farm advisors here in Monterey County. This is important in this situation, but due to lack of funding and other priorities, we were unable to fill these positions. “She said. ..
On Monday, Assembly Agriculture Chair Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) met with Zischke, ag researchers, and Salinas producers to address the challenges facing the industry.
Rivas will launch a state-wide agricultural tour in October to meet with members of the agricultural industry, farmers and community leaders. Findings from state-wide tours help shape legislative policy recommendations.
This effort will take place after securing a $ 1 million state budget for important ag research in the Salinas Valley.
“This is the world’s salad bowl. There’s still a lot we don’t know when our typical crops are affected by INSV and Pythium wilt, but that’s a problem.”
Researchers like Daniel Hasegawa said they expect most of their funding to hire the scientists and environmentalists needed to solve the disease problem in these crops.
“I hope I won’t stand here and talk about this next year, and I hope this research funding will make great strides and come closer to a solution,” Hasegawa said.
Housing is also an important issue being discussed on the two-month tour. Rivas said he aims to shed more light on these topics in the hope of securing more state funding to continue progress in California’s ag industry.
Already, a recent state legislature budget agreement included $ 130 million for safe and affordable farmer housing.
Chris Lopez, Monterey County Supervisor, said, “We are still in a unit that needs thousands to accommodate the community, including farmers. This is an opportunity to vote for a new project. Everyone needs to lose their weight and help their homes. The people who run our community, agriculture and hospitality must keep them close to their homes. ”
The tour also includes areas including San Benito and Santa Cruz counties, as well as San Francisco and Southern California.
“California has the country’s most productive and diverse agricultural industry, but like the entire state, our farms are now COVID-19 pandemics, widespread wildfires, and economic uncertainties. Faced with the unique challenges posed by. To keep our agricultural industry prosperous during this difficult time. ”
Monterey County agriculture industry aims to address production issues Source link Monterey County agriculture industry aims to address production issues