AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif. "Thousand Cankers" disease is caused by a fungus and is carried by the tiny walnut beetle. So far it's been found in 15 California counties and appears to be widespread in Tulare and Ventura counties.

There is no cure or prevention program, but researchers are working to find one. The disease attacks mainly black walnut trees, but has been found on some hybrid walnut trees. Infected trees must be burned to stop the spread.

Researchers from U.C. Davis are urging farmers to follow good agricultural practices to protect crops from e-coli contamination.

Researchers have been identifying sources of the bacteria near central coast farms. The study was spurred by a 2006 nationwide e-coli outbreak linked to fresh, bagged spinach grown in California. Three people died and 205 people got sick from the tainted spinach.

Officials blamed wild animals that trampled through the fields. But from 2008 through 2009, researchers tested over 1,100 fecal samples from wild birds and mammals and found e-coli in just ten samples. Researchers concluded e-coli is not common in wildlife in the region.

Farmers might have to more carefully manage their fertilization methods as the world climate warms up.

An increase in carbon dioxide is threatening crops and food quality. Scientists at U.C. Davis say rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide interferes with a plants' ability to convert nitrate into protein and could threaten food quality. Plants need nitrate to survive and grow.

Farmers might be able to use more nitrogen-rich ammonium fertilizers, but it scientists say it would have to be carefully managed so plants don't accumulate toxic levels of ammonium.

Hmong-American farmers learned more about agriculture during a meeting in Northeast Fresno.

People from around the country came to Fresno to take part in Wednesday's national conference. They learned what the future has in store for the Hmong farming community.

There are roughly 1,500 Hmong and Laotian farmers in the Fresno area alone.

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