Valley farmers within EGVM quarantine prepare for harvest

FRESNO, Calif.

Farmers hope their pesticides are effective in keeping the European Grapevine Moth under control. No new finds have been reported but Ag officials believe the quarantine will last well into next year.

Peaches are ripening quickly in Fresno County orchards. Some trees are beginning to sag because of the weight of the fruit. But before any crop is picked within the 92-square mile quarantined area, farmers must first contact Quarantine Program Regulatory Officers like Don Ramirez. Ramirez said, "Before they harvest we will go out and do an inspection to certify that there is no moth problem and simply at that point they'll get a paper stating they have so many days to harvest."

Grape growers were busy filling out their compliance agreements at the Fresno County Farm Bureau. But it's estimated three-fourths of the affected grape growers have yet to do to the paperwork necessary before they can harvest their table, wine and raisin grapes.

Barry Bedwell of the California Grape and Tree Fruit League says the process may seem complicated but the goal is simple - eliminate the Grapevine Moth. Bedwell said, "No one likes quarantines but the only thing worse than a quarantine like this is for that quarantine to get bigger."

A total of eleven grapevine moths have been found in Fresno County traps. The first one was discovered in May. Bedwell said, "Given the timing we know we had trapped the first generation early and then the second generation and since that time we have not found any in the trap."

Everyone from the farmer and harvester to the transporter and packing house must fill out the compliance forms. Ag officials worry delays will occur if people don't act in a timely fashion.

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