LATEST NEWS & PRESS RELEASES
(GLASSBORO, NJ) ― The New Jersey Peach Promotion Council (NJPPC) has dedicated its 2013 Peach Buyers Guide to Steve Riccelli for his long service to the state’s peach industry. Now affiliated with TMK Produce, a Philadelphia-based distributor of fresh produce with a specialty in premium fruits, Riccelli specializes in selling locally grown peaches.
The Buyers Guide is an essential tool for retailers, wholesalers, distributors and any other entity dealing with locally grown peaches. Topics cover storage and handling, hydrocooling, quality grading, peach and nectarine varieties and dates of availability. It also lists grower-packer members with the facilities and services they provide and sales contact information, as well as growers who sell directly to consumers.
“The NJPPC Is honored to recognize Steve Riccelli by dedicating this guide to him,” says Santo John Maccherone, chair of NJPPC. “Steve is successful and respected, because he developed a close relationship with people in our industry. His knowledge of the Jersey fruit industry goes back to his high school years, when he began pruning trees at Heritage Fruit Farm in Gloucester County, and he’s been building on that experience ever since.”
In 1986, Riccelli and his father, Sam, entered into a partnership with Eckert Produce, opening Riccelli and Eckert Produce in the Philadelphia Food Distribution Center. Steve and his Dad worked hard, the business thrived, and after several years, they were able to buy out Eckert, naming the new company Riccelli Premium Produce. For both businesses, Steve marketed Jersey Fruit peaches and worked closely with growers at the Jersey Fruit Cooperative and other New Jersey peach growers. In 2004, Steve and his dad sold Riccelli Premium Produce and Steve joined T.M. Kovacevich (now TMK Produce), where he specializes in selling Jersey Fresh peaches, among many other things. Steve and his wife Donna have three daughters: Felicia, and twins Samantha and Amanda. In his spare time, Steve loves to cook, fish and has recently become involved with coaching in a sports organization for children with special needs.
The New Jersey Peach Promotion Council is a voluntary organization of peach growers, marketers and others allied with the peach industry, all dedicated to the orderly marketing and viability of the New Jersey Peach Industry.
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) ― The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced on May 29, 2013 that test results of plant samples from an Oregon farm indicate the presence of genetically engineered (GE) glyphosate-resistant wheat plants. Further testing by USDA laboratories indicates the presence of the same GE glyphosate-resistant wheat variety that Monsanto was authorized to field test in 16 states from 1998 to 2005. APHIS launched a formal investigation after being notified by an Oregon State University scientist that initial tests of wheat samples from an Oregon farm indicated the possible presence of GE glyphosate-resistant wheat plants. There are no GE wheat varieties approved for sale or in commercial production in the United States or elsewhere at this time.
The detection of this wheat variety does not pose a food safety concern. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) completed a voluntary consultation on the safety of food and feed derived from this GE glyphosate-resistant wheat variety in 2004. For the consultation, the developer provided information to FDA to support the safety of this wheat variety. FDA completed the voluntary consultation with no further questions concerning the safety of grain and forage derived from this wheat, meaning that this variety is as safe as non-GE wheat currently on the market.
“We are taking this situation very seriously and have launched a formal investigation,” said Michael Firko, Acting Deputy Administrator for APHIS’ Biotechnology Regulatory Services, “Our first priority is to as quickly as possible determine the circumstances and extent of the situation and how it happened. We are collaborating with state, industry, and trading partners on this situation and are committed to providing timely information about our findings. USDA will put all necessary resources towards this investigation.”
The Plant Protection Act (PPA) provides for substantial penalties for serious infractions. Should APHIS determine that this situation was the result of a violation of the PPA, APHIS has the authority to seek penalties for such a violation including civil penalties up to $1,000,000 and has the authority to refer the matter for criminal prosecution, if appropriate.
APHIS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ FDA work together to regulate the safe use of organisms derived from modern biotechnology. APHIS regulates the introduction (meaning the importation, interstate movement, and environmental release/field testing) of certain GE organisms that may pose a risk to plant health. EPA regulates pesticides, including plants with plant-incorporated protectants (pesticides intended to be produced and used in a living plant), to ensure public safety. EPA also sets limits on pesticide residues on food and animal feed. FDA has primary responsibility for ensuring the safety of human food and animal feed, as well as safety of all plant-derived foods and feeds.
(BELTSVILLE, MD) ― U.S. producers of farm-raised salmon are working hard to help fill today’s growing demand for seafood. Now U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutritionist Susan Raatz, physiologist Matthew Picklo, and cooperators have found that farm-raised Atlantic salmon maintains its healthy levels of omega-3 fatty acids when baked.
Two omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), are abundant in oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring. Some data have shown that consuming 250 milligrams daily of EPA and DHA—the amount found in a 3-ounce salmon fillet—is associated with reduced risk of heart-disease.
Raatz and Picklo are with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, N.D. ARS is USDA’s chief intramural scientific research agency.
While eating seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids is known to reduce risk of heart disease, it has not been known whether baking causes loss of omega-3s in farm-raised Atlantic salmon. The team also examined the extent to which baking Atlantic salmon alters healthful fatty acids through oxidation that leaves unhealthy compounds, such as toxic omega-3 oxidation byproducts.
The researchers demonstrated that baking salmon to the proper temperature does not decrease its content of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. They found that baking actually decreases the presence of fatty acid oxidation byproducts. Preparing the fish based on restaurant and safety guidelines—to a tender-but-safe 145 degrees Fahrenheit rather than overcooking—was a key factor, according to authors.
Source: Rosalie Marion Bliss, ARS News Service, Information Staff, Agricultural Research Service
(ELMWOOD PARK, NJ) ― The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) is pleased to announce that the association is now accepting applications for 2013-14 scholarships. The scholarship program is funded by the NJLCA, along with a portion of the proceeds of the NJLCA/IANJ Annual Golf Challenge each September. This scholarship fund was established by the NJLCA to: 1) aid outstanding students who would not otherwise have an opportunity to continue a professional degree program due to unmet financial need; 2) increase the interest and participation of economically disadvantaged and under-represented populations in the study of landscape programs; and 3) enrich the profession of landscape through a more diverse population.
Consideration for a scholarship will be given to any active member (dues must be current) of the NJLCA as well as their spouse, children, grandchildren or stepchildren who will be enrolled as a full-time student during the 2013-14 school year at a college or institution of higher learning (five – $500 scholarships available); any student enrolled at Bergen Community College, Paramus, NJ in a course of study related to the “Green Industry” (i.e. Horticulture, Landscape Design/Build, etc.) (one – $500 scholarship available); any student enrolled at County College of Morris in a course of study related to the “Green Industry” (one – $500 scholarship available); or students enrolled at Rutgers University in a course of study related to the “Green Industry” (two – $500 scholarships available).
The application packet for the Annual Scholarship Program may be downloaded on the NJLCA’s website at http://www.njlca.org/pages/Scholarships.html or students may call 201-703-3600.
The Scholarship Committee must receive the application packet no later than May 31, 2013. All information on the application form must be completed in full. Completed applications may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association, 465 Boulevard, Suite 4, Elmwood Park, NJ 07407.
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) ― With the window to respond to the 2012 Census of Agriculture officially closing on May 31, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is urging farmers and ranchers not to miss this opportunity to be counted and help determine the future of farming in America. USDA has already received more than 2 million completed Census forms.
The Census of Agriculture, conducted only once every five years, is the only source of consistent and comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation. It looks at farms, value of land, market value of agricultural production, farm practices, expenditures, and other factors that affect the way farmers and ranchers do business. The information is used by agribusinesses, town planners, local governments, and policy makers, as well as farmers, ranchers, growers and others to shape farm programs, boost rural services and grow the future of farming.
For more information about the Census, including helpful tips on completing your Census form, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call 1-888-4AG-STAT
(UPPER MONTCLAIR, NJ) ― Spring has sprung and the irises at the Essex County Presby Memorial Iris Gardens are budding with excitement! Bloom Season is anticipated to last from May 10 through June 5.
The Essex County Presby Memorial Iris Gardens is internationally renowned as the largest public iris garden in the United States, with display beds containing nearly 3,000 iris varieties (around 14,000 plants) that produce over 100,000 blooms. It is a living museum of botanical preservation with some varieties dating back to the 1500s and is listed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Sites.
In addition to the iris display, this year the Walther House living room will be host to an art exhibition showcasing works by Contemporary American Impressionist Lisa Palombo. The Bloom Room gift shop will be open with an exciting mix of affordable house, garden and iris-related items. Plus, a variety of fantastic events are planned.
The Essex County Presby Memorial Iris Gardens is located at 474 Upper Mountain Ave. in Upper Montclair, Essex County, New Jersey. During bloom season: admission is a suggested $5 donation; the Gardens are open daily from dawn until dusk; the Bloom Room gift shop and Walther House are generally open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
(TRENTON, NJ) ― The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications in anticipation of the 2014 United States Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grants.
“These monies are used for important research and promotion of the majority of crops grown by New Jersey farmers,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “We welcome organizations to apply for these funds to use in creative ways to support our specialty crop industry.”
Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture, nursery crops and floriculture. Most of New Jersey agriculture falls into the specialty crop category.
To be eligible for a grant, projects must “enhance the competitiveness” of specialty crops and might include, but are not limited to: research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, “buy local” programs, increased consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development and developing cooperatives.
Download the application at www.nj.gov/agriculture/grants/specialtycropblockgrants.html . The deadline for submitting applications is April 30, 2013.
Although the 2014 Specialty Crop Block Grant program has been approved for funding, the federal budget sequestration has caused a delay in U.S.D.A.’s official announcement of each State’s grant allocation. At this time all Specialty Crop Block Grant Program applications to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture are to be considered tentative pending the publication of the funding allocation in a Notice of Funding Availability in the federal registry.
Thirteen projects were awarded more than $816,127 in Specialty Crop Block Grants for a variety of uses this year, including education, marketing, production research and the promotion of New Jersey agricultural products.
(WASHINGTON, D.C.), March 20, 2013 ― Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon today announced a new federal-state partnership targeting recipient fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). USDA will share its extensive experience in monitoring retailer fraud to help states develop a more robust set of tools to identify suspicious activity and improve tactics to catch recipients that attempt to commit SNAP fraud. By law, USDA is responsible for overseeing the more than 250,000 retailers that redeem SNAP benefits nationwide, while states are responsible for identifying and pursuing fraudulent activity by recipients.
Over the past several years, USDA has taken steps to improve SNAP oversight through the SNAP Stewardship Solutions Project, including requiring more frequent reviews of higher risk retailers and expanding the definition of fraud to crack down on newer methods of SNAP benefit abuse. In the coming months, USDA will announce a series of additional steps to strengthen regulations that prohibit SNAP trafficking. Trafficking, an illegal activity, is the exchange of SNAP benefits for cash. USDA has seen a steady decline in the rate of trafficking from four percent down to about one percent of benefits over the last 15 years. While fraud is rare in SNAP, no amount is acceptable, and it will not be tolerated. USDA continues to crack down on individuals who violate the program and misuse taxpayer dollars.
SNAP ― the nation’s first line of defense against hunger ― helps put food on the table for millions of low income families and individuals every month. The largest of USDA’s 15 nutrition assistance programs, it has never been more critical to the fight against hunger. SNAP is a vital supplement to the monthly food budget of more than 47 million low-income individuals. Nearly half of SNAP participants are children and more than 40 percent of recipients live in households with earnings.
For more information about USDA efforts to combat fraud, visit the Stop SNAP fraud website at www.fns.usda.gov/snap/fraud.
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) ― USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is suspending a number of statistical surveys and reports for the remainder of the fiscal year due to reduced funding caused by sequestration. Before deciding upon the program suspensions, NASS reviewed its survey programs against mission- and user-based criteria as well as the amount of time remaining in the fiscal year to conduct the surveys with the goal of finding available cost savings and maintaining the strongest data in service to agriculture. The decision to suspend these reports was not made lightly, but it was nevertheless necessary, given the funding situation.
- All Catfish and Trout Reports including Catfish Feed Deliveries and Catfish Processing
- July Cattle Report
- Potato Stocks Reports
- All Non-Citrus Fruit, Nut and Vegetable Forecasts and Estimates
- June Rice Stocks Report
- All Hops and Hops Stocks Estimates
- Mink Report
- Milk Production Reports including Production, Disposition and Income
- June on- and off-farm stocks for Austrian Winter Peas, Chickpeas, Dry Peas and Lentils
- July acreage forecasts for Austrian Winter Peas, Dry Edible Peas and Lentils
Issued March 12, 2013 by the Agricultural Statistics Board of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service. For information contact Sue King at (202) 690-8122
(HAMILTON SQUARE, NJ) — The New Jersey Farm Service Agency (FSA) suggests that we all take a moment in these turbulent fiscal times to celebrate agriculture and honor our hard-working farmers and ranchers in New Jersey. Paul J. Hlubik announces that March 19 is National Ag Day and this year’s theme is “Generations Nourishing Generations”.
“According to recent USDA. studies, the agricultural sector right now remains a bright spot in terms of economic stability and growth and there is a strong demand for U.S. agricultural products,” said Hlubik. “Generation after generation of agricultural producers in New Jersey are getting up early every day to provide the food, fiber and fuel that feed and clothe Americans and others around the world.”
Hlubik further notes, “As research advances, the future may be even brighter. New uses for ag products are being found to utilize natural ingredients for life-saving medicines and supply the critical commodities required in a long list of manufacturing sectors.”
Despite the onslaught of natural disasters weathered by farmers and ranchers this past year that created less than ideal growing conditions, producers still managed to grow the commodities that keep our economy moving forward. And they maintain our abundant supply of renewable resources in an environmentally sensitive manner. “For their life sustaining efforts, we honor New Jersey’s agricultural producers for their vital contribution,” said Hlubik.
Today each American farmer produces enough food to feed more than 144 people, a dramatic increase from the 25 people a farmer sustained in 1960. These increased efficiencies demonstrate that American Agriculture is producing more – and doing it better than ever before.
Ag Day is a project of the Agriculture Council of America. For further Ag Day information and events visit www.agday.org.
(ALBANY, NY) ― The number of farms in New York for 2012 remained the same as a year earlier, reports King Whetstone, Director of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York Field Office. The number of farms for 2012 is estimated at 36,000. Land in farms was 7.00 million acres. Farms with sales over $500,000 increased by 100 to 1,900 while farms with sales between $250,000 and $499,999 remained at 1,300. The area of land operated by farms in these two groups totaled 2.55 million acres, up 50,000 from 2011. The next smaller sales class, farms with sales between $100,000 and $249,999 increased by 300 to 3,500 while land operated by these farms increased to 1.20 million acres. There were 11,300 farms with sales between $10,000 and $99,999 compared with 10,800 a year earlier. Land they operated totaled 1.90 million acres. There were 900 less small farms with sales between $1,000 and $9,999 in 2012, at 18,000. Land in farms for this class dropped to 1.35 million acres.
The number of farms in the United States in 2012 is estimated at 2.2 million, down 11,630 farms from 2011. Total land in farms, at 914 million acres, decreased 3 million acres from 2011. The average farm size is 421 acres, up 1 acre from the previous year.
(TRENTON, NJ) ― Governor Chris Christie has announced that United States Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack has granted a Natural Disaster Designation for 14 New Jersey counties following Superstorm Sandy, a snowstorm, a Nor’easter, drought, high winds, hail, excessive heat and rain, and flash flooding between June 28 and November 8, 2012.
The disaster designation was requested to open up another avenue of relief to farmers who lost crops or suffered structural damages to their farms through the many severe weather events that befell the Garden State in 2012. The declaration includes Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Sussex and Warren Counties.
“Superstorm Sandy not only impacted our shoreline, but caused an immense amount of damage for our farmers, who already had suffered losses due to severe weather throughout the season,” said Governor Christie. “While federal aid is already being provided through a variety of programs, now farmers will have additional federal agriculture disaster assistance to help them get back on their feet.”
For counties to be designated as primary natural disaster areas, they must have sustained a 30 percent or greater production loss to a single crop due to the disaster. Nine counties were designated primary areas, while Mercer, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic and Warren counties were included as contiguous counties, still making them eligible to receive help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA).
“We are very thankful to Secretary Vilsack for giving our farmers the opportunity to access the USDA’s disaster relief programs,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “In spite of the many weather-related issues faced by agriculture in 2012, the season was an overall success.”
The disaster designation makes farm operators eligible to be considered for assistance from Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes Farm Service Agency emergency loans.
“Although 2012 was a challenging year for many growers in a lot of ways, I’m excited we’ll be able to offer this help to recover from their 2012 losses and get them ready for the 2013 season ,” said Paul Hlubik, Executive Director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency in New Jersey. “I’m grateful to Secretary Vilsack and the Christie Administration for their support as we sought this disaster designation. It will not only make farmers eligible for low-interest loans and restructuring, but extend the time for them to apply for assistance.”
Farmers in eligible counties now have eight months from the date of the Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. The loans could cover up to 100 percent of the dollar value of the losses. Farmers must have suffered a 30 percent loss in crop production or physical loss to livestock, inventory or property and meet FSA’s eligibility requirements. FSA considers each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.
Farmers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office for details. To find a local office, visit http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=nj&agency=fsa.
For more information on FSA’s disaster assistance programs, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=diap&topic=landing.
(MONTVILLE, NJ) ― The “Eat Local” movement is alive and well in New Jersey and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (NOFA-NJ) is reviving their “Farmer-Chef Meetings” tradition in order to support it. These meetings are networking events, where local farmers and chefs can connect over fresh, Garden State products. The first meeting will be held at Lake Valhalla Country Club, in Montville, NJ, on February 28 at 6:30 pm.
“Farmer-Chef Meetings are a great opportunity for NJ’s farmers and chefs to create partnerships that benefit everyone,” says Eve Minson, the NOFA-NJ Beginner Farmer Program Manager. “We’re reaching out to the best of the Garden State, including organic and sustainable fruit and vegetable growers, livestock producers, cheesemakers, winemakers, as well as fisherman.”
So how will the meeting work? Starting at 6:30 pm, with finger food and a cash bar, attendees will hear from farmers and chefs who have established successful partnerships. This is followed by structured networking sessions that give participating producers and chefs an opportunity to meet one-on-one and develop working relationships for 2013.
NOFA-NJ members can attend for free and there is a $10 registration fee for non-members. For more information and to register, call 908-371-1111 or visit www.nofanj.org.
(TRENTON, NJ) ― New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher awarded the 2012 Governor’s Award for Horseperson of the Year to Linda Toscano, one of harness racing’s most successful trainers, at the 56th annual Breeders’ Luncheon in Eastampton on January 27.
Toscano, who lives in Freehold, trained the 2012 Standardbred Horse of the Year, Chapter Seven. Over the course of her career, Toscano has had 1,439 wins and $34 million in purses. This year she won a career best of $6.71 million.
“Linda Toscano is a committed and passionate advocate for the harness racing industry in New Jersey,” said Secretary Fisher. “Through her hard work and dedication, she has contributed to the success of several Jersey Bred horses, bringing great pride to the Garden State over the years.”
On behalf of the New Jersey Equine Advisory Board, a committee of past Horsepersons of the Year chose to recognize Toscano, who, in August, became the first female trainer to win the prestigious Hambletonian with Jersey-bred Market Share. She began her career by working summers at the stables at Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury, NY. During her career, she worked with veteran trainer Buddy Regan and Hall of Famers Buddy Gilmour and John Campbell.
(ALBANY, NY) ― The value of New York’s 2012 fruit production, including tree fruit, berries, and grapes, totaled $323 million according to King Whetstone, Director of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York Field Office. The value of utilized production was above the previous year for apples.
The 2012 apple crop in New York was down 41 percent to 720 million pounds. This year’s utilized apple production, based on packinghouse door equivalent returns totaled $250 million, 2 percent above the 2011 crop value. New York ranks second in apple production behind Washington.
New York’s utilized grape production decreased 40 percent from 2011 to 112,000 tons. Fresh grapes totaled 3,000 tons while 109,000 tons were crushed by wineries and processors. Grapes utilized for juice accounted for 63 percent of the total grapes processed with the remaining 37 percent going for wine.
The value of the 2012 grape crop is estimated at $52.3 million, 25 percent below the 2011 crop value. New York ranked third in grape production behind California and Washington. New York’s tart cherry crop is estimated at 2.7 million pounds, down 54 percent from the 2011 crop of 5.9 million pounds. The value of utilized production is estimated at $2.84 million. New York sweet cherry production, at 300 tons, is down 57 percent from the 700 tons produced in 2011. The 2012 crop is valued at $1.07 million compared to $2.11 million a year ago.
Peach production for the Empire State is placed at 2,600 tons, down 62 percent from the 2011 level. The value of the 2012 crop, at $4.02 million, is down 52 percent from 2011. Production of pears in New York is estimated at 3,100 tons, down 74 percent from the 2011 output of 12,100 tons. The 2012 crop is valued at $2.35 million, down 66 percent from 2011. New York ranks fourth nationally in pear production.
(WASHINGTON, D.C. ) ― Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on January 14, 2013 regarding the announcement that he will continue his service in the Obama Administration.
“President Obama and I share a deep appreciation for rural America and its unlimited potential in the years ahead to feed a growing world population, revolutionize America’s energy, further protect our natural resources and create more jobs here at home. We will continue to urge Congress to pass a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that will help us continue USDA’s wide range of efforts to support this work. As we look ahead to a promising future in our small towns and rural communities, I am pleased to continue working alongside President Obama to grow more opportunity in rural America.”
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) ― The 2012 Census of Agriculture, the only source of consistent and comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation, is currently being mailed to millions of farmers and ranchers across the United States.
Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census provides detailed data covering nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture. It looks at land use and ownership, production practices, expenditures and other factors that affect the way farmers do business and succeed in the 21st Century.
All farmers and ranchers should receive a Census form in the mail by early January. Completed forms are due by February 4, 2013. Farmers can return their forms by mail or online by visiting a secure website, www.agcensus.usda.gov. Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the Census and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.
For more information about the Census, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call 1-888-4AG-STAT (1-888-424-7828). The Census of Agriculture is your voice, your future, your responsibility.
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) ― The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.
Name of Product: Toro Z Master Riding Mowers
Units: About 2,600 in the U.S. and 31 in Canada
Manufacturer: The Toro Co., of Bloomington, Minn.
Hazard: The traction drive belt can wear through the mower’s fuel tank and cause fuel to leak, posing a fire hazard.
Incidents/Injuries: Toro has received five reports of incidents. No injuries have been reported.
Description: This recall involves 2012 Toro Z Master Commercial 2000 Series ZRT riding mowers. The mowers are red and black. “Toro” and “2000 Series” are printed on the side and “Z Master Commercial” on the front of the mowers. The model and serial numbers are on a metal plate located at the front of the mower, below the seat, on the left-hand side. The following models and corresponding serial numbers are included in this recall: model number 74141 with serial numbers ranging from 312000101 to 312000784; model number 74143 with serial numbers ranging from 312000101 to 312000887; and model number 74145 with serial numbers ranging from 312000101 to 312001178.
Sold at: Toro dealers nationwide from January 2012 through August 2012 for between $7,700 and $8,700.
Manufactured in: United States
Remedy: Consumers should stop using the recalled mowers immediately and contact a Toro dealer to schedule a free repair and/or to check if the repair has already been made to the mower. Toro has contacted registered owners of the recalled mowers.
Consumer Contact: Toro; toll-free at (855) 493-0090, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or online at www.toro.com and click on Product Recall Information on the bottom right-hand side of the page for more information.
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) ― The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.
Name of Product: Wilson & Fisher Garden Swings
Units: About 6,900
Importer: Big Lots, of Columbus, Ohio
Manufacturer: Anji Jiayi Garden Supplies Company, Xiaofeng Town, China
Hazard: The wooden swing’s seat can break while in use, posing a fall hazard to the consumer.
Incidents/Injuries: Big Lots has received 14 reports of swing seats breaking, resulting in four reports of back pain and five reports of scratches and scrapes.
Description: This recall involves Wilson & Fisher log-style swing sets sold in a natural wood finish. The swing’s two-person bench seat is suspended between two wooden A-frame supports. Assembly instructions sold with the swings have item number JY1107 and SKU number 210020400 printed on the sheet.
Sold exclusively at: Big Lots stores nationwide from March 2012 through June 2012 for about $130.
Manufactured in: China
Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled swing sets, detach the bench seat and return it to any Big Lots store for a full refund. Consumers should destroy the remaining components.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact the firm toll-free at (866) 244-5687 between 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.biglots.com and click on recalls.
To see this recall on CPSC’s web site, including a picture of the recalled product, please go to: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12282.html
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, a producer of pesticides for commercial and consumer lawn and garden uses, was sentenced on September 7, in the federal district court in Columbus, Ohio, to pay a $4 million fine and perform community service for eleven criminal violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which governs the manufacture, distribution, and sale of pesticides. Scotts pleaded guilty in February 2012 to illegally applying insecticides to its wild bird food products that are toxic to birds, falsifying pesticide registration documents, distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels, and distributing unregistered pesticides. This is the largest criminal penalty under FIFRA to date.
In a separate civil agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scotts agreed to pay more than $6 million in penalties and spend $2 million on environmental projects to resolves additional civil pesticide violations. The violations include distributing or selling unregistered, canceled, or misbranded pesticides, including products with inadequate warnings or cautions. This is the largest civil settlement under FIFRA to date.
“The misuse or mislabeling of pesticide products can cause serious illness in humans and be toxic to wildlife,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s sentence and unprecedented civil settlement hold Scotts accountable for widespread company noncompliance with pesticide laws, which put products into the hands of consumers without the proper authorization or warning labels.”
“As the world’s largest marketer of residential use pesticides, Scotts has a special obligation to make certain that it observes the laws governing the sale and use of its products. For having failed to do so, Scotts has been sentenced to pay the largest fine in the history of FIFRA enforcement,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with EPA to assure that pesticides applied in homes and on lawns and food are sold and used in compliance with the laws intended to assure their safety.”
In the plea agreement, Scotts admitted that it applied the pesticides Actellic 5E and Storcide II to its bird food products even though EPA had prohibited this use. Scotts had done so to protect its bird foods from insect infestation during storage. Scotts admitted that it used these pesticides contrary to EPA directives and in spite of the warning label appearing on all Storicide II containers stating, “Storcide II is extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife.” Scotts sold this illegally treated bird food for two years after it began marketing its bird food line and for six months after employees specifically warned Scotts management of the dangers of these pesticides. By the time it voluntarily recalled these products in March 2008, Scotts had sold more than 70 million units of bird food illegally treated with pesticide that is toxic to birds.
Scotts also pleaded guilty to submitting false documents to EPA and to state regulatory agencies in an effort to deceive them into believing that numerous pesticides were registered with EPA when in fact they were not. The company also pleaded guilty to having illegally sold the unregistered pesticides and to marketing pesticides bearing labels containing false and misleading claims not approved by EPA. The falsified documents submitted to EPA and states were attributed to a federal product manager at Scotts.
In addition to the $4 million criminal fine, Scotts will contribute $500,000 to organizations that protect bird habitat, including $100,000 each to the Ohio Audubon’s Important Bird Area Program, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Urban Forestry Program, the Columbus Metro-Parks Bird Habitat Enhancement Program, the Cornell University Ornithology Laboratory, and The Nature Conservancy of Ohio to support the protection of bird populations and habitats through conservation, research, and education.
At the time the criminal violations were discovered, EPA also began a civil investigation that uncovered numerous civil violations spanning five years. Scotts’ FIFRA civil violations included the nationwide distribution or sale of unregistered, canceled, or misbranded pesticides, including products with inadequate warnings or cautions. As a result, EPA issued more than 40 Stop Sale, Use or Removal Orders to Scotts to address more than 100 pesticide products.
In addition to the $6 million civil penalty, Scotts will complete environmental projects, valued at $2 million, to acquire, restore and protect 300 acres of land to prevent runoff of agricultural chemicals into nearby waterways.
The criminal case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Environmental Enforcement Unit of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation. It was prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Jeremy F. Korzenik of the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, by Michael J. McClary, EPA Criminal Enforcement Counsel and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Michael Marous.
The civil case was investigated by U.S. EPA Region 5’s Land and Chemicals Division and Office of Regional Counsel, and the U.S. EPA Headquarters Office of Civil Enforcement, assisted by the Office of Pesticides Program.
(SPRING LAKE, NJ) ― MAC Events LLC, an established producer of consumer and trade shows, is expanding its influence on the region’s green industry with a new partnership in Pennsylvania’s primary showcase for landscape and nursery professionals, garden center owners and equipment suppliers.
Beginning in 2013, MAC Events will produce the Penn Atlantic Nursery Trade Show, affectionately known as PANTS, in eastern Pennsylvania. The announcement came as the show’s founder, the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association (PLNA), wrapped up the event’s 40th anniversary season July 30 – Aug. 2.
Jim MacKenzie, chairman of the PLNA board of directors, welcomed the participation of MAC Events, citing the company’s extensive experience in managing events that raise the visibility and address the needs of the region’s multi-billion dollar horticultural industry. In addition to producing flower and garden shows for more than two decades, MAC Events in 2010 introduced NJ PLANTS, a trade show and conference that revitalized an industry forum originating with PLNA’s Garden State counterpart, the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association. NJ PLANTS is an acronym for New Jersey Professional Landscape and Nursery Trade Show.
"We have a firm commitment to the green industry, which encompasses a broad range of businesses from landscape designers and contractors to nursery growers and garden centers," said Kevin McLaughlin, partner in MAC Events. "Our aim is to give the industry a vital resource for strong growth in a tough economy. PANTS is the type of show that fits perfectly with that strategy and with our expansion into the green industry."
McLaughlin believes that education and professional development is key to remaining competitive in a growing field. The PLNA (PLNA.com) will retain a role in expanded educational programming at PANTS as well as assisting with promotions among its 750 member businesses. MAC Events will take on show production and logistics, marketing, advertising, booth sales and sponsorship agreements.
"We believe our exhibitors and attendees will all benefit by this partnership," MacKenzie said. In addition to serving as PLNA chair, he is president of the Octoraro Native Plant Nursery in Kirkwood, Pa.
Like New Jersey, Pennsylvania is a key state for nursery stock growers who supply the region and the nation, representing a significant segment of overall agricultural production. PANTS has seen steady growth since 1973, moving half-a-dozen times to accommodate expanding attendance. Firmly established as the East Coast’s biggest summer show, it regularly attracts visitors from as far north as Connecticut and as far south as North Carolina.
Trade shows such as PANTS and NJ PLANTS offer unparalleled business-to-business opportunities, McLaughlin pointed out, including a chance to preview new plant material, equipment and products, expand customer contacts and hone business skills as market conditions shift and grow.
"We’re very excited about building on the foundation established by the vital work of the PLNA to give the industry a cohesive focus," he added. "We all have the same goal – to help green trade professionals grow their businesses and negotiate the challenges they face in a field of ever-higher standards."
MAC Events has been producing high-quality business and consumer shows throughout the United States since 1969. Focused in the Northeast, its popular events include home shows, flower, garden and outdoor living shows and, more recently, horticultural trade shows. The company also is expanding into professional event management for organizations, associations and businesses in the region and other U.S. markets. For more information, contact Kevin McLaughlin at Kevin@MacEvents.com.
(NEW HAVEN, CT) ― A natural infection of pachysandra in the landscape by Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum, the boxwood blight fungus, was confirmed by Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) plant pathologists on June 29, 2012. The pachysandra sample had been collected by a CAES inspector while visiting a residential property in Fairfield County that had installed B&B boxwood plants in May 2012. These plants had been confirmed by CAES to be infected with boxwood blight one week prior to the visit. The inspector noticed that an established bed of pachysandra bed adjacent to the infected boxwood had unusual, foliar symptoms, so he collected the sample to bring to the diagnostic lab for examination.
Source: The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station