News

Displaying all news from 2014.

  • Precision agriculture workshops scheduled for Alabama, Georgia in February

    February workshop series throughout Alabama and Georgia will focus on topics relating to modern row-crop agriculture’s evolution from a precision-based to a decision-based farming model. These workshops will provide producers with the latest precision-farming techniques and foster interaction with some of the leading agricultural scholars in the United States and Europe. This speaker series is a unique opportunity for growers, as it features expert testimonies from Auburn University, the University of Georgia as well as from three leading European universities. 

    Read more here!

  • Montana State University Researchers: Trapping Insects by Color – Will it Work in Montana?

    New research by a Montana State University agricultural scientist that was performed in Guam will soon be brought to Montana and tested. It was found that insects react to certain colors of traps differently and depending on the environment. Gadi Reddy believes that this information can be applied to common pests like adult click beetles, flea beetles, and wheat stem sawflies that harm Montana’s crops. This research is imperative to finding “eco-friendly control methods” for pests in Montana, the US, and internationally.

     Read more here!

  • The secret language of plants from UC Davis

    Apparently humans are not the only ones who can exchange information – a researcher from the University of California Davis is studying how plants communicate with each other. “The debate is no longer whether plants can sense one another’s biochemical messages — they can — but about why and how they do it.” Plants are on high alert when they are attacked by pests, chewed on by animals, or clipped by gardeners and send volatile compounds directly to the affected area. Understanding why and how plants communicate these messages could lead to improved pest resistance and better maintenance methods for farmers and gardeners. 

    Read more here!

  • Texas A&M researchers to study cowpea drought and heat tolerance

    Researchers from Texas A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will soon be applying knowledge of DNA sequencing in a small legume to a much broader spectrum of crops within the agricultural industry. New cowpea (also known as a black eyed pea) varieties have been created to better withstand heat, droughts, and phosphorous levels. “This will help researchers design tools to effectively combine multiple traits into new cultivars adapted to the globally changing climate in this and related crops, thus supporting the long-term genetic improvement and sustainability of U.S. agriculture and food systems.” The information gleaned from studying cowpeas can be applied to other crops such as corn and cotton.

    Read more here!

  • U.S. Pecan Crop May Be the Shortest Since 1998

    Specialists from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System worry that this year may not yield good results for pecan producers. Experts attribute one of the rainiest growing seasons on record as a limiting factor for the crops. Desirable pecan variety crops were devastated by scabs, which affected nut size, quality and volume. This forecast implies that crop shortage means higher prices for consumers. 

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  • State College’s ConidioTec has developed a safe (and effective) way to eradicate bedbugs

    ConidioTec, a new company with spun off from Penn State research, has developed an environmentally friendly bio-pesticide that promises to safely eradicate bedbugs. The product, which uses Beaveria bassiana fungi, has shown a high volume of success in lab trials. The research team is hopeful that ConidioTec will be in production for professional pest control services in the next year.

    Read more here!

  • Corn Belt Farmer Perspectives on Climate and Agriculture Summarized in New Report

    Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has released a new report detailing “farmer perspectives on climate and agriculture” as evidenced in watersheds. The publication covers topics ranging from weather variability to greenhouse gas emissions to soil studies. The hope is that “extension, government agencies, and private sector agricultural stakeholders across the region will find this report to be useful.” Those involved with corn and soybean production should find the information particularly helpful. 

    Read more here!

  • Raw Milk May Be Chic, but It’s Still Risky, Experts Say

    Despite the steady gains made through milk pasteurization across the last century, a growing number of consumers have developed a passion for raw milk. An increased demand for the product has been accompanied by a spike in disease outbreaks, particularly bacterial infections stemming from exposure to Campylobacter and other pathogens. Alabama Extension food safety experts stress that unpasteurized milk is linked to serious contamination and along with seniors and immune-compromised people, children tend to the most susceptible to these risks.

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  • Blueberry tree research could help growers branch out

    Oregon State University is hoping to lower production costs for growers by engineering a new breed of blueberry that develops as a tree opposed to the traditional bush. Blueberry agents from the university have tested a grafted blueberry “tree” that grows on a single stem on a research plot at OSU’s North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora every year since 2009. The blueberry industry contributed $107.5 million in sales to Oregon’s economy in 2012, and this research could boost one of the state’s top economic industries. 

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  • Additional ‘ecosystem services’ can be found on no-till tomato and cotton farms

    Research from University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources in conjunction with the UC Cooperative Extension has illustrated the importance of cover cropping, no tillage, and other conservation practices in farming. They have “determined that farmers who use cover crops and no-till practices are furnishing still more ecosystem services.” Such behaviors “[improve] favorable soil attributes” as well as decrease the overall carbon emissions of the land. This research will hopefully encourage more farmers to embrace these conservation practices.

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  • Pork producers start to slowly expand the national herd

    Purdue extension agricultural economists predict a slow expansion for the U.S. pork industry driven by lower feed costs. These experts are optimistic that 2014 could turn into the best year for pork producers in nearly a decade. Low production costs will help maintain strong profit margins for producers. 

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  • Timing of freeze reduces impacts, says MSU Extension

    Cold spells have been sweeping large swaths of the US in the last month and Mississippi has not been spared. Abnormally cold temperatures have caused some concern in the agricultural industry, but scientists from the Mississippi State Extension Service have said that “the cold came too early to cause significant plant damage or have much effect on insect pests in 2014.” While certain crops are able to withstand freezing temperatures, it’s important to take certain measures to protect those plants that might not be accustomed to the weather. One upside to the cold weather is that some pest numbers could be reduced. 

    Read more here!

  • Arkansas Extension: Keeping the family farm in the family

    As the population of farmers in Arkansas continues to grow older, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is encouraging farmers over 55 to begin planning the future of their farms. The question of what happens to farms after the sole proprietor has passed away can be a confusing process that if not planned for ahead of time, can leave the state of the farm in jeopardy. “Farmers can protect their family legacy by creating a will, says Dr. Fernandez, who recommends consulting a professional estate planner and attorney to create a document fair and equitable to all heirs.” In order to keep farms in the family, it pays to plan ahead. 

    Read more here!

  • AgriBiz and Farm Expo attracts more than 1,000 people

    Over 1,000 people attended the South Carolina AgriBiz and Farm Expo at the Florence Civic Center to see the latest farm products and services. At the event, Clemson University’s Extension Service offered educational programs on various agricultural topics, including workshops for small farms and food entrepreneurs. Over 120 vendors, university officials and public agencies were in attendance. 

    Read more here!

  • Fleshing Out the Predator-Prey Balance

    A researcher from the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment is studying predator-prey relationships in animals. Through his work, “Christianson hopes to identify why certain species or populations teeter on the brink of extinction and what forces determine whether they live to flee or fight another day, regardless of where they fall on the food chain.” He hopes that the information gleaned from studying large mammals in Africa can be applied to various animals, including some in the US like elk and wolves. 

    Read more here!

  • Farming Looking Up in 2014, Despite Challenges

    Although the economy has displayed some unfavorable trends, experts look to 2014 as a positive year for farming. According to a Penn State professor, consumer prices are up 2.2 percent, there is no inflation and interest rates remain very low. Recoveries in large sectors of the economy such as car manufacturing and housing in addition to higher demand for American exports shows promise for the agriculture industry in the coming year. 

    Read more here!

  • Incubator farms nurture a new generation of organic growers.

    Dozens of incubator farms are starting up across the United States. These farms work in a similar fashion to the way business incubators support budding entrepreneurs, providing farmers with access to land, equipment, resources and training. North Carolina Cooperative Extension has sponsored such a farm, in a time when America’s farmers are aging, with fewer young farmers stepping up to replace those who retire. 

    Read more here!

  • Genome sequencing reveals what puts the ‘heat’ in hot peppers, says UC Davis

    Scientist from UC Davis’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have sequenced the genome of hot peppers, a relative of many common agricultural crops like tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants. The research has uncovered new information about the origins of the “heat” found in hot peppers and “establishes the pepper as a valuable model for exploring, in general, the evolution of plants’ organic compounds.” Focusing on the breeding strategies and genomic sequencing of the pepper will hopefully lead to “cost-effective and early screening for valuable agricultural traits.” 

    Read more here!

  • UK researcher finds molecular markers for common woody plant disease

    One of the most vexing and difficult to diagnose plant diseases just became an easier foe, thanks to new research from the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “Unique characteristics of the fungal DNA were amplified to serve as molecular markers for plant pathologists” to help identify Verticillium wilt. These new markers will make it faster and easier for plant scientists to accurately diagnose and treat their plants. This could also impact the future for how the disease is studied and could one day lessen the spread.

    Read more here!

  • Environmentally friendly, energy-dense sugar battery developed by VT to power the world’s gadget

    A researcher from Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has turned the tables on conventional batteries by creating one that uses sugar as its source of energy. As opposed to traditional batteries that don’t last very long, create waste, and can be expensive, this new “sugar battery” lasts longer, can be recharged, and is more environmentally-friendly. “Zhang’s development could help keep hundreds of thousands of tons of batteries from ending up in landfills.” This development may change the face of batteries as we know it in the next several years.

    Read more here!

  • Alabama Extension Weighs in as Cold Weather Causes Peak in Propane Gas Demand

    Alabama Extension is weighing in on the recent high demand of propane gas as a result of lowering temperatures. This demand has become an issue for local farmers due to the shortage of distribution from companies. This propane distribution is expected to be low over the next few weeks, posing a problem for poultry farmers that depend on gas to raise their chickens. 

    Read more here!

  • Horse management tips for cold temperatures from University of Kentucky

    When the weather outside is frightful, horses need to stay warm too. The University of Kentucky’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences has provided some tips for keeping horses toasty in both acute and chronic periods of cold weather. One way to do so is to provide additional food since “feed requirements go up as temperatures drop, and horses use more calories to keep warm.” Throw in clean water and adequate shelter for happier, healthier, and warmer horses during winter.

    Read more here

  • Moms Favor Daughters in Kansas State University Dairy Study

    According to a study by Kansas State’s Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, dairy cows produce more milk when they are gestating female fetuses as opposed to male. “The researchers found that the sex of the fetus a cow is carrying can enhance or diminish the production of milk during an established lactation and that the sex of the fetus gestated in the first pregnancy has persistent consequences for milk production on the second lactation.” Researchers believe that differences in hormones between the two sexes affect the mother cow’s mammary glands. This information could potentially be applied to human gestation in future studies.

    Read more here!

  • Cornell Dining scraps could power sewage plant

    Perhaps we should give more thought to the food scraps we throw away after meals – Cornell students have come to the conclusion that “co-digestion of food scraps from Cornell dining halls with wastewater could contribute enough methane to run the city’s wastewater treatment facility.” By studying methane production at various locations, the students were able to identify ways to increase the efficiency of Cornell’s system. This research could be the first step in streamlining Cornell’s waste recycling as well as creating a healthier form of power for sewage plants.

    Read more here!

  • Captive Breeding Won’t Save Endangered Woodrat

    According to University of Florida extension researchers captive breeding may not be the best way to save the Key Largo woodrat. This endangered species has been driven to near-extinction by development. The Key Largo woodrat is vital to its ecosystem, and current housing developments are destroying their habitats. Unfortunately, UF research shows that even with a captive breeding program the woodrat will still be vulnerable to extinction. 

    Read more here!

  • Study suggests air pollution is harming native plants, increasing fire risk in Santa Monica Mountain

    Research from the University of California has “[indicated] that high levels of nitrogen may adversely impact native plants and, by extension, increase the risk of wildfire.” Measuring the amount of nitrogen in various locations in the Santa Monica Mountains enabled researchers to figure out that native plants are being squeezed out by certain grasses, whose properties lead to a higher likelihood of fires. The study’s ultimate goal is to “help the scientists better determine the ‘critical load’ when vegetation shifts, causing alterations to the structure and functionality of ecosystems.” 

    Read more here!

  • Iowa State Project Seeks Cropping Systems that Profit Farmers, Food, and Fuel

    Researchers from Iowa State University’s Landscape Biomass Project are studying how more environmentally friendly crops could be used to better protect the ecosystem. “Researchers on the project are assessing the amount of variation in grain yields, biomass yields, soil moisture and soil water quality among various cropping systems and landscape positions.” These new bioenergy crops are also being studied for their potential profitability and marketability for farmers. 

    Read more here!

  • Study helps researchers better estimate citrus crop yields

    A University of Florida study has found that citrus crop-yield estimates may be highly accurate, guaranteeing higher productivity and more revenue. This algorithm allows growers to use a model to forecast the results of their harvest. This advantage may allow growers to plan accordingly, predict crop yields and boost profits.

    Read more here!

  • NMSU professor studies life of cockroaches for ways to control pest

    A researcher from New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is studying the biology of a common cockroach pest as well as ways to limit its presence, particularly in the American South West. “When they invade homes, they become an important problem because they cause allergies, asthma in some people, can contaminate food and transmit diseases.” They can also cause harm to other animals and pets. NMSU’s goal is to increase available information about the pest and study pest management possibilities.

    Read more here!

  • Eliminating grazing won’t reduce impact of climate change on rangeland, OSU scientists say

    While some scientists believe that the effects of grazing are contributing to the effects of climate change on rangeland, new research including scientists from Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Extension Service discredits that theory. For example, “Grazing is one of the few tools available to reduce the herbaceous vegetation that becomes fine fuel on rangelands.” In terms of vegetation management, the researchers believe that grazing is actually a vital tool.

    Read more here!

  • MU researcher looking to reduce hog odor

    Researchers from the University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources are trying to figure out ways to make the various smells associated with swine farms more manageable and pleasant. One of the best ways to do so is by using biofilters. “Biofiltration is one of the least expensive ways to reduce odors and dust and should be part of farmers’ best management practices.” The researchers hope their findings can be used by farms to better the environment and cause less trouble for those who reside near them.

    Read more here!

  • Cold Killing Insects

    University of Wisconsin expert has shared a podcast that discusses the benefits of the cold temperature, specifically it’s impact on insects. The frigid temperatures and brutal wind chill may be a nuisance to producers but they are displaying some benefits in effectively decreasing agricultural pests. As a result, producers will see a reduced number of pests affecting their crops during the growing season. 

    Read more here!

  • Plan Now for Better Pasture Management: Tips from UMD Extension

    According to University of Maryland Extension, now is the time to start preparing your pasture for the new year. While other aspects of farming often get more attention, “if managed properly, [pastures] can provide excellent nutrition for livestock and can significantly reduce feed costs.” By managing pH levels and letting pastures rest, they will likely allow for a higher forage yield. 

    Read more here!

  • Mummy berry could spook your blueberries, says OSU Extension

    Oregon State University Extension wants to warn the public about a spooky fruit disease: mummy berry. Blueberries are the most common target and can become shriveled up, “mummified” versions of themselves when infected with the disease, which runs rampant when the weather is especially warm and wet. “The gardener’s best defense against this ruthless fungus is to regularly pick up shriveled fruit off the bush and ground and dispose of it as soon as you first see it.” If mummy berry has caused a lot of damage, sometimes it is best to start over and plant new berries. 

    Read more here!

  • Carefully Considering Your Next Herd Bull: Tips from KState

    Kansas State Research and Extension has some suggestions for what to think about as the spring bull buying season approaches. Some of their tips include: understanding your farm’s situation and which traits would mesh best with your needs, taking the nutrition of your cows into account, determining whether crossbreeding would be appropriate, and becoming familiar with the various buying tactics. Taking these into account should help farmers prepare for the upcoming buying season. 

    Read more here!

  • MSU Extension joins effort to protect state’s honeybees

    Mississippi State University Extension Service is working hard to protect honeybees from pesticides used by farmers. Since many beekeepers are located near soybean and cotton fields, the potential for accidental exposure is high. Extension is trying to solve this program with “a unified flagging system to be used throughout the state to identify hive locations that are near agricultural fields.” This way, pesticide applicators are more aware and can more thoughtfully apply their pesticides. 

    Read more here!

  • Three winter activities for a bountiful summer harvest from UCANR

    University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources has created a three step plan to help Californians prepare for their upcoming summer gardens. By planning ahead of time which crops to grow, gardeners can avoid unnecessary expenses and qualms with unfamiliar plants. Prioritizing valuable crops for each family is also key. Finally, taking a UC Master Food Preserver class will enable gardeners to learn how to save their harvests for use throughout the year.

    Read more here!

  • University of California Releases New Cost Studies for Bell Peppers, Celery and Cabbage Production

    The University of California has released four new studies regarding costs for vegetable products. The study is based on hypothetical farm operations using practices familiar in Ventura County. UCCE farm advisors, supply and equipment dealers, growers and agricultural institutions created the data dealing with inputs and prices, as well as production practices. Overall the studies explained the assumptions used to recognize material inputs, current costs for the crops, cash and non-cash overhead and profitability analysis. 

    Read more here!

  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Insect’s Won’t Be Affected by Cold Snap

    Among Deep South residents, there is a widespread view that prolonged cold weather kills insects. But as one Alabama Extension entomologist stresses, the cold weather hasn’t come close to reducing insect populations of all types. Insects are highly adaptive and can develop increase freeze tolerance even when some crops, fruit trees and livestock animals fall victim to the cold temperatures.

    Read more here!

  • Study confirms link between salmon migration and magnetic field, says Oregon State

    Researchers from Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences confirmed that salmon are able to find their original river because of the Earth’s magnetic field. By testing fish with no travel experience, the scientists were able to confirm their navigational ability was innate and not learned over time. “In essence, fish possess a “map sense” determining where they are and which way to swim based on the magnetic fields they encounter.” More research may reveal other navigational aids salmon possess. 

    Read more here!

  • UKAg uses horses to teach emotional intelligence

    Researchers from the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment will soon begin studying whether nurses who are exposed to horses and partake in activities with horses are able to develop better emotional intelligence skills. The follow-up to a pilot study conducted earlier, this study will have nurses take part in activities like grooming, moving horses through obstacle courses, and observing them in general. “The basic premise of equine-guided education is that horses provide in-the-moment feedback about leadership skills, and therefore allow the development of insights that can be applied both in professional and personal lives.”

    Read more here!

  • Ground-penetrating radar, water-monitoring stations set up by U. of Arkansas research team

    Extension researchers from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture are taking the necessary steps to determine the effects of manure management at a hog farm. By studying things like “the fate and transport of manure and bacteria,” the “application of manure as fertilizer to farmlands on the quality of critical water,” and “the effectiveness and sustainability of alternative manure management techniques,” researchers will hopefully gain a better understanding of the soil and geologic features impacted. 

    Read more here!

  • K-State Boosts Weather Data Collection, Climate Service, and Outreach Efforts

    There are 40 locations around Kansas where weather sensors are silently monitoring wind speed, air temperature, precipitation and more. This data is collected by weather stations that then feed it to the Weather Data Library at Kansas State University, to be archived and made available to the public. K-State is now increasing its resources devoted to gathering and recording climate information to establishing more weather stations around the state to deliver more applicable information for Kansans and others. 

    Read more here!

  • Drifting herbicides produce uncertain effects

    Penn State researchers remind farmers to take extra provisions so drifting herbicides do not create avoidable consequences on neighboring fields and farms. Researchers observed a wide range of effects — positive and negative — on field edges and old fields. Farmers are strongly encouraged to take precautions even with so much uncertainty from the variability of increased use of these herbicides.

    Read more here!

  • Why Trees Matter: Alabama Explains

    Alabama Cooperative Extension created a ‘doodle lecture’ video on why trees are important not only for their beauty but also for their contributions to our health, our community of citizens, and our economic stability. Alabama notes that tree benefits are passive and accumulate slowly, but are unacknowledged until they are missing. As a result, Alabama Extension shares this video to raise awareness on the important roles trees play in our day-to-day lives.

    Read more here!

  • Cover Crops, Nitrogen and Waste Focus of 2014 Nutrient Management Conference by University of Idaho

    Idaho’s Extension will be covering a wide range of topics including: nutrients for crops, research and most current news, at this year’s conference in Twin Falls March 6. Cover crops will be a hot topic at the event. Specifically, farmers will focus on how cover crops can help provide nitrogen and organic matter to soils, which increases fertility, as well as helps with water retention.

    Read more here!

  • The Value of Hay as Fertilizer

    University of Nebraska researchers are paying special attention to the value of hay as a fertilizer. The nutrients in have value and recycling them properly can prove to be economically beneficial. Research teams hope that such findings will help to reduce fertilizer prices for growing crops.

    Read more here!

  • Purdue University Reports Laser Tool Speeds Up Detection of Salmonella in Food Products

    Purdue University has released new information on new technology, a laser tool that can identify Salmonella bacteria grown from food about three times faster than current conventional methods. The laser tool is called BARDOT, pronounced bar-DOH, and the machine scans the bacteria to generate a black and white fingerprint. They then analyze the fingerprint and identify whether or not it contains bacteria. The whole process to determine whether the food sample contains Salmonella takes less than 234 hours; current detection methods take 72 hours. In testing and researching BARDOT it tests 95. 9 accuracy and tests for several types of disease-causing bacteria in one single scan.

    Read more here!

  • University of Maine Presents: Andy Valley Successful Farmer Workshop

    University of Maine Cooperative Extension and other agricultural professionals welcome new and experienced farmers to the Andy Valley Successful Farmer workshop series. These experts hope to share strategies for successful farming with topics including crop, nutrient and pest management, irrigation and transition to organic production.

    Read more here!

  • U of Arkansas Division of Agriculture participates in International Spinach Conference

    This December, faculty and staff from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture participated in the International Spinach Conference held in Guangzhou, China. The meeting was held in conjunction with the Guangdong Seed Expo and drew a crowd of over 20,000 scientists and experts from around the globe. Among this group, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is recognized as a leading research institution on spinach worldwide. Division faculty and graduate students attended the conference and represented expertise on pathology, virology, molecular genetics and breeding.

    Read more here!

  • Farmland value shift signals need for cautious purchasing says Purdue

    Extension specialists from Purdue University are advising farmers to make smart choices about investing in farmland due to the decrease in commodity prices. To ensure the financial health of the farm, it is important to recognize that while the demand for farmland is still strong, the value of those farmlands may stay flat or even decrease. “For farmers who are still considering a farmland purchase, Dobbins said it’s important to do an overall farm analysis to see how the added expense would fit.”

    Read more here!

  • Washington State University Helps Microwave pasteurization that improves food safety, flavor

    Washington State University has established “pilot-scale capacity” that allows engineers at WSU to work with food companies to adapt the technology to a producer’s needs. This new process allows traditional frozen meals to be refrigerated instead of freezing them, saving retailers and consumers major energy costs. In the coming months, WSU plans to license this newfound technology to its start-up, Food Chain Safety, for commercialization. This program was funded by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) a grant worth $5 million awarded in 2011 to WSU and other partners.

    Read more here! 

  • Make blackberries the ‘superfood’ star of your garden

    Something that many people overlook when planning their gardens is the blackberry. Many people do so because blackberries can sometimes be viewed as an invasive weed according to Bernadine Strik, a berry crops specialist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. Extension argues that blackberries are actually a very easy fruit to grow, and on top of that they are very tasty and nutritious, full of vitamin C and fiber. 

    Read more here!

  • Nuisance the Most Likely Outcome When Feeding Wild Animals

    While it may be portrayed that feeding wildlife is not that big of a deal, it may have more consequences than we imagined. University of Arkansas Extension says feeding wildlife can cause animals to lose their natural fear for humans, causing them to become dependent on handouts. If one source stops feeding the animals, they are prone to go elsewhere for food, such as neighboring vicinities. Some animals will become concentrated unnaturally in one area where the feeding is occurring, which can cause disease and predation.

    Read more here!

  • Analytical Horsepower Primed to Transform Farming

    One expert believes that a new type of horsepower—analytical horsepower—has the potential to revolutionize farming. Instead of internal combustion energy, this transformation would be powered by on-farm data, which farmers will soon routinely apply towards more accurate and refined farming and business decisions. Retail giants like Wal-Mart and Kroger have already demonstrated the value of data sets to increase profitability and Alabama Extension specialists believe farming is not too far behind.

    Read more here!

  • Food Safety Best Practices for Farmers Markets

    The University of Tennessee Extension shares their concerns about the food safety at farmers markets. With 1 out of 6 Americans becoming ill from a foodborne pathogen and many of these commodities being sold at farmers markets, the quality of these goods raises a lot of attention. To help make your visit to the farmer’s market safe, UT food safety specialists have elaborated on seven practices that should be taken while at the farmers markets.

    Read more here!

  • Building Our Defenses: Protecting Humans and Animals from Disease Outbreak

    Approximately 75% of recently emerging infectious diseases threatening humans began as animal diseases. Today, most of these pathogens affecting animals are zoonotic. While it is impossible to defend against every disease, researchers at Texas A&M University are working to help build our defenses. These specialists focus on early detection, diagnosis, prevention, response and recovery from emerging, zoonotic or transboundary animal diseases. 

    Read more here!

  • NMSU professor answers 10 myths about cockroaches

    New Mexico State University’s professor of urban entomology, Alvaro Romero debunks and confirms some of the myths about cockroaches. For instance, the myth that roaches will survive the end of the world is exactly that, a myth. “It is just a myth even though cockroaches can withstand 10 times more radiation than humans in case of a nuclear attack.” Romero said. 

    Read more here!

  • Auburn Scientists Use Laying Hens To Study Fibroid Tumors

    Auburn University has acquired an initial $40,000 from the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, but will require further funding. Wallace Berry, poultry scientist at Auburn, and Haruka Wada, biological assistant professor at Auburn, are the two behind this research using hens to study how to reduce the number of fibroid tumors in U.S. women. Berry discovered that the hormonal cycle and ovarian surface cells of hens are extremely similar to that of female humans. Fibroid tumors and the solutions or problems that come with have been estimated to cost an overall $34.4 billion each year. Berry and Waka hope to use the data from their study to give suggestions for nutrition during prepubertal period and infancy to one day prevent fibroid tumors from occurring.

    Read more here!

  • Melting snow coupled with rain raises potential for flooding, says Purdue

    Purdue University Extension specialists want to warn Indiana homeowners about the potential for flooding once heavy snow starts to melt. In combination with rain, the snow and ice buildup can cause serious damage to homes and streets once the weather begins to warm up. “Runoff could especially be a problem because the ground is still frozen, possibly causing flooding in low-lying areas, basements, and small streams and creeks.” Taking steps to remain safe in the event of flooding and protect the home are essential to successfully dealing with the potential impacts. 

    Read more here!

  • Winter taking a toll on trees

    Although the state hasn’t faced many devastating storms this winter, Kentucky’s trees in both woodland and urban areas are facing some trouble. These damaged trees are at risk for disease and rotting and loose branches pose a threat to safety. Jeff Stringer, an Extension specialist at the University Of Kentucky Department Of Forestry, urges precautionary removal of these trees prior to spring. 

    Read more here!

  • Engineer designs digital solution for pesticide drift

    An engineer from Cornell University has designed a solution for farmers who wish to reduce their pesticide applications and use them more efficiently. While traditional pesticide sprayers distribute a continuous amount of spray, Andrew Landers’ goal was to create a smarter sprayer. Teaming up with postdoctoral researcher Jordi Llorens, they created a prototype that uses a mobile ultrasound system to help better aim the spray and electronics to calculate the exact amount needed.

    Read more here!

  • Mississippi State University holds workshop on Produce markets’ growth spurs food safety learning

    Mississippi State University held an all day workshop on February 17th. The workshop touched on best practices regarding produce as well as food safety. Extension specialists discussed several topics at the workshop including: site selection, pest control, cooling, packing and storing produce and managing worker health and hygiene. The second workshop will be held on March 11th. 

    Read more here!

  • New Wheat Variety from KState Offers Many Benefits

    Researchers from Kansas State University’s Agricultural Research Center have bred a new variety of wheat that is performing well in its trials. “Oakley CL” has “high yield potential, Beyond herbicide tolerance, drought tolerance, disease resistance, and good quality for milling and baking.” While it will continue to be studied throughout 2014, researchers are optimistic that farmers, millers, and bakers can soon reap its benefits. Oakley CL has gained its advantageous characteristics from its 3 wheat parent varieties.

    Read more here!

  • Iowa State University Researchers Use New Way to Measure Nitrate in Soil

    Researchers from the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have figured out a way to measure nitrate levels in soil in real time with an infrared sensor. “Nitrate measurement is especially important because it is the dominant available form of nitrogen for growing crops, but is very mobile in the soil.” The newly developed technology is quicker and more accurate than other available options. Next steps include testing different types of soil and designing a smaller tool.

    Read more here!

  • Houseplants can’t run away from home, so be nice to them, says University of Missouri

    While many people enjoy having houseplants, not many people understand the exact specifications that plants need to thrive if they are not in the wild. David Trinklein, horticulture specialist for University of Missouri Extension, explains that light and humidity are the two most important things that plants need, and that people don’t give enough of. “Unfortunately, the most colorful houseplants usually have very high light needs,” Trinklein said.

    Read more here!

  • MU Researchers Join National Effort to Search for Solution for Chemical Runoff from Rural Farms

    Researchers from the University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources are hoping to improve runoff strategies for farmers by analyzing water samples in the Gulf of Mexico. Since a large portion of crops are grown near the Mississippi River basin, chemicals used by farmers end up downstream and lead to various negative effects for animal and plant life in the Gulf. “After [they] collect [their] data, [they] can work with farmers to create better ways to mitigate runoff, sediment and nutrient losses.” Since solutions will not be applicable everywhere, multiple areas will be tested.

    Read more here!

  • UC to measure energy and greenhouse gas footprints of orchard crops

    University of California Berkeley is researching the potential of trees towards savings on energy and carbon. UC is hoping to help growers and policymakers better understand the energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and carbon sequestration potential of orchard systems throughout California. Researchers will continue to work with growers throughout the state, with emphasis on orchard management practices to determine best practices for farm management and energy efficiency.

    Read more here!

  • Dormant pruning and spraying the orchard: Tips from UIllinois Extension

    University of Illinois Extension is offering suggestions to home orchardists who “should be planning their winter pruning while their apple trees remain dormant before the sap starts to flow for 2014.” Pruning water sprouts and other branches will enable trees to be more productive. “The goal of pruning is to balance vegetative growth with reproductive growth.” Another key behavior is spraying dormant oils to manage insect eggs. Applying these oils before spring begins allows for the most efficacy.

    Read more here!

  • Woodland Acres Increase Calls for Landowner Caution

    Woodland areas in Kansas have had a significant increase over the years, which has yielded many benefits. According to Bob Atchison, Kansas State University forester with the Kansas Forest Service, these benefits include cleaner air, wildlife habitat, improved water quality and economic gains for the state. With the advantages that increasing woodlands areas bring, forests may be at danger without appropriate woodland care. Because 95 percent of the forests in Kansas are privately owned, Atchison urges for people to become self-educated on woodland care.

    Read more here!

  • Ohio State Commercial Berry Production School is March 14

    PIKETON, Ohio – Berry growers looking for ways to diversify their farming operations can learn the practical and essential skills needed to be successful in the blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and strawberry industries at a workshop held by Ohio State University horticulture and viticulture experts March 14.

    Read more here!

  • March 7 crop seminar to focus on nutrient management

    Purdue Extension will be hosting the Southwest Indiana Crop Seminar on March 7th. Speakers will discuss a variety of topics with specific focus on nutrient management to maximize crop production while reducing environmental impact. Attendees will also have the chance to visit with local machinery dealers with seminar displays.

    Read more here!

  • Iowa State Anticipates Increased Demand for Food Safety Training

    With new state regulations being put in place this New Year, Iowa State University is anticipating an increase in demand for its food safety-training course. The new Iowa guidelines went into effect Jan. 1 requiring food establishments to designate a Certified Food Protection Manager to oversee the safe handling, preparation and service of food items. To help meet this demand, specialists will offer more than 100 courses across the state to train employees in food sanitation on how to prevent foodborne illnesses.

    Read more here!

  • Drone on the range

    The technology world and farming world are set to collide with the arrival of new drones. Farmers will now be able to check on the status of their crops or livestock right from their smartphones. Bill Wiebold, University of Missouri Extension agronomy specialist, says that unmanned aerial vehicles will be able to give a birds-eye view of the farmland and send photos or videos to smartphones. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has set up guidelines for farmers, and currently does not allow the use of drones for commercial purposes. Congress has instructed the FAA to allow unmanned aircraft access to skies in the U.S. by 2015. According to a study by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the use of these drones could create 70,000 new jobs in the U.S. after 5 years, and 90 percent of economic activity will root in precision agriculture and public safety applications.

    Read more here!

  • Auburn Researcher Turning Pine Trees into Gasoline

    Research is currently being done that is turning pine trees into a gas to be used to make gasoline and other liquid fuels. Sushil Adhikari, an Auburn University biosystems engineering associate professor and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station scientist is making this possible through a process called “gasification”. This research holds the potential to impact the state’s economy drastically and help address a larger political debate regarding the country’s energy dependence.

    Read more here!

  • Purdue Extension to host a pork conference to offer PEDv update

    Purdue Extension has teamed up with Indiana Pork to present the fourth annual Southern Indiana Pork Conference. During the conference they will touch on the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. Other topics will include updates in swine production, health and environmental issues and livestock regulations. The conference will take place on March 11 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Read more here!

  • UF/IFAS researchers demonstrate improved appeal of sterile flies that save crops

    University of Florida has discovered a way to save food crops and millions of dollars in infestations. Daniel Hahn, associate professor of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and Giancarlo López-Martínez, assistant professor at New Mexico State University having been working on this research together. They found that a low-oxygen treatment versus SIT, sterile insect technique which uses pesticides, is more cost effective and has higher performance.

    Read more here!

  • NMSU evaluating plastic beverage bottles as alternative to seedling containers

    New Mexico State University researchers are finding ways to use plastic beverage bottles as nursery seedling containers in developing countries. Owen Burney, NMSU assistant professor and superintendent of the John T. Harrington Forestry Research Center, was a part of a project in Kabul, Afghanistan that used discarded plastic beverage bottles to grow forest seedlings. “Discarded plastic beverage bottles are a major problem around the world,” Burney said. “If this study proves successful, it is a positive step in reducing the impacts of plastic bottles on the environment not only in developing countries, but industrialized nations as well.”

    Read more here!

  • UF Researchers Find Genetic Cause For Citrus Canker, Putting Them A Step Closer To A Cure

    A team of researchers from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are closing in on a possible cure to citrus canker disease. The bacterial pathogen causes pustules on fruit, leaves and twigs, and is a highly contagious plant disease that spreads rapidly. This condition continues to be a problem in citrus-growing areas of Florida, posing serious threats to the $9 billion dollar industry. By identifying the susceptibility gene in citrus plants, researchers say they are closer to a cure for the disease.

    Read more here!

  • Shamrocks are good landscape additions

    With spring and St. Patrick’s Day coming up, Mississippi State University horticulturist Gary Bachman suggests trying to plant some traditional plants. “Shamrocks are more of a florist specimen rather than an outdoor plant,” he says. Bachman advises what kind of shamrocks to buy and how to plant them properly. “So bring some home this year and you will be able to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in authentic, historic fashion.”

    Read more here!

  • Get ready for spring planting, landscaping

    With spring coming up soon, people may be starting to plan what trees they want to plant in their home gardens. Mississippi State University Extension offers some useful tips on tree selection that many people may not know. For example, customers may look for fast-growing trees, but these trees are the same ones that tend to have weak wood and suffer in extreme weather conditions. Careful selection in the early stages will help reduce future problems once the trees start to grow.

    Read more here!

  • A Closer Look at PEDv and Feed Sources in the Swine Industry, from KState

    Researchers from Kansas State University Research and Extension are looking into the cause of a recent outbreak of a disease that affects pigs. Known as PEDv, the disease can cause widespread stomach issues, particularly for young and newborn pigs, and even lead to severe injury or death. The disease is new to the US this year, so researchers have been trying to figure out how it’s spreading and why. The conclusion has been that the likely perpetrator is a common feed ingredient: plasma protein. While more research is necessary, some farmers are changing their pigs’ diets so as not to include this potentially problematic protein.

    Read more here!

  • Predators delay pest resistance to Bt crops, says Cornell

    Cornell University has recently released research regarding Bt crops and how it could potentially affect plants in the future. Genetically modified plants produce proteins that kill pests, also known as Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). “To delay or prevent insect pests from evolving resistance to Bt crops, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency promotes the use of multiple Bt genes in plants and the practice of growing refuges of non-Bt plants that serve as a reservoir for insects with Bt susceptible genes,” said Krishna Ramanujan, free lance writer at Cornell University.

    Read more here!

  • Purdue University awards state-funded AgSEED projects

    Purdue University, agriculture department, has awarded $1 million in state-funded grants for a range of projects intended to advance Indiana’s dependence in animal and plant agriculture development. Nineteen projects received grant money under the AgSEED initiative, intended to help drive economic growth and job development. Purdue is in a unique position to lead these efforts by sharing its research with the public and providing programs throughout the state to improve quality of life.

    Read more here!

  • Clemson to survey Upstate residents about water-quality awareness

    Clemson University has paired up with George Mason University to conduct surveys through their Carolina Clear storm water pollution education and awareness program. The purpose of the surveys, which will take place over the next four weeks, is to gauge what upstate residents know and how their actions affect the quality of their water supply. “Whether we know it or not, we all generate polluted runoff. From not picking up after our dogs to coolant that drips from our car, storm water pollution is people pollution and we all can play a meaningful role in keeping South Carolina’s waters clean,” said Katie Giacalone, Carolina Clear’s statewide coordinator.

    Read more here!

  • Antibiotic resistance: Should I be concerned?

    Rising concerns in antibiotic resistance have prompted Extension specialists to delve further into the issues surrounding bacteria treatment. These experts warn that whenever antibiotics are needed and used, whether for livestock or humans, they need to be administered judiciously with great responsibility. Particularly with livestock production, antibiotics in feed or water are at the discretion of the producer and can be life-threatening to the animals if not handled with care.

    Read more here!

  • “Managing Poo Begins with You” dairy meetings under way from UK

    University of Kentucky will be joining the Kentucky Dairy Development Council, as well as others, to provide meetings. These meetings will focus on how cattle managers can turn cattle poo into profit. The meetings will also focus on Kentucky’s agricultural water, nutrient plans and increases on milk quality.

    Read more here!

  • WVU crafts plan to keep roads, livestock – and especially people – safe

    If you have ever seen a truck driving down the road with a herd of cattle in the back, you might have also been nervous about what were to happen if the truck crashed. Dave Workman, WVU Extension agent, has teamed up with Hardy County, and Jerry Yates, manager of the Davis College’s Reymann Memorial Farm to set up the Bovine Emergency Response Plan, also known as the BERP. “The Bovine Emergency Response Plan developed a framework for local emergency responders and law enforcement to more appropriately address accidents involving cattle transport vehicles,” Workman said. They have started training sessions that have drawn audiences such as law enforcers, firefighters, emergency responders, veterinarians, and livestock industry employees. The plan includes standardized procedures for when first responders arrive at the scene and training on how to handle each situation.

    Read more here!

  • Control weeds now for better pastures this summer, says UArkansas

    Not many livestock owners are thinking about weeds in their pastures around this time, but according to Dr. David Fernandez, Cooperative Extension Program livestock specialist at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, now is the time. “Weed control can be an effective way to increase production by improving forage availability,” says Dr. Fernandez. Weeds can be toxic and indigestible to livestock and can make them sick. The weeds can also outgrow the pasture grasses that are healthy for the livestock, which can decrease feed for them. Some of the weeds can contain thorns, which can lead to injuries in the livestock. Some ways to control these weeds are through grazing and mowing.

    Read more here!

  • Winter is the best time to trap wild hogs, says MSU

    Mississippi State University has released some tips on how to catch those hogs! Wild hogs have a large growth rate, a rate that exceeds any other large mammal in the North American region. Hogs are omnivores which means they mostly consume plants and then about ten percent of meat.

    Read more here!

  • Scout for Wheat Midge Hot Spots, from NDSU

    According to soil samples from North Dakota done by NDSU Extension Service, 21 percent of soil is at moderate to high risk of wheat midge infestation. The wheat midge population has gone up four times within the last year. “The increase in wheat midge populations may be attributed to the increase in soil moisture during spring into June, which favors wheat midge development,” Janet Knodel, North Dakota State University Extension Service entomologist said. Knodel says the best way to prevent the infestations is to field scout. “It plays an important role in keeping wheat midge controlled naturally during most years,” Knodel says.

    Read more here! 

  • NMSU entomologist warns of new invasive fruit fly arrival to New Mexico

    The Asian fruit fly Drosophila suzukii, commonly known as the spotted wing drosophila, has landed in New Mexico, and poses a problem for soft fruit farmers. The fly lays its eggs in fruits such as grapes, strawberries, blackberries, cherries and raspberries. The fly can also go through multiple generations during a single growing season, so they could build up very quickly. Tessa Grasswitz, NMSU Extension integrated pest management specialist says that the pesticides that are being used in other states on the fly are not available yet in New Mexico, and until the pesticide is registered in New Mexico, growers don’t have many options. “The spotted wing drosophila has destroyed existing integrated pest management programs for native pests of soft fruit crops in other states,” she said. “I am working with manufacturers to get some of the key pesticides registered with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture so that our growers have more control options.” Read more here!

  • Accurate knowledge of fertilizer use in California needed, says UC Davis

    UC Davis discusses the effects and impacts that nitrogen has on humans. Nitrogen has maximized the benefit of plants for some time now; but when more nitrogen is applied than used that creates harmful impacts. “We found ourselves with very limited information to understand an issue with sweeping implications for California agriculture. We dug deep to create an accurate picture of fertilizer use in the state, but the remaining gaps will require attention,” says Todd Rosenstock, the article’s lead author. ” 

    Read more here!

  • Cucumbers: A cool slice of life from UMissouri

    It’s the year of the cucumber, according to the National Garden Bureau. The cucumber is a very popular crop to grow at home, its 95% water, it’s a great source of vitamin K and it is low in calories. David Trinklein, horticultural specialist for University of Missouri Extension, has some advice and tips on how to pick cucumbers to grow and how to go about growing them. “Cucumbers can be as much as 20 degrees cooler inside than outside air,” Trinklein said. “Hence the expression cool as a cucumber.”

    Read more here!

  • NMSU cotton research program introduces shrimp production to New Mexico

    Researchers from New Mexico State University are proving that cotton can be used for more than fabric. They are currently using cottonseed, the byproduct of cotton, for human consumption and for aquaculture feed. By finding new uses for cottonseed, it will increase the profitability of cotton. “When cotton is running 60, 70, maybe 80 cents a pound for the lint, and if you can add a buck a pound or $2 per pound for the seed, then we’ve significantly increased the value of cotton production,” said Tracey Carrillo, assistant director of NMSU campus farm operations. The researchers are conducting a study in which they use the cottonseed as an aquaculture feed for shrimp, as opposed to fishmeal. “Commercial aquaculture feeds contain fishmeal, so they’re not as sustainable as a plant-based protein, because they’re basically taking fish from the ocean and making a meal out of that, and then feeding it to another fish,” Carrillo said. 

    Read more here!

  • U of A Division of Ag researchers detail first quarter work on Big Creek study

    University of Arkansas held a Q&A session on the research discovered so far regarding the Big Creek research team and hog farm in the Buffalo watershed. More than 120 people attended the presentation, which included a breakdown of the methods being used. “An external panel will come in and review what we’ve done. Our team is knowledgeable and experienced, but we don’t know everything. … We are having people come in from out of the state that don’t have a vested interest in the farm,” said Andrew Sharpley, team leader and professor at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

    Read more here!

  • Small biomass power plants could boost rural economies says MU

    New studies show that the creation of biomass power plants could not only help rural areas economically, but could help the whole national power grid. Tom Johnson, the Frank Miller Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the MU College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources and professor in the MU Truman School of Public Affairs says that through creation of these small power plants, it would directly help farmers and cut their costs. “If they had access to small biomass power plants, they could become close to self-sustaining in terms of power,” Johnson states. “If the grid was improved enough, they could even provide additional power to other people around the country, helping to stabilize the national power grid. This could help save rural citizens money and be a boon for rural economies.” But to receive the benefits that these power plants could bring, policy makers must step in. “We need an integration of policy and programs among community leaders, rural entrepreneurs and economic developers or practitioners who act as conduits between entrepreneurs and policy.”

    Read more here!

  • Calibrachoa, verbena bring summer colors says MSU

    Mississippi State University has released some tips for summer southern gardening. Calibrachoa and verbenas, Calibrachoa is often referred to as ‘million bell’ and is a self-cleaning flower. Verbena’s start producing beautiful color in early spring that carries right through until fall. “Verbena is a great choice for our Mississippi gardens and landscapes; two selections crowned Mississippi Medallion winners: Biloxi blue and Port Gibson Pink,” says Gary R. Bachman, MSU Horticulturist.

    Read more here!

  • UF/IFAS scientists to conduct experiment on plants in space

    University of Florida announced that they will lead the most recent launch of plants into space. The launch of the SpaceX-3 Dragon capsule will take place on March 16th to the International Space Station. UF will send the plants up and then observe an experiment intended to help them understand biological functions in space. “It is likely that light plays a more important role in root growth in microgravity than it does on Earth,” says Anna-Lisa Paul, faculty members in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

    Read more here!

  • UK’s Greenhouse’ to Focus on Environment, Sustainability

    University of Kentucky will be launching a new program focused on the awareness of environmental issues called Living Learning Program, LLP. A partnership between the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CAFE) and the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) will co-exist creating the Greenhouse at UK. “Greenhouse is for students with an interest in environment and sustainability — two topics that are transdisciplinary,” says Carmen Agouridis, Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering.

    Read more here!

  • Clemson offers Innovative course in environmental sustainability

    Clemson University focuses on educating students on sustainability and how it applies to the environment. Clemson faculty members have had the chance to publish their experiences in the International Journal of Sustainability of Higher Education. “Our pedagogical approach invites students and faculty to venture out of their disciplinary silos to explore, together, the complex and continually evolving causes and consequences of environmental challenges,” said Catherine Mobley, lead author on the paper and professor in Clemson’s sociology and anthropology department. 

    Read more here!

  • Winter weather not a serious threat to eastern tent caterpillar eggs, says UK

    Although the cold weather has affected some of the plants and animals in Kentucky this winter, one thing it is not going to have a large effect on is the eastern tent caterpillar. Laboratory studies have shown that caterpillars in the egg can withstand temperatures down to 31 below zero Fahrenheit,” said Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment extension entomologist. These caterpillars not only negatively affect plants but even horses. A pregnant horse can unintentionally eat the caterpillars, and the bacteria from the caterpillars can attack areas with low immunity, such as the fetus. Townsend says that now is a good time to prepare for the hatching of these caterpillars. “It is still too early to provide a general prediction for 2014,” Townsend said. “Continued cold will slow development, but a string of 70 degree days can cause egg hatch to begin in a short time.”

    Read more here!

  • Kansas State Researchers Developing Wheat Resistant to Yield-Robbing Mites, Diseases

    Wheat crops in Kansas have fallen prey to the wheat curl mite, which destroys wheat through diseases and viruses. But researchers from Kansas State are now developing new wheat that is resilient to these mites. They have found wheat that already carries a natural resistance to the mite and are working on creating different varieties of it. K-State entomology professor Mike Smith has a team of researchers that are working on these new varieties of wheat. “This is not GMO wheat,” he said, “this is done with genes that already exist in wheat. There is nothing transgenic or GMO about this.” By developing these different varieties, the need for pesticides may be eradicated, which could in turn increase profits for wheat producers.

    Read more here!

  • For a greening Cornell, three is a gold STARS charm

    Cornell University has recently earned its third consecutive gold STARS rating from Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Cornell has pushed continually towards efforts to save energy, increase sustainability research and education. “Cornell’s dining procurement choices have significant impacts on our regional economy and environment, as well global implications. Cornell gets its milk products and apples from the university’s own farming operations. In fact, we use fair trade coffee, and that has huge implications for growers in coffee regions around the world,” says Dan Roth, director for campus sustainability. 

    Read more here!

  • NMSU Extension program focuses on feral hogs, cattle health, drought

    New Mexico State University will be releasing its Cattleman’s Current Issues Program. This program will keep cattle producers up to date with information regarding how to take care of cattle in the instance of a drought or wild hogs. “Timely information is vital to good decision-making when it comes to raising cattle,” said Tom Dominguez, program director and agricultural agent at NMSU’s Otero County Cooperative Extension Service.

    Read more here!

  • Auburn University: 2013 Catfish Report Reveals Challenges, Bright Spots for US Farmers

    New research from agriculture economists at Auburn University in Alabama has shed light on the complicated issues surround the commercial catfish industry in the U.S. While catfish consumption rose slightly in the last two years, overall consumption of seafood has been on a decline in the U.S. since 2001. The economists worry that this widespread change in food preferences is an indication that we are not doing enough to educate the public on the health benefits of eating fish.

    Additionally, rising costs for catfish producers may culminate in a shortage of the fish in 2014. Auburn researchers say that fish producers need to find new ways to leverage technology to lower prices and provide better products, or these shortages will continue.

    Read more here!

  • Sometimes there’s no solution for not enough rain, says UC Davis

    With a drought currently running through the Sierra Nevada, it is not only the state of California that feels the effects from a lack of water. Farmers in Northern Nevada are suffering from this water shortage. Without the water, farmers won’t be able to produce their hay, which in turn will make the farmers ship in expensive feed or downsize their herds. UC Davis rangeland watershed specialist Ken Tate has been working with cattle ranchers of California to help irrigate more efficiently and improve the management of their vegetation, but with all this work, he realizes that there is only so much they can do. “There are not scientific answers to some of these problems,” he said in a recent interview with National Public Radio. “Sometimes there’s no solution for not enough rain.”

    Read more here!

  • 100th Anniversary of Florida Extension

    The University of Florida is set to hold a centennial celebration for its Cooperative Extension division. Extension has helped millions of Floridians by tapping the latest information from the research engines of the University of Florida and Florida A&M University and converting it into practical knowledge. The 100th Anniversary will be held on Thursday, April 17 and will feature food, guest speakers, activities and exhibit.

    Read more here!

  • Fungus is good for grass not for grazers, says Clemson

    Clemson University researchers are currently trying to find ways to neutralize the grass with fungus that bulls seem to keep grazing on. This is not good because the fungus is altering their body chemistry. If things don’t change overall an estimated $1 billion loss could occur. “The work we are doing to identify biochemical markers that are indicators of bull fertility may help with inconsistent breeding soundness exams, which is big problem, “says Scott L. Pratt, of Clemson University. 

    Read more here!

  • Rats! Rodent populations proliferate in some parts of Texas, says Texas A&M

    Rat and mice infestations in houses, barns, sheds and other places have been higher than usual in parts of Texas this year. Rachel Bauer, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for agriculture and natural resources for Bastrop County has an explanation as to why this is. “Some homeowners are being invaded by mice and field rats which are thriving in the burned-out areas recovering from the wildfires, in part because there are very few predators,” Bauer said. “And with the regrowth of vegetation, the rats and mice have had an ample food source and are reproducing quickly.” This can cause problems, with contamination of foods, property damage, and possible fires. How should people go about solving this rat problem? “An integrated approach to rodent management is the best,” Bruce Leland, assistant director for Wildlife Services, San Antonio said. “A program using rodenticides and traps, removal of shelter, removal of food and water, and rat-proofing is most effective.”

    Read more here!

  • New poultry litter application method holds promise in corn, says UK

    Researchers from the University of Kentucky have successfully tested a new subsurface application method for poultry litter in Western Kentucky. Farmers often use poultry litter as an alternative to chemical fertilizer in pasture and row crop production, as it provides nutrients and organic matter for plants and soil. This new method of how to apply poultry litter has multiple environmental and agronomical benefits. 

    Read more here!

  • NHS focuses on ag- Day dedicated to Fresh from Florida Advocacy Program

    Fresh for Florida Advocacy and the University of Florida joined together to educate about a thousand people on the importance of agriculture. With young kids today their fathers and grandfathers aren’t farmers, so therefore no one is fostering them with the knowledge of how important agriculture really is. “Agriculture affects all of us, including elementary students. If adults don’t do their part teaching young people how agriculture affects all of us, there could be serious consequences in the future,” FFA Advisor Perry Byars said. 

    Read more here!

  • NMSU unique research program works to breed a better onion

    New Mexico State University is trying to work on developing resistance to pests and diseases in regards to onions. NMSU has an Onion Breeding Program directed by Chris Cramer that has worked on developing 29 cultivars. “The thrips are attracted to the leaf color and wax, and tend to reproduce more in drier conditions. Higher temperatures with more thrips equal bad signs for the plant,” says Cramer. 

    Read more here!

  • In cool spring, hold cows off pasture until growth reaches at least 4 inches says UMissouri

    Even though the grass may be growing in the pastures, farmers may want to hold back on letting cows graze. With the grass being weak and thin from the winter, it is good to let it grow back a little before grazing. “Wait for grass to reach a minimum 4 inches of new growth. More is better” Rob Kallenbach, University of Missouri Extension forage specialist said. By giving the grass in the pasture time to grow and regain strength, farmers may see long-term benefits. Grazing too early can cause farmers to have to reseed their pastures. “Holding livestock off to let grass grow from 3 inches up to 5 inches makes a big difference.” Kallenbach said. 

    Read more here!

  • UArkansas asks: Is farm pond fertilization necessary?

    Around this time of year, people who own farm ponds are starting to consider fertilizing their ponds. But, according to Dr. Nathan Stone, Extension fisheries specialist at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, fertilization may not even be necessary at all. Stone says that fertilization is only really essential if owners are trying to cultivate more fish or if the pond is not already fertile. In fact, fertilizing a pond that already has weed problems can cause more problems. “Fertilizing when nuisance weeds are already established is like throwing gasoline on a fire,” Dr. Stone said. “If fish in ponds will be fed, usually there is no need to fertilize, as the uneaten feed and fish wastes will serve as fertilizer. While some increase in fertility may be beneficial, too many nutrients lead to dense algae blooms, oxygen depletions and even fish kills.”

  • Nitrogen loss suspected in wheat, says University of Kentucky

    Wheat field operators who applied nitrogen to their frozen fields in January and February may experience a decrease in nitrogen according to the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center in Princeton. “Though the soil was frozen enough to support sprayers, significant precipitation fell after the application was made. The nitrogen likely was not able to penetrate the soil and could have been lost to surface runoff,” said Edwin Ritchey, extension soil specialist with the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. UK specialists suggest that growers who applied nitrogen back in January or February change their second application rates to make up for the lost nitrogen. “Although a substantial amount of the first nitrogen application might have been lost if applied to frozen ground, the yield potential has not been compromised,” specialist Carrie Knott said. “There is still time to adjust nitrogen rates with the second application so that wheat yields are not limited.” 

    Read more here!

  • High beef prices make great time to own cattle says MU

    University Missouri has recently come out with research that shows a $250 return on each cow versus last cycle when it was only $100. This 2014 and 2015 are shown to have $350 projections, prices are high and the cattle business is good. “Before you go home and double the size of your cow herd, remember the cattle cycle. When cow numbers go down, prices go up. However, when numbers go up, prices go down,” said Scott Brown, from MU. 

    Read more here!

  • Food waste fertilizer could benefit crops, says UC Davis

    While most food waste usually winds up in a landfill, Professor Edwin Lewis, who studies soil ecology in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at UC Davis, has found a more productive use for it. Lewis is using an aerobic digestion process to break down the matter acquired from grocery stores into a liquid fertilizer. He believes the fertilizer fuels additional root growth and allows plants to better absorb nutrients. Last year, he and his team ran field trials on different crops. “We did about 40 trials,” he said. “In most of them there was some improvement.” 

    Read more here!

  • Rubber wristbands show pollution in air, water and food from Oregon State

    Oregon State University scientists have created a fashion accessory that doubles as a pollution detector. OSU has developed silicone bracelets that contain a porous surface that mimics a cell, absorbing chemicals that people are exposed to through their environment. OSU professors and scientists hope that these bracelets may help us link possible health effects to chemicals in our environment. 

    Read more here!

  • Wheat and barley growers asked to complete head scab survey

    Purdue University’s Extension program will participate in head scab research alongside stakeholders in the cereal, fungicide, millers, brewers and feed industries. Kiersten Wise, an Extension plant pathologist, says they will be working with the initiative and use the results to help further research and efforts regarding grains. The results of the survey will be analyzed at both the national and state levels and shared with local growers to aid in forecasting and early detection.

    Read more here!

  • Add cover crops to boost crop residue quality, says U. of Wisconsin

    The University of Wisconsin Extension has noticed a large jump in the use of cover crops among farmers. This is because farmers are trying to improve the quality of crop residues in order to get away from commercial supplements. Why not? Especially since there are benefits producers can experience when planting cover crops, like increasing yields of crops like corn and soybeans.

    Read more here!

  • Auburn and Alabama Extension Help Secure Multimillion-dollar USDA Grant

    After receiving a $5-million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Auburn University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System are joining with other universities to create an obesity prevention program aimed at college students. More than a thousand university students across the nation will work together to create the peer-to-peer interactions. Auburn and ACES hope that down the road, college students will move beyond their campuses and partner with high school students to spread the reach of this campaign even further.

    Read more here!

  • National C-FAR Hill Seminar Returns Monday, April 8

    The National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research hill seminar returns on Monday April 8th and will be offered through two venues at Senate and House locations. The topics covered during the presentations will focus on recent research and outreach efforts in regards to home food processing that emphasizes food safety and improving related scientific understanding of basic principles. The Hill Seminar Series helps to demonstrate the value of public investment in food and agricultural research. The workshop will include a morning “Briefing” Seminar at the Senate location followed by a “Lunch-N-Learn” event at the House Office. RSVP is requested by COB on Friday, April 5.

    Read More Here! 

  • Time to control crabgrass is now, according to the University of Kentucky

    Now that spring has sprung, grass will begin growing which means that weeds will as well. Crabgrass is the most common weed in Kentucky lawns. “Crabgrass is an annual weed that outcompetes desirable grasses and then dies in the fall, leaving bare spots in yards for winter weeds to fill in,” said Gregg Munshaw, extension turf specialist in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “The cycle keeps repeating itself until the turf stand gets poorer and poorer.” The best way to tackle these weeds is to apply pre-emergent herbicide to grass. “April 15 has traditionally been the latest date to apply pre-emergent herbicides in Central Kentucky,” Munshaw said. “Western Kentucky’s deadline is usually a few days earlier, and Eastern Kentucky’s time frame usually ends a few days later.” 

    Read more here!

  • International scientists spend time in AgCenter labs, says LSU

    For the past three years, LSU has been trying to increase the interaction in their AgCenter on an international level. Scientists from eleven countries have taken advantage of the LSU AgCenter primarily to increase food security and economic growth. “We are looking for ways to develop other products from rice. In my country, we do rice processing, drying and milling, but it’s a totally different environment,” said Usman Ahmad, an agricultural engineer from Bogor Agricultural University in Indonesia. 

    Read more here!

  • Big Choices Loom for U.S. Farmers: K-State’s Barnaby Answers Questions about New Farm Bill

    Farmers have important choices to make in light of the new farm bill. One of the decisions is the choice between two safety net programs, the Agriculture Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage. The Agriculture Risk Coverage covers what farmers would have lost before normal crop insurance is added, and offers protection if crop revenue is to fall more than 14 percent an average benchmark. Price Loss Coverage will give farmers payments if their crop prices fall below a predetermined “reference” price. “ARC is effectively a free revenue insurance guarantee and the PLC is a free put, with the government paying the entire premium costs,” said Art Barnaby, who is a risk management specialist with K-State Research and Extension. “At current crop prices, the market is saying the ARC has more value than PLC, but that does not guarantee that ARC will pay more than PLC on corn and soybeans.” He noted that it isn’t clear which is the best plan, because farmers sign up only later this fall. “The program that will pay the most will be determined by price and yield. By sign-up, we will know the wheat yield and half of the marketing year average wheat price on the 2014 crop. We will also have a good estimate of the yields for spring-planted crops, so all this could change.” 

    Read more here!

  • NMSU studying 30 Chinese varieties of jujube fruit new to U.S.

    Fruit farmers face many financial issues from late frosts in Northern New Mexico with not only apple trees, but other fruits such as apricots or peaches. With these fruits being early bloomers, late frosts will stop them from producing fruit. But fruit specialists at New Mexico State University’s Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde have discovered a fruit that has shorter growing seasons. The jujube, also known as the Chinese date, blooms later in the spring, causing it to be a better choice for farmers. Fruit specialist Shengrui Yoa has surveyed many jujube trees in New Mexico, trees of which the owners were unaware that the jujube was edible and high in vitamin C. She believes that these fruits could prosper in New Mexico. “This climate is really good for jujube fruit to grow, and it is a nice alternative crop for the growers,” Yao said. “We just need to find a wider selection of cultivars that ripen at different times and can be used for different purposes, such as fresh eating, drying or both.” 

    Read more here!

  • Swine Virus Will Impact Production, Prices in 2014, says OSU

    According to experts at Ohio State University, a virus referred to as PED has caused significant losses inswineherdsacross the country and is expected to impact the availability of pork productsand prices in 2014. There is little information on how the disease spreads or how it can be thwarted, and it is currently threatening pork production and pushing up prices by 10% or more. The end result of this issue will ultimately affect the consumer with the rise in prices continuing through the summer. 

    Read more here!

  • UC Cooperative Extension celebrates centennial with citizen science

    UC Cooperative Extension is launching its first ever crowd-sourced science project, planned for May 8, to celebrate the organization’s 100th anniversary. To celebrate the anniversary, Extension is asking Californians to help them collect data so that there is an improved understanding of the natural, agriculture and urban communities. “One of the most profound ways in which UC touches people’s lives is through the work of Cooperative Extension,” says Janet Napolitano, President, University of California.

    Read more here!

  • Meanwhile in New Mexico: NMSU experts talk about the tumbleweed phenomenon in Clovis

    At the beginning of the year, there were record breaking cold winter condition in the West, but the Southwest, Clovis, New Mexico specifically, went through a different phenomenon. The strong winds were breaking off dry tumbleweeds from fields and covering houses with weeds, many as high as the roof. It took multiple days and heavy machinery to help remove the weeds and get people out of their houses. Abdel Mesbah, superintendent of the New Mexico State University Agricultural Science Center at Clovis, says that the reason for this tumbleweed invasion is because farmers and growers didn’t clean their fields from last year of dry weeds. He also added that it might be possible that since so many seeds spread this year, there could be even more tumbleweeds next year. “Growers might have a hard time next year trying to get rid of them or see more of them,” he said. “That’s why it is important to clean the fields every year.” Researchers at NMSU warn people to clean up their backyards and farmers their fields when they see any signs of invasive plants. 

    Read more here!

  • MSU scientists develop forestry software program

    Scientists at Mississippi State University have made software that will help foresters and landowners maintain their hardwood timber. It shows expected yields and future growth for the red-oak sweetgum forest mixture that is found in Mississippi river bottoms. The program developers, Emily Schultz and Tom Matney, are forestry professors in the MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center. They created the software based off of 33 years of research.“We are excited to release the bottomland hardwood prediction system as a tool for foresters and landowners to use in achieving management objectives,” Schultz said. “Growth and yield programs take years to produce, as trees must be measured and re-measured to create a database sufficient for modeling. Because of the time requirement, there are very few models available for foresters to use in hardwood yield projection.”

    Read more here!

  • As antibiotics ban nears, organic orchards have new tools to fight fire blight, says OSU

    Oregon State University researchers have done some digging and as a result have new findings about antibiotic use in orchards. They have found a couple of organic alternatives as opposed to the two antibiotics currently used. It has recently been discovered that the antibiotics currently used create fire blight, a bacterial disease, which can wipe out an entire orchard. “In OSU trials, researchers tested the commercially available Blossom Protect, a yeast that clings to apple blossoms and pears and prevents colonization by fire blight bacteria,” says Daniel Robison, Public Service Communications Specialist for OSU.

    Read more here!

  • Hurt: WASDE report eases fear of low crop prices Purdue University

    Purdue Extension’s agricultural economist, Chris Hurt, says that there will be a more optimistic outlook on price increases for crops compared to last year, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Supply and Demand Estimates. Soy bean prices have increased as well to about $15 a bushel. Hurt says, “The closer those national corn prices come to $5, the less downward adjustment is needed in land values and cash rents.” 

    Read more here!

  • Purdue study to measure gravity’s effects on plant cells in space

    Purdue University’s Agriculture department has recently conducted a study on how and if plants can survive in space. The SporeSat is a space craft containing calcium spores that will generate results once exposed to space and gravity. “Being able to grow plants for food in microgravity and space environments is crucial if we’re going to reach this amazing future of long-term space exploration that we all imagine,” said Jenna Rickus, associate professor in the departments of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. 

    Read more here!

  • Farmers encouraged to put water conservation efforts on the map, says University of California

    In honor of its centennial anniversary, the University of California Cooperative Extension is throwing a Day of Science and Service on May 8th. Because of this, the extension is encouraging farmers to report their efforts to conserve water in a statewide geographical dataset. This day will not only help people understand the continuing water-saving efforts, but raise awareness about water conservation not only farms but households as well. “Right now California is experiencing one of the worst droughts on record,” said Darren Haver, UCCE advisor in Orange County. “Some communities may run out of water in the next 10 years. If everyone in the state saves at least 10 gallons a month, we will be able to save over four and a half billion gallons a year.”

    Read more here!

  • Catfish producers keep close eye on trematodes, says Miss State

    Catfish producers are warned to keep a close eye on their fish to prevent from pests that could cost them profits. The ramshorn snail is a major player in spreading catfish parasites, parasites such as the trematode. The treamatode can prevent growth of the catfish, make them vulnerable to diseases and death. The parasite has been spreading from the Delta to east Mississippi ponds, raising cause for concern. “People think they have trematodes under control, so they let their guard down and don’t treat again until they have problems with their ponds,” said Lester Khoo, veterinarian and director of the aquatic diagnostic lab at the National Warmwater Aquaculture Center at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. “If farmers don’t take care of the situation, we could have more cases this year. If they are not as vigilant as they should be, trematodes can become a problem in ponds rather quickly.”

    Read more here!

  • Congressman visits Pee Dee center, sees value of Clemson agriculture research

    U.S. Representative Tom Rice paid a visit to Clemson University to see their Pee Dee Research and Education Center. The Pee Dee Research Center just celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2011 and since then has been going through many expansions, one of which is the Advanced Plant Technology Program. “The important initiative focuses on improving the value of South Carolina’s agronomic crops, such as soybeans, cotton and peanuts, to support the state’s $35 billion agribusiness industry, said Matt Smith,” Pee Dee Center Director.

    Read more here!

  • Spring is the time to get a jump on aquatic weed control, says the University of Arkansas

    As the snow begins to melt, and the temperatures begin to rise, many people are ready to jump in the water and enjoy the warm weather. But the University of Arkansas warns all pond and lake owners to assess the water for aquatic weeds before bringing the boat out. “Plant growth won’t always hinder the use of a pond,” George Selden, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Extension fisheries specialist, said. “But if there are problematic weeds and they are not monitored and stopped, they can grow thick so quickly that it may become impossible to launch a boat, swim or fish.” By assessing the weed situation early in the spring, Selden mentions that they will be much easier and cheaper to deal with. “Also, dissolved oxygen problems can result if herbicides are used to control weeds during the summer, so treatment needs to occur before the water gets hot.” 

    Read more here!

  • Loblolly pine’s immense genome conquered by UC Davis

    A researcher at UC Davis led a group that finally pieced together the largest genome sequence to date, approximately seven times bigger than the human genome. The genome sequence is that of the loblolly pine, a very important commercial tree in which most American paper products come from. “It’s a huge genome. But the challenge isn’t just collecting all the sequence data. The problem is assembling that sequence into order,” said David Neale, a professor of plant sciences at the University of California, Davis, who led the loblolly pine genome project. The new, complete genome sequence will aid scientists in breeding enhanced varieties of the pine tree, which is also being used as a feedstock for biofuel, and will provide a better understanding of the evolution and diversity of all plants.

    Read more here!

  • New software helps farmers manage nutrients from the University of Missouri

    The University of Missouri Extension has created a new program that farmers can now use to manage soil nutrient needs. The program is a Web-based application that will allow farmers to set rates and times for fertilization application according to John Lory, MU Extension nutrient management specialist. The program is easy to use, and farmers can print maps of their land and send it to other programs to further help manage their fertilizers. There will be training for the program available online, as well in-person from Lory and other trainers around different MU research farms. 

    Read more here!

  • NMSU student monitors fish movement using ear bone

    Nathan Chase, a researcher at New Mexico State University has discovered that otoliths, which are inner ear bones of fish, can provide incredible insight into the fish’s life, age, and location. Like rings on a tree, the otolith adds new layers as time passes. But interestingly, the otolith also reveals insights into the chemistry of the water in which the fish lives. Chase first analyzed the rock patterns of certain regions, and the effect that those rock patterns have on the strontium isotope ratios in the water. The fish breathes in the water through its gills, and an impression is left on the otolith. By analyzing the “rings” of the otholith, Chase is able to take in detailed data on fish migratory patterns.

    Read more here! 

  • New biomarker discovery can help scientists ID sudden oak death susceptible trees, says UC Berkeley

    UC Berkeley and Ohio State University have teamed up to develop a new way to identify the resistance of trees to the sudden oak death disease. Phytophthora ramorum is a fungus-like pathogen that has killed millions of oak trees on the West Coast and could potentially moved towards the East Coast. “This is the first time anyone has been able to come up with a method to predict resistance to a forest tree disease in natural populations in the field,” said Pierluigi Bonello, a plant pathologist with Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

    Read more here!

  • Special Field Day at NMSU’s Clovis Science Center explores winter canola as alternative crop

    NMSU will be holding a free field day on April 22 to discuss whether or not winter canola can be considered an alternative crop. “Winter canola has good potential in the region,” said Sangu Angadi, a crop stress physiologist at the Clovis Science Center. “It is well adapted, requires less water and produces multiple products that are in demand locally.” Research has shown that canola meal, which is what canola is referred to after the edible oil is extracted from the seed, is a great source of protein for dairy cattle. Research is still being done at the Clovis Science Center to develop winter canola into an economically and agronomically feasible alternative crop. 

    Read more here!

  • Farming and Solar Energy from Ohio State

    Now more than ever more and more farms are plugging into the sun to meet their energy needs. Because of this Ohio State has organized a program where farmers can learn about the benefits of solar energy systems from other farmers as well as industry and university experts. With current technology improvements, solar systems are helping farmers cut electricity demands and reduce the volatility of future energy costs. 

    Read more here!

  • Scours in Beef Calves Prevalent this Spring, says Kansas State

    Contrary to popular belief among most beef producers, scours is the number one neonatal calf disease producers deal with. It is important for farmers to identify and treat the problem to prevent from calf, and financial, loss. K-State veterinarian Gregg Hanzlicek says that there are certain bacteria that cause scours, but dehydration is what ultimately kills the calf. “When we’re talking about scours in calves, what kills the calf is dehydration,” he says “it is important that they consume colostrum from their mother in that first two to six hours after birth to be protected from a lot of diseases.” 

    Read more here!

  • More and bigger wildfires burning in Western U.S., says UC Berkeley

    Berkeley touches on the severe wildfire problems due to the causes in temperate and drought problems. From Nebraska to California, from 1984 to 2011, wildfires have increased by seven fires. “Most of these trends show strong correlations with drought-related conditions which, to a large degree, agree with what we expect from climate change projections,” said Max Moritz,a co-author of the study and a fire specialist at the University of California, Berkeley, Cooperative Extension. 

    Read more here!

  • Saving the Lesser Prairie Chicken: What Landowners Should Know, from KState

    Kansas State talks about the declining number of prairie chickens. The new record low for the chickens is 17,616, which is about a 50 percent reduction from 2012. “However, they decided as part of the rule that properly managed grazing is important for lesser prairie chickens, and improperly managed grazing can impact them in a negative manner. Haying of native grass might not be allowed. It’s not specified, but I think it could probably be implied, that a grazing plan could be required,” Charlie Lee, wildlife specialist at K-State Research and Extension. 

    Read more here!

  • Firewood provides great mass transportation for invasive pests, says the University of Arkansas

    April is Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month, and according to UAEX, invasive plant pests are alive in well in an unlikely spot- in your firewood. “So many of the invasive pests we already have in the United States came accidentally — hitchhiking in wood pallets or other wood shipments,” Tamara Walkingstick, associate director of the Arkansas Forest Resource Center said. The Formosan termite is an example of one of those pests, and it causes $1 billion in damage each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The key to stopping these insects is to not move firewood, even if you plan to burn all the wood. “It’s still possible that a fallen flake of bark or an egg or spore could drop off in the woods or on your vehicle before the first match is struck, the hitchhiker still has a chance to set up home in a new location,” Walkingstick said.

    Read more here!

  • How Many Acres of Soybeans are needed?

    Last month, a USDA survey on crop revealed that soybean production is increasing at an unexpected rate. There is an expected 81,493 million acres of soybeans to be planted this year, which is over 3 million more than last year and almost 5 million more than the year before. Agricultural economist Darrel Good from the University of Illinois credits this rise in production on the high global demand for soybeans and the resulting high prices of soybeans relative to other crops, particularly corn. 

    Read more here!

  • Cold snap could chill start of watermelon season, says Clemson

    Tony Keinath, Clemson University’s disease plant specialist, talks about the late harvest for watermelons due to the spring we are encountering. This spring is a cool and wet one, which means more disease problems for young plants. “ Disease problems put a dent in $30 million plus crop and also means higher costs. Fungus is the biggest problem. Fungi cause five serious plant diseases,” said Keinath.

    Read more here!

  • BQA Certification Important Part of the Beef Sector, says K-State

    In their latest article, K-State references the Beef Quality Assurance program, initially a grassroots effort that developed into a training program for beef producers. The program teaches proper management techniques, strengthening consumer confidence in the beef production process offering valuable health and nutrition information on meat to be consumed. “It’s a tremendous program with a positive history and story to tell. This program was designed by several teams of beef producers, veterinarians, representatives of the packing industry and consumer groups, with the single goal of helping producers develop a set of standards to produce quality beef that is wholesome, safe and sustainable,” said Chris Reinhardt, beef feedlot specialist for K-State Research and Extension. 

    Read more here!

  • Biodigester turns UC Davis campus waste into campus energy

    UC Davis is ringing in Earth Day with the unveiling of their new Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester (READ) at the campus’ old landfill. The large tanks of the biodigester contain bacterial microbes that take food and yard waste and convert it into clean energy that supplies the campus electrical grid. Ruihong Zhang, a professor of biological and agricultural engineering at the University of California, Davis has been working on this project for over a decade now. “It has been the thrust of my research to bring the innovations we made possible at UC Davis to commercial scale,” Zhang said. “This technology can change the way we manage our solid waste. It will allow us to be more economically and environmentally sustainable. I am proud and grateful to be a part of the team who helped make this moment a reality.” The digester can convert 50 tons of waste into 12,000 kWh of renewable energy, which takes away 20,000 tons of waste from landfills per year. 

    Read more here!

  • OSU app brings wildflower identification to your fingertips

    You can do mostly anything from your smartphone these days, and now you can do something else. Botanists at Oregon State University have designed a new mobile app that can be use to identify wildflowers from all over the Pacific Northwest. The app, available on iPhones and Androids, has pictures and other multimedia along with information on about 1,000 different kinds of wildflowers, shrubs and vines that are commonly found in Oregon and adjacent areas. Once the app is downloaded, it can even be used without Internet connection. Users can use illustrations of geographic region, flower features (color, number of petals), leaf features (type and shape), plant size, and habitat to help identify unknown plants. 

    See more here!

  • UC Davis: How the winery of the future is taking shape

    UC Davis held it’s Wine Executive Program in which David E. Block, professor and chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology, discussed the up and coming technology in winemaking and addressed issues in the business. Block spoke on the latest technology in production and also bettering the management of utilities and waste. The issues faced were increasing wine quality and sustainability and cutting processing costs all while better managing natural resources. Improvement highlights included sorting grapes with special machines for optimal harvest and to better manage fermentation. Block also discussed using automated systems to clean at lower costs, minimizing water use and controlling carbon dioxide.

    Read more here!

  • Shedding new light on coffee, says Texas A&M

    Texas A&M is partnering up with Sana’a University of Yemen to conduct a genetic diversity study with coffee. These researchers are using a technique called near-infrared spectroscopy – a non-invasive analytical technique that uses mathematical relationships between spectra and reference data. This technique has been widely used in agriculture quality control on products such as meats, vegetables, fruits and dairy. Mokha Origin, a startup near Cambridge, Mass., located at the Harvard Innovation Lab, has already noticed this project.

    Read more here!

  • Clemson University Pecan Orchard to Serve as Classroom for Farmers

    Although states differ on their designated day of celebration, National Arbor Day is customarily held across the United States on the last Friday of April. It is customary to plant a tree on Arbor Day. Clemson Extension honors this day as they plan to revive a historic pecan grove on the university’s campus. These 5 acres will serve as an outdoor classroom to farmers and homeowners.

    Read more here!

  • Study looks to find which native species performs best to help crop yields, says Mizzou

    Crop scientists at the University of Missouri are currently conducting research to design “buffer zones” of native plants to maximize crop efficiency. Farmers have long known that certain regions of their crops produce better than others. Mizzou researchers believe that these regions of increased productivity have to do with uneven pollination. These scientists believe that by determining which native plants attract the most bees, they can help certain farmers increase their productivity by up to 20% very quickly, simply by planting a few flowers in strategic areas.

    Read more here!

  • Forestry economic impact: improved in 2013, looks better for 2014 says UK

    Researchers at the University of Kentucky are currently conducting thorough research and analysis to predict future trends in the forestry industry in Kentucky. The state is currently growing twice as many trees as it cuts down, and it is leading the way towards a sustainable model of forestry, supporting the economic growth of the US without destroying the forest. The wood industry is an integral part of Kentucky’s economy. This research will set a precedent for how the state is to conduct business in the future with regard to economic and environmental sustainability of this growing sector.

    Read more here!

  • Kansas State University Celebrates a Century of Extension Making a Difference

    In 1914, U.S. Senator Hoke Smith of Georgia and U.S. Representative A. F. Lever of South Carolina authored the Smith-Lever Act to expand the “vocational, agricultural and home demonstration programs in rural America.” The act assured delivery of research-based knowledge of the land-grant universities to people where they live and work.

    This year marks the 100th anniversary of Smith-Lever, and the 100th anniversary of Kansas State University’s agricultural extension program, which has improved the lives of countless Kansans. But KSU extension’s work is far from over.

    Kansas State wants to continue it’s tradition of improving the community by tackling some of the most important environmental and agricultural issues of our time, including water resource management, sustainability, food systems, community development, and much more. So here’s to 100 more years of excellence!

    Read more here!

  • UV-B light zaps cucumber disease, says Cornell

    Researchers from Cornell University and the Norwegian University of Life sciences have found that applying a particular form of light to certain crops helps suppress the growth of the powdery mildew fungi. When shone at night, UV-B light damages proteins found in fungi, reducing fungal infections in plants from a staggering 90% of the leaf area to 5%. “While the study focused on Podosphaera xanthii, one fungal species that infects cucumber, Suthaparan has used the treatment to suppress species of powdery mildew fungi that infect other crops, including grape, strawberry, rose and basil.” Now that greenhouses are being used more commonly by farmers, the need to eliminate fungal infections in crops is more important than ever.

    Read more here!

  • It’s a berry good time in Arkansas, says UA Extension

    Although the majority of strawberries are grown in California, the tasty red fruit is making a statement in Arkansas. The University of Arkansas Extensions is informing people that this week should be the start of peak strawberry season. According to those who grow the berry, this year’s yield has taken longer to grow and will likely produce fewer berries than past years due to the unusually cold weather felt throughout much of the South this winter and early spring. “People looking to find fresh berries can also use the Arkansas Market Maker Web site, which allows them to search for both farmers markets and growers in their area.” Despite the delayed crop, people across Arkansas will still be able to enjoy the popular fruit in time for Mother’s Day.

    Read more here!

  • Food safety practices for fresh produce at farmers markets target of U of Arkansas research project

    Researchers at University of Arkansas will conduct market research to determine the safest, most efficient, and most sustainable practices for handling fresh produce at farmers markets. “The end goal of this study is to equip vendors and market managers with both scientifically-based and practical educational material that will reduce the likelihood of a foodborne illness outbreak” said Kristen Gibson, assistant professor of food science at the university.

    While food production is not a problem for many people in rural Arkansas, food safety is often an unknown territory. Ignorance of the science behind foodborne illness could cause serious problems for the public at large, who may become less inclined to purchase local produce if they feel that their food is not safe. The University hopes that this research will make farmers markets safer and more productive.

    Read more here!

  • Food safety practices for fresh produce at farmers markets target of U of Arkansas research project

    Researchers at University of Arkansas will conduct market research to determine the safest, most efficient, and most sustainable practices for handling fresh produce at farmers markets. “The end goal of this study is to equip vendors and market managers with both scientifically-based and practical educational material that will reduce the likelihood of a foodborne illness outbreak” said Kristen Gibson, assistant professor of food science at the university.

    While food production is not a problem for many people in rural Arkansas, food safety is often an unknown territory. Ignorance of the science behind foodborne illness could cause serious problems for the public at large, who may become less inclined to purchase local produce if they feel that their food is not safe. The University hopes that this research will make farmers markets safer and more productive.

    Read more here!

  • The Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Then and Now

    Alabama Extension is commemorating May 8, 2014, the centennial anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914. Considered by many to be one of the most important educational reforms in history, the Act established a national network of grassroots educators charged with extending the resources of land-grant institutions to local communities. This program came to be known as the Cooperative Extension System, which set out to provide practical research-based knowledge to improve the lives of citizens.

    Read more here!

  • City Slickers: Ag Moves to Town, by University of Kentucky

    Graduates, students, and members of the community around the University of Kentucky have taken a keen interest in urban agriculture; bringing farming to greenhouses and gardens in metropolitan areas. Urban agriculture is environmentally sustainable, cost effective, and increases access to healthy and nutritious foods. But for some, it also has a deeper meaning: the fostering of a connected and harmonious community.

  • City Slickers: Ag Moves to Town, by University of Kentucky

    Graduates, students, and members of the community around the University of Kentucky have taken a keen interest in urban agriculture; bringing farming to greenhouses and gardens in metropolitan areas.

    Urban agriculture is environmentally sustainable, cost effective, and increases access to healthy and nutritious foods. But for some, it also has a deeper meaning: the fostering of a connected and harmonious community. “Food seems the perfect conduit to connect people,” says Rebecca Self, the founder of FoodChain, an urban agriculture nonprofit in Lexington, KY. Advocates believe that urban agriculture can make more efficient use of city space, involve the community, and make people’s lives better.

    Read more here!

  • Certifiably Safe: Home micro processing done right via University of Kentucky

    Since 2004, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment has been helping Kentuckians create their own jam, jelly, and other processed foods in compliance of food safety regulations.

    The college offers a free online resource, along with local workshops, to help people improve the quality of home based micro processing. Many people have the fruit, veggies, and equipment to make their own processed and canned foods, but don’t have access to the information they need to actually accomplish their goals. The University of Kentucky continues to improve upon this program, so that local home based microprocessors can meet regulation and actually sell their products in stores.

    Read more here!

  • UF/IFAS is crawling with excitement as annual Bug Week nears

    Happy Bug Week! The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences knows that bugs and insects are a common source of questions due to their prevalence in the state of Florida, so it is dedicating the week of May 19 through May 23 as the second annual Bug Week. Their online home for Bug Week contains information on everyone’s favorite creepy crawlies as well as interactive activities for children. There will be a Q&A session on Twitter May 21 as well as scavenger hunts on the UF campus. One final goal of Bug Week is to compile a document containing Florida residents’ most commonly asked questions about insects. “The UF Department of Entomology and Nematology is one of the best in the country,” said Ruth Hohl Borger, assistant vice president for UF/IFAS Communications. “Bug Week is a great opportunity for our researchers to excite the imaginations of children – and children at heart – about the bugs that live among us.”

    Read more here!

  • University of Kentucky: Kachroos’ labs make discovery in plant disease resistance

    Researchers at the University of Kentucky have gained new insights into biological mechanisms responsible for disease resistance in plants. Disease resistance is an incredibly complicated sub-field of biology, and one which has only recently given scientists the ability to study the different levels of biological defenses that are hard wired into organisms like plants and animals.

    At first, it may seem that the study of disease resistance in plants may only have implications for agriculture. This could not be further from the truth. Gaining insight into the way plants fight bacteria could open new doors for understanding human incurable age-related, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as many types of cancers.

    Read more here!

  • UF/IFAS is crawling with excitement as annual Bug Week nears

    Happy Bug Week! The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences knows that bugs and insects are a common source of questions due to their prevalence in the state of Florida, so it is dedicating the week of May 19 through May 23 as the second annual Bug Week. Their online home for Bug Week contains information on everyone’s favorite creepy crawlies as well as interactive activities for children. There will be a Q&A session on Twitter May 21 as well as scavenger hunts on the UF campus. One final goal of Bug Week is to compile a document containing Florida residents’ most commonly asked questions about insects. “The UF Department of Entomology and Nematology is one of the best in the country,” said Ruth Hohl Borger, assistant vice president for UF/IFAS Communications. “Bug Week is a great opportunity for our researchers to excite the imaginations of children – and children at heart – about the bugs that live among us.”

    Read more here!

  • University of Kentucky: Kachroos’ labs make discovery in plant disease resistance

    Researchers at the University of Kentucky have gained new insights into biological mechanisms responsible for disease resistance in plants. Disease resistance is an incredibly complicated sub-field of biology, and one which has only recently given scientists the ability to study the different levels of biological defenses that are hard wired into organisms like plants and animals.

    At first, it may seem that the study of disease resistance in plants may only have implications for agriculture. This could not be further from the truth. Gaining insight into the way plants fight bacteria could open new doors for understanding human incurable age-related, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as many types of cancers.

    Read more here!

  • NDSU students develop healthy, corn-based hummus

    Three NDSU students developed a recipe that landed them a $5,000 prize in the corn category of the Innovation Challenge ‘14. The product is called “Hum-HealthyPlus” which is a nutritional, gluten-free, cost-effective hummus. The students behind the hummus areDwight Anderson, a senior majoring in zoology, Tyler Lewandowski, a senior majoring in zoology, and Lukshman Ekanayake, a graduate student in cereal science. The hummus uses primarily corn flour and lentils, which are both produced locally in North Dakota. “Since all three of us are pursuing careers in the health field we wanted to develop a product that would help combat one of the biggest health issues –obesity – facing our country today,” Anderson said. “It also was very pleasing for me personally to develop a product that used locally grown crops since my father farms in this area and grows corn.” The team noted that it was no easy task trying to come up with the right combination of ingredients, but decided to make it corn-based. “It was really interesting to see how slight ratio changes could make huge differences in the taste and texture of the product,” explained Lewandowski. The team hopes that their product will go commercial, and will end up reaching consumers.

    Read more here!

  • Take Precaution When Spicing Your Foods, says KState

    You might want to think twice before sprinkling certain spices on your food, according to research from Kansas State University. K-State researchers tested samples of bulk spices including black pepper, thyme, oregano, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger. They found that some of these spices had been contaminated with salmonella and other various bacteria. “There is a risk at farmers’ markets, Williams said, and also in U.S. grocery stores that sell bulk spices. Many spices sold in stores are imported, as the United States is not a major producer of spices.” These spices may not necessarily be regulated by the FDA so there is a higher risk of contamination. One important note from the researchers is that even if a spice is contaminated, cooking it to a temperature of “160 degrees Fahrenheit will eliminate the bacteria.”

    Read more here!

  • Auburn University: 2013 Catfish Report Reveals Challenges, Bright Spots for US Farmers

    New research from agriculture economists at Auburn University in Alabama has shed light on the complicated issues surround the commercial catfish industry in the U.S. While catfish consumption rose slightly in the last two years, overall consumption of seafood has been on a decline in the U.S. since 2001. The economists worry that this widespread change in food preferences is an indication that we are not doing enough to educate the public on the health benefits of eating fish.

    Additionally, rising costs for catfish producers may culminate in a shortage of the fish in 2014. Auburn researchers say that fish producers need to find new ways to leverage technology to lower prices and provide better products, or these shortages will continue.

    Read more here!

  • Mississippi State: State Soybean Value Grew $1B Since 2006

    Agriculture economists at Mississippi State have observed a dramatic rise in the market capitalization of the state’s soybean industry in recent years. Mississippi soybeans had a value of $267 million in 2006, $1.27 billion in 2012 and $1.17 billion in 2013. Prices have been high for the past several years, but state producers put more effort into management and increased yields to a record average of 45 bushels an acre in 2012 and 2013.

    This increase in productivity and revenue is no doubt the result of hard work by economists and agriculture scientists at Mississippi State, who have spent years advising farmers on the most appropriate and efficient methods for maximum sustainable yields. Soybeans are a huge part of Mississippi’s agricultural economy, and the university hopes to keep it that way by making sure soy bean farmers can offer great products at great prices.

    Read more here! 

  • UF Tip sheet: Planning Trumps Indecision – Prepare Now for Hurricane Season

    Experts from the University of Florida are helping communities stand their ground in dreaded anticipation of hurricane season. Cooperative Extension encourages proper planning to avoid the costs of deadly indecision. They point out that the season begins in June, stressing immediate urgency for a sit down discussion with families in case of an emergency. While forecasters may offer predictions, proactive precaution is the best measure in case of emergency evacuation.

    Read more here! 

  • Oregon State University is Raising Children’s Awareness of Sugar in Foods

    The Oregon State University Extension Service, through their SNAP Ed Nutrition Education program, organized four “Family Nutrition Nights” to take place at a local elementary school. During these events, faculty and staff presented how much sugar kids are consuming through items such as soda and juice. The visual aids would simply be tablespoons of sugar, poured into a cup, to demonstrate that, for instance, a 12 oz can of soda contains 39 grams of sugar. The main goals of this endeavor were two-fold: first, to demonstrate the often hidden amount of sugar in drinks children tend to enjoy, and offer healthy alternatives; second, to open lines of communication between children and their parents in order to facilitate bilateral education – whereby the parent may teach their child of the harmful effects of sugar, and the child may be able to teach their parent how to appropriately read nutrition labels.

    Read more here!

  • Cornell University: Overcoming Tofu Fear, Living the Life of Soy

    A Cornell behavioral science study was recently undertaken with the stated purpose of dispelling popular myths regarding tofu’s nutritional benefits, detriments, or neutrality. Further, the study attempted to discern what ways households and individuals may be enticed to adopt the use of tofu in their own cooking. The researchers found that the most conclusive way to achieve this goal is by educating the public on the true nutritional value of tofu, in part by directly addressing common myths associated with it. This will allow nutritionists and health practitioners to more appropriately combat healthy eating issues encountered by the general public.

    Read more here! 

  • University of Arkansas Health Experts Selected to Present at SEC Symposium

    Professors of exercise science Matthew Ganio, and professor of agricultural economics Rodolfo Nayga, of the University of Arkansas, were invited to present for the upcoming SEC Symposium, set to take place on September 21-23, 2014, in Atlanta, Georgia. Their research, titled, “Prevention of Obesity: Overcoming a 21st Century Public Health Challenge,” attempts to explain successful tactics to prevent obesity.  These experts explain that although the issue of obesity often gets plenty of traction within the media, politics, and health-care, American population-level obesity rates have remained largely unchanged over the past decade. They aim to aid in the rectification of this dilemma. Their work focuses on preventative care rather than an ex post facto strategy.

    Read more here! 

  • Farms Feed Kentucky: UK is Tackling the Food Issue from the Inside

    The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension program has sponsored a project entitled, “Farms Feed Kentucky.” This project is an attempt to address the high obesity and diabetes rates in Kentucky. It notes that in Barren County, 83% of the land is used for agriculture and 30% of the adult population is obese. Moreover, 13% has diabetes. The problem that Farms Feed Kentucky addresses is that although the county has abundant fresh crops and produce, there are few local consumer outlets. To resolve this issue, Farms Feed Kentucky invited individuals to join together, in teams (with each team headed by at least one extension agent from that county), in attempts to build a community around food. This program will aim at informing the public and building a strong community resolved on high-quality, fresh food.

    Read more here! 

  • UC Berkeley is Banking On Nutrition

    Twelve percent of the U.S. population relies on emergency food systems to sustain their diets. Without food banks, this already at-risk portion of the population would further fall through the cracks of society. Instead of handing out processed food, soda, and candy, these food banks and other services are handing out fresh meat, produce, and dairy – even pound bags of oats. UC Berkeley’s Atkins Center for Weight and Health (CWH) is helping to lead the charge towards healthier food banks. This summer they will release a report detailing the evolution of food banks, and how they have transformed from an emergency service to a regularly used program of assistance to those who are not only homeless, but those we may consider average, yet impoverished, American workers.

    Read more here! 

  • NDSU Prairie Fair: Fish for Good Nutrition

    Fish and seafood are vital elements of a healthy diet, yet many people choose not to eat seafood for a variety of reasons. For some, its cost is prohibitive. For others, they are simply unaware of the nutritious benefits of seafood. NDSU’s Cooperative Extension Service hopes to remedy this malady. They suggest buying frozen or canned seafood, as it is often full of the same nutritional benefits traditional, fresh seafood has to offer. Further, they offer simple recipes to be incorporated into one’s diet, such as tuna salad or fish tacos. Eating more fish and seafood is a necessary element for many Americans and purchasing more items in this category will help reduce health costs associated with vitamin deficiency.

    Read more here!

  • K-State Says Proposed Food Labeling Changes Would Emphasize Calorie, Serving Size Information

    Nutritional labels are at best confusing, and at worst misleading, as they presently stand. A human nutrition specialist at Kansas State University is convinced that the proposed changes currently being reviewed by the FDA will aid shoppers in their quests to buying smarter, healthier food. Currently, even those with good intentions regarding their grocery shopping are often purchasing inadequately nutritious food. The proposed changes will help usher in a new wave of health-savvy consumers, the overall impact of which could be great across health and economic fields.

    Read more here! 

     

  • ISU to Work on Herbicide Resistance Strategies with USDA Research Grant


    Iowa State University received a grant from the USDA to study how increased food security could improve overall global food production.  The research will focus on crop and pest management systems, in particular herbicide resistance in weeds.   “As a leader in agriculture production, the United States plays a critical role in feeding the world. This funding is critical to finding new solutions that will enable us to feed, clothe and shelter all people.” As the number of people continues to grow worldwide, the need to improve crop security and increase access to healthy, safe food for everyone has never been higher. ISU will be working in conjunction with other universities across the United States to help remedy this issue.

    Read more here! 

  • Mizzou: More Protein, Less Diabetes

    Research from the University of Missouri shows that women who have protein on the menu for breakfast have a less chance of developing diabetes. According to Heather Leidy, an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at Mizzou, more protein consumed in the morning will positively affect glucose and insulin levels. According to past research, extreme increases in glucose can lead to diabetes. Controlling your glucose level is key to living a balanced healthy lifestyle.

    Read more here! 

  • UK Students Help Fight Hunger

    Food insecurity in Kentucky may be a bigger issue than some might think. Students in the University of Kentucky Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition took matters into their own hands by raising enough money to host a meal-packing event. The students were inspired to start their own event after attending the Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit at Auburn University. Partnering with Meals of Hope, an organization dedicated to providing food to local food pantries, the students fundraised to cover all the costs of packing and shipping meals. After only two hours, the students had packaged enough meals to feed 10,000 Central and Eastern Kentuckians.

    Read more here! 

  • Childhood Obesity Drops with Help from UC Davis Nutrition Program

    Due to a new nutrition program developed and tested at UC Davis, the percentage of overweight children dropped 18% over one school year. The nutritional program has a strong educational component that will help children make their own smart and healthy choices about food. Schools in Sacramento and Stanislaus counties have been pilot tested, however the program may soon be nationally adopted. Rachel Scherr, assistant project scientist in the UC Davis Department of Nutrition, is thrilled that the program has had such strong effects in such a short timeframe.

    Read more here!

  • New Mexico State University’s Drought-Tolerant Alfalfa Variety Created to Meet Growers’ Needs

    The country is facing one of the worst years on record in many states for rainfall. These perpetual droughts may change the way agriculture is practiced. Researchers at New Mexico State University have been working tirelessly to address this problem. They have created, without genetic modification, a drought resistant strain of the alfalfa plant. This endeavor has taken 12 years, as only traditional methods of reproduction were used. This plant will give growers higher yields than they have previously seen with less water. As these droughts may become more and more common, drought resistant plants will be a necessity for farmers hoping to preserve their way of life, and the strong, resilient economy that comes with it.

    Read more here!

  • Cornell University Nudges Children Toward Healthier Food Choices

    Eat your vegetables!” is something every kid has heard at some point or another. But, it may not be that kids don’t like healthy food, but rather that they’ve been conditioned to not like it. Researchers at Cornell have just completed a three-year study to find out why kids often steer clear of fruits and veggies, and what behavioral and environmental changes they can implement to get kids enthused in healthy choices. They found that interspersing healthy food with not-so healthy food made a difference, rather than having a fruit & veggie section and a standalone pizza section. Even adding more colorful name cards made a difference. This research is essential to help children start eating healthy, a habit they will need to know for life – and the sooner the better.

    Read more here! 

     

     

  • UC Davis Examines The Economic Impacts of Drought on Central Valley Agriculture

    California is going through a severe drought. This year, as many as 14,500 jobs could be lost due to its effects, as well as a $1.7B in resources. The Central Valley is home to 7 million acres of farmland where fruits, nuts, and vegetables are grown. This region is the largest and richest food-producing region in the world. Researchers at the University of California Davis studied the potential effects of this drought, and their conclusions left little room for hope. Not only is the economic impact of drought apparent through the loss of nearly 15,000 jobs, but the price of food may increase as well – passing the burden of the farmers onto the customer. This does not need to become a regular occurrence, and through studying droughts such as these, researchers at UC Davis hope to better understand how to remedy them and their effects.

    Read more here!

  • UC Davis Program Improves Wheat Nutrition, Yield

    Wheat accounts for 20% of what humans eat every day. With the growing world population, wheat production too must grow. This is problematic, as wheat can only grow in specific climates under specific conditions. Yet, researchers at UC Davis are hard at work to make more resilient and robust strains of wheat. They are among only a handful of researchers worldwide attempting to tackle this dilemma. Already, the wheat program at UC Davis has released eight specific wheat strains in collaboration with industry. Continued endeavors on this front are necessary if the world is to be sustainable in the coming years.

    Read more here! 

  • U of Arkansas Poultry Science Department Opens Student Success Center

    The University of Arkansas has just recently opened a new “Student Success Center” within the poultry science department. This center will serve as a resource to those pursuing degrees in agriculture; students will be able to get help with classes, finding a job in the field, or answering any other questions these soon-to-be graduates may have. This great resource will enable students to better understand the paths which they may choose to embark upon within food and agriculture sciences, a necessary discipline to the continued development of rural as well as urban centers.

    Read more here!

  • UF/IFAS Researcher Finding Could Help Farmers Stop Potato, Tomato Disease

    The disease responsible for the Irish potato famine of the 1840s is still out there, and it is still causing trouble for farmers and consumers alike. The virus responsible for the potato famine also affects tomatoes. Combined, it costs the industry $6 billion a year globally – in fact, in Florida it harms far more tomatoes than potatoes. Scientists and researchers at the University of Florida are studying and sequencing this virus in order to understand and ultimately defeat it. The strain of virus evolves and transforms constantly, so continued research is necessary in order to remedy the negative effects associated with this potato and tomato pathogen.

    Read more here! 

  • University of Kentucky: Lessons Learned From a Winter of Discontent

    Winter has been harsher and harsher these past few years, and it looks as though this trend will continue. This has serious implications for those working with livestock, such as cattle. Cattle require energy to stay warm, and must be healthy come spring time to conceive healthy offspring. Researchers at the University of Kentucky have found different safe supplements to be effective in helping cattle survive and thrive in these difficult winters. The researches continue to find ways to keep cattle safe and healthy when winter comes, as it has lately, more bitterly than previously. Not only does this keep cattle and livestock happy and healthy, but keeps meat prices down by maximizing feed efficiency.

    Read more here! 

  • UNL Says Follow Food Safety Tips This Summer When Grilling

    Grilling season is here, and with that comes a whole new set of precautions to take into account before diving into the (steak) sauce. Julie Albrecht, a food specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is an expert on the matter of food safety, and works to keep the armchair grill-masters safe come the summer months.

    Read more here! 

  • 4-H’ers Replace Sweets With Fruits and Veggies in Healthy Snacking Campaign via OSU

    Adults advocate for kids to eat fruits and veggies all the time. Members of five 4-H clubs known as SNACZ (Students Now Advocating to Create (snacking) Zones) are flipping the dialogue: the kids are trying to be advocates to classmates and adults alike on behalf of healthy and tasty fruit and vegetables. OSU’s Extension Service is behind these clubs as part of a four-year research study whereby researchers hope to understand and eliminate childhood obesity. These students are already becoming activists for a healthier community, and urge their schools to offer healthy choices at holiday parties and other festivities; this is a strong push against childhood obesity led by those it affects most – children.

    Read more here! 

  • Kansas State Discusses Latest Trends in U.S. Foodborne Illness Cases

    Food-borne illness has gone up this past year, a concerning trend to consumers and researchers alike. Researchers at Kansas State offer examples of pathogens causing sickness, and subsequently suggest tips to remain safe. Kansas State’s Research and Extension food safety website compiles lists of tips and tricks to protect yourself and your family from contracting unpleasant and dangerous food-borne illnesses.

    Read more here!

  • Cornell Says a Cup of Coffee a Day May Keep Retinal Damage Away

    Coffee is an extremely functional food. Not only does it wake you up, but recent studies suggest it may keep your eyes in good condition, too. Scientists at Cornell University’s Research and Extension program have just concluded a study with mice supporting this hypothesis exactly. While coffee is only 1% caffeine naturally, it contains 7-9% of a strong antioxidant that prevents degeneration of the retina. Continued research on this front is necessary, as its application to community living is invaluable.

    Read more here! 

  • Women Stay Active, Healthy Through NMSU Cooperative Extension Service Program

    Middle-aged women are often at risk for a litany of ailments – be it porous bones or excess fat and diabetes. The Cooperative Extension Service program at NMSU aims to remedy some of those problems for women and men. Research shows that women who exercise and practice strength training have improved bone density, reduced risk for heart disease and depression, and enjoy improved sleep and vitality. This program can be a template for use across the country in rural and urban areas where men and women can comfortably go to improve their own health and wellbeing.

    Read more here! 

  • Panhandle-area University of Florida Extension Agents Work to Help Flood-damaged and Delayed Growers

    Torrential rains hit Florida’s Panhandle late this April, effectively kicking the proverbial horse that is the agricultural community while it remained down from nutrient-sapped, over-saturated soil. The University of Florida’s IFAS Extension officials have been working tirelessly in attempts to solve this problem; due to the timing of the rains this April, soil has not been able to dry – which is necessary for proper planting of seeds for upcoming harvests. Not only is the crop yield affected, but erosion and nutrient leaching are also top concerns for the region. Even Escambia County’s UF Extension office was flooded by the downpour. Officials have been working on the move, therefore, to remedy the situation.

    Read more here! 

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