One hundred miles west of Phoenix, a Saudi-Arabian owned farming operation grows hay year-round in the desert. It’s an issue examined by Arizona State University students in a documentary called “Camels Don’t Fly, Deserts Don’t Bloom,” which explores the issue of Saudi-Arabian farming in La Paz County and the reaction of locals and water officials. We’ll hear reaction to that video from Jordon Rose, an attorney representing Fondomonte, the owner of the farm in La Paz County that was the subject of the video. Also, Mark Killian, the director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture, will discuss the importance of agriculture imports and exports to Arizona.
Beyond The Mirage is an innovative web-based experience that aims to raise awareness and understanding about Arizona’s water supplies and demands. The project recently was selected as the winner of The New Arizona Prize: Water Consciousness Challenge and was awarded the $100,000 grand prize. Developed by a team from the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences along with Arizona Public Media and marketing professionals, Beyond the Mirage will use the award to help launch web and social media strategies to allow Arizonans to create and share their own mini-documentaries. The project will also will also use the hundreds of water-related clips developed for the website to create a feature-length documentary. Thom Reilly, director of Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, and Steve Seleznow, president and CEO of the Arizona Community Foundation, will discuss Beyond the Mirage.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a “drought designation” for 11 Arizona counties. Eligible farmers in the drought designated counties can apply for low-interest loans. Jack Peterson, interim director for the Arizona Department of Agriculture, will discuss the issue.
The Asian Citrus Psyllid has been found in Arizona. It’s a pest that causes citrus tree leaves to turn yellow and ruins the fruit of the tree. Although greening disease caused by the bug has not been found here, agricultural officials are worried about the damage it could do to our $37 million citrus industry. John Caravetta, assistant director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture, will talk about the citrus psyllid.
A bill has been introduced that would authorize employees of the Arizona Department of Agriculture to kill endangered Mexican gray wolves that have been preying on livestock. Two other bills relating to that issue have been introduced. Sandy Bahr, chapter director of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club and Bas Aja, executive vice president of the Arizona Cattle Feeders' Association, will discuss the pros and cons of the bills.
There’s been a dramatic increase in western Arizona of a bug that can do tremendous damage to citrus trees. The Asian Citrus Psyllid carries greening disease, otherwise known as Huanglongbing. Once a tree is infected it will die. The disease could damage our state’s Citrus crop, one of the Five Cs that adds $37 million dollars a year to Arizona’s economy. John Caravett, a of the Arizona Department of Agriculture, will tell us more.
A bill in Oklahoma regulating the sales of pseudoephedrine is credited with reducing the seizures of methamphetamine labs by 80 percent. In Arizona, House Bill 2639 is designed to do just that. Opponents managed to slow the legislation, but a week ago, using a "strike all amendment," the bill's sponsor pushed the legislation through the Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee.