Monday, September 29, 2008
Scientists identify gene that may contribute to improved rice yield
A team of scientists, including Hong Ma, Penn State distinguished professor of biology, has identified a gene in rice that controls the size and weight of rice grains. The gene may prove to be useful for breeding high-yield rice and, thus, may benefit the vast number of people who rely on this staple food for survival. "Our work shows that...(complete news release here).
Saturday, September 27, 2008
National Hunting and Fishing Day, 2008
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America
From our rugged peaks and mountains to our shining seas, our Nation is blessed with remarkable natural treasures. These magnificent landscapes are places where families and friends can create lasting memories and enjoy the outdoors. On National Hunting and Fishing Day, our country honors the many contributions of America's hunters and anglers, who add to our heritage and keep our wildlife populations healthy and strong. (complete proclamation here)
Friday, September 26, 2008
Wind power dollars pour into west Texas economy
By Eileen O'Grady
BLACKWELL, Texas (Reuters) - Millions of dollars in new tax revenue generated from the wind power boom sweeping rural west Texas have helped fund a rash of school building projects, the first signs of an expected economic revival.
"It's the greatest thing that...(complete story here).
Bacteria Ready to Make Plastic From Sugar
Eric Bland, Discovery News
Sept. 26, 2008 -- Claims of biology-based oil and plastic usually bear the caveat "in five years." But a San Diego-based company claims they will have a pilot plant for production of E. coli-based 1,4 butanediol (BDO), the base chemical for plastic products ranging from Spandex to car bumpers, next year.
"We are able to...(complete article here).
Subcommittee Reviews Antimicrobial Use and Animal Health Issues
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Leonard Boswell, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry, held a hearing to review advances in animal health, particularly the use of antimicrobials in the livestock industry.
The subcommittee...(complete news release here).
Rwanda: Economic Development Depends on Healthy Ecosystems
Natural resources and ecosystem services contribute significantly to economic growth and poverty reduction.
They provide us with food, fuel, natural medicines, ease flood impact, prevent soil erosion; they are a source of recreation and tourism, just to mention a few of the benefits.
Rwanda is now...(complete article here).
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
On Texas prairie, wind power is resurgent
By Eileen O'Grady
ROSCOE, Texas (Reuters) - Fewer people curse the ever-present breeze that sweeps the treeless West Texas landscape these days, where the flat horizon has been overtaken by hundreds of wind turbines that produce electricity for distant city dwellers and new income for rural residents.
"Now we love the wind," said Max Watt as she...(complete article here).
Large CAFO's (confined animal feeding operations) are highly regulated and inspected regularly with regard to controlling runoff, etc.
Report: Manure runs too freely at factory farms
Congressional investigators question EPA proposal to loosen regulations
WASHINGTON - Some huge livestock farms produce more raw waste than cities as large as Philadelphia or Houston. But federal regulators are failing to control pollution from the gigantic operations or assess health risks from the enormous quantities of manure they produce, according to congressional investigators.
The Government Accountability Office report on the raw waste was...(complete article here).
Landmark New Report Says Emerging Green Economy
New York (ILO News),24 Septembre 2008-A new, landmark study on the impact of an emerging global "green economy" on the world of work says efforts to tackle climate change could result in the creation of millions of new "green jobs" in the coming decades.
The new report entitled Green Jobs: Towards Decent work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World, says...(complete news release here).
European Fisheries Law Undergoes Review
by Ben Block on September 24, 2008
After a recent series of unsavory news reports, the European Commission has announced that its fisheries policy may need to be overhauled due to continued ecological decline and unsustainable fishing practices.
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg announced a laundry list of flaws with the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in a statement released last week. "In its current form, the CFP does not encourage responsible behavior by either fishermen or politicians," Borg said.
In response, the Commission...(complete article here).
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Getting the Dirt on Nitrogen in Agroecosystems
Results: Crop soils that are fed with biologically based nitrogen do a better job than synthetic fertilizers at retaining nitrogen, so less escapes into the air and water. Scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Canada drew this conclusion after developing detailed nitrogen budgets—inputs, losses, and storage—of three agroecosystems in western Canada. Understanding...(complete news release here).
FDA Issues Draft Guidance on Regulating Genetically Engineered Animals
Public comment invited on application of new animal drug provisions of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, today released for public comment draft guidance on the regulation of genetically engineered (GE) animals. The guidance document is intended to clarify the FDA's regulatory authority in this field, as well as the requirements and recommendations for producers of GE animals and products derived from GE animals.
The comment period for the...(complete news release here).
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
U.S. Helps Chinese Coal Mines Find Ways to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Release date: 09/16/2008
Contact Information: Suzanne Ackerman, (202) 564-4355 / firstname.lastname@example.org
(Washington, D.C. - Sept. 16, 2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has committed more than $1 million to assess the economic and technical feasibility of recovering and using methane from coal mines in China. If methane recovery programs are implemented at all three project sites, up to 1.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent could be reduced each year. That's equal to the annual emissions of up to 330,000 passenger vehicles.
"Methane recovery technologies can be...(complete news release here).
Monday, September 15, 2008
Secretary Kempthorne Announces $26 Million for Wetlands Grants, $4.1 Million for Refuge Acquisitions
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Drilling takes center stage on Capitol Hill
Ideas galore, but an energy bill seems unlikely to make it out alive
Monday, September 8, 2008
5 Farming Improvements to Save Money and the Planet
The notion of going green is nothing new, but hasn’t farming always been a green industry? Most would think so, but sometimes farming and ranching can have dangerous environmental impacts. However, many new and exciting technologies have been developed over the last several years that are becoming more mainstream and feasible to incorporate into farming. What follows is a list of some farming improvements that can help you ultimately save money and the planet at the same time.
Produce and use biodiesel. Biodiesel is no longer a pipe dream; it is rapidly becoming big business. Converters for trucks and farming machines are cheap and easy to install—and can practically cut your fuel cost in half. Producing and refining your own is also worth looking into, and helps minimize waste in the process, all while reducing dependence on foreign oil.
Harness the power of the wind. Look into installing a turbine or two on your property. Certainly, these are expensive items, but their value over time will certainly make the risk worth the return. Federal grants are also available, and tax credits are given once the implement is installed. You can also sell your extra energy to power companies and create some extra revenue.
Install solar panels. Some areas of the country are far sunnier than others. Installing solar panels on outbuildings and barns can help to make those units self-sustaining when it comes to power issues, and can be a great way to minimize our use of traditional power.
Switch to organics. The market for all things organic is bursting at the seams, and the commodities sell at a higher price. Look into certifying your farm, for there are many benefits. Dangerous fertilizers and pesticides would be eliminated from your immediate environment, which would help the health of you, your family, and Mother Earth.
Sell off surpluses for ethanol. There is actually a current trend of saturation and overproduction because of ethanol, so this may not be feasible in all areas of the country. However, rather than just letting surpluses go to waste, getting something for your hard work is preferable to nothing at all.
Poverty Around The World
"...The World Bank also adds that the previous $1 a day estimate for the international poverty line would have been $1.45 a day at 2005 prices if only inflation was accounted for.
The revised estimates include a lot more recalculations and the $1 a day measure used in some of the charts below are therefore not to be confused with the old $1 a day measure, and where available, a $1.45 measure is also provided as well as a more current $1 a day measure. (Because some developing countries also have poverty lines at $2 and $2.50 a day, those are also shown, where available.)
At a poverty line of $1.25 a day, the revised estimates find..." (complete article here).