Many tomato growers are finding it impossible to catch up with the harvest after a blight ruined their crops. “It has been very serious, particularly for organic farmers,” said Ruth V. Hazzard, vegetable specialist for the UMass Extension, explaining that the fungicide they can use for late blight is more limited and not as effective in controlling the spread of the disease as those that can be used more broadly by non-organic farmers. The blight is affecting farmers and home gardeners in Massachusetts. (MassLive, September 5, 2014)
News from the Media
Area farmers are once again on the front lines of weather patterns that in recent weeks have brought cooler, rainier weather to the region. That’s translated into problems for some growers of potatoes and tomatoes as well as for those growing vine crops such as pumpkins and squash, says University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension vegetable specialist Ruth Hazzard. (Daily Hampshire Gazette, 8/22/14)
It's not every day you see a whole fair run by young people. But that's exactly what the attendees of Saturday's 74th annual Berkshire County 4-H Youth Fair experienced. The whole event was organized by a group of less than a dozen young people who raised funds, booked entertainment and set up pens and tents.
"This is by the kids and for the kids," Angelica Paredes, UMass Extension Educator and local 4-H adviser, said. "They do it all." (Berkshire Eagle 8/17/14)
The Senate unanimously passed a bill last week providing for the preservation and improvement of land, parks and clean energy that includes $5 million for the University of Massachusetts Cranberry Research Station at East Wareham. The money would go toward the design, construction, retrofitting and outfitting of enhanced laboratory space to include associated equipment and support to improve research performed by the station, Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth, said.(Wareham Wicked Local 7/17/14)
Pigs and bumblebees were there, as were biochar, solar collectors and energy-saving coolers.
Agricultural field day at the University of Massachusetts Crop and Animal Research Farm is an annual chance for farmers to see the latest innovations in crop research, and Tuesday’s event drew more than 60 people to view 18 ongoing trials, including one that integrated pig and vegetable production. (Recorder 7/30/14)
What if you could use open space to generate solar electricity and farm it at the same time?
Stephen Herbert, a professor of agronomy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, says this is more than a pipedream. A demonstration plot at a research station in South Deerfield is doing just that. "We have shown that we can get 90 percent of the yield of a pasture with solar panels compared with not having them as long as we leave enough space between clusters of panels,” he said. (Hampshire Gazette 7/16/14, Recorder 7/17/14)
David Sela, a professor of food science at UMASS Amherst, comments in a story about the popularity of barbeque in the Boston area. He points out that grilling, cooking on an outside grill, and barbeque, slow cooking, are two different ways to prepare food. (DigBoston.com, 7/3/14)
More than 50 young 4-H members from around western Massachusetts are spending three days at UMass Amherst for “4-H Science Days,” June 29 through July 1. One of four tracks they can choose is “Exploring Veterinary Sciences,” which introduces them to animal sciences and pre-veterinary student activities and discussions. The events take place at the Hadley Farm. (WGGB-TV 40, 6/30/14; News Office release)
A new list announced recently by Thomson Reuters names four UMass Amherst faculty members associated with the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment among “the world’s leading scientific minds.” Their publications are among the most influential in their fields. They include Eric Decker, David Julian McClements, Yeonhwa Park, all of food science and Baoshan Xing, environmental soil and chemistry. (Recorder, 6/29/14; News Office release)
People have another reason to watch out for the tiny deer tick that transmits Lyme disease.
Scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst this spring detected the presence of a newly recognized disease in 12 deer ticks found on or near state residents — including six people from Cape Cod.
Still so new it doesn't have its own name, Borrelia miyamotoi is being known by the species of bacterium that causes a relapsing fever type of illness. (Cape Cod Times 06/30/14)