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.
|May 22, 2015|
Precision Ag Becomes Decision Ag Integrated Systems--Faster, Better, Easier?
Before many of us have even had a chance to decide whether or not the term Big Data should be capitalized, we get word that "Precision Ag" is morphing into "Decision Ag." The following links provide a quick dip into the waters of ag's rising digital tide.
** Integrated data systems are at the forefront, and according to this article, farming becomes better due to data-driven decision ag.
** Small farmers and Big Data combine forces with Farmers Business Network--a start-up that uses Silicon Valley savvy and typifies the latest in a surge of investments applying Internet innovations to growing food.
** This blog site includes more precision ag links plus a look at a time when analog data was shared and farming was a bit less precise-- "What's in Your Cloud?"
News and Views
** The Heat Is on COOL: The WTO ruled for the fourth time that the U.S. mandatory country-of-origin-labeling law is illegal, and the House Ag Committee soon voted to repeal the act.
** Avian Flu--Updates: Now reaching at least 15 states, the outbreak has been detected at 174 farms, according to the USDA. Some think the flu strains may be spreading because of wild ducks and geese.
** Wide Effects of Avian Flu: More than 35 countries have been hit with avian flu outbreaks. Check the Animal Section for related stories.
** Calorie Count Rule: The Food and Drug Administration's requirement that restaurants start posting calorie counts later this year is raising concerns across the political spectrum.
** The High Costs of Food Illnesses: The latest estimates from the Department of Agriculture suggest that foodborne illnesses cost the U.S. $15.5 billion each year.
** Federal Policy Regarding Pollinators: The White House released its National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, calling for the restoration or enhancement of seven millionacres of land for pollinators. Reaction to the report has been mixed.
News from the Far Side of the Barn
It's Raining Spiders (video): Millions of tiny spiders recently fell from the sky in Australia, alarming residents whose properties were suddenly covered with the critters and mounds of their silky threads.
|The slogan on the truck says it all.|
Can Your Dog Hang Ten? (video): A short clip from the beach, in case it's been too long since you've had your fill of surfing dogs.
Universities and the Future of Ag From Cafeteria Food to High Tech to Community Outreach
The academic year ends for some and changes for others during the month of May, but the importance of universities regarding agriculture never slows down. These are a few of the many items that recently popped up.
** Ag Degree Jobs: As a follow-up report to last week's positive data, this article looks at the way the ag employment projections reflect a need for a highly skilled workforce to support the food, agriculture, and natural resources industries needed to feed the world.
** Who Has the Best College Food? Food is certainly a key topic in the lives of most college students. So... this list presents one view of the 50 U.S. colleges with the best food.
** Importance of Land-grant Schools: About 80% of Americans now live in urban areas, and increasingly they can turn to institutions that have been serving farmers in rural areas for more than 150 years--land-grant colleges and universities. From the University of Florida to Texas A&M, land-grant institutions dispense practical advice to farmers and hobby gardeners across the country.
** Universities and Drones: Several land-grant universities are joining the Federal Aviation Administration to do research about unmanned aerial systems (drones). Mississippi State University will be the headquarters of the research--Kansas State University and others are joining the effort.
** Non-land-grant Schools Also Involved: The USDA announced the availability of $4 million in grants to support research, education, and outreach activities at non-land-grant colleges and universities.
Friday Notes News Categories
Photos courtesy of the Agricultural Research Service (top masthead); TopLatest News (globe at right). P.1 precision ag pic from cema-agri.org and the truck pic from pbs.twimg. Animal Sec. egg pic from scienceblogs.jpg. Food section cube pic from thisiscolossal.com. Plant Sec. harvest pic from lufa.com. Inter. Sec. farmer pic from gravator.jpg. Gen. Sec. drone pic from dron.jpg. Unless otherwise noted, photos courtesy of the USDA Agricultural Research Service.
Animal Agriculture and Environmental News
Expanded Data about Antimicrobials? The FDA proposes to expand animal drug data to include information about species, adding estimates of sales for cattle, swine, chickens, or turkeys.
Hog Diseases: Several pathogens can cause swine respiratory disease problems. Secondary disease problems are less frequent or severe but sometimes more difficult to control.
Beef and Genetic Diversity (opinion): Crossbreeding breeds of cattle produces calves that are genetically varied. This expanded gene pool has positive benefits on calf survival, growth, and reproduction.
WWCD--What Would a Cow Do? (opinion): This blogger looks at leadership--along with bovine common sense and human nature.
What's in a Disease Name? The World Health Organization issues guidelines for naming new human infectious diseases--such as "bird flu" and "swine flu"--because they have unintended negative impacts.
China, Peru, and Europe Open to More U.S. Pork: While U.S. pork exports still face market access barriers in many destinations around the world, some notable gains were achieved in recent weeks.
Porcine Tea Time: This farm in Japan gives the pigs green tea instead of plain water. The farm's owners say customers prefer the flavor and aroma of the pork.
Pets and Kids Form Bonds: According to a recent University of Missouri study, autistic children form attachments to a variety of small pets and may therefore develop stronger social and communication skills.
Precision Farming Way Down Under: Tasmanian researchers have been testing optical sensor boom sprayers to reduce nitrogen use on dairy farms.
Yes--We Have Some Bananas (opinion): Angola's blooming banana plantations offer new hope for farming, as they thrive again in the tropical plains of Caxito.
Tough Keeping Them on the Farm in Uganda:
|Keeping them on the farm |
in the age of smart phones.
Authorities worry thatyoungsters just want to migrate
to urban centers--especially to operate "boda-boda," motorcycle taxis.
Ye Olde Switcheroo: A pet store in Brazil performed an experiment to see what would happen if they put shelter pets in place of the regular animals for sale, and if this would help more shelter animals find homes.
Named and Shamed: Some New Zealanders are using social mediato shame farmers who pay workers below minimum wage and offer poor working conditions.
Emerald Isle Milk Farmer Shortage: Ireland's Minister for Agriculture says it is time to start attracting nonfarmers into agricultural education because of the expected shortage of workers on dairy farms.
Quinoa and Soy Milk--What about the Vegemite? Australian nonprofit Nutrition Australia has a campaign centering around a modern-day food pyramid based on the country's most recent nutritional guidelines.
African Livestock Study: Researchers have suspected a link between the health of farmers and the health of their livestock--a team of veterinary and economic scientists produced the first relevant study.
General Interest News
|Hmmm--Is This Always a Good Thing? (video): Throw this drone in the air and it follows you around--and of course it films you. |
|Is that your drone or mine?|
Drones and Ag (opinion): This site presents five ways drones could change the way America eats--including methods to herd cattle, count fish, and apply pesticides.
In Case You Need Gift Ideas--and Have Plenty of Money: This photo essay shows some cool unmanned aircraft from theInternational Drone Expo in Chiba, Japan.
Mandatory or Voluntary Runoff Rules? Agriculture and environmental interests both see the need to cut back nutrient runoff, but the path toward achieving those cutbacks
continues to be a point of contention.
Charitable Food Truck:
Seattle will open a food truck this summer that will use proceeds (and sandwiches) to serve people in need
: patients in hospitals, hospices, long-term residential facilities, and more.
Hydroponics Now More Affordable?
Hydroponics--combined with 3D printing--seems to be getting less expensive and more accessible for home gardeners
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