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MONTGOMERY, AL

Highly contagious citrus disease now found in Alabama 

A highly contagious bacterial disease that seriously threatens the U.S. citrus industry has been found for the first time in Alabama. 

Federal and state plant officials confirm that citrus greening was found in leaf and insect samples at a home on Dauphin Island, according to a news release Tuesday from the state Department of Agriculture and Industries. 

They've been checking regularly for the bacteria, which has devastated the crop in neighboring Florida over the past decade. 

Alabama authorities say a survey beginning July 26 will check whether the disease, also called huanglongbing, has spread past the one yard. 

There's no cure. Infected trees are destroyed to keep it from spreading. 

Fruit from infected trees is safe to eat, but unsightly lesions make it hard to sell. Infected trees eventually stop producing fruit. They usually die within five years.

BATON ROUGE, LA

Researchers get 1M to study honeybee stress

Two Louisiana State University researchers are getting nearly $1 million for a two-year study of how stress affects honeybee health.

The LSU AgCenter says in a news release that Kristen Healy and Daniel Swale are working with U.S. Department of Agriculture honeybee researchers in Baton Rouge and the nation's largest beekeeper.

They'll be studying 400 hives of honeybees that are based in South Dakota, including some that are moved to California for the fall almond harvest and then to Mississippi for the winter.

Healy says they'll compare colonies that survived or failed, and try to figure out which kinds of stress were more important to the bees' health.

LSU is getting $935,000. It's among seven universities getting a total of $6.8 million from the USDA to study pollinators.

PORTLAND, ME

More funding for US maple producers requested

A group of senators including Maine's Angus King is asking for at least $5 million in federal money to support maple syrup producers around the U.S.

King, an independent, is joining with Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow and others on the request. The senators say the Acer Access and Development Program helps maple syrup producers increase production, but President Donald Trump didn't include funding for it in his budget proposal.

The senators are making their case to a subcommittee on agriculture, rural development, food and drug administration and related agencies. They say maple is both a source of employment for thousands and a vital crop that keeps forests in production.

GLENVILLE, GA

G&R Farms announces partnership with National FFA 

 G&R Farms in Tattnall County, GA has finalized an agreement with the National FFA 
Organization to support scholarships for students in Production Agriculture.

Under the agreement, G&R will contribute a percentage of sales from its 2017 Vidalia onion@ crop to enhance educational opportunities for young people who are committed to future farming careers. 

The new initiative, "Growing America's FarmersT," was the brainchild of Walt Dasher, a third generation southeast Georgia farmer who is a strong advocate of FFA. As a partner in G&R Farms, he found it was difficult to hire young people to work on the family farm. 

Dasher noted that the average age of an American farmer is 57 and trending older with each passing year. Determined to do his part to combat the problem and increase awareness across the country, Dasher formulated a program in conjunction with the National FFA Organization to support the scholarship initiative for future farmers. 

BISMARK, ND

Emergency CRP grazing authorized

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has authorized emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program land in the Dakotas and Montana in response to drought.

Perdue says that without alternative forage options, ranchers could be devastated economically. The emergency grazing is authorized to begin immediately, and extends through Sept. 30 unless conditions improve.

Parts of all three states are experiencing severe or extreme drought.

U.S. Sen. John Hoeven says other federal drought aid also is available to ranchers in counties classified as being in extreme drought. The assistance is through the Agriculture Department's Livestock Forage Disaster Program.

VACAVILLE, CA

California deputies save wayward Llama 

A couple of Solano County sheriff's deputies are one llama's heroes after they saved it from traffic. 

KTVU-TV reports deputies David Hollingsworth and Jordan Austin "found themselves having to think outside the box to coax this llama out of the roadway after it escaped from its pasture." 

The Llama went wayward on Monday and the deputies corralled it without incident. Dashcam video shows the deputies putting a pink harness on the llama as four of its pals watched from the other side of the fence. 

No tickets were issued and the llama received "verbal counseling," a post on the sheriff's Facebook page stated. 

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