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In the battle against thrips, Cornell breeder Martha Mutschler-Chu has developed a new weapon: a tomato that packs a powerful one-two punch to deter the pests and counter the killer viruses they transmit. The “dual resistant” insect and virus varieties may reduce or even eliminate the need for pesticides in several regions. She is participating in a $3.75 million USDA-AFRI funded project involving nine scientists from eight institutions nationwide. Thrips are tiny insects that pierce and suck fluids from hundreds of species of plants, including tomatoes, grapes, strawberries and soybeans. They also transmit such diseases as the tomato spotted wilt virus, causing millions of dollars in damage to U.S. agricultural crops each year.

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Beginning Farmer Training Program members harvesting in a field

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What kind of education or experience has prepared you for running the Beginning Farmer Training Program? Like many new farmers, when I got started, I was a generation removed from farming. I didn’t grow up surrounded by agriculture, but I would...
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Farmland near Ekwendeni, Malawi

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