St. Paul, Minn. (July 20, 2004)—As land in California that was once farmland becomes more and more developed, plant pathologists are charged with trying to find ways to smooth the coexistence of nonfarmers and the agricultural industry. This challenge pertains not only to California, but also to an increasing number of other states. “California has experienced major problems with the encroachment of cities and urban development on farmland,” said George Leavitt, farm advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension, Madera, Calif. “L.A. used to be a huge farming area at one time and the best apricots used to come from orchards in what is now Silicon Valley,” he said. Today, farmers in California and their new neighbors, residents of sub-divisions and office buildings, are learning how to peacefully coexist.Problems new to American agriculture also arise when plant diseases or insects are transported through California’s high-trafficked airports and harbors. The Mexican fruit fly, glassy-winged sharpshooter, Mediterranean fruit fly, and Newscastle’s disease are a few examples of pests that have been introduced to California in the past few years. Pierce’s disease of grapes spread dramatically after the introduction of the glassy-winged sharpshooter. To serve as a model for similar situations throughout the U.S., pathologists will present their learnings from California’s experience with urban sprawl during the Challenges at the Urban/Ag Interface symposium at The American Phytopathological Society (APS) Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA, July 31- August 4, 2004. This symposium will look at problems associated with a large urban population encroaching upon production agriculture. The symposium will be held Tuesday, August 3, 2004 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA. Members of the media are invited to attend annual meeting events. Complimentary registration is available. The American Phytopathological Society (APS) is a nonprofit, professional scientific organization dedicated to the study and management of plant diseases, with 5,000 members worldwide.
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