Julie Fritsch

CAST Friday Notes

Blog Post created by Julie Fritsch on Apr 16, 2013

If you haven?t already discovered CAST Friday Notes through the Monday Morning Monitor, take a minute to read last week?s edition below. It focuses on students as some prepare to graduate and all benefit from learning more about agriculture and communication. There is one particularly interesting story about two teenage daughters who lifted a tractor off their trapped father.


Friday Notes is a weekly e-newsletter from The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology that is a fantastic clearinghouse of agricultural stories from all over. It usually includes several stories that would make great conversation starters or illustrations to use with students.  The previous Friday?s edition is linked in each Monday Morning Monitor for free, thanks to a grant from WinField (a Land O?Lakes company.)



masthead, jan 2013

The objective of Friday Notes is to enhance communication among various agricultural sectors, educators, students, and the public who are interested in a variety of plant, animal, food, and environmental issues. Friday Notes advocates the pursuit of credible, unbiased, science-based information. Material contained in linked articles is from the original authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the CAST organization.

In This Issue...... Click to Read
CAST and Education--on p.2
Animal Agriculture News
Food Science and Safety News
Plant and Environmental News
International News
General Interest News
Meyers & Associates Report
Events and Opportunities



bonner award apr 2013


Ag Award for Bonner 

John Bonner received the Distinguished Achievement in Agriculture Award from the Iowa State University Gamma Sigma Delta Organization on April 11. Dr. Bonner was CAST's EVP/CEO from 2005 until January of 2013. He is pictured above with, left to right, Linda Chimenti (CAST EVP), Don Beitz (ISU professor and CAST Past President), Bonner, Wendy Wintersteen (ISU Dean of CALS and CAST Trustee), and Sandee Bonner.


Honor for Young Researchers

world food prizeNominate an individual under 40 years old for the Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application organized by the World Food Prize Foundation--nominations due June 30.Information HERE.



Biotech Food, Feed, and Safety Webinar 

This webinar will review the scientific literature regarding the composition and safety of food and feed from genetically engineered plants and animals. It features two experts who have been Task Force chairs for CAST publications--Dr. Bruce Chassy of the University of Illinois and Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam of the University of California-Davis.

    Animal Ag Summit   


The Animal Agriculture Alliance's 12th annual Stakeholders Summit will gather leaders from the food and farm sectors May 1-2 in Virginia to discuss ways to protect and grow the animal agriculture industry. Topics center around this theme:


Activists at the Door--Protecting Animals, Farms, Food & Consumer Confidence.
Ag in the H.S. Classroom

  This site offers a curriculum for high school students--Toward a Sustainable Agriculture.


4-H Video Contest

four H symbol, ces.ca.uky.eduThis site provides information about a 4-Hvideo challenge--with $1,000 for the winner.


Ag Journalism Award


The Golden ARC de Excellence Award--recognizing the best all-around entry in the campaign division--went to the American Farm Bureau Federation for the public affairs entry "Estate Tax Campaign."


April 12, 2013


For Graduates, Maybe the Key Word is "Agriculture" Not "Plastics"



graduation caps, 123rf.comAs the school year closes, many students will be entering the job market for the long haul. When receiving advice about the future, a young person nowadays might hear the word "agriculture" in place of the iconic "plastics" statement made famous in the classic movieThe Graduate. As has been reported repeatedly in Friday Notes, the outlook for ag-related employment is positive, but that still does not make it easy.


Knowledge and communication skills are key factors in getting jobs, and CAST has been working to link up more efficiently with students. As explained on page two below, CAST offers resources and information through various outlets. These are a few of the many "youth-oriented" stories running across the digital wires this week:


** What will ag look like in 2043? This writer gives us an overview.


** Calling All Young Farmers: The 2007 Census of Agriculture shows a 21% drop in the number of farmers younger than 45, while the over-65 group grew by 18%.


** For those of you still working on research papers, check this out. A Ph.D. candidate in entomology at the University of California-Davis shows us how to turn stick bug research into a lively, animated video.


** Although agriculture has traditionally been defined by the production of plants and animals, today science and technology have added new areas of research and investigation to the agriculture field. The 4-H AgriScience curriculum demonstrates that shift. tractor accident, abcnews.com


** And in a realdemonstration of Youth Power, a farmer was saved by his two teenage daughters after they somehow lifted a 3,000-pound tractor off of him--video included.



Surfin' the News and Opinions



Food Aid: Respected experts Catherine Bertini and Dan Glickman write about the opportunities the United States has to provide even more food to the hungry while spending fewer taxpayer dollars in the years ahead.

Meaty Issues:
  A report from the Cleveland Clinic suggests a link between the consumption of red meat and heart disease due to a nutrient call carnitine--video included. However, the American Meat Institute says an attempt to link cardiovascular disease to a single compound that is found at safe levels in red meat oversimplifies this complex disease, and consumers who enjoy red meatshould continue to do so with confidence.


GMO Follow-up:  In Canada, a group is organizing opposition to genetically modified alfalfa--video included. However, many are promoting pro-GMO anglesalso, as this blog demonstrates.


News from the Far Side of the Barn



pig pet apphotoPigs in a High-rise Poke:  New York City's health code forbids keeping pigs as pets, forcing owners to operate in secret, hoping that unhappy neighbors won't squeal.


Going Baaaack to the Eiffel Tower:  The Paris City Council launches a pilot project toreplace lawnmowers with sheepin the French capital's public spaces.


Ten Terrifying Plants:  Previous lists have addressed some rather potent plant poisons, but this list looks at killer plantson an entirely new level of lethality.     



Class of 2013 Nears Finale
But CAST's Involvement with Education Doesn't Take a Holiday 



ferris, www.sgclark.com
We have not been able to confirm that Ferris Bueller is now a grain commodities trader at the Chicago Board of Trade--but you never know.

For more than four decades, CAST has been gathering and distributing credible, science-based agricultural information. In the past few years, the organization has made thousands of students a part of the audience, and with the future of agriculture in their digitally savvy hands, young people need to know all they can about food production. The following segments provide a brief look at some of the participants and opportunities:


*** Through the National Association of Agricultural Educators and the excellent Monday Morning Monitor e-publication, CAST reaches high school educators, students, FFA officials, and others involved with education. Check their site for information, videos, and resources.


***  CAST goes collegiate through its Education Program, a membership option that makes it easy for universities to benefit from CAST material. Eight respected universities--all with agricultural roots and expertise--belong to the program: Arkansas, California-Davis, Florida, Iowa State, Kansas State, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Texas A&M. Ag-related information and research from these schools regularly appears inFriday Notes links.


Digital Sources--for the young, and maybe even the not-quite-so-young:


CAST's Pinterest page offers a variety of agriculturally based categories such as food and food safety, animals, plants and gardens, flowers, ag humor, agriculture for kids, all of our CAST blogs, and a miscellaneous category where you can find all kinds of ag-related facts. Since joining Pinterest during the summer of 2012, CAST's page has more than 550 pins and a little more than 300 followers.


CAST's Facebook page features the popular "CAST Catch of the Day," with articles ranging from young farmer programs to biotech crops to adorable animal pictures. The site offers free downloads of CAST research publications as well as entertaining stories and links.


CAST's website provides many resources, and its nearly 40,000 hits include visitors from around the world. Two of CAST's recent publications have been translated into Spanish, and they are available on the website, along with four earlier Spanish translations.


CAST's Twitter account has recently been listed as one of the Twenty Must Follow Twitter Accounts of Agriculture. It's a good way to keep up with ag if your life is just too busy to handle 141 characters at a time.


CAST's blog site offers a different look at agriculture "now, then, and maybe never." The current entry looks at "Guns, Farms, and Bugs Bunny," and it mentions the Keanu Reeves Matrix System for Bullet Avoidance.


Globe (TopLatestNews)

Friday Notes News Categories

Photos courtesy of the Agricultural Research Service (top masthead); TopLatest News (globe at right); newyorknewsgiro.com (Animal Agriculture News); northrup.org (General Interest News).

P.1 Graduation caps pic from 123rf.com, tractor pic from abcnews.com, pet pig pic from apphotos. P.2 Bueller pic from sgclark.com. Child pic in Food Sec. from businessinsider.com. Capitol photo in Meyers Section from J. Bonner. Unless otherwise noted, photos courtesy of the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

  calves chessaleeinlondon.wordpress

  Animal Agriculture and Environmental News 

Dairy Power (video):  This site provides many items about dairy farming. Scroll down on their page to watch how one Indiana dairy farmer saves money and helps the farm be more sustainable and eco-friendly.


Genetic Links and Cattle Diseases:  Detecting the costly, contagious Johne's diseasein cattle is now easier, thanks to USDA scientists.


Cameras, Livestock, and Laws:  A legal twist has developed in the effort to ban camerasfrom livestock operations.


The Other White Meat--Filet Mignon? The National Pork Board and Beef Checkoff Program propose the new names to make it easier for consumers to identify meat cuts.


Specialized Beef--Challenges and Opportunities: The majority of U.S. beef comes from conventional systems, but some consumers prefer beefwith claims of organic, grass-finished, or local production.


Brazil Beef Bump:  Brazil's beef exports jumped25% in the first quarter of 2013 compared with the same period a year earlier.


Sheep (ARS)Hello Dolly: At least a dozen different species have been clonedsince Dolly the sheep--everything from the common cow to the endangered guar, a type of wild ox. This article examines the science behind cloning.


Long-lived Animals:  This photo collection includes animals with incredibly long life spans--from a 200-year-old whale to an even older tortoise.


Road Kill:  The Montana state senate has passed a bill that would allow residents to help clear carnage from roads by salvaging the meatof deer, elk, and moose killed by vehicles.


Buckeye Sheep Expertise:  A series of educational workshops held online by Ohio State University Extension experts geared toward sheep and goat farmers draws a wide audience. 

Salmonella (FSIS)

   Food Science and Safety News


Rotted Tea Leaves and Prison (video):  Only an off-beat travel writer could interview an ex-convict in Myanmar and explain why a salad of fermented tea leavesis delicious.


happy meal businessinsider.jpgHealthy Fast Food (video):  This Massachusetts food outlet claims to be able to serve six to ten customers a minute and make a healthy meal in three-and-a-half minutesflat.


Obesity on the Menu (opinion):  According to this report, 97% of nearly 3,500 kids' meals analyzeddon't meet basic nutritional standards.


Heat Kills--Freezing Slows:  As evidenced by a recent E. coli outbreak, freezing fooddoesn't necessarily kill nasty microbes--it just slows them down.


Baby Food in Court:  The country's largest baby food makers face a California lawsuit by an environmental group aimed at forcing them to alert consumers about low amounts of lead in some products.


Ranger Danger:  A new food concession at the Texas Rangers' ballpark serves only food that is 2 feet longor weighs 24 ounces.


Hunger Pangs: These students will live for a week on the daily allotment given to food stamp recipients.


Waste Control:  According to this Kansas State University expert, in many developing countries up to half of the food harvested from farmers' fields is lost before reaching consumers.                                   



  Plant Agriculture and Environmental News

Natural Planting: Replanting northwest Nebraska after last year's wildfires just got a little easier, as the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission plans to feed seeds to animals.


Nitrogen Sources: Scientists in Brazil find that nitrous-oxide emissions from sugarcane fields vary depending on the nitrogen source employed as a fertilizer.


Nutrient Producing Corn? (also see above):  Researchers at Aarhus University are involved in the efforts to develop maize that can create its own fertilizer.


Related Publication (above):  The recently released CAST Issue Paper, Food, Fuel, and Plant Nutrient Use in the Future, has been retweeted and downloaded often.


Plants on the March:  The face of the Arctic is changing as plant growth flourishes further north than before.


Bean-Boosting Ideas:  While the U.S. soybean yield averages 45 bushels per acre, research shows results could be much higher. This seed company encourages row spacing to reach greater yields.


Weed Whacking:  An Iowa State University expert recommends seven steps for managing resistant weeds in corn and soybeans. 
IP 49
Related CAST Publication (above):  Herbicide-resistant Weeds Threaten Soil Conservation Gains: Finding a Balance for Soil and Farm Sustainability.


Plant Water Use:  A new study indicates the immense amount of freshwater used by plants and its movement during their life cycle has significant implications for predictions about climate change.


Micromanaged Planting:  This farmer recommends strip-till practices--preparing narrow seedbeds and applying seed and fertilizer precisely usingsatellite-based technology accurate to less than an inch.


Safety Planning for Planting: This expert provides safety tips for plantingseason.                

  World and Plug (SFGate)

  International News  

Infrastructure Challenges (video):  Brazil's prospects of surpassing the United States as the world's top soybean exporter are being frustrated by congestion at the country's ports.


Lucky Charms: In India, fraudsters are conning people by selling them animals or charms, promising that the animals will bring them luck and money.

cherry blossoms, usda
Spring may be late in parts of the United States, but blossoms are out in much of the Northern Hemisphere.

Food Labels:  The New Zealand Minister for Food Safety has signed off on abill requiring new food labelingregulations in New Zealand and Australia.


Ag in the Land of the Springboks: This South African agriculture expert provides his top ten challenges of agriculture in South Africa.


Angolan Ag: Agriculture in Angola, once the world's fourth-biggest coffee producer, is being held back by limited competition, poor facilities, and a lack of cooperation among small-scale farmers.


Bird Flu Transparency:  Some see a new openness in Chinaafter a novel and lethal strain of bird flu emerged several weeks ago--the reporting is different from a decade ago, when Chinese officials dealt with SARS.


Grain Export Boom?  A Ukraine ag expert thinks the country could possibly export grainto the amount of 100 million tons.


Climate-resilient Wheat: India and the United States will launch a multimillion dollar joint research collaboration to develop wheat varietiesthat can tolerate high temperatures.


Cruel Paradox:  While more than 870 million people around the world  suffer from hunger, more than a half-billion others are obese, according to the United Nations. 

  General Interest News

Invasion of the Cicadas (two videos):  This entomologist says cicadas move nutrients about and cause little long-term harm. He also points out that the males make all the noise.


All Aboard:  The United Soybean Board says investment in the U.S. rail system is necessary to meetTrain Tracks S. Ohlsenagriculture's needs.


Related Article (above):  The Train Has Left the Station--a blog commentary about rural train systems.


Bed Bug Remedy:  Researchers say that bed bugs could one day be captured using artificial surfaces that mimic bean leaves.


Play Ball (short video):  Baseball wouldn't be the same without the contributions of America's farmers and ranchers. A cow will be happy to know it produces enough leather to make 12 baseball gloves!


Ag in the Nation's Capital (opinion):  This site provides its summary of farm policy news, including the Farm Bill and immigration.


Ag Budget Analysis (opinion):  AgProfessional.com provides a look at the USDA's 2014 Proposed Budget.  


Ag Footprint: USDA scientists and their partners provide guidance to growers in Montana and the Dakotas on how they can use agricultural practices to reduce their climate change footprint.



Meyers & Associates Report

  cap bld side jb

April 12, 2013


No report this week.



Fran Boyd

Meyers & Associates

Washington, D.C.

CAST Information


Check out CAST videos at the SchoolTube site. Click HERESchool tube logo to view highly regarded ag-science videos about probiotics, food safety, and water issues--or the latest video, The Direct Relationship between Animal Health and Food Safety Outcomes.


fishing ideas kgtohbuIf you have a good idea for a CAST publication, contact us by clicking HERE for the "Proposal Format and Background Information Form."



CAST provides Friday Notes as a benefit to its members.  Please do not forward, edit, copy, or distribute the Notes in any form to nonmembers without the express permission of the CAST Executive Vice President Linda Chimenti (lchimenti@cast-science.org). Instead, please encourage your colleagues to join CAST and thereby become eligible for all membership benefits. Contact Colleen Hamilton at 515-292-2125, ext. 224 or chamilton@cast-science.org, or CLICK HERE for CAST membership information.


Societies, Companies, and Nonprofit Organizations

Serving on the CAST Board of Representatives



* American Association of Avian Pathologists

* American Association of Bovine Practitioners

* American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy, & Resources-Agricultural Management   

* American Dairy Science Association

* American Farm Bureau Federation

* American Meat Science Association

* American Meteorological Society, Committee on Agricultural and Forest Meteorology

* American Society for Nutrition 

* American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

* American Society of Animal Science 

* American Society of Plant Biologists                                      world supported by plants and animals

* American Veterinary Medical Association

* Aquatic Plant Management Society                                      

* Council of Entomology Department Administrators 

* Croplife America                                                                      

* DuPont Pioneer

* Elanco Animal Health                                                              

* Iowa Soybean Association

* Monsanto                                                                                   

* National Pork Board

* North Central Weed Science Society    

* Northeastern Weed Science Society                                   

* Novus International, Inc.                           

* Poultry Science Association                                                  

* Society for In Vitro Biology                       

* Syngenta Crop Protection

* The Fertilizer Institute

* United Soybean Board

* Weed Science Society of America

* Western Society of Weed Science

* WinField, a Land O'Lakes Company



CAST assembles, interprets, and communicates credible, science-based information regionally, nationally, and internationally to legislators, regulators, policymakers, the media, the private sector, and the public.  

CAST Logo Jan 2010

Dan Gogerty (Managing Communications Editor)

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology

4420 West Lincoln Way

Ames, Iowa  50014-3347

Phone: 515-292-2125, ext. 222;

Fax: 515-292-4512; E-mail: dgogerty@cast-science.org

** With assistance from: Carol Gostele (Managing Scientific Editor) and Teresa Decker (Administrative Assistant)