Volume 68, Issue 1-2, 2014
UCCE Centennial: 100 years of science and service
Research and Review Articles
Pierce’s disease of grapevines, caused by a strain of the bacteria Xylella fastidiosa, threatens an industry with a farm value of production exceeding $3 billion per year. The grape industry incurs substantial costs from losses of vines to the disease and efforts to mitigate damage. Additional costs are borne by the public in providing programs that aim to contain the disease and develop longer-term solutions, and by the citrus, nursery and grape industries in complying with those programs. Aggregating the costs of vine losses, industry assessments, compliance costs, and expenditures by government entities, we estimate the cost of Pierce’s disease in California is approximately $104.4 million per year. Of that, $48.3 million funds Pierce’s disease activities undertaken by various government agencies, the nursery and citrus industries and the UC system, and $56.1 million is the cost of lost production and vine replacement borne by grape growers.
Seniors are at greater risk than other adults for foodborne illness, poor nutrition and high rates of nutrition- and lifestyle-related chronic diseases. They also represent a major underserved segment of the UC Cooperative Extension client population. The Make Food Safe for Seniors (MFSFS) initiative assessed food safety and nutrition education needs of fixed-income seniors and food handlers and caregivers serving seniors in 10 California counties. Baseline survey results found unsafe practices by over 50% of the participants in six areas — and by over 65% of participants in three of those areas. After one food safety training, a post-test showed an average knowledge gain of 18.1%; seniors had gained the least knowledge, food handlers had gained some knowledge, and caregivers had gained the most. The unsafe food handling practices of a majority of the study group, as well as poor food behaviors, suggested areas in which education could reinforce or improve food safety, healthy eating and disease prevention practices of seniors, caregivers and food handlers serving seniors.
More than 40 million hundredweights of rice are produced in California's Sacramento Valley every year. After harvest, the rice is stored in facilities on-farm or off-farm until it is transported to mills or to ports for export. We conducted a survey of storage operations to characterize grain storage and pest management practices to guide future UC Cooperative Extension research efforts. The results indicate that grain moisture content, temperature and insect pest management are the most important challenges for both on- and off-farm storage operations. Survey responses show high adoption of integrated pest management programs, with most storage operations relying on monitoring, thresholds, sanitation and aeration to manage pest problems. Fumigant use was reported more frequently in off-farm storage operations than on-farm operations. Cooperative Extension educational efforts should focus on grain and temperature monitoring, insect identification and safe use of fumigants. Research is needed to improve management of grain temperature and moisture content, and insect infestations.