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Friday Notes is designed 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
October Will Be "Big Event" Month--P.2
Animal Agriculture News
Food Science and Safety News
Plant and Environment News
International News
General Interest News
farm progress show 2015
Farm Progress Show
The cutting edge of agriculture was on display at the annual Farm Progress Show.


  Consumer Survey     



The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) is focused on answering questions consumers have about how food is grown and raised. USFRA shared insights from a recent consumer survey focused on farming, ranching, and sustainability.


Teachers Learning
about Ag
These teachers used summer vacation time to discuss corn, soybeans, wind power, and soil structure


University Spirit and Precision Ag  


The Ohio State University logo in a cornfield is being touted as an example of ultimate precision ag.

Herbicide Research Grant


Mississippi State graduate studentJohn T. Buol received the Will D. Carpenter Distinguished Field Scientist Graduate Assistantship to do research on the impact of emerging plant herbicides.
CAST Social Media
This is one of the many popular links featured on the CAST Catch of  the Day.  A writer from England captures the essence of farm life in the photo essay: 24 Things Everyone Who Grew Up on a Farm Will Understand.       
September 4, 2015


Science, Truth, and Truthiness
When does opinion get in the way of facts?    



Professor Marcelo Gleiser of Darmouth fears that the science process is no longer based on credible facts. "It's as if scientific issues are simply matters of opinion--and not the product of a very thorough process of consensus building among technically trained people. That's what's happening, a drive toward a subjective take on science--the polar opposite of what science stands for: A way of extracting universal truths about the natural world through a detailed process of observation and data analysis. 


Note: Truthiness: the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true. Coined by Stephen Colbert, it was Miriam-Webster's 2006 Word of the Year.



News and Views  


Once again, water is in the news, and much of it centers on the EPA's "Waters of the United States" act.


** Rulings:  A U.S. district court blocked a federal clean water rule from going into effect in certain states. "The administration strongly disagrees with this ruling," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a briefing.

Petition:  Some producer groups are asking the Obama administration to suspend enforcement of its new Clean Water Act ruleuntil a court case is resolved.   


** Action:  The Environmental Protection Agency has taken action against three firms, including two dairy companies, for Clean Water Act violations.


** Suggestions:  University of Nebraska experts make suggestions regarding the Water Act controversy.



News from the Far Side of the Barn





drone fishing,


Something fishy going on.
Octopuses Are from Mars (video): Some think an octopus arms race (pun intended) is underway. Octopuses are fighting--and potentially using weapons.        

Can a Drone Bait Its Own Hook?(video):  Farmer/humorist Derek Klingenberg used his drone to "fly fish." That and other fishy tales at this site.


Mick E. Mouse Weighed 1,960 Pounds:  Riders mounted this prized bull 40 times at various professional levels, but not one made it to eight seconds. The legendary bull was big, agile, and fierce.                




CAST Events on National Stage   



Research Paper Rollout and BCCA Award Presentation 


food label IP 56 cover


Warning: This Food Label May Cause Confusion

Rollout on Capitol Hill



On Monday, October 5, Dr. Kent Messer (University of Delaware) will present CAST's latest issue paper--Process Labeling of Food: Consumer Behavior, the Agricultural Sector, and Policy Recommendations--during three sessions in Washington, D.C.


** 10:00 a.m. (EDT) at the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (NC-FAR) Hill Seminar (U.S. Senate Briefing)


**12 noon at the NC-FAR "Lunch 'n Learn" (U.S. House Briefing)


** 4:00 p.m. presentation at the Grocery Manufacturers Association


Presentations are free and open to the public. Please RSVP to


BCCA Award Presentation during WFP Breakfast Event



On Wednesday, October 15, the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology and DuPont invite you to attend the 2015 Borlaug CAST Communication Award presentationfeaturing a keynote address by 2015 BCCA recipient Dr. Channapatna S. Prakash:Everything I Know About GMOs, I Learned on Social Media.



This session will be followed by a panel discussion regarding the Challenge of Expo Milano 2015: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life hosted in conjunction with the International Food Information Council Foundation.

This morning event is part of World Food Prize week in Des Moines, Iowa. The breakfast begins at 7:00, and the program begins at 7:30. Check here for details.


Globe (TopLatestNews)

Friday Notes News Categories

Photos courtesy of the Agricultural Research Service (top masthead); TopLatest News (globe at right). P.1 science diagram from, and the kid pic from Animal Sec. cow pic from abeforumcom. Food Sec. meat pic from Plant Sec. Mr. Potato Head pic from youtube.jpg. Inter. Sec. sheep pic from Gen. Sec. family pic from otherwise noted, photos courtesy of the USDA Agricultural Research Service.  

   Baby Chicks

   Animal Agriculture and Environmental News

Nutritional Reasons and More (opinion):  According to this writer, meat and milk sustain 95% of the seven billion humans alive today--and he gives seven other reasons the world needs livestock

Probiotics as Feed Additives (video):  This article looks at probiotics--how can they be beneficial to livestock producers, and what are the latest trial results?  



cow, milk, cat,

Can robotic milking
systems squirt the cat?
Do Robots Squeeze, Not Pull? (photo essay):  This couple decided to try new techniques on their 50-head dairy operation, so they added anautomated milking system--robotics


Antibiotic Stewardship:  This University of Nebraska expert looks at antibiotic stewardship in relation to the guidelines set forth by the Beef Quality Assurance since its beginnings in the 1980s.


Global Egg Conference:  Egg industry leaders came together at theInternational Egg Commission conference in Lisbon at a time of crisis--avian influenza was foremost on everyone's mind. 


Which Cattle Dogs? (photo essay):  National Dog Day occurred recently, and Drovers' CattleNetwork heard from readers about the cattle dogs they prefer.      

Leasing Fair Animals (podcast available):  While it isn't obvious, some of the4-H kids showing animals this year are presenting animals they don't actually own.


Better Bacon?  An associate professor in the Kansas State Department of Animal Sciences and Industry is exploring what level of pork belly fat saturation will result in longer shelf life and better flavor. 


Fish Farm the Size of Central Park? The largest fish farm in America could be built four miles off San Diego's coast--some disagree with the proposal.


Elusive Mollusk:  A bizarre marine creature, dubbed one of the world's rarest animals, has finally been seen after 31 years.


Salmonella (FSIS)

   Food Science and Safety News

Order in the Court? (opinion):  A new report from the American Association for Justice argues that the civil justice system is the most effective at getting the food industry to ensure the safety of their products.

Process Labels (opinion): Customers are more likely to purchase food products when grocers use food traceability systems to show where and how the food was produced, according to this university research.

raw steak, sxc

How do you like
your steak?
Pretty in Pink? (opinion):  This writer says that color is a lousy indicator when it comes to meat safety. He recommends that chefs should use thermometers tomake sure meat is cooked properly

What's on the School Menu?  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asks Congress to renew and strengthen school nutrition programs set to expire at the end of this month.

Deadly Dose:  The Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to help prevent more deaths from the use of pure powdered caffeine.

What's on the Future Menu?  This article looks at new flavor trends and product concepts, from vodka that tastes of birthday cake to banana water.

Snack Attack:  After years of slinging super-sized servings, some fast-food chains are starting to see thebenefits of offering daintier bites.

Fishy or Not? (opinion):  Many studies show that regular seafood can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. But a new study says that fish oil supplements are not so beneficial

Tired Temptations:  Children who don't get enough sleep might be more tempted by food, a new study suggests.


   Plant Agriculture and Environmental News

Surviving the Drought (video):  In this interview, a California Central Valley grower explains situations aboutfarming during a drought--from specialty crops to drip irrigation. 


Harvesting on the Edge (video): This beautiful film footage shows custom harvesting crews faced with the task of harvesting wheat and barley--some of which is against 1,000 foot cliffs.


Genetic engineering does not impress Mr. Potato Head.

Biotech Potato:  The USDA has approved a potato genetically engineered to resist late blight, the disease that caused the Irish potato famine and still threatens crops around the globe.


Biotech Battle (opinion):  Kevin Folta, a University of Florida scientist, has drawn the ire of those opposed to agricultural biotechnology--GMOs. This is his response.


Moths to a Flame? (opinion):  Scientists are genetically engineering moths to self destruct--and this writer thinks that's OK.


Ants Used for Pest Control?  These ecologists think ants might be a safe, sustainable, and cost-effective new form of pest control.


Death by Midnight:  University of Arkansas researchers find that nighttime air temperatures can affect rice post-harvest quality.


MRSA Relief?  These university researchers have identified two plants commonly used in Native American remedies as having potential to treat antibiotic-resistant infections.


Cool Vegetation: The presence of vegetation is an essential factor in limiting urban heating, according to this study.


Stop and Smell the Roses:  A national specialty crop research project at Texas A&M aims to toughen up the rose's ability to ward off diseases and other pestilences.

  World and Plug (SFGate)

  International News  

Protest in Paris--1,000 Tractors Hit the Streets:  French farmers are seeking tax breaks from the government and EU action to level the playing field with neighboring countries.



sheep heavy wool,



Gathering wool in the 


Aussie Outback.

Wooly Bully:  A lost, overgrown sheep found in Australian scrubland wasshorn for perhaps the first time, yielding 40 kilograms of wool--the equivalent of 30 sweaters--and shedding almost half his body weight.


Agrihoods in Canada:  No longer limited to gardening boxes in a parking lot, the community agriculture trend is taking center stage in housing developments being built around the idea of community-grown local food.

Europe and Antibiotics:  While clear European legislation is yet to be developed, several member states have made serious steps to further reduce antibiotic usage on pig farms.

Kenya and GMOs:  Apparently, Kenya will lift its ban on genetically modified foods in two months.

Wasting Away in Denmark: According to a recent report from the Danish government, Danes now throw away 25% less food than they did five years ago. 

Entrepreneurs in Iceland:  These Icelandic musicians moved to a farm and created a recipe for rutabaga chips--the snacks are now available on the market.

Floating Islands:  The Uro people have constructed islands in Lake Titicaca out of the totora plant for hundreds of years, forming their own homeland that sits high in the Andes straddling Peru and Bolivia.


  General Interest News

Water Quality and Buffer Strips:  A recent meeting in Minnesota brought landowners and representatives from watershed districts together to work on the tough challenges of making buffer strips work.


Poetry in Motion (video): This short clip offers an incredible look at a ladybug taking off from a leaf--all in beautiful slow motion. 



According to some reports,
30% of farmers are women.
FarmHer Images Reflect Women's Influence in Agriculture:  Theclassic image of a farmer is a man, but these photos prove that is not always the case.


Landlocked:  A new survey of land ownership in the lower 48 states illustrates some of the difficulties would-be farmers face in acquiring farmland.


Self-medicating Bees:  Bumblebees infected with a common intestinal parasite are drawn to flowers whose nectar and pollen have a medicinal effect.


Fish Boot Camp: These Alaskan high school students learnvaluable skills about fishing during hands-on experiences.   

Importance of Ag:
The "My Job Depends on Ag" movement has more than just decals and a potential festival in the making. Members hope to provide scholarships for students in agriculture.


Youth and Agriculture Trends:  After growing up on a farm, researcher Jeff Siegfried wants to use technology to make agriculture more efficient.  


CAST Information


YouTubeCheck out CAST's page at the YouTube site to view highly regarded ag-science videos about probiotics, food safety, and water issues--or the latest video dealing with proposed mandatory labeling of GMO food items.


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 Kent Schescke ( 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, orCLICK 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 Nutritional Sciences Council   

* 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

* California Dairy Research Foundation                                        

* Council of Entomology Department Administrators  

* Croplife America 

* Crop Science Society of America                                                                      

* DuPont Pioneer 

* Elanco Animal Health

* Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy                                  

* Monsanto                                                                                    

* National Pork Board

* National Turkey Federation

* North Central Weed Science Society     

* Northeastern Weed Science Society                             

* Poultry Science Association                                                   

* Society for In Vitro Biology                        

* Syngenta Crop Protection 

* 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.  

Members of CAST's Education Program



* Iowa State University 

* Kansas State University  

* Mississippi State University

* North Carolina State University  

* Texas A&M University College of Ag & Life Sciences  

* The Ohio State University  

* University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

* University of California-Davis   

* University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

* University of Kentucky  

* University of Nebraska Agricultural Research Division                                     

* University of Nevada


Note: WinField Solutions (Land O'Lakes) provides sponsorship for the distribution of

Friday Notes to the National Association of Agricultural Educators.

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:

**  With assistance from Carol Gostele (Managing Scientific Editor).   




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