Tuesday, January 8, 2013

first detector training for pests of fruits and vegetables

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the University of Minnesota are joining forces to help detect new and emerging pests of fruit and vegetable crops. The first ever First Detector training for new and emerging pests of fruit and vegetable crops will be offered at the 2013 Upper Midwest Regional Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference on January 16, 2013 in St. Cloud.

First Detectors are volunteers trained to help citizens diagnose and report possible infestations of new and emerging plant pest species to MDA. Minnesota First Detectors are a part of a larger organization, the National Plant Diagnostic Network First Detector Program which promotes the early detection of invasive plant disease, insects and weeds on a national basis.

Early detection efforts for new and emerging pests in fruit and vegetables are an increasingly important part of Minnesota’s agricultural economy but have received less attention than trees or row crops. First Detectors in the established Forest Pest Program, as well as members of the Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and Minnesota organic growers are especially encouraged to attend, although not required.

The First Detector workshop will address the identification, biology and impacts of the following invasive pests of fruit and vegetable crops:
· Brown marmorated stink bug
· Spotted wing drosophila
· Goss’s wilt of sweet corn
· Exotic downy mildews of basil and cucurbits

First Detector training is a half-day workshop on January 16, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Training will take place prior to the regular agenda of the Upper Midwest Regional Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference being held January 17 and 18, 2013 at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center. Registration is $15 and is open to the public. Participants can register both in advance by mail or the day of the workshop. Further information is available at http://www.extension.umn.edu/pesticides/fdfruitveg/.