AgriLife Provides CARES Act Training and Outreach for Ag Producers Affected by COVID-19

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AgriLife Extension assists Texans in production agriculture

Texas A&M AgriLife provides CARES Act training and outreach for agricultural producers affected by COVID-19 pandemic

MAY 20, 2020

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, in collaboration with the office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, will be providing educational outreach and training to help producers of agricultural commodities throughout the state understand and acquire federal assistance to help them recover financially from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Patrick J. Stover, Ph.D., vice chancellor of Texas A&M AgriLife, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, College Station, said helping agricultural producers better understand the CARES stimulus package is necessary to help secure the future food supply.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the food production and supply and has had a profound and far-reaching effect on those front-line farmers we depend on to meet our needs for food and nutrition,” Stover said.

AgriLife Extension director Jeff Hyde, Ph.D., College Station, said his agency’s initial phase of the collaboration with the governor’s office used AgriLife Extension’s unique, statewide reach to educate local officials serving counties, municipalities, communities and schools about the federal relief package.

“Now in this second phase, we are providing outreach and training statewide for those agricultural producers we rely upon to provide us with the food and fiber we need every day,” he said. “We hope our efforts will help them obtain the federal funding for which they are eligible as quickly as possible.”

Training on CARES Act

The free training course, “The CARES Act: Implications for Farmers and Ranchers,” can be found on AgriLife Extension’s online learning website, at

The training builds on a recent report by the Agricultural and Food Policy Center, or AFPC, at Texas A&M University that summarizes the financial relief resources made available to agricultural producers at

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act, will be instrumental in helping Texans recover from the economic devastation caused by the pandemic. For agricultural producers, much of the assistance will be provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has just finalized the process of finalizing details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, CFAP.

“The CARES Act provides a number of tools to help workers, families and small businesses, including farmers and ranchers,” explained Bart Fischer, co-director of the Agriculture and Food Policy Center and AgriLife Research economist. “Now that USDA has finalized the details of CFAP, we stand ready to help make sure Texas producers have the information they need to apply as quickly as possible.”


Continued outreach

AFPC recently estimated that production agriculture losses in Texas as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic could be from $6-8 billion or more. The agricultural commodities identified as being most affected by the pandemic include weaned calves, stocker calves, feeder steers, sheep and goats, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products.

AgriLife Extension will continue to offer outreach and online trainings related to the CARES Act to help agricultural producers navigate the federal funding process so they may recover financially as quickly and effectively as possible. And AgriLife Extension agents and others will be available to assist producers with any questions related to the training and application process for federal funding.

Hyde noted AgriLife Extension will collaborate with the Texas agriculture industry, commodity associations and other groups to help ensure agricultural producers are aware of the agency’s trainings and of any other informational assistance available to them.


Texas A&M AgriLife, in collaboration with the office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, will provide training and educational outreach on the CARES Act as a way to help agricultural producers throughout the state. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Review of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program



Paul Schattenberg


Corrie P. Bowen
County Extension Agent – Agriculture & Natural Resources
Wharton County

IPM: Fleahoppers to Flowers

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I spent the week still looking for fleahoppers and other plant bugs in cotton, but I did see my first flower this week. There’s been a couple different species of plant bugs in cotton than I usually see, so feel free to contact me if you have something unusual you would like an ID on. I’ve heard of some verde plant bugs popping up as well. There are still aphids in some fields across all three counties.

In Jackson county I found 20% fleahoppers in my field near El Toro, 20% near Vanderbilt, 28% near La Salle, and 26% near the county line off 35. In Matagorda county I found 9% in a field near Tidehaven school, 6% near Tin Top, and 24% near Palacios. In Wharton county I found 11% near Egypt, 2% at Elm Grove, 0%, 4%, 6% at three fields and 11% in a 4th field near the fairgrounds, 0 in one field in the Blue Creek area, 15% in another near Blue Creek, 5% in Danavang, and 0% in a field close to the airport.

Aphids on Cotton Photo: Kate Crumley

Cotton Fleahopper Adult Photo: Kate Crumley


Cotton fleahopper numbers are rising in some places this week, and with squaring under way in many fields, we’ll be needing to keep a closer eye out for this pest.

Fleahopper feeding will cause squares to drop. Plants can recover for and compensate for some square loss, but the threshold for fleahoppers is 15-25 per 100 plants. I check for fleahoppers by inspecting the plant terminals once they start squaring. I look at 25 plants per stop in the field, usually checking 100 plants total in an 80-100 acre field, more if the field is larger. Fleahopper nymphs can be close to the size of aphids, but look like smaller versions of the adults without wings, and are much more mobile than aphids.

The threshold for cotton aphids is 50 aphids per leaf, and if you see the aphid mummies in the field, that’s a good thing. Parasitoid wasps lay eggs in the aphids, and the aphid forms a mummy while the wasp larvae pupates inside. These wasps, lady beetles, and lacewings all can make a dent in aphid numbers. Treatment for aphids is very rarely justified since the numbers need to be so high before they can cause an economic problem. If you do decide to treat for aphids, do not use a pyrethroid. Pyrethroids are non specific, and kill predatory insects as well, but aphids will bounce back quickly due to their high reproductive rate.

The chart below contains insecticide suggestions from (also a good resource) for reference if you have fleahoppers at the action threshold.

Next week I am going to be looking for bollworms in the cotton with flowers. To scout for cotton bollworms I use the terminal and square inspection method, as well as making some full plant checks. I make about four stops in a field, more if the field is larger than 100 acres. At each stop, I look at 25 plant terminals, checking the upper third of the plant for caterpillars and eggs. I also pull 25 half grown or larger green squares to bolls and look for bollworm damage. This week I was finding moths flying in almost every field I was in. Egg lay has been fairly light most of this week with an increase in the last two days. I would like to note that while egg lay in the upper third of the cotton plant is typical, I have seen and have talked to consultants finding egg lay near the bottom of the plants. When documenting egg lay, if I find more than one on a leaf, I only count it as one. This caterpillar is highly cannibalistic, and generally only one caterpillar will result from eggs too near each other. The few caterpillars I have seen were very small, likely had only molted once, and were in the crescent area of Wharton county. The economic threshold for bollworms is 6% damaged bolls with live caterpillars present. In areas like ours on the upper gulf coast with documented Bt failures, the threshold for eggs on single and dual gene cotton is 20% (20 plants out of 100 with at least one egg). If you’re finding bollworms in cotton or in corn, especially in viptera fields, please give me a call.

The current A&M recommendation is to use pyrethroids with caution. In areas needing residual control Prevathon at 18- 20 fl oz or Besiege at 9- 10 fl oz works well. If you don’t need residual control you can get by with Prevathon at 14 fl oz or Besiege a 7- 8 fl oz.

Cotton Insect Guide

In April there was a sighting of a kudzu bug in Cherokee county, and this was the first documented sighting of this pest in Texas. Kudzu bugs have been a problem in soybeans in Georgia, so keep an eye out for this insect in soybeans and in gardens. There is more information on this insect available at Let me know if you find this insect, and I’ll be looking around as well.

This week we recieved more information on our agency prociding training for the CARES Act. This includes information on programs available for ag producers. This link has the news release for that information:

If you have any questions feel free to contact me. Stay safe everyone!


Kate Crumley
EA- Integrated Pest Management
Wharton, Jackson, and Matagorda County

Office Phone: (979)532-3310
Office Address: 315 East Milam Street, Suite 112
Wharton, TX 77488

For More Information

Cotton Insect Guide

Aphids in Cotton

Cotton Growth and Development overview

Cotton Growth and Development

Prevention of Plastic Contamination

Kudzu Bugs

Murder Hornets

Murder Hornet Lookalikes in Texas

For More Information on COVID-19:

Texas Department of State Health Case Counts

TAMU Guides

How to Make Cloth Face Masks

Regional Row Crop Initiative Commodity Marketing Webinar May 20

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May 20th Regional Row Crop Initiative Commodity Marketing Webinar

By Corrie Bowen
County Extension Agent
Wharton County

Please see attached guidance below about a recurring virtual program provided by the Southeast Regional Row Crop Initiative Team.  Each month Extension Economists from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will provide commodity marketing updates for cotton, grain sorghum and corn. We will also have special guests to assist with the discussion.  The event is free as it is being sponsored by the cotton, grain sorghum and corn commodity groups.  The link and password each month will be the same (unless we have some privacy issues).  It will be live at 7AM the 3rd Wednesday of each month. The first Commodity Marketing Update will be held this Wednesday, May 20th at 7 a.m. via Zoom.  To join this Zoom Meeting, go to

The Meeting ID is 937 0559 2814, and the Password is 118219.

You can go back later and review a recording of the event.  They should be short, concise and full of information.  We hope to be done after 30 minutes.  Please help spread the word to your growers in your area. This information will be going statewide so apologies in advance for the duplicate email.  We believe the program has statewide interest. Thanks


Corrie P. Bowen
County Extension Agent – Agriculture & Natural Resources
Wharton County

SE Regional Row Crop Inititiative Commodity Marketing Webinar

PVAMU CEP COVID-19 Preventative Measures

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NOTICE: Extension Office Open to Public May 4

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Notice from Judge Philip Spenrath
April 30, 2020


County Offices Reopening May 4 2020


Per Governor Abbott’s new Executive Order GA-18:  essential services and reopened services may start at 12:01 a.m. on May 1, 2020.  In subparagraph i) “Local government operations, including county and municipal governmental operations relating to permitting, recordation, and document-filing services, as determined by the local government

LIBRARIES:  Governor Abbott specifically stated in his April 27, 2020 public announcement that Libraries and Museums may Re-open at 25% Occupancy.

JUDICIAL COURTS:  The Office of Court Administration continues to mandate that non-essential judicial proceedings be held remotely.  In-person proceedings of any size should be delayed until at least June 1, 2020.


County Officials are asking all visiting patrons and guests to adhere to the following recommendations:

  • No more than 10 persons are gathered in the front foyer area around the County Clerk’s Office and Tax Office;
  • Patrons are encouraged to wear face coverings where possible; if you do not have one, a mask will be provided
  • Patrons in the building should remain separated consistent with 6 feet social distancing and other precautions.
  • Patrons should come alone to help minimize the potential for group contamination (please leave small children and guests at home with family members.)