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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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UC Cooperative Extension Scientists Wrestle with Weed Control in Organic Alfalfa

July 12, 2012 |

During the 2000s, organic milk production was one of the fastest growing segments of organic agriculture in the United States, according to a USDA Economic Research Service publication Characteristics, Costs, and Issues for Organic Dairy Farming. In 2008, about 3 percent of the nation’s cows were managed organically.

Among the conditions necessary for a cow to produce organic milk, she must eat only organic feed or browse on organic pasture for at least the previous 36 months. However, dairy producers have found that producing or sourcing organic feed Read More

Ag’s Free Pest Control Under Threat – A Look at the Fungal Epidemic Plaguing Nation’s Bats

June 20, 2012 |

Bat suffering from white-nose syndrome

While bats have held starring roles in vampire films and decked many a Halloween party, their absence rather than presence could be the main storyline for the real American horror story. Each summer bats consume thousands of tons of insects that if left unchecked would devour the nation’s crops. Over the past several years, several species of American bats have come under attack from an invasive fungus responsible for a virus known as white-nose syndrome that has left bat caves littered with bodies. Read More

Report Outlines Policy Changes Needed to Encourage More Farmers to Grow Healthy Food

May 24, 2012 |

News Release – We should eat more fruits and vegetables. And it’s not just our mothers who think so.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2011 unveiled a new set of dietary guidelines, dubbed “MyPlate,” recommending that fruits and vegetables make up 50 percent of our daily food intake.

Yet our actual diet falls far short of this ideal. We eat too little healthy food and too much refined grains, sugars, meat, and fat—eating patterns that have helped drive a nationwide epidemic of obesity and associated chronic illnesses. Read More

U of Delaware Receives Grant to Study Legumes with Eye Toward Reducing Fertilizer Use

May 8, 2012 |

UD's Janine Sherrier is examining the relationships between legumes and beneficial microbes as part of a $6.8 million NSF grant.

Janine Sherrier, professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Delaware, is part of a team that has been awarded $6.8 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the legume Medicago truncatula.

Sherrier leads one of four research groups participating in this project, which represents a collaborative effort between researchers at the Noble Foundation, the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University, the University of Delaware, and the University of North Texas. Read More

Study Highlights Fungal Threats to Global Food Security

April 27, 2012 |

Every year, fungal and fungal-like infections targeting the world’s major crops of rice, corn, wheat, potatoes, and soybeans destroy enough food to feed 600 million mouths per year, says Sarah Gurr, professor of plant pathology at Oxford University. And that figure solely represents low levels of infection. Epidemic infections could drastically compromise the global food system. This news comes at a time when agricultural producers around the world are attempting to intensify food production in order to meet steady population growth.

Gurr published her findings this month in conjunction with researchers from England’s Imperial College, Harvard Medical School, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the scientific journal, Nature, within a broader paper addressing fungal threats to animal, plant, and ecosystem health. Read More