Cary Blake

Associate Editor,
Western Farm Press

Cary Blake, associate editor with Western Farm Press, has 32 years experience as an agricultural journalist. Blake covered Midwest agriculture for 25 years on a statewide farm radio network and through television stories that blanketed the nation.
Blake travelled West in 2003. Today he reports on production agriculture in Arizona and California. He also covers New Mexico and West Texas agriculture for Southwest Farm Press.
Blake is a native Mississippian, graduate of Mississippi State University, and a former Christmas tree grower.

Humor advances success of UA vegetable IPM program

A ‘ding’ sound often notifies a computer, tablet, or smartphone user of a new message in their e-mail inbox. If the incoming document is the University of Arizona’s (UA) Vegetable IPM Updates e-newsletter, time spent reading the pest, disease, and weed messages can be followed by chuckles and laughs.

What’s so funny about vegetable pests, diseases, and weeds? Nothing really but it’s the funny creative agricultural cartoon included with the newsletter that has people churning out smiles and giggles.

EPA grants Section 18 to combat sorghum aphid in Ariz.

The state of Arizona has received a Section 18 emergency exemption from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the use of Transform WG insecticide (Dow AgroSciences) to control sugarcane aphid in sorghum.

According to Ayman Mostafa, University of Arizona (UA) Cooperative Extension area agent in central Arizona, the sugarcane aphid is a new pest that’s highly invasive and hard to control in sorghum with many older insecticide chemistries.

Gallery: Farming guayule a good option for the Deen's

About a dozen Arizona farmers are growing a new test crop in the arid Arizona low desert, including Gary and Billie Deen of Marana. The Deens are growing 38 acres of the crop guayule who are , Ariz. are among about under a dozen Arizona farmers growing a new test crop in the arid low desert. The crop is called guayule, a desert perennial shrub which produces natural rubber, bagasse (biomass), and resins.

The few growers farming guayule are growing it under contract for one of several companies who want the products to conduct further tests on 

Deen family: A farmer’s take on growing guayule

Gary and Billie Deen of Marana, Ariz. are agricultural innovators. Like other growers, they are constantly on the lookout for new crop options to generate revenue to keep their operation financially afloat.

Two years ago, the Deens were contacted by the Bridgestone tire company about growing a new crop under contract for Bridgestone’s research and testing purposes – a desert shrub called guayule (pronounced Why-YU-lee).

Vilsack: Managing climate change a work in progress 2

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack says everyone in agriculture has a responsibility to manage the impact of climate change, including the farming industry by collaborating with state and federal governments, and vice a versa, to develop solutions.

Vilsack, speaking at the USDA Fall Forum in Climate Variability, Water, and Land Use held at Arizona State University at Tempe on Sept. 14, laid out the longer-term challenges facing agriculture tied to climate change trends.

Guayule photos: Moving closer to commercialization in West, Southwest

The desert perennial shrub called guayule (Why-YU-lee), which produces natural rubber, resins, and bagasse, is moving closer to commercialization as an alternative crop in Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas, and possibly Southern California.

Bridgestone and PanAridus are among the companies expected to offer commercial contracts to growers in as early as the next few years.

You can read Western Farm Press' breaking news article on guayule online at

24 tapped for next California Ag Leadership Program

Twenty-four people will be inaugurated into Class 47 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program (CALP) on Oct. 6 at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.

CALP is an advanced leadership development experience for emerging agricultural leaders.

Guayule - future cropping option in West, Southwest 1

A major investment in dollars, research, and expertise by commercial companies is backing the expected launch of commercial guayule production in the West and Southwest in the next several years.

The guayule shrub, an industrial perennial crop, is a source of natural rubber, mostly found under the plant bark. The tire industry, for example, is gearing up to use domestically-grown guayule rubber as a major tire and auto part component which could create opportunities for guayule growers.  

Record 2016 California walnut crop at 670,000 tons

California walnut growers are poised to produce about 670,000 tons of nuts, up 11 percent from last year’s production of 603,000 tons, according to a survey by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) at Sacramento.

NASS says the 2016 walnut season began with fair amounts of winter moisture and adequate chilling hours. Weather during the walnut bloom was average - a mix of ideal days and others with stronger winds and wet weather.

Rain during the spring moths increased blight chances.

Pest alert: Heavy infestation of sugarcane aphid in Arizona, California sorghum

Western sorghum growers should be on high alert for the new invasive pest sugarcane aphid found in heavy numbers in some fields in central Arizona and California’s southern San Joauquin Valley.

Some Arizona pest control advisers have reported heavy sugarcane aphid infestations in many sorghum fields. Staff at the Arizona Pest Management Center (APMC) has collected and field identified several samples in the Maricopa and Stanfield areas in Pinal County.

Alfalfa: High cutworm damage, gains made in TRR control in Arizona

There’s a thief hiding out in some central Arizona alfalfa fields killing healthy plants and leaving frustrated growers with slimmer wallets. In some cases, an entire crop cutting is stolen.

The unexpected thief is two types of cutworm: granulate cutworm (Feltia subterranean), formerly known as Agrotis subterranean; and variegated cutworm (Peridroma saucia).  

Wuertz honored as subsurface drip irrigation pioneer

Howard Wuertz, a central Arizona crop farmer at the family’s Sundance Farms operation at Coolidge and considered by many as the father of subsurface irrigation, has received Netafim USA’s 2016 Award of Advancement in Microirrigation.

Wuertz’s selection is based on his pioneering efforts and contributions to the adaptation of subsurface drip irrigation (SDI).

“It is a great honor to be recognized by Netafim and industry peers for the steps we have made at Sundance Farms to achieve greater efficiency and productivity,” Wuertz says.

World’s largest crop robot revolutionizing crop breeding 1

Captain Kirk of Star Trek movie fame would feel right at home operating the controls of Planet Earth’s largest agricultural robot, currently located in an energy sorghum varietal trial in Maricopa, Ariz.

The crop analytic robot, similar in appearance to a gantry crane, features a Volkswagen-sized field scanner loaded with the latest precision agriculture tools to precisely measure crop growth with unprecedented resolution.

Photos: NCC cotton grower tour of Idaho agriculture

About a dozen cotton growers from across the 

Cotton growers discover Idaho grows more than 'taters'

Idaho agriculture is perhaps best known for its ‘spud-ilicious’ potatoes yet the Gem State’s almost $8 billion farming industry is a diverse combination of about 185 commodities ranging from livestock to barley, alfalfa, trout, dry edible beans, and wheat.

In mid-June, a dozen U.S. cotton and rice farmers toured farms and processing facilities in southeastern Idaho as part of the National Cotton Council of America’s (NCC) 10th annual Multi-Commodity Exchange Program (MCEP), sponsored by John Deere.

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