Business Journal: Pest Could Cripple Ag Profits

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, September 28, 2007
A little fruit fly could lead to major repercussions. Solano County’s infestation of the Mediterranean fruit fly forced 114 square miles of farmland into quarantine during this year’s harvest. The state Department of Food and Agriculture stopped all crops from leaving the county unless treated with pesticide or sealed from the pest. The department is taking steps to eradicated the flies, but the quarantine won’t be lifted until enough time has passed for three generations of the pest to hatch. The problem is, that could extend into next summer or even longer. This leaves farmers, especially on small, organic farms, struggling to keep customers. If the pest thrives, it could cause annual losses of $1.3 billion to $1.8 billion.