Want to keep up with the latest news for growers? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the fruit and vegetable industry.

USDA Program Helps Nonprofits Innovate New Certification for Bee-Friendly Farms
A new certification program enables agricultural producers to let consumers know they are farming in ways that benefit bees. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation partnered with Oregon Tilth to develop and launch the Bee Better Certified program. After piloting the program with 13 farmers over the past few months, Xerces and Oregon Tilth are now opening it to farmers nationwide. The program focuses on integrating flower-rich habitat on farms in order to provide food and nesting sites for native bees, honey bees and other pollinators. It also helps farmers reduce or eliminate use of pesticides known to cause harm to bees. Oregon Tilth assesses and certifies farms based on the amount and quality of habitat created as well as the incorporation of pest management strategies aimed at protecting crop pollinators.

Among Farmworkers, Immigrants are Less Likely to Use SNAP
The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — formerly known as “food stamps” — that helps low-income individuals and families purchase food is less likely to be used by farmworkers eligible for the benefit who are immigrants, Hispanic, male, childless or residing in California, new research from UC Davis health economists shows. Published in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, the study undercuts the common assumption that immigrant crop workers, especially Hispanic crop workers, utilize SNAP more than others. It also highlights the need to address non-participation among those who are legally eligible and could benefit from the program, which reduces hunger and stimulates spending. A program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, SNAP offers funding for food or plants and seeds to grow food based on eligibility criteria such as income and family size. Undocumented immigrants may qualify if they have U.S. born children, and documented immigrants may qualify after residing in the U.S. for five years.

UGA Workshop to Focus on Forest Herbicide Applications
Foresters, forest herbicide applicators, land managers and landowners interested in maintaining effective forest herbicide programs are encouraged to attend the University of Georgia Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources’ Forest Herbicide Workshop. The workshop will be held on July 18 – 19 at the Tift County UGA Cooperative Extension office.

4-H20 Camp Highlights Water Conservation
South Georgia 4-H members learned the importance of water conservation during the 4-H20 Camp’s stop at the University of Georgia’s C.M. Stripling Irrigation Research Park (SIRP) in Camilla, Georgia, on June 14.