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Heat stress again in the news.

The ABC news television affiliate in Fresno reported last night that the death of a farmworker in the San Joaquin Valley two weeks ago may have been due to heat stress. The 54-year-old Mexican national died next to a packing house on the outskirts of Kettleman City.

A prolonged heat wave last summer prompted UC Cooperative Extension to gather information for the public about avoiding heat-related illnesses. Articles on the how the body handles heat and how to cope with heat are included in a heat stress media kit available online. A downloadable information card in pdf format has the basics in easy-to-read English and Spanish. In addition, audio messages about coping with heat may be accessed by calling UC's phone-in message system AsisTel at 1-800-514-4494.

The messages related to heat stress are:
No. 161- Why heat stress happens
No. 162 - How to avoid heat related illnesses
No. 163 - Employers role in combating workers’ heat stress
No. 164 - Heat stress doesn’t only happen in hot weather

Posted on Friday, May 25, 2007 at 9:35 AM

Summer news tips for the media

Even though the first day of summer is toward the end of June, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the season for sun and recreation. The UC Agriculture and Natural Resources communicators network have taken this opportunity to compile news tips that will be of interest to the media and their clientele during the summer months.

Each tip can stand alone, providing useful information to make the summer safer, plus includes the name, phone number and e-mail address of a UC academic expert on the topic who can provide additional information if a reporter wishes to flesh out a story. The topics are:

-Food safety in the ‘Good Old Summertime’
-Preventing the itch
-Rattlesnake season poses concerns for pets and other animals
-Death cap mushrooms spreading in California
-Insects are biological indicators of water quality
-Know your watershed before you eat fish
-Thirsty children and pesticides
-Swimmers’ handmade dams are havens for pesky black flies

Posted on Thursday, May 24, 2007 at 10:27 AM

We're still No. 1!

Whenever I travel in the United States or overseas, I like to tell people that I come from the No. 1 ag county in the world. That's impressive. Today, the Fresno Bee reports that Fresno County has retained the title for yet another year.

The total gross production value of Fresno County crops and livestock was the highest ever in 2006 at $4.85 billion, up 4.41 percent from 2005, the Bee story quoted Fresno County agricultural commissioner Jerry Prieto Jr. Seven commodities generated more than a quarter-billion dollars in revenue here: grapes, almonds, tomatoes, poultry, cattle and calves, milk and cotton. 

Fresno County UC Cooperative Extension has supported the Fresno County agriculture industry for 89 years with research and education programs. Currently, nine farm advisors work with the area's superb farmers. In addition, the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center, which houses 24 researchers affiliated with UC Davis, Berkeley or Riverside, is located in Fresno County. There is no doubt that UC's presence contributes to the county's continued agricultural success.

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 9:58 AM

UC collaboration gets coverage

Western Farm Press published an article May 18 about the need for inter-agency collaboration to improve California food safety and water quality. The article was an outgrowth of a three-day San Luis Obispo meeting in April: The Coordinated Management of Water Quality and Food Safety Conference.

"More than 100 leaders in water quality and food safety from thoughout the nation gathered to develop strategies to protect both the environment and fresh produce," wrote the article's unnamed author.

The writer noted that UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Mary Bianchi, a conference coordinator, said the complex nature of food safety will require scientific, regulatory and food distribution communities to coordinate their efforts.

"The value in each person striving to connect beyond their current sphere of influence cannot be underestimated," Bianchi is quoted.

The article said there were 4 conference organizers, 13 planning partners and 7 government agencies that sent representatives.

Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 at 9:42 AM

California shares Arizona's pain

A reporter at the Arizona Republic turned to UC experts for a story on oleander leaf scorch, a disease that has killed many of California's oleander plants and is now wreaking havoc in Arizona. In California it is the glassy-winged sharpshooter that is spreading the virus Xylella fastidiosa, which causes oleander leaf scorch in oleanders plus Pierce's disease in grapes. In Arizona the culprit is the smoke tree sharpshooter.

Oleander leaf scorch begins with yellow margins or spots on the leaves before the edges and tips take on a scorched appearance.

"Right now, it's pretty hard to find a healthy oleander anywhere in Riverside. I used to have them in my own backyard," said UC Riverside entomologist Matthew Blua, as quoted by John Faherty in the Republic article.

UC Berkeley professor emeritus Alexander Purcell told the paper that there is no cure.

"I wish I could give you some words of wisdom or encouragement, but there is nothing we can do. With no expectation of recovery, you may as well remove the plants sooner than later."

Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 at 10:29 AM

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