Hans Verburg

**Aided by the USDA's Agricultural Trade Promotion funds, Pear Bureau Northwest has launched a series of consumer outreach promotions using new digital platforms, content partners, and social media influencers in Latin America.

The additional funding will allow the Pear Bureau to increase consumer outreach efforts and work together with different communication outlets, reaching a broader audience throughout Latin America, especially millennials and moms.

**Wind and rain last month has spoiled hopes of having an abundance of berries for Valentine’s Day for Southern California strawberry growers, but the fruit should still be available, at lower volumes and higher prices.

Until the storms, according to www.thepacker.com, Southern California was enjoying an ideal strawberry season.

Dry weather with temperatures as high as 80 was bringing on a plentiful supply until Mother Nature got cranky.

Wind gusts of 80 miles an hour prompted growers to pull pickers from the fields, and caused scarring on some berries.

www.thepacker.com/markets/shipping/california-strawberry-supplies-tight-valentines-day?mkt/

**To prevent a damaging plant virus from taking hold in California, seed companies have agreed to a set of protocols for people and machinery.

The Clean Seed Agreement aims to combat cucumber green mottle mosaic virus, which affects cucumbers, watermelons, cantaloupes and similar crops.

The virus first appeared in a Sutter County field in 2012, but now seed companies plant only seed tested to assure it’s free of the plant virus.