Global food security ~ Part 3

CDM-MR-45-2-Global-food-pt3-11“We can do it better than anyone else.”

by Steve Wagner

Dr. Janelle Larson is a Professor of Agricultural Economics at Penn State, as well as a Rhodes Scholar with an Oxford Education. She has had a hand in sweet potato production in Ghana; and a grant received by Penn State is being used to look at the potential of horticulture for women in Honduras with both an empowerment and nutrition focus. Horticulture in Cambodia with a focus on rice production is another project on the agenda.

Larson says the problem can’t be solved without focusing on small-scale agriculture. Whereas farming in the U.S. is often conglomerate or large-scale family operations, 84 percent of family farms globally are smaller than five acres. Larson thinks that has to be the jump-off point. Noting problems in the U.S., she says they are exacerbated in the developing world: access to credit, access to market. [Read more…]

Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention 2016

BOTH-MAVF-PP-45521The Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, held at Hershey, PA in February enjoyed its best attendance ever. One hundred sixty exhibitors and their displays filled the Trade Show.

Bill Troxell, PVGA Executive Secretary, estimated the Convention attracted a total of about 2,400 people. “The bus tour and workshops on Monday, preceding the convention, attracted more than 500 people,” noted Troxell, “and we had to turn some people away for lack of space.” These recently started special activities, “add a whole new dimension to the Convention, and make it more worthwhile for growers to travel to the Convention from out of state,” Troxell added. [Read more…]

New York Farm Bureau 2016 Legislative priorities

CEW-MR-1-NYFB-priorities11by Elizabeth A. Tomlin

In preparation for Legislative Lobby Days in Albany, New York FB President Dean Norton and NYFB’s Public Policy Director Jeff Williams spoke at a press conference to inform people of priority issues concerning the Ag community.

Topping the list of priorities is NYFB’s opposition to the minimum wage hike.

Norton said that currently the average agricultural wage is above $12 per hour and commented that New York State could not compete with other states to sell Ag products, when farms would be forced to raise their prices even higher to accommodate paying their employees higher wages. He pointed out that New York State already has a higher minimum wage than other surrounding states, and competition for marketing out of state will be even more negatively impacted if the minimum wage is increased. [Read more…]

Dealing with animal rights activists

Part 5: Making sure employees aren’t acting as activist plants

by Sally Colby

Dealing with animal rights activists is a new reality for livestock producers. Although the majority of farm visitors and new employees are not interested in posing as activists or intentionally harming livestock on a farm for the sake of a video, the small minority who are can do great harm. How can an employer ensure that new employees are doing their jobs as assigned and not mishandling livestock or intentionally setting up scenes that could be viewed as animal abuse?

“Sometimes people are hired on farms to do jobs that have nothing to do with the animals,” said Kay Johnson Smith, president and CEO of Animal Agriculture Alliance. “If such people are hired for a non-animal job, then express an interest in switching to a position that involves working directly with the animals, that can be a red flag. Someone who asks questions about security, whether or not the farm has cameras, or the schedule of the manager – that might be a red flag.” [Read more…]

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…]