Seed potatoes

CM-CN-1-Seed-potatoes1by Tamara Scully

Although there have been recent efforts to grow potatoes directly from true seed, rather than tubers, the commercial potato industry relies on tuber seed potatoes to maintain disease-free planting stock. Growing from tubers is a type of cloning, as the progeny has the same genetic makeup of the parent.

When tubers are grown in the field, both the tubers and the soil accumulate pathogens. Therefore, the number of generation of progeny is limited in certified seed production although this varies by certifying agency. Many states have their own certified seed potato services. Seed certification is handled either by a land-grant university, a state department of agriculture, or a growers’ association. [Read more…]

The Global Food Security Act ~ part 2

CW-MR-2-Global-Food-pt2-11by Steve Wagner

HR1567 is better known as the bill that came out of the House of Representatives dealing with Global Food Security. Congressman Scott Perry (R, PA) is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “I was a co-sponsor of the bill,” says Perry, “and it’s hard to get these things together. What it does is to codify the ‘whole of government’ strategy for U.S. global food and nutrition security.” Essentially, ‘whole of government’ means that everyone is working together toward one thing. Often you see one agency doing this and another doing that, seemingly working at cross-purposes. People then tend to think that there should be someone coordinating such programs lest they be deemed as too many fingers in a single pie; “so the food that we’re sending doesn’t end up with the bandits as opposed to the people that need it,” Perry said. “Where’s the State Department in this? And why are we sending to this country and not that one? What we really want to do is to help people feed themselves.” [Read more…]

Global Food Security ~ part 1

CW-MR-42-1-Global-Food-11by Steve Wagner

“Welcome to the 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show,” said Russell Redding. Pennsylvania’s Ag Secretary told his audience that the expo’s milestone was the perfect backdrop for discussing food and the importance of it both domestically and internationally.

“Global food security is not just an issue when it comes to making sure that people around the world have enough to eat,” said Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Robert Casey, a member of the discussion panel. “I think it’s a moral issue, but it’s even deeper in terms about why we should be concerned about it. When folks don’t have enough to eat, they are a lot more desperate, and that leads to instability around the world.” Casey said he didn’t need to remind anyone in the audience about the threat we face with terrorism on a daily basis. [Read more…]

Antibiotics: impact of production use

by Tamara Scully

Depending on what livestock you raise, and how you raise it, antibiotic use for anything other than treating a disease may not even be on your radar. But antibiotics are utilized for purposes other than disease control across livestock industries to varying degrees.

In livestock production, antibiotics are utilized for more than disease treatment. They are also used to prevent existing illness from spreading through the population, as well as prophylactically, to prevent illness from arising in the population. They are also used for production purposes. [Read more…]

Dealing with animal rights activists ~ Part 4

Part 4: Are employees performing their jobs properly?

by Sally Colby

Kay Johnson Smith, president and CEO of Animal Agriculture Alliance, says that good animal welfare begins with taking a good, hard look at your farm business.

“Take a look at animal care handling and if there are issues there,” said Smith. “Make sure equipment is in good working order and will help you perform routine animal care safely and humanely.” Smith suggests if a farmer is experiencing problems with equipment (or lack thereof) or in working with livestock, it’s worth seeking expert help. [Read more…]