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Wrong Mark Sweeney?

Mark Sweeney

Industry Specialist; Berries and Nuts

British Columbia

Direct Phone: (604) ***-****       

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British Columbia

954 Eckhardt Avenue West

Penticton, British Columbia V2A 2C1


Company Description

Japan is B.C.'s third-largest export market, worth $4.7 billion, and they are the world's largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Japan is Port Metro Vancouver's second-largest trading partner, after China. Roughly 17 million tonnes of cargos wer ... more

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Background Information


Assigned Committee Member
U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council



Web References (39 Total References)

"It has been a particularly bad ... [cached]

"It has been a particularly bad year for starlings," said Mark Sweeney, berry specialist with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Food. "There have been exceptional populations.

Blog: INVEST IN FARM LAND! [cached]

Lower-value Fraser Valley crops that are being sidelined, or at least not expanded, include processing peas, beans, corn, strawberries, and some fresh-market vegetables, said Mark Sweeney, berry industry specialist with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture.

Community Futures South Fraser | What's New | News | Agriculture [cached]

Mark Sweeney, berry specialist with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture in Abbotsford, said heat of this magnitude can result in plant dehydration and smaller berries, even with irrigation.

Before the heat wave, the early variety - Duke - was a tad behind where it usually is at this time of year. The hot weather accelerated the growth, and it caught up.
Now, the problem is the stress caused to plants that have not yet been harvested, Sweeney said.
He said there won't be the same effect on the next two varieties - Blue and Elliott - unless they also face heat extremes.

2/28/08 - Mark Sweeney, ... [cached]

2/28/08 - Mark Sweeney, Berry Crops Specialist with the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture received the Duke Galletta Award in recognition of his outstanding service and contributions to the blueberry industry on February 28, 2008. The Award was made at the North American Blueberry Council (NABC) meeting in Vancouver.

BCNG Portals Page [cached]

Mark Sweeney, a berry industry specialist with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, said the virus was first detected in 2000, but it was likely here previously and undiagnosed.

Its origin is unclear - whether it occurs naturally and crossed over to domestic blueberries or was imported from the U.S. - but it is now well-established and widespread in the Fraser Valley.
"It's always going to be here, and we just have to manage it in a way to minimize the losses," said Sweeney, noting the plant virus causes no harm to humans.
Once the virus invades a plant, symptoms appear within two years.Since the range of symptoms is severe to subtle, the virus is difficult to diagnose, but the impact to a farmer's income has the potential of being severe.In some fields, Sweeney has seen a plant infection rate of 70 per cent. Infected plants never regain normal productivity.
"It's not a huge economic loss at this point.The concern is the potential loss if it's not managed," he said.
The ministry continues to research the disease and encourages growers to follow a four-step plan: look for suspicious plants, submit samples for tests, manage the aphids that spread the virus and destroy infected plants.
The challenge for the industry is that the disease isn't regulated, meaning officials can't force growers to remove infected plants, which might still produce some fruit.
"We're trying to encourage growers to do what's right for their own business and also for the larger picture - and sometimes there's a tradeoff there," said Sweeney.
Sweeney said he's confident the virus is manageable if growers ensure new stock is clean and they continue to examine their plants for the virus.

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