News

  • Farm Equipment May Influence Farmer’s View of Climate Change, University of Vermont Finds

    Irrigation systems help supplement water to crops, but the systems might also be impacting the farmers’ perspective on climate change.

    As irrigation systems maintain crops’ growth without impact from droughts and other weather patterns, farmers are less likely to realize climate change in their region. This causes unawareness in producers, and they are less likely to implement green processes that help prevent climate change.

    University of Vermont links this realization to show the impact of farm infrastructure on climate perception. With this knowledge, Vermont can educate producers everywhere on the importance of recognizing climate change and incorporating preventative measures.

    University of Vermont’s study is the first of its kind – read the report here.

  • With Warmer Climates, Snowmelts Are Reducing Water Availability in Communities

    Contrary to what you may think, warmer climates create a slower and earlier snowmelt during the winter. The snow starts melting sooner in the season and earlier during the day, as days are shorter. With a slower melt, the amount of water reaching the ground where it doesn’t evaporate is reduced so most of the snowmelt doesn’t create a runoff and never reaches downstream.

    University of Nevada – Reno discovered that with a reduced runoff, there is less water available for drinking and agriculture as the snowmelt never reaches reservoirs. Nearly 60 million people depend on snowmelt for their water supply so with continued warmer climates, water availability will be greatly reduced.

    Read exactly how warmer climates affect water availability here.

  • Tuskegee University Prevents Natural Disasters’ Impact on Crop Production

    Every year, droughts and other natural disasters impact agricultural production across the United States contributing to food insecurity and rising prices.

    To reduce droughts’ impact on crop production, Tuskegee University researched forecasting to measure long-term effects of weather patterns on crops. By monitoring weather data, farmers can manage risks in the future and form preventative measures. Not only will this increase food production, it will also stabilize produce prices when natural disasters occur.

    Did you know the research started in Tanzania? Read more about the project here.  

  • Protect Your Heart This Valentine’s Day With Alcorn State University

    During American Heart Month, there are constant reminders to improve our heart health. Heart disease is the #1 killer of Americans every year, and prevention begins with you. So, for this month, Alcorn State University offers tips you can take to keep you from being a statistic.

    One of the simplest changes to help prevent heart disease is incorporating healthy foods into your diet. Eating more fruits and veggies keep blood pressure in check and provide the recommended nutrients needed to stay healthy so visit your local farmer’s market and stock up!

    Check out Alcorn State University’s other tips for a heart healthy life here.

  • Massachusetts Is SNAPping Out of Food Insecurity (via University of Massachusetts Extension)

    In 2015, 15.8 million households were considered “food insecure,” which means they had inconsistent access to healthy food. For Massachusetts, nearly one in ten households (almost 200,000 children) don’t receive food they need.

    To help , University of Massachusetts Extension implemented nutrition education programs to low-income families and youth. Over 65,000 individuals participated in their programs with great results – over half of participating adults changed their dietary intake, improved their ability to choose foods, and acquired skills to be more food secure. With these programs, food insecurity may continue to decline for Massachusetts and provide an example for other states to follow.

    How did they do it? Read what the nutrition education program offered to communities here.

  • University of Delaware Looks to Protect a Universal Food Source

    Rice is one of the most consumed crops in the world but did you know it contains arsenic? Arsenic is a known carcinogen, a substance capable of causing cancer, and traces of the chemical are found in rice. Rice absorbs arsenic through groundwater and soil, so if a region has water contamination, the chances of arsenic poisoning through rice consumption is higher.

    To date, no government authority has set up regulations on arsenic-related exposure in foods so the University of Delaware (UD) has teamed up with Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) to set the standard and keep rice safe for the world.

    See UD and BAU’s research methods to protect rice in action here.

  • Consumers Demand More Ready-To-Eat Food and Cornell University Answers

    As consumers continue to rely on convenience when it comes to food, ready-to-eat food has seen an increase in purchasing. What else is increasing? Foodborne illnesses.

    Cornell University has developed new technology to specifically treat ready-to-eat foods to prevent foodborne pathogens and extend shelf life. The answer is a high-pressure food processor, which surrounds food packages with water and then puts the package through 87,000 pounds per square inch of pressure. The processor will not only answer increasing consumer demand for ready-to-eat foods, but help ensure safer healthier choices.

    Want to see how the processor works? Click here.

  • New Jersey Institute of Technology Finds Climate Change Affects More Than Just Weather Patterns

    It’s no surprise that climate change affects weather patterns and contributes to rising temperatures, which can also raise sea levels. However, those rising sea levels affect animal and plant life in coastal ecosystems, and when the change happens suddenly, the damage can be significant.

    To help predict rising sea levels and prepare ecosystems for a change, New Jersey Institute of Technology studied environmental trends such as water temperature, water pressure, and salinity, which change before sea levels actually rise. Now, by monitoring these factors, scientists can anticipate rising sea levels and prepare ecosystems for the change.

    Curious how NJIT figured out the environmental trends? Read more about their research here.

  • Tennessee Has Been Going through a Drought and University of Tennessee Agriculture Researchers are Proactively Preparing for the Worst

    Droughts are a real problem throughout the United States, and America’s farmers have been particularly hit hard with lower crop yields over the past few years. This month, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is sending surveys to over 5,000 state producers to understand how to proactively help Tennessee farmers during the next drought.

    The university plans to use this research as a way to educate all farmers about the different types of technology and resources they have at their disposal. For example, having more Tennessee farmers make use of cover crops – crops known to help promote soil moisture – would help maintain their crop yields during a dry period.

    What other information are University of Tennessee researchers collecting to help their state’s farmers? Click here to learn more.

  • Ohio State University Extension Raises the Bar on Food Safety for Greenhouse-Grown Produce

    Sanja Ilic, the state food safety specialist for the Ohio State University Extension, is currently analyzing five years of research on greenhouse vegetable production. It is an effort being undertaken to ensure that food production in greenhouses meets the safest standards possible.

    Dr. Ilic and her colleagues visited 26 greenhouses across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Guatemala to research differences in production among greenhouse vegetable growers by testing thousands of samples from irrigation water, food contact, environmental surfaces, and the vegetables being grown. The results will help consumers enjoy fresh, safe vegetables no matter the season.

    Read more about Dr. Ilic’s food safety efforts here.

  • Oregon State University Researchers Tracks Fish Migration Patterns to Map Water Sources

    A new approach to tracking fish migration patterns has been launched with help from Oregon State University researchers.  The researchers are calling the results of their method, an ichthyograph, a chart that depicts key characteristics of a water source like stream flow, water temperatures, and the timing of upstream migration of fish.

    The ichthyograph allows fisheries managers and fish biologists to better understand upstream migration patterns and will help to explore how climate change and human-related activity like water control, floodplain stabilization, and road construction affects fish migration.

  • Fight Against Diabetes Advances, Thanks to LSU Agricultural Center Researchers

    The Food and Drug Administration has approved a qualified health claim for products containing high-amylose maize starch, which cites its effectiveness in reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. The starch was tested for health benefits with the help of researchers from the Agricultural Center at Louisiana State University.

    Along with his colleagues, Professor Michael Keenan of the LSU AgCenter School of Nutrition and Food Sciences has been working with the starch for about 15 years. With a qualified claim from the FDA, food marketers are now allowed to promote the diabetes risk reduction benefits of the starch, if it is found in their products, and help improve blood glucose control among the public.

    Read more about how researchers are attempting to reduce the risk of diabetes here.

  • Prairie View A&M University Research Helps Limited Resource Farmers

    Prairie View A&M University is studying the soil moisture of strawberries for big implications. Through 60 soil moisture sensors and a weather station to monitor the moisture within and below the root system, the team is determining irrigation requirements, plant water use, and excess water losses for organically grown strawberries.

    The research collected will be shared with limited resource farmers in the southeast region, especially in Texas and Arkansas, to increase production. The research is also part of a project to evaluate organic pest control products that will help control damaging diseases and insects in strawberries.

    Read more about Prairie View’s A&M University’s research here.

  • Class Offers Health Benefits to Diabetes Patients, Thanks to the Virginia Cooperative Extension

    A class offered in Prince William County, Virginia is helping individuals who live with diabetes manage the disease. The Virginia Cooperative Extension has been providing the “Living Well with Diabetes” class in recent years to help local residents control and live with diabetes. Throughout its implementation, 34 people have attended the course, and many say that it has made a positive change in their health and lives. Some attendees with diabetes have even experienced a decrease in A1C levels, which measures a person’s average levels of blood sugar over a three-month span.

    The class aims to educate attendees about helpful lifestyle changes for people with diabetes, which is the sixth leading cause of death in Virginia. Class participants learn about nutrition, physical activity, medication compliance, and stress management throughout the course, which includes four sessions and a follow-up session.

    To read more about how the Virginia Cooperative extension is helping patients with diabetes, click here.

  • Iowa State University Uses Algae to Treat Wastewater

    While algae might be an unsightly nuisance in home aquariums, the plant can improve wastewater efficiency at a low-cost. Most wastewater is treated with a bacterial process, which produces sludge that can cause disposal issues. Treatment systems using bacterial processes also cost more through facility upgrades.

    Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences discovered a system that uses conveyor belts with multiple layers of algae on them to treat wastewater. Not only is the system more cost-effective, it is also more sustainable as the algae produced from the process can be used as fertilizer. The Iowa team hopes the system will be implemented in small communities that may not be able to afford costly treatment upgrades to comply with new regulations.

    Read more about Iowa’s algae system and how it works here.

  • Sustaining Sustainability: University of Maine Develops New Theory

    Maintaining sustainability in communities revolves around the community itself, according to Timothy Waring at the University of Maine. When smaller groups of people cooperate as one, sustainability is better managed and easier to maintain.

    Waring is developing a “theory of sustainability” to further understand how communities manage natural resources successfully. His work has already identified that smaller social groups are better at managing resources, especially when supported by social and institutional factors.

    Waring will continue to study his theory using Maine’s own natural resources – lobsters and blueberries – as an example for other communities to institute and make sustainability more possible.

    Read more about Waring’s research on sustainability here.

     

  • This Game From Utah State University Has Children Eating More Veggies

    Utah State University is encouraging children to play with their food – with surprising results. Created by Heidi Wengreen, a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science, the game FIT increases children’s vegetable and fruit intake through role play.

    Every day, the game’s superheroes, known as Field Intensive Trainees (FITs), give the students a new school-wide goal, such as eating more vegetables to power the ship. The game has doubled the student’s vegetable eating.

    Because FIT is low-cost and does not require technology, the game is accessible for schools to eventually program themselves.

    Read more about the FIT game and its success here.

  • Pennsylvania State University Helps Farmers’ Water Conservation Efforts Count

    The best way to improve water quality might be allowing farmers the freedom to do so themselves. Pennsylvania State University College of Agricultural Sciences surveyed nearly 7,000 farmers who implemented water-quality best management practices voluntarily to reduce nitrogen and sediment levels in local water sources. The result? The Chesapeake Bay’s water quality improved.

    This is the first report of its kind to accurately capture and report self-implemented water-quality practices. Previously, government reporting has not tracked voluntarily efforts, but with Penn State’s help, Pennsylvania farmers’ efforts will count when documenting the state’s conservation progress. This report and the success of voluntarily practices will help other states track farmers’ self-implementation and increase the accuracy of states’ conservation reporting.

    Read more about the report documenting Pennsylvanian farmers’ conservation practices here.

  • North Carolina State University Recalculates the Food Waste Equation

    Every year, Americans waste 40% of our food, but the actual figure might be even larger than that. Farm-level food waste, produce that never reaches the food supply, has not been accounted for in previous calculations which leads to an estimated 20.2 billion pounds of produce that is missing from the food waste equation.

    Farmers generally plant more than needed to accommodate potential disease, weather patterns, and other unexpected negative effects on their crops. However, this creates a surplus of produce that is unharvested due to timing, cost, or quality and then attributed as “farm-level loss.” Growers are not required to report these losses, and many studies on food waste only focus on post-harvest produce, ignoring farm-level loss.

    North Carolina State University has developed a way to estimate why and how much produce remains in a farmer’s field. By doing so, the university can look to identify ways to harvest the remaining crops to reduce food waste, increase our food supply, and make our farms more efficient.

    Read more about North Carolina State University’s work in food waste here.

  • Create a ‘Growing Business’ With Mississippi State University

    Libby Beard became the owner of a nursery about thirty years ago. Little did she know that she was holding onto a business that would blossom into influential horticulture.

    Thanks to Mississippi State University Extension, Beard was able to rely on the resources provided by the university to continue to grow the success of her business.  Like Beard, individuals in communities all across the nation rely on their universities to provide guidance into agriculture needs.

    Read more about how Mississippi State University and Libby Beard continue to grow together.

  • ew Market for Sustainable Biofuels, According to Washington State University Study

    A new type of biofuel using biological non-food sources may soon be readily available, and

    Washington State University discovered that consumers were willing to pay more for a more environmentally friendly type of fuel.

    First generation biofuels typically use food sources, like corn, which can increase the price of food and is less sustainable than second generation biofuels, which use materials like wood scraps. While this new biofuel does not exist commercially yet, if consumers are willing to pay a greater premium, the market of new biofuels might not be far behind.

    Read more about Washington State University’s study on new biofuels here.

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Discovers Data Improves Farm Efficiency

    We may still be awhile off yet for self-driving vehicles on the typical farm, but Controlled Area Network (CAN) systems and GPS are providing an easier way to streamline harvests. CAN, along with GPS, come equipped with newer tractors and track a vehicle’s state, whether it’s in harvest, travel, delay, idle, or downtime.

    Brian Luck, a professor of Machinery Systems and Precision Agriculture Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says the data can then be used to see patterns and gaps in efficiency. This will help farmers perfect the number of tractors running at once for better crop yield and to receive the most efficient harvest possible.

    Read more about how drones and devices improve farming efficiency here.

  • Iowan Farmers Collaborate to Build Farmers Network

    Iowa State University Extension program has a robust network for beginning farmers that is continuously growing. This program, which began in November, allows beginning farmers to build relationships with other experienced and new farmers in the region for advice and support.

    The Farmers Network also supports food-based farmers to strengthen the local food economy and by producing more food in the region. Northern Iowan farmers now have a support system as well as a group that allows them to collaborate.

    If you know a beginning local food farmer or a local food ally in Northeast Iowa who wants to connect, please invite them to join!

  • Clemson University Research Breathes New Life into Plants

    Forget their nutritional benefits – legumes are also genetically superior to other crops with their ability to convert nitrogen from the air we breathe to a form crops can use. All other crops have to receive nitrogen from the soil, which is why nearly $800 million was spent on nitrogen fertilizer in past years.

    Clemson University looks to change that. The recipients of a three-year National Science Foundation grant, three Clemson University researchers are investigating the genetics in legumes’ roots that allow them to convert nitrogen without a fertilizer. If all crops had this genetic capability, farmers would save money and runoff from nitrogen fertilizer, which frequently pollutes water sources, would significantly decrease.

    Read more about Clemson’s genetic research on legumes’ root and its impact here.

  • Read This By January 13: Auburn University Investigates Sell-By Dates

    The solution to consumers throwing away over 30 percent of the total food supply may be as simple as changing a few words. Auburn University, in conjunction with Cornell University, found that date labels on produce and food, such as “use by” or “sell by” directly impacts how consumers view the product’s value.

    By using different date labels (“best by,” “fresh by,” “use by,” and “sell by”) and sized packaging, researchers were able to determine that consumers are very responsive to package size and dates and their willingness to waste food is based on that information. Therefore, different packaging and labeling of dates may help prevent consumers from wasting food, which tends to end up in landfills and contributes to greenhouse gases.

    Read more about the study and how food labeling impacts consumers here.

  • Is Your Water Safe For Your Plants? There’s An App For That, Thanks to University of Arizona

    In the first app of its kind, Ag Water, designed by University of Arizona and University of California, Davis researchers, determines whether a water source is safe to use on produce. Ag Water predicts the quality of water from a source by using the user’s location, historical water quality data, and weather information. A user can also input certain qualities such as water temperature to strengthen the accuracy of Ag Water’s prediction.

    Ag Water not only helps with maintaining water quality, but also increases food safety by ensuring contaminated water is not used on produce. The app also helps growers test their water sources regularly, in conjunction with the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2015.

    Read more about the Ag Water app here. The app is available for download in iTunes and Google Play stores.

  • Urban Gardens Increase Food Security Among Low-Income Neighborhoods, University of California Finds

    While many households in cities have access to grocery stores with fresh fruit and vegetables, lower income neighborhoods often do not have the same opportunity. Growing an urban garden in such communities can increase access to produce and help families add to their vegetable intake.

    The University of California Cooperative Extension surveyed 85 community gardens and 50 home gardens to determine the impact of urban gardens in lower income neighborhoods. Through growing tomatoes, peppers, green peppers, and cucumbers, residents were able to double their vegetable intake. This cost-effective approach can be implemented in other cities to increase produce access and food security among lower income neighborhoods.

    Read more about the University of California Cooperative’s Extension findings here. Readers can also access the full report here.

  • Looking to Get Healthy in the New Year? LSU AgCenter Offers Advice on Diet Trends

    One of the most common resolutions for a new year is to lose weight and get healthier, and companies know it by pushing numerous diet and exercise plans on consumers. However, many of these diet suggestions aren’t the safest or healthiest plan.

    Louisiana State University’s AgCenter explores various current diet trends, such as paleo and gluten-free, and states that many lack important vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. And because these diets restrict a certain type of food, they are usually unsustainable for long-term weight loss. Instead, LSU AgCenter recommends following the U.S. Department of Agriculture MyPlate guide or Dietary Guidelines.

    Read more about LSU AgCenter’s diet recommendations and why diet trends don’t work here.

  • Save Your Crops: LGUs Collaborate for Field Crop Disease Resource Database

    Looking for more information on field crop diseases to protect your crops? The Crop Protection Network (CPN) produces collaborative Extension research on diseases affecting field crops in both the United States and Canada. The program hopes to communicate necessary information that will not only help identifying crop field diseases, but also manage their destruction.

    Currently, there are 24 full-length publications that focus how to identify and manage corn and soybean diseases, and the program consistently adds new resources as they are produced.

    Click here to access CPN’s resources.

    Land Grant Universities involved are: Purdue University, Iowa State University, University of Wisconsin and Michigan State University Extension

  • Oregon State University Teaches the Farming Essentials

    Oregon State University has created a hybrid online-and in-person course to teach farmers the essentials to creating and developing a successful business.

    “Growing Farms” is meant to benefit novice farmers and those interested in farming for business better understand how to cultivate within the industry. The course is Oregon focused, however, it can be taken solely online from all over the country!

    For more information on dates, locations and registration, click here.

  • Foodonomics: University of Vermont Explores the Economics of Local Food

    Does buying local produce really give back to local farms and the communities? University of Vermont (UVM) Medical Center teamed up with UVM Department of Community Development and Center for Rural Studies to find out.

    Using hospital purchasing data from 2012, the researchers investigated whether purchasing local food positively impacted the Vermont economy. First, purchases from local producers and distributors keep the money circulating in the local community as opposed to buying produce from a grocery store, where a portion of your money goes back to the corporation out of state. The researchers also discovered that if a producer can sell to a local hospital, that proves the vendor has solid quality that will appeal to other wholesale buyers, increasing the amount of produce a vendor could sell.

    Studies like this show the importance of instituting food programs in the community – it’s not only good for your health, but also good for the local economy!

    Read more about the impact of local food on the economy here. Users can also access the full report, Assessing the Impacts of Local Hospital Food Procurement: Results from Vermont here.

  • A New Solution for Smarter Irrigation from New Mexico State University

    A new irrigation technique, subsurface systems, may be the solution to wasted water and high water costs when it comes to irrigation efficiency for turfgrass.

    Subsurface irrigation limits irrigation to the exactly the right area that needs to be irrigated by using buried drip lines to water the area. Subsurface systems have been used in agriculture for decades, but New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences decided to test the system with turfgrass. This will help conserve water and save costs for places like athletic fields and golf courses.

    Read more about NMSU’s irrigation research on subsurface systems here.

  • Keep Your Christmas Tree Looking Fresh for New Years with Tips from University of Georgia

    Christmas might be over, but you can keep your tree looking fresh until New Years! University of Georgia Cooperative Extension has tips to keep your Christmas tree last longer and offers suggestions for disposal when you’re ready.

    First, you can check the freshness of your tree with a quick test by how many needles fall off when you run a branch through your fingers. The fewer needles that come off, the fresher the tree is. Your tree also needs about 2 pints to a gallon of water every day. Always be sure the water level never falls below the base of the tree to keep it hydrated and ready for 2017.

    Finally, when you’re ready, you can recycle your tree at a location that grinds trees into mulch or by sinking it in a pond or lake.

    See more tips on Christmas tree maintenance and safe disposal options here.

  • The Family Table: Eat, Savor, Connect Program by NDSU Extension is Coming to You

    Beginning January 1, 2017, North Dakota State University Extension Service will launch, “The Family Table: Eat, Savor, Connect.” This program developed by family scientist and food and nutritionist at NDSU Extension is meant to provide families with meal plans, recipes and guidelines to help make family meals happen.

    Families that eat meals together are shown to have better bonds, eat healthier and the children are less likely to get involved with drinking, drugs and smoking. You can sign up for the electronic newsletter and follow the program at www.facebook.com/ndfamilytable.

    Start your family off on the right foot in 2017 with family meals.

  • Have a Picky Eater on Your Hands? Iowa State University Shares Tips to Encourage Kids to Eat More Veggies

    Is it a struggle for your child to fit in one serving of fruits and vegetables a day, let alone the optimal five to thirteen? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine out of ten children still don’t have enough vegetables in their diet, but Iowa State University has some tips to make sure your child gets their nutritional needs.

    For example, parents can change how vegetables and fruit are prepared, let children pick what produce they want at the grocery store, and involve children with the cooking. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also created a website for videos, activities, and recipes for parents to use to help their children eat more fruits and veggies.

    Check out more tips from Iowa State University here.

  • New Oregon State University Tool Takes the Guessing Out of Planting

    With variable weather patterns, it can be tricky to know when to plant crops in order to receive the best possible harvest. Oregon State University has created a new tool, called Croptime, to help vegetable farmers take the guessing out of planting.

    Croptime uses temperature data, weather, and climate forecasts and calculates the optimal time for the planting of vegetable crops. The predictive web-based tool is currently in use in Oregon and calculates times for over 10 vegetable varieties already. The team hopes to add another 40 vegetables to the system during 2017 and spread its use. This tool will help keep accurate timing of harvests, which will lead to more profits and more product.

    Read more about how Croptime works and try it for yourself here!

  • University of Minnesota Extension Shares Helpful Tips to Keep your Food Safe

    ‘Tis the season when family members from far and wide join you in your home, and that means the refrigerator door will open, shut and sometimes not close all the way. This can cause food in your refrigerator to spoil without you knowing!

    University of Minnesota Extension shares helpful tips to keep your family and guests safe this holiday season and all year round:

    • Store raw meat, poultry and seafood on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator in pans so juices don’t drip onto other foods.
    • Check refrigerator temperature often, daily or at least once a week
    • Refrigerate prepared food and leftovers within two hours of cooking.
    • Divide leftovers into small, shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator. Cover when food is cooled.
    • Don’t overload the refrigerator. Cool air must circulate to keep food safe.

    Read more about how to check your refrigerator temperature here.

  • Michigan State University Investigates How the Drought This Year Will Affect Your Future Christmas

    It’s that time of year where families are decorating their homes for the holiday season. However, the ongoing drought has affected Christmas tree farms in states as far as New York to Florida.

    Horticulture expert, Bert Cregg, weighed in on the vulnerability of young Christmas trees,“This is because the new transplants are still establishing their roots systems, and their roots do not extend very deep into the soil.”

    Rest assured, a majority of Christmas trees will survive this winter and make it to your homes. It’s the future supply of seasonal conifers that farmers share concern.

    The Huffington Post weighed in more about the drought and its effect on trees.

  • Potatoes Could Be Packed with Even More Nutrients Than Before, Thanks to New Mexico State University

    Potatoes are already nutritious, delicious and versatile, but what if researchers could improve the nutritional benefits in potatoes?

    This is exactly what is being done at New Mexico State University. The university has partnered with USDA research geneticist Dr. Kathy Haynes, as her nearly 30-year study to improve the health benefits of the potato gains traction.

    Potatoes are the most widely consumed vegetable. With additional research, this vegetable could continue to feed millions at a low-cost and add nutritional value to a family’s diet, while saving their wallets and their health.

    Find out more about New Mexico State University’s research with Dr. Kathy Haynes.

  • Rutgers University is Bringing Your Favorite Specialty Peppers

    Spicy food isn’t for everyone, but the demand for hot peppers is growing in the United States.

    New Jersey and surrounding region have a very diverse and immigrant heavy population that requires unique ingredients for cooking, such as hot peppers, which may not be accessible in colder climates. And, as the hot pepper sauce industry continues to grow, demand for the hot peppers is also surging. Rutgers University’s Exotic Pepper Breeding Program is meeting that demand by growing these peppers and creating a market for them within that region.

    Not only are hot peppers more accessible now, but this opportunity will allow farmers in New Jersey to specifically grow hot peppers that other states in the northeast region are incapable of growing.

    Find out how you can get your hands on these spicy peppers!

  • The Lag in Herbicide Technology Could Affect Evolving Crops and Gardens

    Over the past decade, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) saw a steady decline in herbicide innovation. Due to the lack of innovation over the years, those within the EPA believe that agriculture is now behind the curve, which has led to an increase in herbicide resistance.

    Does this mean that as crops evolve they will no longer be resistance to weeds or disease?

    Many of the companies that developed herbicides did not see the benefits within their market share, but as crops have evolved to resist stronger herbicide, companies are seeing their need now more than ever. Farmers believe that they can assist with the innovation, as they see their crops evolving firsthand. With their help, not only will weeds and plant diseases be controlled, but farmers will be able to harvest and produce more crops for our growing population.

    An integrated relationship is needed between farmers and the herbicide manufacturers, and University of Arkansas discusses the details further here.

  • How the Coffee in Your Kitchen Can Benefit your Garden

    In this video below, see how the University of Wyoming Extension uses coffee grounds found in your kitchen to benefit gardens at home.

    Research has shown coffee grounds can prevent pathogenic molds from developing in your garden plants.  Click here to watch the video.

  • Washington State University Extension Teaches Us How to Keep Our Meringue-Topped Desserts Safe This Holiday Season

    Raw or undercooked food can be especially dangerous for babies, pregnant women, older adults and young children. Washington State University helps us to better understand food safety when you’re hosting guests this holiday season.

    The key to keeping your family and guests safe is heating up the eggs and meringue before serving. Baking your meringue-topped pies and cookies at 350 degrees for at least 15 minutes is one safety measure that WSU Extension suggests.

    WSU Extension had much more to say about egg whites and meringue safety, here.

  • Cooking Your Holiday Dinner? CDC to Host Holiday Food Safety Twitter Chat

    The holidays are a great time to sit down with friends and family for a festive meal to celebrate the season. But do you know how to safely prepare food for your guests?

    Join CDC, NBC News Health, and food-smart connoisseurs on December 7 from 2-3 PM ET for a Twitter chat on holiday food safety. Learn tips and tricks to ensure your holiday meal is a healthy and safe success. Submit questions with the hashtag, #CDCFoodChat.

    For more information on CDC’s Twitter chat, click here.

  • Microalgae: The Revolutionary Solution to Combat the Effects of Global Warming

    When we think of algae, we think of the green, slimy plant that is part of our aquatic ecosystem or home aquarium. However, researchers at Cornell University have reason to believe that microalgae may be the solution to combat global warming’s effect on our natural resources to make biofuels.

    Microalgae is found in freshwater and marine systems. By harvesting microalgae, scientists can make biofuels, which will reduce the use of fossil fuels by aviation and cargo shipping industries, combating global warming.  The nutrients remaining after the microalgae harvest can also be made into animal feed and potentially used for human consumption, assisting with energy and food insecurity crises as well.

    Read more about this groundbreaking study by Cornell University.

  • University Extension Creates New Homeowner Manual

    Most new homes don’t come with a manual. Luckily, the University of Florida Extension has created a class to help new homeowners navigate maintenance, saving energy, and being a good neighbor.

    The program, called Homeflow, was originally created to help Habitat for Humanity candidates learn the basics of home maintenance, but is open to all Florida residents. The “flow” of the program relates not only to better home improvements, but better communication between occupants and between neighbors. The program will soon have 60 graduates statewide.

    For more information on Homeflow, and to purchase the program, click here.

  • Winter is Coming: Can Lentils be Hardened to Grow in the Cold?

    If you’re in agriculture, you may not immediately think of lentils as something that can thrive in the winter. However, new research by Texas A&M is testing those steadfast beliefs; since Texas doesn’t get enough precipitation in the summer, the university has turned to alternative crops for cultivation.

    That’s where lentils come in. Initial studies have been using a variation of traditional lentils to test how they fare against winter wheat and canola.

    If studies prove positive, crop diversity and crop options in Texas and other sunbelt states would improve dramatically.

    Click here to read more about Dr. Emi Kimura efforts to improve crop yields in Texas. 

  • Milk is and Always will be Healthy for You

    Pop quiz: are egg yolks good or bad for you this season? Every year, this questioning happens like clockwork: a new list of “miracle foods” crop up and last year’s heralded list receive a swift dismissal. Moreover, many flip-flop between “foods to eat” and “foods to avoid” every year.

    It also happens to coffee, wine, and, perhaps most needlessly, milk. In milk’s case, don’t listen to the ever-changing research landscape and go with your gut. Literally: lactose in milk favors gut bacteria that aid in digestion.

    Recently, the Ohio State University has brought on a dairy scholar, Rafael Jimenez-Flores, whose goal is to promote and teach the values of a healthy diet. And, for him, it all starts with milk.

    Click here to read more about what Jimenez-Flores says are the enduring, always-evolving qualities of milk. 

  • University of the District of Columbia Causes Creates Food Truck to Provide Nutrition Education

    Most Washingtonians have never seen a farm, let alone an urban farm. University of the District of Columbia students created a food truck to mobilize nutritional education to DC residents. Educating people on healthy lifestyle choices is essential to create nutritional change, and UDC Causes is helping to educate those living in the District.

    Serving as a mobile education unit, the food truck will provide nutritional education using produce grown on the green roof, Firebird Farm, and East Capitol Urban Farm.

    Read more here!

  • University of Maryland, College Park Helps Discover a Duplicate of the Resistance Gene Fbh1

    Nidhi Rawat, a research assistant at the University of Maryland, is part of the multi-institutional panel who discovered the cloning of a resistance gene. The Fhb1 gene’s ability to deliver broad-spectrum resistance will put a halt to the reduction in crop yield and the millions of dollars lost world wide each year.

    The resistance gene will also help aid a variety of human dietary plants such as tomato and potato plants that are affected by a fungal pathogen called Fusarium graminearum- a toxin unhealthy for human ingesting.

    Read more about it here!

  • Kansas State University Launches ‘KSUantibiotics.org’ to Inform Researchers on Controlling Diseases in Livestock

    K-State launched KSUantibiotics.org, a site for livestock producers and individuals to research information on antibiotics and antibiotic alternatives because once an antibiotic develops resistance, it threatens thousands of livestock used for food supply.

    The website includes factsheets and resources that provide readers an overview on antibiotic resistance and why producers should be alert. K-State producers believe that it is important for producers to hone their knowledge on how antibiotic resistance happens and the effects it has on livestock to control diseases in the future.

    Read more about K-State’s new website here!

  • University of California at Davis opens lab that will Safeguard Public Health and Food Supply

    The California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, run by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, has opened a fourth lab. This new facility will help bolster UC Davis as a leading animal health-food research university that will to protect animal health and performance, and safeguard public health and the food supply.

    “California is proud to be home to the largest and most diverse agriculture in the world,” said Karen Ross, secretary of the Department of Food and Agriculture.”

    Once the lab is fully equipped it will provide rapid detection and response to both routine illnesses and catastrophic, emerging animal diseases.

    Read more here!

  • Purdue Extension Cracks Untapped Genetic Diversity of Wild Soybeans to Enrich Cultivation

    Wild soybeans are expert survivalist due to their hard skin, however, this has proven difficult for cultivation, until now. Professor of Agronomy, Jianxin Ma at Purdue University Extension has discovered the genetic factors responsible for the soybean’s hard seed coat.

    While soybeans’ hard skin protects the bean in severe conditions, it also prevents the seed from germinating quickly and predictably, especially in different climates. This discovery will not only help scientists in the future to identify additional genes in other plants, but also help cultivate soybean diversity to improve its planting success in different regions.

    Read more about the research here!

  • Montana State University Continues Research on Atmospheric CO2, the Leading Contributor to Climate Change

    A land-grant university team, led by Montana State University, has been awarded a grant to develop new technology for food, energy, and water systems. The project will focus on biofuels and carbon-capture technologies, and see if they can be introduced to the Upper Missouri River Basin. The impact of the study will help to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, which is the leading contributor to climate change.

    The grant will run until 2020, and is a collaborated effort by Montana State University, University of Wyoming, and the University of South Dakota.

    Read more about the grant award and its study here.

  • University of Delaware Conducts Study for the Public to Protect Drinking Water

    With the recent water crises in the United States, such as Flint, Michigan, the University of Delaware conducted a study on the best way for the public to protect drinking water.

    Messaging related to clean drinking water impacts policy, investment, and preparation for potential future issues. By developing the right message, an organization can move more people to protect drinking water.

    Read more about Delaware’s recommendations for messaging on water here.

  • University of Georgia Researchers Discover a Natural Compound that will Increase the Milk Production of Dairy Cows

    University of Georgia animal and dairy research scientists Sha Tao and John Bernard think that feeding cows betaine, a natural chemical compound, can increase the milk production and metabolism of dairy cows.

    Through the first two-months of observation, Tao and Bernard found an increase in milk production and an increase in milk fat. Researchers also found that the cows that birth during the summer coped better with the addition of betaine.

    Read more here!

  • Utah State University offers War Veterans and their Families Animal Therapy

    Utah State University’s equine program helps war veterans and their families through animal therapy with horseback riding.

    War veterans and their families have adjustments to make once their loved ones return from deployment. Utah State University developed this program a year ago, and they realized through animal therapy and nature, individuals are able to express themselves more.

    Read more and check out the video here!

  • University of Connecticut’s Research Finds that WIC has Made Positive Change for Women

    The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity University of Connecticut’s recent study confirms that modifications made in 2009 in the federal Women, Infants, and Children food assistance program (WIC) are notably positive.

    Revisions for the program were created to provide healthier food alternatives to increase the nutrition of low-income expecting mothers, new mothers and their children. The availability of healthier food options has helped transition families that rely on WIC to purchase healthier food products.

    WIC’s modifications increased the volume of healthy food purchased by WIC households by 3.9 percent, while purchases of moderation decreased 24.7 percent in volume. Cost-neutral revisions were made possible without the increase of taxpayers costs.

    Read more!

  • Kansas State University Feed the Future Assists to Establish Agricultural Research Center in Cambodia

    Kansas State University Feed the Future received an award from the U.S. Agency of International Development to boost Cambodia’s innovation and growth in agriculture. 80% of the Cambodian population is involved in agriculture. The award will be used to establish the Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agriculture Intensification and Nutrition at the Royal University of Agriculture in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

    The Feed the Future project will work with other U.S. universities, including Kansas State University, and provide an international exchange program that will help bridge international knowledge for economic growth, rural development and strengthen global food security.

    Read more here! 

  • Washington State University Biologist Develops Soybean Nitrogen Breakthrough

    Washington State University biologist Mechthild Tegeder has developed a way to exponentially increase the quality and yield of soybeans using nitrogen. This may be a way to increase food in the world as the world population continues to grow.

    Nitrogen is a macronutrient essential for plant growth and with Tegeder’s manipulation of nitrogen, she and her graduate assistant, Amanda Carter, were able to find the rate of nitrogen in order to boost the plant growth into overdrive.

    Read more about the research here!

  • Smartphones Help Farmers Maximize Irrigation Efficiency

    The agricultural industry is the largest consumer of water in the country, and farmers are always looking for new ways to maximize efficiency and reduce use.

    Washington State University’s Irrigated Agriculture Research & Extension Center has developed a smartphone app to help growers plan and monitor their water use in the field. The “Irrigation Scheduler Mobile” app helps growers find and plug irrigation leaks, save water, and ultimately make more money.

    Read more about this technology here!

  • How to Cook Veggies Without Reducing Nutrients

    From steamed carrots to roasted peppers, cooked vegetables can be absolutely delicious. Unfortunately, the heat involved in preparing them often reduces the nutrient content.

    A new Ohio State’s College of Food, Ag & Environmental Sciences guide details the best ways to maximize nutrient retention in your cooked veggies. The key is to limit the amount of water they are exposed to so that water-soluble vitamins don’t get washed away.

    Read more here!

  • Texas A&M Extension Educator Receives USDA Award

    Stephen D. Green received the 2016 Excellence in Extension Award last week for his “visionary leadership, excellence in programming and positive impact on [his] community.” Community impact is a core value of Cooperative Extension; it helps take the land-grant research and expertise and spread it across the country.

    Stephen Green is an Assistant Direct and child development expert at Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. Over his 15-year career Green has developed programs like Fathers Reading Every Day, a highly effective program that builds kids’ early literacy. Other teacher-facing programs like the Early Childhood Educator Online Training Program help educators with their professional development. Green is also a prolific speaker and writer, having delivered hundreds of educational presentations and authored 60 articles.

    Read more about the award here!

  • UCANR Explores Pesticide Alternatives

    Farmers have relied on Methyl bromide for the past 40 years to protect their crops from fungi, insects and weeds. Unfortunately, this highly effective pesticide is also an ozone depleting compound, so farmers have been phasing it out in favor of more environmentally friendly alternatives.

    The University of California’s Division of of Agriculture and Natural Resources devoted the most recent issue of their peer reviewed journal to the various Methyl bromide alternatives available to agricultural producers.

    Read more here!

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s National Drought Monitor

    Water restrictions and drought affect millions of Americans and costs the economy billions of dollars. The issue is critically important to the agricultural industry. Farmers need accurate and up to date data about drought trends to guide their irrigation and harvest strategies.

    Most rely on the United States Drought Monitor, a state of the art weather service located at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. They have published weekly data and maps since 1999 that track the intensity of droughts across the country. Offering more than a snapshot of the current drought situation, the USDM website has interactive tools that let you compare the current drought situation with any date over the last 16 years.

    Check out the Drought Monitor resources here!

  • Cornell Leads a Nationwide Effort to Improve Food Safety

    The 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act was the largest regulatory overhaul of the food safety system since the 1930s. It represents an important shift at the Food and Drug Administration from reacting to food borne illnesses to preventing them.

    Cornell’s Agricultural Experiment Station has been leading the nationwide effort to develop the new rules that will govern fresh produce. They work to help producers implement the new standards, and with an efficient “train-the-trainer” strategy, Cornell is training extension educators who will go out into the field and spread the new practices throughout the country.

    The net result will be a safer food supply and a healthier population. Read more about Cornell’s work here!

  • Food Pantries Need Quality Donations, Not Just Quantity

    People who rely on food banks to put meals on the table suffer from higher than average rates of obesity and diabetes. Part of the problem is that food banks are often overwhelmed with junk food: sugary sodas, refined grains, and high-sodium soups.

    The University of Wisconsin Extension is raising public awareness about the issue and working to narrow the gap between food that is needed at food banks and what is actually available. In June they published a landmark study on food insecurity, and program coordinator Karen Early recently took to the opinion pages of the Green Bay Press-Gazette to call for higher quality food donations, not just high quantity. She suggests donating cheap but nutritious items like canned fruit, whole grain pasta or cereals, and peanut butter.

    Read Karen’s article in the Press Gazette here!

  • Nutrient Measurements Are Key to Soil Health

    Plants pull nutrients out of soil, that’s why fertilizer is so important; it replenishes the potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen levels to help crops thrive. But fertilizers represent a significant financial expense on a farm so producers have an incentive to use just enough to replace what was removed over the previous growing cycle.

    The University of Illinois Extension has been studying the removal rates of grain so that farmers can find the perfect balance between soil health and economic efficiency. They will present their findings in January at a regional Illinois Crop Management Conference and online. The research promises to enhance the global food supply and strengthen an economic sector that employs 21 million American workers.

    Read more about the new research here!

  • Doubling the Efficiency of Biofuel Production

    Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have engineered a new strain of “super yeast” that doubles the efficiency of certain types of biofuel production. Their breakthrough was in expanding the types of sugars in biomass that can be converted into fuel.

    Prior biofuel production left nearly half of all plant sugars untouched – a huge missed opportunity. Now, producers can harness the hard-to-reach xylose sugars in grasses, woods, and non-edible portions of biomass.

    The breakthrough enhances the economic feasibility of biofuels, which promises to deliver both environmental and industry benefits.

    Read more about the discovery here!

  • Food Pantries Need Quality Donations, Not Just Quantity

    People who rely on food pantries to put meals on the table disproportionately suffer from health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure or gluten intolerance. A University of Wisconsin Extension study released earlier this year found that the majority of respondents reported having difficulty finding suitable food at food banks.

    This shows how it’s important to think about not only the quantity of donations to food pantries, but also the quality and nutritional diversity. Many pantries report frequently receiving donations of sugary cereals, high sodium soups and other unhealthy packaged foods. Next time you donate, consider giving fresh fruit or other nutritious produce.

    Read more about University of Wisconsin Extension’s good pantry suggestions here!

  • Nutrient Measurements Are Key to Soil Health

    Plants pull different nutrients out of the soil at different rates. Without fertilizer or a crop rotation, this process would eventually leave soil barren.

    The University of Illinois Extension has been studying Potassium and Nitrogen removal rates over the past three harvests to get the most up to date numbers. They will present their updated findings in January at a regional Illinois Crop Management Conference and online. The research is an update to the current University of Illinois Crop Handbook from 2009.

    Read more about the new research here!

  • Rest Assured, Pumpkin Harvest Looking Fine

    Headlines were predicting a major pumpkin shortfall this time last year as half of the crop was threatened by the combination of early rains and fast spreading diseases.

    The University of Illinois Extension reports that this year’s harvest is in much better shape. The weather has been much more forgiving, and an initially scary outbreak of downy mildew was confined to a small area of that state.

    Read more about state of the pumpkin harvest here!

  • Iowa State Extension Has The Best Fall Apple Recipes

    Visiting an apple orchard is a popular fall tradition for many Americans, but there are only so many apple pies you can make. What else can you do with the plethora of Gala, Fuji and Golden Delicious apples you harvested this year?

    Iowa State Extension has six tasty ideas that you have got to try.  From spiced apple rings to dehydrated apple leather (think apple “fruit rollups”!), these recipes will have you eating apples all day and keep the doctor away.

    Read more here!

  • Dry, Hot New England Weather Means Smaller But Higher Quality Harvest

    Unpredictable weather patterns leave grape growers unsure of what each yield will return. A warm and dry New England summer meant smaller yields for most grape growers in the region this year.

    Cornell University scientists found a silver lining to the reduced harvest, noting that the grapes we did get are higher quality and intensely flavored. Furthermore, dry conditions also mean fewer crop diseases. While a smaller yield is by no means ideal, there are positive effects that come from the change in weather.

    Read more here!

  • Texas A&M on the Importance of Family Mealtime

    Family meals are one of the most important things that a parent can do for their children. Conversations with adults build a child’s vocabulary, and the open communications can help create family memories.

    Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is encouraging parents to make more time for family meals to help contribute to their children’s health and mental development. They point out that as an added benefit home cooked meals tend to be healthier than meals prepared in a restaurant.

    Read about more of the benefits here!

  • Cornell Extension Helps Vets Transition into Agriculture

    In many ways agriculture is a perfect match for veterans looking for the next stage of their career. The work is peaceful and meaningful, and there is a trained farm labor shortage in many parts of the country.

    The Cornell Cooperative Extension is working to connect veterans with jobs on the farm through their Small Farms Program.

    Read more here!

  • Master Gardeners Support Local Food Pantries

    15.8 million American households are food insecure, meaning that they don’t have reliable access to nutritious and affordable food.

    Land-grant university programs like the Iowa State University Master Gardeners are doing their part to take on this serious problem by donating fresh produce to local food pantries. Heading into harvest season, the ISU Master Gardeners set a goal of donating 1,500 pounds of vegetables, which will provide roughly 30,000 individual portions!

    Read more at the ISU Master Gardener website and on Radio Iowa!

  • Rutgers Scientists Study Historic Storms To Help Predict the Future

    In the wake of Hurricane Matthew some scientists are wondering if the deadly storm could have been better predicted.

    Scientists at Rutgers University Agricultural Experiment Station are working on just that – they are studying historical storms to understand and predict future natural disasters.

    Read more here!

  • Micronutrients Play a Macro-Role in Soil Health

    While it is obvious that plants need macronutrients such as carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen to thrive, micronutrients like chlorine, copper, and iron are just as vital to plant health.  However, micronutrients are often overlooked and can quickly inhibit growth. The exact amount of micronutrients needed has been obscure in the past, so farmers, even the ones who do measure their soil nutrients, don’t always know which amounts they need of the different nutrients.

    Iowa State University Extension wants farmers to have the right numbers.  ISU published suggested soil micronutrients that will aid farmers in routinely measuring accurate soil nutrient levels.  The publication reports on the purpose of and amount needed for each nutrient.

    Read more here!

  • Clemson Develops Water Plan To Prepare For Future Disasters

    South Carolina suffered a month of severe drought in September 2015, followed by disastrous flooding during Hurricane Joaquin.  The disasters stressed the need for increased data about river systems.

    Clemson University’s Water Resources Center hosts conferences bringing scientists and policy makers together to discuss and implement plans for the state when a natural disaster occurs. Data driven research will assess the state of the land and then will be used to manage when disaster strikes. The better the land is understood, the greater the response can be when issues arise.

    Read more here.

  • Looking For a Career? Try Agriculture

    Many millennials are experiencing underemployment in the workforce. College graduates receive their degree and instead of obtaining jobs in their preferred field, they are often forced to settle for outside occupations that have little to do with their interests and strengths.

    It’s a different story when it comes to career opportunities in agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts continued long-term job growth in the industry.

    Land-grant universities like the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State offer programs that help students develop the skills required to get into agriculture. These programs aim to bridge the gap between those familiar and those unfamiliar with the abundant job opportunities in the field.

    Read more here!

  • NMSU Uses Simulated Storms to Study Crop Damage From Hail

    Hailstorms can cause extensive damage to broadleaf crops. Affected farmers need accurate guidance about how to salvage the situation; is it better to the plow the damaged crop under and start over, or will the plants make a comeback?

    Israel Calsoyas at New Mexico State University College of Agriculture manages a project that is gathering this information by studying chile peppers. Calsoyas’ experiment simulates hailstorms by blasting plants with water during three different stages of the plants’ growth. This will reveal how farmers can better understand the impact of hail on their crops during different parts of the season and make more informed decisions to maximize yields.

    Read more here!

  • Michigan State Helping Plant Nurseries Minimize Water Waste

    Nurseries contribute $1.2 billion and 36,000 jobs to Michigan’s economy, but at the expense of local water systems. Runoff from this water heavy industry can pollute local lakes, rivers, and ground waters.

    Michigan State University researchers are testing different irrigation techniques to combat the excess water usage.  By reducing and recycling the initial input of water, the nursery plant industry can continue to thrive and move toward a more sustainable framework.

    Read more about how MSU researchers are helping nurseries get the most out of their water.

     

  • Meet the Agrilife Gardening Gurus

    Where can hobby gardeners turn with questions about launching and maintaining their gardens?

    The land-grant university system has valuable resources that can help, like Texas A&M Agrilife.

    AgriLife has thousands of employees and a hundred thousand volunteers who can answer any question related to gardening or farming.

    Check out this great write up about Agrilife in the Dallas Morning News!

  • University of Kentucky’s Advice on Alternative Grain Storage

    As prices drop, producers look to store their grain until prices rise again, which has led to shortages of storage space across the country.

    A recent University of Kentucky Extension article offers advice on alternative storage options. Covered outdoor piles and grain bags can effectively protect crops and minimize spoilage if the proper steps are taken. The key steps are properly drying the grain beforehand and keeping it in a well-aerated space that is protected from pests.

    Read more about alternative grain storage options here.

  • UVA Extension Says Don’t Rake and Bag All Your Leaves This Fall

    Most people don’t think twice about fall yard work. When leaves fall, you rake and bag them.

    The University of Virginia Cooperative Extension has a great way to save yourself some work and boost your lawn’s soil health. Going over your lawn with a lawn mower will shred the leaves and leave behind organic nutrients that improve “soil tilth and increase the moisture holding capacity of the soil.”

    Read more here!

     

  • University of Wyoming Extension Recycling Tips For Coffee Grounds

    Coffee is a morning ritual for millions of Americans, and it results in vast quantities of used coffee grounds that make their way to landfills.

    University of Wyoming Extension suggests putting this organic byproduct to work in the garden as mulch. Just one half-inch layer of coffee grounds helps kill weeds and brings moisture into the soil.

    Watch the video here.

  • Unchartered Territory: Colorado State Begins Research Into Industrial Hemp

    Industrial hemp has a range of practical industrial applications, but Colorado farmers don’t have enough information about the crop to grow it efficiently and profitably.

    Colorado State University is conducting research (with the permission of the federal government) to determine which varieties of hemp are the best for US climates. According to the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, “Our registrants are passionate and dynamic entrepreneurs who are developing uses that weren’t imagined just a few years ago. It will be exciting to see how this industry develops in the years to come.”

    Read more about the industrial hemp research here.

  • Precision Agriculture Research To Increase Combine Efficiency

    The soybean harvest takes place every year during a short time period. Harvesting combines are expensive, and as a result, farmers have a strong incentive to boost their efficiency as much as possible.

    The latest issue of Discovery Magazine, a University of Arkansas College of Ag journal, writes about a research initiative that studied combine efficiency on three local soybean farms. Their research indicates that the largest factor in increased efficiency was the use of geo-referencing a field, which boosts precision.

    Read more about the research here.

  • SUNY Now Offering Major in Therapeutic Horsemanship

    Therapeutic horsemanship uses horseback riding as a tool to help people with special needs develop attention, confidence, and motor skills. It can be really helpful for clients like mentally disabled kids or veterans with PTSD. The only problem is that there aren’t enough therapists trained in the technique to meet demand.

    The SUNY Cobleskill College of Agriculture just started offering a special major to train the next generation of horse therapists. According to the Daily Star, students “will take classes in equine science, education, psychology, sociology and business.”

    Read more about this heartwarming program here!

  • Predicting Plant Diseases May Reduce Food Insecurity

    Crop losses from plant disease significantly contributes to crop losses each year, costing the US economy $60 billion a year, and reducing the global food supply. What if there was a way to predict these detrimental pathogens and be prepared for the damage they cause? MSU researchers have found an innovative way to use human medical technology to combat plant diseases.

    Michigan State University researchers from the Human Medicine, Plant Genetics and Plant Pathology departments developed a biosensor that will scan plants in the field to predict track epidemic-spreading diseases. This on the ground data can help farmers make rapid and informed management decisions in a crisis. By reducing crop loss, plant epidemiology may also offer a solution to reducing food insecurity.

    Read more about this interesting technology here!

  • Safflower: An Integrated Pest Management Success Story

    On the surface, safflower may not seem that important. But according to the Western IPM Center, safflower is actually an important plant for rejuvenating soil health. Safflower has a unique way to lower the salt levels in soil by opening up channels for salt to wash down below the root zone.

    However, safflower is extremely vulnerable to lygus bugs, and growers have a hard time protecting the plants. The University of California Cooperate Extension helped a local farmers association develop an effective integrated pest management system. They found that nearby farms were spraying for lygus at different times. As a result, the bugs survived in pockets and quickly repopulated the entire area.

    University of California’s solution was one coordinated area-wide spray. This approach protected the safflower and actually reduced the total amount of spraying that the farmers had to do.

    Read more about safflower and integrated pest management here!

  • UConn Fights Food Waste

    48 million Americans struggle with food insecurity, including 15 million children. The issue can be solved if we get better about reducing food waste. Currently, 40% of the food produced in the US is thrown away.

    The University of Connecticut College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources is hosting a series of events over the month to educate students about how to reduce food waste at home and on campus.  

    UConn hopes to use these events to educate youth about the US Environmental Protection Agency’s “Food Recovery Hierarchy,” which lists how to minimize food waste and use recovered food in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.  One initiative is through the Department of Dining Services, which will prepare a free “Tasty Waste Lunch” from food that would otherwise be discarded.

    Read more about the UConn food waste program here!

  • 4-H to Host World’s Largest Youth-Led Drone Engineering Challenge

    Drones are a revolutionary technology that has a myriad of applications in agriculture, forestry and environmental stewardship.

    Cornell University Cooperative Extension aims to introduce the next generation to drones in a three part engineering challenge that had youth diving into the world of drone engineering at the 4H National Youth Science Day. Children got to experiment with fixed and rotary wing designs and explore the concept of remote sensing. 

    The drone challenge is part of a larger 4-H STEM initiative that has 5 million kids every year complete projects in agricultural science, robotics, environmental science, and other fields.

    Read more about the event on the National Youth Science Day webpage.

  • Texas A&M Extension Guide to Understanding the New Nutrition Label

    The familiar Nutrition Facts label on your packaged food has a new look! Texas A&M AgriLife Extension explains in a video what the changes mean for consumers.

    One of the main changes involves the way that food manufacturers have to calculate and report on serving size. The new label presents nutritional data in a way that “allows you to make more informed decisions about what you are eating and drinking.”

    Check out all the new changes in the video here!

  • Protecting Your Grape Harvest From The Ground Up

    You’re growing grapes to make your own wine. What do you do when birds start to feast on your precious vines? Protecting these grape harvests without sacrificing sun exposure can pose a predicament for growers.

    The University of Wyoming Extension’s “From the Ground Up” YouTube series suggests using netting. The thin mesh keeps birds away but doesn’t block sunlight from reaching leaves. It’s a simple, inexpensive, and practical solution.

    Want to try it? Watch the video here.

  • UW Extension Investigates How To Boost Recycling of Ag Plastics

    A University of Wisconsin Extension survey found that the majority of farms either landfill or burn their waste plastic due to a lack of convenient recycling programs. That translates into hundreds of millions of pounds annually in the United States.Agricultural plastics are essential for the storage and protection of high quality hay, but the widespread lack of recycling poses a problem.

    UW hopes to make recycling easier and more available for these farmers. Their survey found that nearly all respondents were willing to transport their waste for free disposal. Based on a two-year pilot study with UW-Extension Green County, Arkansas-based Revolution Plastics will be providing a free plastic recycling program in several Wisconsin counties.

    To read more about how UW-Extension plans on connecting farmers to recycling services, click here.

  • Harvest Safety Tips

    According to the International Labour Organization, there are over 150,000 workplace fatalities in agriculture across the world annually, but many of them can be prevented by following safety best practices. As harvest time is upon us, Iowa State University Extension has compiled helpful resources on farm safety.

    Some of the easiest steps to boost safety are to simply get a full night’s sleep and take regular breaks. More deliberate steps include always powering down machines before trying to clear entanglements.

    Read more here [pdf].

  • NMSU Students Find New Way to Use Tech to Monitor Livestock

    Ranchers are eager to meet increased consumer demand for free range meat, but this method of ranching also has unique challenges. How do you collect critical information on herds of roaming animals that are scattered over a large area? What are they eating, how much ground do they cover each day?

    Students at the New Mexico State University have come up with a clever high tech solution for ranchers. They developed an enclosure for a camera that allows it to be attached to cows’ neck harnesses, kind of like a GoPro. The project will allow them to gather important information and keep tabs on their cows with an unprecedented level of detail.

    Read more about the project here.

  • MSU Researchers Bringing Back a 100 Year Old Barley Crop to Bolster the Craft Beer Industry

    The huge growth of craft breweries in recent years has led to increased demand for high quality, unique ingredients. Local producers in Michigan have been trying to get their hands on Spartan barley, which had a reputation for high quality in the 1930’s but it fell out of favor after World War II. Today it is all but extinct.

    Researchers at the Michigan State University College of Agriculture & Natural Resources have successfully revived the Spartan barley from a small, five gram seed sample that was saved in a USDA gene bank. They now have 10 acres of Spartan planted, and according to Michigan Live, ‘local maltsters … are anxious to give it a try.”

    Read more about the Spartan barley miracle here.

  • New Texas A&M Center to Protect Coffee Industry

    Coffee producers are having a hard time meeting the massive global demand for their product due to disease and narrow genetic diversity. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that coffee plants haven’t benefited from advanced scientific study in recent years.

    Texas A&M AgriLife Research aims to take on these challenges at their new Center for Coffee Research and Education. The Center will focus its initial efforts on quick projects where they can rapidly deliver solutions to producers.

    Read more about the research at the Center for Coffee Research website.

  • UMD Student Run Farm Teaches Economics Behind Local Food Movement

    Students who want to get involved in organic farming, farmers markets, or food trucks face a unique set of economic challenges. The skills needed to bring in a bountiful harvest don’t help when it comes to writing a business plan.

    The student-run farm at the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is specifically designed to help build these commercial skillsets. According to the TerpFarm website, the project is “economically sustainable by closely following a strong business plan that transitions away from reliance on grant funds towards profitability.” The farm engages students with the economics and networks behind agriculture while supplying nutritious food to the UMD dining halls and food truck.

    Read more about how UMD students are learning on the farm in the latest issue of Edible DC.

  • UNH Analyze Strategies to Reduce Plastic Bag Waste

    100 billion plastic bags make their way into American landfills each year. A plastic bag may be used for mere minutes, but it sticks around as waste for much longer.

    A variety of public policies across the country have tried to reduce this waste, and each have a different set of associated pros and cons.  The University of New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station is conducting new research to assess which policies are optimal.

    They found that a small tax (roughly 5 cents per bag) had the best outcome, by creating an incentive for consumers who skip the bag, while also generating revenue from the remaining bag sales. This information can help inform environmental policy makers at the national, state and local level.

    You can read more about UNH’s plastic bag research in BioCycle.

  • University of Delaware to Tackle River Sediment

    Excessive sediment in US river systems can harm aquatic life and threaten watershed ecosystems. The waterborne soil can also clog up reservoirs and dams.

    Researchers at the University of Delaware College of Agriculture & Natural Resources are working to analyze restoration efforts around the Delaware River Watershed, and their insights could be applied across the country to restore river systems.

    Read more about the project at the University of Delaware CANR blog.

  • UNH Brings Mobile Technology to the Dairy Farm

    New technology like drones, cloud computing and smartphones have the potential to transform many aspects of the agricultural industry. The University of New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station has harnessed mobile technology to developed a more efficient way for farmers to monitor pregnant cows during the night.

    They created a non-invasive sensor that attaches to a cow’s tail and sends a text message to a UNH employee when the cow goes into labor. It does this by measuring tail movement that is associated with a cow having contractions.

    The device was covered in a great article on Fosters.com.

  • Arkansas Extension’s Low Tech Solution to a High Tech Problem

    Farmers who use multiple pesticide technologies can have a hard time keeping track of which one is in use where. Conventional crops without herbicide technology traits could be killed if they are accidentally sprayed. The University of Arkansas Extension Service developed a cheap and easy solution to help farmers juggle multiple technologies: colored flags.

    The approach, called “Flag the Technology” essentially demarcates fields with colored bicycle flags that are color-coded to indicate what kind of pesticides are used on which crops.

    According to a recent blog post from the University of Missouri Extension, the use of Flag the Technology is spreading across the Midwest and South.

    Kevin Bradley of Missouri Extension explained how the system helps farmers: “When they pull into a field to apply herbicide, the flags help to assure them that they have the right chemical in their tank to match the traits in that field . . . Also, they might be able to look at fields across the road, and if there are different colored flags in nearby fields, then we hope applicators will think twice before spraying in windy conditions.”

    Read more about Flag the Technology on the University of Arkansas Extension website.

  • It’s Time for Gardeners to Plan for the Next Season

    As we head into September, it is time for gardeners to start prepping for changes in the weather.

    The University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service has put together a helpful checklist to get you started. There are tips about how to protect your soil from snowfall, storing tools, and planning for the next season. Taking basic steps now, like turning compacted soil and mulching, will help your soil next spring.

    Download the fall & winter gardener checklist on the University of Alaska website here.

     

  • Kansas State Research & Extension Conduct “Bear Cam” Study

    Researchers at Kansas State University are investigating humans’ emotional reaction to animal live streaming videos. They want to find out if viral videos like the Eagle Cam or Panda Cam can be leveraged as a new way to drive public interest in conservation.

    The Bear Cam study is based in Katmai National Park in Alaska, but because of the live stream it is able to reach audiences across the country. According to K-State, the technology could also help National Parks create “visitor opportunities that reach global audiences who may not be able to travel to national parks.”

    The National Park system, which celebrated its 100 year anniversary last week, had 282 million visitors in 2015. Live streaming videos have the potential to vastly spread the experience, as the Decorah Eagle Cam alone has attracted 341 million views.

    The Bear Cam study began in the Spring and will continue for several years. You can tune in to the video and read more about K State’s study here.

  • University of Missouri Helps Veterans Navigate Government Contracting Process

    Innovet is St. Louis based construction company that seeks to employ as many veterans as possible. As of 2015, there were 495,000 unemployed veterans in the United States.

    Innovet reached out to the Missouri Business Development program (an UM Extension initiative) for help obtaining new government contracts. Now, business “is working out real well and sales have been increasing” said Charlie McCarty, co-founder of Innovet.

    Read more about the Innovet success story here.

  • Virginia Tech Researchers’ Discovery Could Lead to More Environmentally Friendly Consumer Products

    A Virginia Tech research team from the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences has developed a way to use yeast cells instead of petroleum in a range of consumer products. The breakthrough could improve the environmental footprint of products such as cosmetics, detergents and lubricants. Collectively, these industries are a $3 billion annual market.

    The team was lead by Xueyang Feng, who found a way to trick yeast cells into producing an important type of fatty alcohol that previously could only be obtained from fossil fuels.

    Read more about the details of the research on the Virginia Tech website.

  • Lawn Care Tips for Drought Conditions

    As many areas of the United States combat summer drought conditions, homeowners are left wondering how to maintain lawns while under water restriction. South Dakota State University Extension horticulturists have tips on watering, mowing, and fertilizer use to help you care for your drought-stressed lawn.

    For more resources please visit the SDSU iGrow website.

  • Free Flood Recovery Resources

    The summer of 2016 has brought record rainfall and disastrous flood events to thousands of Americans from Louisiana to West Virginia to Indiana. When the floodwaters recede and people return to their homes, their first instinct is to jump into repairs as quickly as possible.

    However, doing so can actually make the damage worse.

    According to the Extension Disaster Communication Network specialist Steve Cain, homeowners should wait to start repairs until the damaged areas have had a chance to dry out. “The tendency is to get to work as soon as possible, but that could lead to problems later,” Cain said. “Putting up insulation, drywall or paneling before the wood studs have completely dried out could trap moisture in the walls and lead to mold growth.”

    For more tips on flood recovery visit Purdue University’s Flood Recovery Resources page where you can download a free copy of “First Steps to Flood Recovery.”

  • Mississippi State University to House Academy Dedicated to Resolving Human-Wildlife Conflicts

    Human and wildlife coexistence can sometimes produce unique challenges. Animals and insects can wreak havoc on crops, and some animal-borne diseases pose a threat to the food supply. According to Mississippi State University, these conflicts cause roughly $22 billion in damages across the country.

    Mississippi State recently partnered with USDA to launch the Center for Resolving Human-Wildlife Conflicts to address this problem. The center will host a range of programs, “including protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, regulating genetically-engineered organisms, administering the Animal Welfare Act, and carrying out wildlife damage management activities.”

    Read more about the center here!

  • Behold the World’s Largest Robotic Field Scanner

    Developing new crops, such as a drought resistant vegetable variety, is a time intensive and costly process. It is also critical work for regions with dwindling water resources like California. The Department of Energy has teamed up with the University of Arizona’s College of Ag & Life Sciences to build a big data solution to the problem – a giant robotic fieldscanner.

    The 30-ton steel machine moves back and forth over the 1.5 acre research field like a huge printer and generates a “extremely high resolution” data stream that fills 5 terabytes of hard drive space every day. By comparing data on different plant varietals growth, the scientists can conduct scientific investigations with more efficiency.

    Read more about the robotic scanner here!

  • Nevada Extension Specialist Receives National Award

    John Cobourn, a water resources specialist at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension has received the Joint Council of Extension Professionals Award for Creative Excellence.

    The award recognizes his 25 years of work addressing flash floods, drought tolerant landscaping, and water quality issues.

    “It’s really gratifying to be recognized for the work I’ve done in watershed management at Lake Tahoe and in other parts of northern Nevada,” Cobourn said.

    Read more here!

  • Texas A&M on the Health Benefits of Beef Brisket

    Texas A&M AgriLife researcher Dr. Stephen Smith recently presented about his research into the health benefits of Beef Brisket.

    “Brisket has higher oleic acid than the flank or plate, which are the trims typically used to produce ground beef,” Smith said at the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course.

    Stephen Smith’s work is being published by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in a upcoming series of studies.

    Read more here!

  • University of Florida on the Front Lines Battling Zika

    93% of the 510 American residents who have contracted Zika live in Florida.

    The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has made Zika prevention a top priority. In addition to studying ways to reduce mosquito pesticide resistance, they launched an informative website and are holding Zika educational workshops throughout Florida.

    Read more here!

  • NSDU Extension Back to School Nutrition Tips for Undergrads

    College students across the country are getting ready to head back to campus. Many people struggle to maintain a healthy diet when the school year’s heavy workload sets in.

    The North Dakota State University Extension Service blog compiled 10 helpful tips to eat well and avoid “snack attacks”.

    Check it out here!

  • UC Davis Study Shows Slowed Growth of Douglas Fir Trees in Drought

    Douglas Firs are particularly sensitive to the drought affecting California and much of the Western United States.

    A new study from the University of California – Davis’ College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences pinpointed exactly how the trees are being harmed. They analyzed core samples, gathered from up and down the West Coast, to understand how Douglas Firs growth rates have changed over the past century.

    According to project lead Christina Restaino, “Throughout the life of these trees, Douglas firs have experienced a lot of different conditions … The conditions that have been the warmest and the driest have slowed their growth the most.”

    Read more about the study here.

  • Alabama Extension Specialist Offers Drought Tips for Horse Owners

    The limited water and high temperatures that often accompany droughts can pose a threat to horses’ health.

    Alabama Cooperative Extension specialist Dr. Courteney Holland compiled some helpful tips for how much your horses should be eating (and drinking), and how to help them cope with the heat.

    Check it out here!

  • Mobile Farmers Markets

    People without reliable transportation may be unable to get to and from farmers markets. North Dakota State University’s Extension Service tackled this problem by launching a mobile farmers market. They used a USDA grant to purchase and convert a “mobile market and education trolley.”

    The mobile market draws on the strengths of food trucks and can go to where the market demand is.

    Read more about the Grand Forks mobile Farmers Market here!

  • Tips for Vegetable Vendors

    In addition to stocking top quality products, it is important for vendors to think about the best way to display their food. The Oregon State University Small Farms program offers advice specifically for vegetable vendors.

    For example, subconscious aesthetic principles like diversity of color and variation of depth can help your veggies stand out.

    Consumers are more likely to buy unfamiliar produce when they are accompanied by a recipe that calls for them. Try including recipe cards on your stand as a handout, which can also act as a promotional tool.

    Check out more tips here!

  • Farmers Market Week!

    In celebration of National Farmers Market Week we’re sharing a series of articles about the importance of these unique resources. There are over 8,000 farmers markets in the United States and they stimulate local economies, increase access to fresh food, and support healthy lifestyles.

    Farmers markets across the country receive assistance from their local land-grant partners. These resources run the gamut from business and marketing expertise, to assistance securing grants and permits.

    Farmers market vendors and land-grant educators are animated by a similar goal: to help support a thriving American food system.

    #FarmersMarketWeek

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Helps Breweries And Cideries Hone Their Craft

    The Finger Lakes region in upstate New York is home to a vibrant community of craft breweries and cideries. Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) works to enhance this sector’s productivity and has joined forces with industry leaders to provide  resources for the area’s brewers, malters, and grain growers.

    With CCE’s help, the Finger Lake’s region has gotten advice on avoiding potential pitfalls, the growing basics and cidery set up,  legal and supply chain analysis, and more.

    This research and advice were on display at the second annual Finger Lakes Craft Beverage Conference hosted by CCE of Seneca County in Seneca, New York.

    Noel McCarthy, a resident from the area and home brewer who attended the conference, stated: “I heard from brewers, grain growers, and educators, and all the other kinds of people in the industry about trends and best practices they see across the state, it’s given me a better sense of how everything fits together.”

    The research and shared expertise promoted a collaborative culture between attendees and speakers. It had a personal feel as educators, growers, and scientists shared their stories and experiences with participants, and provided good insight for those in the industry.

    Read more here.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Student-Run Organic Farm Thrives at Iowa State University

    The student-run organic farm at Iowa State University, which emerged in the 1990s, has continued to bond the community through the shared passion of farming, writes Iowa Public Radio.

    The farm runs on a Community Supported Agriculture model. Members who donate their time to farming get boxes of fresh and nutritious produce. “It’s hands-on learning, it’s just-in-time learning, it’s eating what you’ve just learned to do,” said advisor Mary Weidenhoeft. “And so that’s why the student organic farm is really unique.”

    The land grant from Iowa State University has given students the opportunity to grow food, manage a business, and get other’s engaged.  The surplus produce grown at the organic farm is donated to those in need within the community, allowing students to understand the importance of giving back. Within a season, students will grow up to 40 different vegetables and fruits, showing other students the importance of fresh, organic produce.

    Read more here!

     

     

     

  • Local Food Hubs Connect Communities And Producers

    Food consumers have a growing interest in learning about where their food comes from, and wanting to connect to the farmers who produced it. Several NIFA- funded projects have created new local food hubs to address this issue.

    The Molokai Food Hub (MFH) was established to address the heightened rate of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases in that Hawaiian community. The food hub provides outreach and education on healthy choices when buying food. They suggest buying more local and fresh products versus processed foods.

    Fresh from Foley, a food hub in Foley, Alabama teams up with local producers and distributers  to collect, package, and ship locally grown produce to restaurants, schools, and grocery stores in the area.

    Farmers of Chicago program provides resources for urban farmers so that they can distribute locally grown produce year-round.

    Finally, Common Market Food, based in Philadelphia works with local farmers to provide alternative solutions to the mainstream distribution network.

    NIFA’s funding has allowed communities all over to become educated and make smarter, healthier choices by eating fresh produce.

    Read more here!

  • Penn State: Land-Grant Programs Help Keep Farmers on the Farm

    Penn State  teamed up with Texas A&M – Galveston to measure the impact of the land-grant system over past decades. They found that cooperative extension programs have helped over 137,000 farmers stay in business since the 1980’s.

    The cooperative extension program started in 1914 with the Smith-Lever Act, and has had a profound impact as a job creator, according to the researchers. “Compared to the costs of other job creation programs, cooperative extension is a remarkably good investment,” said Stephan Goetz of Penn’s College of Agricultural Sciences. “Over our 26-year sample, this federal spending amounted to only $265 per farmer per year, while agricultural research spending added another $140.”

    Read more here!

  • NCSU Extension Compiles Farmers Market Resources

    North Carolina State University Extension Service has a useful collection of resources about farmers markets. Consumers can locate their nearest market through the local food directory. Other marketing resources are aimed at vendors of all experience levels, from a getting started guide to a publication that will help you sell your whole truckload.

    Today there are over 8,500 farmers markets nationwide, a 50% increase in the last five years. They play a key role in our local communities, and benefit both producers and consumers.

    Read more here!

  • When Plants Are Cut, They Bleed, Sort Of

    Do plants bleed after a cut?

    A researcher from the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources looked into this and solved one of the mysteries of plant biology. After a cut, a plant directs nutrients to the incision to section the area off and protect the rest of the plant. This is similar to what happens with clotting in the human body.

    A plant transmits information and minerals through holes in the cell walls, which is called plasmodesmata. Plasmodesmata is guarded by a glucose-like wall, which constrict and open the passages to control the flow within a plant’s cells.

    The research was conducted by Weier Cui for her Ph.D. thesis, it was published in the journal Nature Plants.

    Read more here!

  • Searching for Underutilized Ornamental Plants

    A segment of the US horticultural industry focuses solely on producing new varieties of ornamental plants. The new flowers, trees and shrubs being developed are beautiful, but adaptability testing is often an afterthought. Species that thrive in a greenhouse may end up being poorly suited for nurseries.

    This is why consumers need accurate and impartial information about new ornamental plants in order to make economic and environmental choices. A collaborative research project “SERA-027” studied and rated new ornamental plant varieties. They were able to identify several superior plants that are currently being underutilized. The factors they looked at include cold hardiness, heat tolerance, growth rate, environmental adaptation limits, and other qualities.

    SERA-027 was funded in part  through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

    Read more about the project here!

  • Eastern Potato Varieties & Farm Sustainability

    Potatoes are one of the top three vegetable crops in the Eastern United States. The NE-1031 research project aims to help potato farmers by fostering the development of improved potato varieties. The researchers facilitate collaboration between researchers, farmers, and bring the scientific innovations to the field.

    The NE-1031 project was supported by the Multistate Research Fund and USDA NIFA.

    Read more about the research project here!

     

  • Nursery & Landscape IPM

    The NCERA-193 research project aimed to create an integrated pest management system (IPM) for in nurseries, landscapes, and urban forests.

    Nurseries are the fastest growing portions of the American agriculture industry. This amounts to $147 billion each year to the economy, and it supports over 600,000 workers.

    This project reduced health threats to workers and brought together scientists to create IPM solutions faster.

    The NCERA-193 project was supported by the Multistate Research Fund, which is apart of the United States Department of Agriculture.

    Read more about the research project here!

     

     

  • UC Davis Helps Winemakers Sustainably Produce Premium Wine

    Grapes may still be the most critical element to winemakers, but UC Davis students are turning their attention to rainwater.

    The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis is storing rainwater to be dispersed during the dry season to winemakers. This recyclable water helps make the winemaking process more available while also protecting natural resources.

    To read more about the work done at UC Davis, click here.
  • UC Davis’s Global Tea Initiative

    The world’s most popular beverage is now a teaching tool at UC Davis.

    UC Davis hosted a symposium called “The Basics of Tea: Tea and People” on the cultural significant of tea as apart of its tea education program.

    The program also created a center for the study of tea culture with plans to make UC Davis a leader in tea research.

    To read more about the symposium, click here
  • University of IL: Container Gardening

    A small space doesn’t have to limit gardening potential.

    A University of Illinois Extension educator recommends container gardening for people without outdoor availability for plants.

    Extension educator, Ken Johnson, explains different containers, such as pots, buckets, milk cartons and shoes can be used to grow plants with essential basic needs.

    As long as a container is able to hold water and has drainage pathways available, it can be used to grow plants.

    To find out more about container gardening, click here.
  • K-State partnerships help improve water quality in Kansas

    Lower cost options allow farmers to protect their land’s water supply.

    If a streambank isn’t fortified, it could collapse and flood a creek or body of water with sediment, which disrupts the quality and flow of the water.

    Traditionally, farmers have used large boulders to fortify banks, but this is a costly solution since it requires high transportation costs.

    Kansas State University Research and Extension Service suggests using local materials to fortify streambanks. This would lower the costs inflicted on the farmer.

    For example, a farmer could use local trees to fortify the banks, saving tens of thousands of dollars compared to the boulder system.

    To learn more about efforts to improve water for Kansas farmers, click here!

  • Wildfire effects on various grasses

    A Kansas State professor in agronomy offered advice for farmers on how to respond to fires.

    Walter Fick said it’s difficult to treat every fire the same since each has different effects.

    Fick said short grasses, like blue grama, might be impacted greatly by wildfires. In comparison, rhizomatous grasses, like Indiangrass, would recover easier, especially if they grow deep into the soil.

    If you want to learn more, click here

  • Fighting drought with soil

    California’s drought has dried up many of the state’s resources, but one resource continues to be plentiful–knowledgeable universities and soil.

    Scientists at the University of California will study soil as a tool to defeat the state’s drought. The project is funded by a 1.69 million dollar grant, and will allow for the creation of  a Consortium for Drought and Carbon Management. This program will allow researchers to study soil formation and stability to understand drought conditions.

    With this information, the UC scientists hope to create a model that predicts soil dynamics and gauges the response of an agriculture system to drought conditions.

    To read more about efforts to study California’s drought, click here

  • Tap water and table salt may be safer and cheaper for milk production cleanup

     

    Researchers at Pennsylvania State University may have improved the safety standards of the milk industry while also creating a cost-effective solution.

    The current cleaning system used on dairy farms includes harsh, acid-based chemicals. The research team replaced these chemicals with electrolyzed oxidizing water, otherwise known as EO water.

    EO water cleaned the pipes and facilities on dairy farms just as effectively as the existing methods.

    A switch to the EO system could save dairy farmers money and reduce the chance of hazardous waste spills during transportation.
    To read more about the research done at Penn State concerning milk safety, click here!

  • Growers cautioned to be on the lookout for invasive pigweeds

    Pennsylvania farmers face a new threat.

    Palmer amaranth and waterhemp have invaded the state. These two pigweeds can harm crop yields up to 91 percent.

    Researchers at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences recommend farmers exercise complete control over possible outbreaks.

    But since these pigweeds grow at fast rates, they can often become difficult to control.

    To read more about the danger facing Pennsylvania farmers, click here.

  • Test Water Quality Before Livestock Turnout

    Rainwater is welcome in North Dakota after a dry winter, but negative consequences have started to appear.

    North Dakota State University Extension Service reported ponds and dugouts might have low water quality due to high levels of salt, minerals and bacteria.

    Low water quality can be harmful particularly to livestock. If cattle ingest too much salt, it can result in illness and sometimes death.

    NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory offers water quality testing for livestock animals.

    To read more about the dangers facing North Dakota farmers, click here.

     

     

  • More Than 10,000 Ohio Farmers Have Received Water Quality Training From Ohio Extension

    Ohio State Extension trained 10,000 farmers in the last year in fertilizer best practices that optimize yeild and minimize runoff. The Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training program helps their bottom line and improves water quality throughout the greater water system.

    The program aims to help Ohio farmers meet new regulatory standards. The 2014 agricultural fertilization law requires 50+ acre farms to reach a heightened certification level by 2017. According to the USDA, the average Ohio farm is 188 acres.

    Read more here!

     

  • Penn State: Engineers Working on a Better Blueberry Picker

    Penn State engineers are working on a research project that could boost efficiency for the blueberry harvest. The project is being pursued in collaboration with 14 researchers from the University of California-Berkeley, University of Florida, University of Georgia, Michigan State University, Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University, Oregon State University, Penn State and Washington State University.

    The blueberry industry in the United States has experienced a sort of Renaissance over the past three decades, as total production has increased fourfold. This makes for a huge opportunity for innovators who can improve on the current harvest method: hand picking.

    “The overall goal … is to advance harvest efficiency and improve postharvest handling of fresh-market highbush blueberries by developing a scale-neutral harvest-aid system and advanced sensor technologies,” said Charlie Li, the principal investigator.

    Read more here!

  • NMSU Researcher Develops Method for Cloning Pecan Rootstock

    A New Mexico State University researcher has developed an innovative new method for cloning pecan rootstock.

    The discovery by a research associate at the NMSU Department of Entomology, Plane Pathology, and Weed Science will result in greater pecan yields for farmers.

    The aim is to clone a pecan rootstock that will be ideal for growing conditions in the Southwest. This will be distributed to farmers to make pecan farming easier.

    Read more here!

  • K-State: Being Mindful in Eating Habits can Contribute to a Healthier Lifestyle

    Sandy Procter, assistant professor in Kansas State University’s College of Human Ecology, outlines several ways a person can eat more mindfully and develop healthier habits.

    Her studies show that shifting thinking, avoiding negative messages, and having external support are all factors that contribute to the way people eat.

    Read more here!

  • CSU-Led Team Highlights Ways to Address Global Food System Challenges

    Megan Schinpanski, an assistant professor at Colorado State University is exploring how to increase food production for a growing global population.

    Schnipanski’s research looked at food access disparities where the problem is less about the amount of food and more on poverty and the access of resources.

    Read more here!

  • Clemson Scientist Takes the Fight to Southern Blight on Tomatoes

    Clemson University produces results to combat Southern blight and save farmers’ crops.

    Anthony Keinath, a vegetable pathologist at the Coastal Research Education Center at Clemson, conducted research to investigate Southern blight’s reactions to fungicides.

    Southern blight attacks a range of plants beneath the soil, resulting in root rot. Methyl bromide, a fumigant, could be used on the plants to control the disease, but the EPA determined in 2009 it was harmful to the ozone layer and removed it from the market.

    Keinath researched environmentally friendly combatants to the disease to discover effective solutions for farmers.

    Read more here!

     

  • Auburn: Technology Ensures Food Safety, From Farm to Table

    Auburn College of Agriculture researchers look to find a cost-efficient system to monitor pathogens through the food supply chain.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded 11 universities grants to look into nanotechnology. As one of the institutions that received funding, Auburn has taken a biological approach to its research.

    The goal is to create a biosensor in the form of a handheld monitor that will be affordable and easy to use. Another objective is to allow the system to detect multiple strands of pathogens at once.

    Read more here!

     

  • MSU: Preventing sidewall compaction in field crops

    Michigan State University Extension released tips to help with sidewall compaction.

    The current wet soil conditions will result in sidewall compaction. MSU Extension recommends taking preventive measures since once sidewall compaction occurs it can’t be undone.

    The most effective step is to wait for proper soil moisture conditions before planting. Other recommendations include leaving some crop residence to delay soil drying and opening of the seeds, use seed firmers, and adding one spoke closing wheel to break up compaction.

    Read more here!

     

  • Extension Outdoors: Encourage children to explore nature

    MSU Extension applauds the Every Kid in a Park initiative, which invites all fourth grade students to receive a free pass to federal lands. This program aims to encourage children to explore the nation’s parks at a time when an average of children spend 90 percent of their time indoors.

    Each fourth-grade pass allows a student to bring three other family members for free to federal lands from September till the end of the next August.

    The pass works at any national refuge, monument, park, or forest. Popular federal attractions include Yosemite National Park, Superior National Forest, Badlands National Park, and Glacier National Park.

    Read more here!

     

  • New Cantaloupe, Pumpkin, and Acorn Squash Seeds Developed at UNH Now Available

    A researcher at the University of New Hampshire develops new seeds for cantaloupes, pumpkins, and acorn squash.

    Brent Loy, working as a NH Agricultural Experiment Station researcher, has created more than 70 new types of pumpkin, squash, melon, and gourd seeds. These seeds are can be purchased throughout the world through seed catalogs.

    Among his creations include two new cantaloupe varieties, and a Naked Bear pumpkin, which is a hull-less pumpkin, resilient to powdery mildew disease. Two other white pumpkins were released to the market in conjunction with Seneca Vegetable Research. The team at UNH also released three strands of acorn squash with higher starch content than standard squash.

    The National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the U.S Department of Agriculture jointly fund this research at UNH.

    Read more here!

     

     

  • UC Davis Studies the Effects of a Grapevine’s Environment

    Dr. Dario Cantu joins the Viticulture and Enology Department at UC Davis in order to study how the environment is causing diseases on grapevines.
    The Cantu Lab has discovered how these diseases lead to noble rot, eventually impacting grape metabolism and disrupting the flavor development in winemaking. Dr. Cantu hopes to detect these diseases faster, develop immunization procedures to protect the vines, and control our fruit ripening.
    Read more here!
  • USDA Announces $4.7 Million Available in Grants for Food Safety Training, Outreach and Technical Assistance

    The Department of Agriculture plans to offer nearly 5 million dollars in new grants for food safety training, sponsored through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.  These grants are meant to help the owners of small to mid-sized farms, disadvantaged farmers, and small fresh fruit and vegetable wholesalers comply with food safety guidelines created by the Food Safety Modernization Act.

    NIFA will fund pilot projects, community outreach projects, and multi-state educational projects to support the development of food safety concerns.

    Read more here!

     

  • UF / IFAS Researchers Expand Muscadine Grape Market

    University of Florida researchers aim to increase demand for muscadine grapes by building awareness.

    Researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences studied the public’s knowledge of muscadine grapes. The respondents familiar with muscadine grapes were more open and creative with food selection and preparation.

    Researchers at IFAS also reported the high concentration of nutrients and antioxidants in muscadines make them the next potential “super fruit”.

    Read more here!

  • UF / IFAS researchers: Florida Sees Dramatic Increase in School Gardens

    Florida students and teachers reap the benefits of school gardens. A recent study by the University of Florida claims school gardens introduce fresh produce to the classroom as well as giving students real-world experience with science and nutrition concepts.

    The gardens also allow teachers to introduce lessons in a interactive manner to reach students who might not perform as well in traditional classroom settings. There are approximately 1,300 school gardens in Florida.

    Read more here!

  • Cooperative Extension Programs Help Farmers Stay in Business

    In a recent study from Penn State University, federal cooperative extension programs were credited with assisting more than 137,000 farmers remain in business since the mid 1980s. The study also showed how extension programs act as job stimulants and allows farmers to communicate information effectively with one another.

    The Cooperative Extension System has a long history of helping America’s farmers.

    In the 102 years since the Cooperative Extension System was created with the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, farmers and small business owners have received vital agricultural information.

     

  • UF/IFAS Research May Help Expand Avocado Production

    A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher has identified the true hybrids of the Hass and Bacon avocado variants. The project suggests that Hass-like avocados can thrive in Florida’s climate.

    A particular focus was placed on selecting hybrids that are resistant to laurel wilt, which kills avocados and has been causing concern in Florida.

    Read more here!

  • Gardening for the Health of it!

    Experimenting with new vegetables in your garden is an exciting, if sometimes challenging enterprise. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln put together a helpful guide to help you consider seed selection, location and maintenance needs for your new plants.

    With these tips (and a little hard work) you can enjoy fresh vegetables all summer.

    Read more here!

  • Farmers Markets: Not Just a Fad

    Farmers Markets across the nation are facilitating new connections between urban dwellers and rural farmers. According to the USDA, over one million Americans visit a farmers market every week.

    The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources recently published a blog post with tips on how to select fresh and healthy food when you go to a farmers market.

    Read more here!

  • UNH Finds Benefits of Growing Peppers in High Tunnel Greenhouses

    Researchers at the University of New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station recently concluded trials to determine which varieties of bell peppers do best in the unheated environment of a high tunnel greenhouse.

    “Growing peppers in unheated high tunnels permits the production of very high quality colored fruit,” said UNH’s Becky Sideman. “Colored bell peppers have the potential to be a profitable, alternative crop for New Hampshire farmers, although a number of factors such as infrastructure costs, marketable yield, and market prices need to be considered.”

    Sideman and the UNH team saw pepper yields ranging from 46,000 to 66,600 pounds per acre, which is more than double the typical field-pepper yield.

    Read more here!

  • NDSU: A Heads-up for a Dry Summer, Plan Forage Production Now

    North Dakota State University Extension Service advises ranchers to plan ahead for a dry summer. Kris Ringwall, a Beef Specialist at NDSU, outlines the benefits of Dry Lot and Oats in a recent “Beef Talk” blog post.

    Read more here!

  • UF: Avocado Tree-Destroying Pathogen Spreading

    University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences warns that laurel wilt has been reported in all but 6 of the state’s 67 counties, and is expected to spread. UF experts recommend maintaining the health of your avocado trees with proper fertilizer and irrigation. If you suspect that some of your trees are infected with laurel wilt contact the Florida Division of Plant Pathology. Do not attempt to move infected trees unless burning / burying them at a local landfill.

    Read more here!

  • VSU Receives $1.6 Million to Assist Virginia Farmers

    Virginia State University’s College of Agriculture has received seven federal and state grants totaling over $1.6 million. The grants included four federal, two from the Virginia Tobacco Commission, and one grant from Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).

    The funding will be used in the university’s land-grant outreach and research missions. Research projects consist in a variety of diverse fields. Included in the research is both the studies of crops and meat production.

    Crop research includes the study of hops for beer, soybeans, hemp, and berries. Livestock research will be used to identify safer, more humane slaughter methods for sheep and goats. Other funds will be used to study genomes for farming and to develop new education techniques.

    Read more here!

  • USDA: Missouri Corn Growers Get Early Start This Year

    The USDA Crop Progress Report states that Missouri farmers lead the nation in corn planting progress this year. Seeds were in the ground ahead of the rainy last few weeks, and farmers are optimistic about yields.

    “Missouri corn growers jumped on it this year and took advantage of the good planting conditions,” says Greg Luce, MU Extension corn specialist.

    Read more here!

  • NC Cooperative Extension Guide: Getting Started At A Farmers Market

    Getting started as a first time vendor at a farmer’s market can be a daunting challenge. North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension compiled some helpful resources that can make the process a little easier. Expand your business, and provide new markets with healthy and nourishing food.

    Read more here!

  • Implications of Corn and Soybean Planting Progress

    As Spring arrives, a University of Illinois agricultural economist predicts how successful will this year’s corn and soybean market be!

    Learn how much time and planning goes into harvesting corn and soybeans.

    Read more here!

  • USDA Announces $4 Million Available to Develop Innovative Pest Management Solutions

    USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has just announced a $4 million grant to support research and extension efforts to address existing and future pest control issues and increase crop protection practices. The fund is the work of Crop Protection and Pest Management (CPPM) Program that is administered by NIFA and since 2014 has awarded $32.5 million to aid research and extension into integrated pest management efforts (IPM). All competitive fiscal year 2016 grants will be in the Applied Research and Development (ARDP) focus area and the closing date for applications is June 8.

    For background on IPM and to learn more about collaboration between land-grant universities on this issue read our Q&A with Dr. Steve Young, Director of the Northeastern Integrated Pest Management Center both in interview and in our Twitter Town Hall.

    Read more here!

     

  • USDA Grant Expands UNH Research on Managing Parasitic Roundworms

    University of New Hampshire researcher Rick Cote has received a grant from the USDA to expand his research on roundworms. Cote and his team are hopeful that their research will lead to the discovery of pesticides that will combat these agricultural pests. The work will be in collaboration with Valerie Williamson, professor of entomology at UC Davis.

    Parasitic roundworms infest 2,000 species of plants and are one of the most damaging groups of roundworms to crops. Crops like corn, cotton, wheat, soybean, rice, and potato are particularly vulnerable to the pest.

    Research by Cote, Williamson, and their research teams will discover new nematicides to eliminate the roundworms without adverse effects on the agricultural ecosystem.

    Read more here!

  • Gray Water Recycling has Part in Efficiency

    A researcher at the Mississippi State University Department of Landscape Architecture is pushing for increased recycling of gray water.

    Gray water is any water that comes in contact with humans. This includes water used for showers, washing dishes, and other daily activities.

    MSU says gray water is perfect for use in gardening and agriculture.

    Read more here!

  • Oregon State: Have a Date With Your Shrub Before Getting Out the Clippers

    Spring’s arrival signals gardening season. Are you pruning your plants properly? Oregon State’s Extension program is offering helpful tips to keep your garden in tip-top shape this Spring.

    Different plants and shrubbery require their own pruning techniques. However, constant pruning is unhealthy for plants. It’s important to keep the plant size and blooms in mind before cutting back a plant.

    Read more here!

  • UNH Scientists Investigate How Droughts Impact Northern Forests

    Researchers at the University of New Hampshire Ag Experiment Station have launched a multiyear program targeted at understanding the impact of droughts on Northern forests.

    This research will allow scientists to understand the effect of climate change on forest health, productivity and hydrology, and will enable researchers to make decisions ensuring the sustainability of forests and water resources in the future. The team hopes to simulate a 55 percent reduction in annual growing season precipitation, determined after a review of 100 years of precipitation records.
    Read more here!

  • UVM’s goCrop Software Improves Farm-Based Nutrient Management Planning

    The University of Vermont Extension has developed new software that helps farmers produce high-yield, high-quality crops. GoCrop allows farmers to track a field’s soil fertility and nutrition. This easy-to-use app can be accessed online and all information is stored in a cloud database system.

    Over 200 Vermont farms have been using the app since its 2012 release. The app also helps farmers save money and maintain high water quality. UVM also launched a series of courses for farmers that, in conjunction with the app, allow farmers to learn about nutrient management and the impact of water quality on crops.

    Read more here!

  • Texas A&M Study: Texas Grow! Eat! Go!

    Research consistently links a person’s diet to their risk for disease and quality of life. Recently, Texas A&M University launched Texas Grow! Eat! Go!, which is targeted at improving the physical activity and eating behaviors of third and fourth grade students and their families. And in order to continue these successful interventions, the Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research released the first National Nutrition Research Roadmap to guide federal nutrition research.

    Read more here!

  • Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Without Soil Data, Crop Insurance Pricing is a Bust

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture first authorized Federal Crop Insurance in the 1930s to protect farmers ravaged by the Dust Bowl. Federal Crop Insurance provides farmers with some economic protection for the enormous risks that comes with the job of growing crops, from unpredictable weather to rampant pests. However, this insurance doesn’t take into account one of the most crucial aspects to farming: soil.

    Soil type and quality have a significant impact on crop yield, but the USDA does not integrate soil data into calculations that determine insurance rates. By not accounting for this in determining these premiums, the government’s models are imprecise. By matching insurance data with soil information, Federal Crop Insurance could become more efficient and beneficial to each farmer.

    Read more here!

  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Pasta can be a Healthy Dish

    If you’re looking for a meal that is healthy but won’t break your bank, take a look at a college student’s kitchen.

    According to Helen Jones, a regional agent in human nutrition, diet and health with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, microwavable Mac and Cheese as well as Ramen Noodles have nutrition often overlooked. “You have to eat them in moderation. You can add vegetables or lean meats to make it healthier.”

    Read more here!

  • LGU Research Collaboration Helps Landowners Support Ecosystem and Reduce Erosion

    A study funded by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium into salt marsh restoration sees small, private landowners as crucial in protecting the economic and environmental wellbeing of the country’s coastlines. A team of researchers from Mississippi State University, the University of South Alabama, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, the University of Connecticut, The Nature Conservancy and the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve collaborated to investigate how restoration can be most effective along the Gulf Coast.

    Salt marshes are a vital natural resource acting to filter pollutants from runoff before they enter the sea and also help prevent erosion. They provide a habitat for animals and organisms on which commercially important seafood such as shrimp and fish are reliant.

    Coastal hard management technologies such as sea wall construction are often favoured and result in reducing these salt marsh areas. However, the study sees soft management practices as proving the longer term and more sustainable option.

    Read more here!

  • Walking a Dog is Good for Your Health, Says NDSU

    A Food and Nutrition Specialist at North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension Service notes that dog owners on average accumulate 60 minutes more of physical activity than non-dog owners.

    Walking your pet is a great opportunity to get your recommended 30 minutes of daily physical exercise that helps prevent heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, as well as reduce your risk for some cancers.

    Read more here!

  • MSU Extension: Obesity Contributes To Deadly Problems

    New research out of Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension Service links obesity with cancer.“Obesity is a leading cause of high blood pressure and heart disease,” said MSU’s David Buys. “Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that it is also associated with certain types of cancer, such as colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and cancers of the endometrium, kidney, thyroid and gallbladder.”

    Read more here!

  • MSU Promotes National Nutrition Month: Nutritious Meals are Worth the Time, Money

    This National Nutrition Month is the perfect opportunity to set new health habits as explained by Ginger Cross, assistant research professor at Mississippi State University Social Science Research Center, promoting the ‘WannaBee Healthy’ campaign that is sponsored by a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health.

    The campaign challenges the misconception that healthy eating is too costly and time-consuming by giving hints and tips on how to incorporate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate recommendation of making each meal 50% fruits and vegetables.

    A little forward planning in terms of meal preparation and carrying healthy snacks can help both families and individuals protect against food choices that can add up to larger health issues.

    Read more here!

  • UNH Research on Growing Spinach in Winter Going Strong

    An ongoing study into the production of spinach during winter months is filling the void in research that could help New Hampshire growers tackle the area’s short growing season and boost the local economy.

    The study is being conducted at the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station, the University of New Hampshire’s original research center, and is funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Eight different spinach varieties are being tested in terms of yield, sugar content, ease of harvest and average leaf size measurements across six different time points in order to create recommendations and even target planting dates to help growers make the most of their resources.

    Read more here!

  • Penn State: Fruits, Vegetables, ‘Farm-to-Fork Continuum’ Vital to Cancer Prevention

    Research for decades has focused on boosting yields, and improving the appearance of fruits, vegetables and grains. A cancer researcher at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Ag Sciences says it’s time to focus on ways to boost the health benefits these foods can provide.

    Read more here!

  • Auburn/ Alabama A&M: Farmers Wait for Warmer Soil Temperatures

    As spring approaches,  Alabama Extension is offering tips to take advantage of prime planting season. Recent warm temperatures might make it tempting to begin planting early, but Alabama Extension encourages waiting until warm weather settles in before starting your garden.

    The disadvantages of planting in cool soil include low yields, slow growth, and higher susceptibility to insect and weed damage. Because of these risks, the safest time to plant is generally mid-March-April or May in most places.

    Alabama Extension encourages planters to check soil temperatures by placing a meat thermometer 2″ below the soil. Using the temperature and a warm 7-day forecast, the best planting decisions can be made.

    Read more here!

  • OSU Bean Tips for National Nutrition Month

    It’s National Nutrition Month, and the Ohio State University (OSU) College of Food, Ag and Environmental Sciences Chow Line blog has some great tips on how to incorporate beans into your diet.

    Adding a bean-based meal or two to your weekly menu is an easy way to get a quick health boost.

    Read more here!

  • UW-Madison: Even Cows are “Texting”

    Automatic milking technology has been around for a number of years, but newer systems are able to do much more to keep farmers updated about their livestock.

    Douglas J. Reinemann, professor and chair of the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at UW–Madison and a milking equipment/energy specialist with UW–Extension, explains that new mobile apps allow the computer milking the cow to send updates to farmers, like if a cow produced less milk than expected, if a cow didn’t show up to be milked, or even if a milking machine isn’t working properly, and so much more.

    Read more here!

  • UF/IFAS to Hop Into Hops Varieties for Microbreweries

    With the explosion in popularity of craft beer and micro-brewing, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers hope to take advantage of the trend by cultivating hops in Florida.

    ​Currently, more than 2 million pounds of hops are imported from places like Washington, Oregon and Germany. With hops grown in Florida, the resulting beer would have a unique flavor generated from the state’s special soil and climate.

    ​Read more here!

  • Invasive Superweed Johnsongrass is the Target of a USDA-Funded Collaborative Research Effort

    A $5M grant from the U.S Department of Agriculture will find new ways to combat Johnsongrass, a troublesome agricultural weed.

    This five year project will include help from researchers from Virginia, Kansas, North Carolina, Texas and Georgia. The new information may lead to new management strategies and provide farmers with more options to stop the stubborn weed. Johnsongrass was introduced to the U.S in the 1800s and is responsible for millions of dollars lost in agricultural revenue every year.

    Read more here!

  • UCANR and CDFA Researchers Make Progress In Fight Against Stink Bugs

    University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (URANR) and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) researchers are developing a biological method of pest control to combat the threat posed by brown marmorated stink bugs. The team are rearing Asian wasp Trissolcus japonicas in quarantine, which is a species that co-evolved in China as the natural control to the stink bug population.

    This work funded by a CDFA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program grant is vital in safeguarding California’s $54B agricultural economy, as the parasites have caused great damage to crops on the east coast.

    Read more here!

  • UF-IFAS: Find Out When to Plant with the Florida Fresh App

    The University of Florida – Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has rolled out a new app to help gardeners determine the optimal time to plant various types of produce. The user-friendly app, “Florida Fresh”, can be downloaded for free on any smart phone device. After downloading, just enter your zip code to get up-to-date planting information.

    Not only does the app include planting tips, but it also provides information on the availability and nutritional value of different fruits and vegetables. This makes it easier to both grow and buy fresh, local produce.

    Read more here!

  • Why are my Grape Vines Stunted? OSU Smartphone App has the Answers

    With grape growing season approaching, Oregon State University (OSU) has developed a new, free smart phone app to help grape growers have a successful yield. One of the best aspects of the app? You don’t need to be a professional grape grower to take advantage of this new technology. Its uses are beneficial to winemakers and home growers.

    The app’s purpose is to manage and identify issues with vines. It provides pictures and in-depth information to help growers identify vine issues. Once the issue is identified, it also gives resources to manage the problem and maximize yields. Among the issues this diagnostic tool helps identify include early frost, herbicide drift, water stress, nutrient deficiency, and disease.

    Read more here!

  • UNL-IANR: Maximize Yields With New Program

    An assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources (UNL-IANR) has developed a free, web-based program that condenses the latest climate, soil and crop modeling technologies into an interactive tool farmers can use to help plan their business. Guillermo Baigorria, in his role as a Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute Faculty Fellow, has launched CropClimate which allows users to input the data of different environmental situations and so maximize yields.

    With CropClimate’s potential to increase production, reduce risk and conserve resources, this launch will be of great interest to a number of groups, from farmers and policymakers through to seed agrochemical and insurance companies.

    Find out more here!

  • UF/IFAS Scientists Present Plant Diagnostic Data at D.C. Conference

    Researchers met recently at the 4th National Plant Diagnostic Network in Washington, D.C. to help shed light on potentially devastating plant issues.

    Researcher Jason Smith of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Plant Diagnostic Center shed light on the importance of this issue and discussed ways to control the spread of the pathogen Laurel Wilt, as it could severely impact Florida’s $100 million-a-year avocado industry.

    Read more here!

  • New Research from UF for World Kidney Day

    Researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are taking a closer look at the foods we love to eat and are finding great health benefits.

    UF Assistant professor Wendy Dahl and other researchers studied minerals, nuts, herbs, prebiotics and probiotics to explore the link between food and health conditions.

    Read more here!

  • Alabama Extension: Healthy Snacking Tips

    Christina LeVert, a regional human nutrition diet and health agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, explains how making the right snack choices can reduce hunger, boost metabolism and increase energy levels that all add up to increased productivity.

    Combining carbohydrates and protein such as in a snack of wheat crackers with low-fat cheese allows the body to feel healthy and fuller for longer. It also protects against the energy crash that results from junk food options.

    Read more here!

  • Crowdfunding Studies Instrumental in Securing Five-Year USDA Grant

    Martin Nielsen, parasitologist, veterinarian and assistant professor at the UK Gluck Equine Research Center, has given a glimpse into the future of scientific research funding after winning a $2.1M 5-year grant from USDA.

    The money was awarded after Nielsen raised over $12,000 through crowdfunding to conduct lab tests with collaborators that supported his proposal. Working with teams across other universities nationwide, Nielsen will lead the equine arm of a project that will help develop and test a new bacterial agent for parasite control among farm animals.

    This research will also be of medical importance as over 1.5 billion people globally suffer from parasite infection.

    Read more here!

  • USDA: Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $18 Million Available to Support Research and Teaching at Historically Black Land-Grant Universities

    Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced Monday that $18 million in grants will be available to historically black land-grant universities.

    ​The grants are available through the Teaching Capacity Building Grants program, which supports agricultural science programs while also focusing on advancing diversity in the scientific and professional workforce.

    ​Previous programs funded through these grants include a Master of Science degree in human nutrition at A&M Prairie University and a study on the economic efforts of the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership on food safety and the environment at South Carolina State University among others.

    ​Read more here!

  • UNL Researchers Identify Target of Disease-Causing Plant Pathogens

    A team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers led by Jim Alfano at the Center for Plant Science Innovation and Department of Plant Pathology have published their findings into the work of the bacterial pathogens that target a plant’s immune system. Their study centered on the pathogen Pseudomonas syringae and its method of injecting the protein HopE1 into plant cells which through a series of reactions ultimately compromises the plant’s immune system.

    The research into HopE1 is part of the team’s larger work to identify new components in plant immunity. An improved understanding of the defense mechanisms of plants would pave the way to improved disease resistance of crops and therefore increase crop quality and yield.

    Read more here!

  • UCANR: Wildlife Research to Save Sheep

    Winter is lambing season on California sheep ranches – a perilous time of year. Babies are vulnerable prey for wildlife like coyotes. With non-lethal methods of controlling wildlife now in place, University of California Hopland Research and Extension Center is researching ways to protect sheep farms.

    UC’s research will not only estimate the wildlife population, but will use GPS collars on prey to gain insight into their interactions. UC Hopland will also test fencing installed by producers to protect sheep from carnivores. This research will contribute to finding effective, non-lethal ways to protect sheep.

    Read more here!

  • USDA: Shiitake Mushrooms: A Commercial Forest Farming Enterprise

    Forest-grown mushrooms not only generates tasty food, but also produces the most reliable and profitable non-timber products in the forest farming system.

    Over the years, people have become more interested in forest-cultivation, and now Cornell University is currently working on informing farmers on methods like mushroom cultivation.

    Read more here!

  • NMSU Offering Free Cooking Classes

    New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension is offering free cooking class for adults with diabetes. This program will be offered four dates in February and each session includes four classes taught by a registered dietician.

    Students will learn how to meal plan, read food labels, measure portion sizes, and balance carbohydrates. NMSU says these are key ways to keep blood sugar levels normal and diabetes under control.

    Check out the dates and times these classes will be offered here!

  • National Drink Wine Day: UC Davis: Winery Wastewater a Viable Water Source For Vineyards

    University of California, Davis scientists look into winery wastewater, in hopes of finding smart and eco-friendly ways to irrigate vines.

    Researchers have studied winery wastewater samples from 18 wineries in the Napa and Lodi regions of California for nearly two years.

    The information is the first data to support the California wine industry’s reuse of treated winery wastewater.

    Read more here!

Connect with Us

Archives