News Article | April 17, 2017
James Rice Farms announced today the opening of their new rice mill in Prairie Ronde, Louisiana. A partnership between Beth James and Rolando Sanchez, the mill produces a new brand of rice, Prairie Ronde Rice and opened its doors January 1, 2017. The farm plants and mills a non-GMO single variety rice. The brand was named after the area in which the rice is grown and milled. James Farms took this bold move to go straight to market from the farm because of today's consumers need to know where their food comes from. Having a history of exceptional farm practices and by planting and milling a single variety of rice, the quality the mill produces is superior grade US no 1. The mill also has a testing lab to insure the highest quality standard is maintained. "We have been farming in this area for over 30 years. We raise crawfish and rice and have always paid careful attention to the stewardship of our land for the next generation. As part of the constant desire to evolve, we wanted to develop our products to take them from our farm to the kitchen table. I believe that many consumers want to know where their food comes from. We plant a single variety of rice which cooks more evenly and we can control the great quality from the field to the consumer through our process," said Beth James. Rolando Sanchez, a partner in the venture, was awarded "Farmer of the Year" on March 17, 2017 by the US Dept of Agriculture, NRCS, for water and soil conservation for the United States and its territories. Prairie Ronde Rice can be found in stores in Baton Rouge Louisiana, Alexander's Highland Market, Calandro's and in Opelousas, Louisiana at Benny's.
News Article | April 19, 2017
IMAGE: A soil test is just one step in determining the risk of added phosphorus. Knowing how likely the phosphorus is to enter into waterways is also important. view more All living things - from bacteria and fungi to plants and animals - need phosphorus. But extra phosphorus in the wrong place can harm the environment. For example, when too much phosphorus enters a lake or stream, it can lead to excessive weed growth and algal blooms. Low-oxygen dead zones can form. Runoff from agricultural sites can be an important source of phosphorus pollution. To help evaluate and reduce this risk, the USDA first proposed a phosphorus index concept in the early 1990s. Since then, science progressed and methods improved. In New York State, scientists and agency staff developed and released a phosphorus index in 2003. Now, a new project proposes a restructured index to build on phosphorus management efforts in that state and beyond. "The idea is to account for the characteristics of a field, and help evaluate the risk of phosphorus runoff from that location," says Quirine Ketterings. Ketterings is lead author of the new study. The new index structure improves upon previous approaches. It focuses on the existing risk of phosphorus runoff from a field based on the location and how it is currently managed. Qualities like ground cover, erosion potential, and distance to a stream or waterbody all come into play. The index also highlights best management practices to reduce this risk. "The new index approach will direct farmers toward an increasingly safer series of practices," says Ketterings. "Higher-risk fields require more and safer practices to reduce and manage phosphorus runoff." Ketterings directs the Nutrient Management Spear program at Cornell University. She and her colleagues used a combination of surveys, computer-generated examples, and old-fashioned number crunching. They used characteristics of thousands of farm fields to develop the new index. Involving farmers and farm advisors was also a key step. "As stakeholders, farmers and farm advisors are more likely to make changes if they understand why," says Ketterings. "Plus, they have experience and knowledge that folks in academia and in governmental agencies often do not." This field experience can be vital. "Involving stakeholders in decision-making and getting their feedback makes the final product more workable," says Ketterings. "It may also prevent mistakes that limit implementation and effectiveness." Ketterings stresses that the previous index was not wrong, "Farming is a business of continuous improvement and so is science," she says. "The initial index was based on the best scientific understanding available at that time. Our new index builds and improves upon the experience and scientific knowledge we have accumulated since the first index was implemented. It is likely this new index will be updated in the future as our knowledge evolves." The previous index approach could be somewhat time-consuming for planners, according to Ketterings. Further, it didn't always help identify the most effective practices for farmers. The new approach addresses both of these issues. "We wanted the new index to be practical to use," she says. "The best index has no value if people cannot or will not implement it." In some circumstances of low or medium soil test phosphorus, the original New York state phosphorus index allowed farms to apply manure and fertilizer in what we now consider to be potentially high-risk settings. "The new index approach proposes soil test phosphorus cutoffs and also encourages placing manure below the soil surface," says Ketterings. "These changes will bring improvements in phosphorus utilization and management across the farm." Ketterings also thinks that the new index is more intuitive. "It allows for ranking of fields based on their inherent risk of phosphorus transport if manure was applied," she says. "It really emphasizes implementing best management practices to reduce phosphorus losses from fields." In addition, the proposed index approach could make it easier to develop similar indices across state lines, according to Ketterings. This makes sense, since watersheds don't follow state boundaries. Growers could use different practices, if deemed appropriate, for different regions. Read more about Ketterings' work in Journal of Environmental Quality. Two USDA-NRCS Conservation Innovation grants funded this project.
News Article | April 17, 2017
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation launched a national cover crop initiative today during a special press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The $6.6 million research initiative, made possible by a $2.2 million grant from FFAR, will promote soil health through the development and adoption of new cover crops across the United States. “The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is committed to improving the nation’s soil health, which is essential to ensuring a productive and sustainable future for food and agriculture,” said Sally Rockey, Ph.D., executive director of FFAR. “We look forward to working with the Noble Foundation and a talented team of researchers to develop better-than-ever, soil health-promoting cover crops that will contribute to thriving farms across the United States.” Cover crop is a term applied to a number of plant species that farmers, ranchers and landowners may plant to help manage soil erosion and fertility, preserve moisture content, and control weeds and diseases. “Cover crops play a significant role in sustainable agriculture practices,” said Bill Buckner, Noble Foundation president and chief executive officer. “The Noble Foundation has been a leader in developing forages (grazeable plants for livestock) and new cover crop varieties since the 1950s. It’s only fitting to help further research advancement in this area at the national level, which is made possible through the FFAR grant and our team of collaborators.” The initiative will bring together many collaborators, including representatives from the seed industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), three land grant universities, and an existing Legume Cover Crop Breeding Team, comprising another six land grant universities, ARS sites and a producer network. The focus of the initiative will be to identify cover crop species with the greatest potential to improve soil health and evaluate such species over a broad geography within three groups: small grains (wheat, rye, oat and triticale), annual legumes (hairy vetch, winter peas and clovers), and brassicas (turnips, radishes, kale and mustards). “The majority of cover crops are forages,” said Twain Butler, Ph.D., Noble Foundation research agronomist, who will serve as the project manager. “We will work with seed companies, a broad network of researchers and producers, and other evaluation sites to assess, evaluate and develop a broad solution to impact agriculture and soil health across a significant portion of the United States. Our goal is simple: to get new cover crop solutions into the hands of those who use them or will be using them.” The project is not limited to traditional breeding and evaluation. Engaging both producers and industry, researchers will also seek to identify and introduce key traits that can improve crop performance and soil enhancement. Additionally, scientists at the Noble Foundation will utilize advanced breeding techniques – which have traditionally been limited in application to high-value, row crops – to bring new and value-added characteristics to cover crops. “The American Seed Trade Association and its member companies look forward to supporting this important effort to bring together nationwide screening and evaluation of cover crops with advanced plant breeding tools,” said Andrew LaVigne, ASTA president and chief executive officer. “This initiative is a key step in helping foster the next generation of cover crop innovation.” Field trials will be conducted at five strategic sites to assist with cover crop evaluations: Maryland for the northeast, North Carolina for the southeast, Oklahoma for the Southern Plains, Nebraska for the Northern Plains and Missouri for the Midwest. “These sites have experience in cover crop evaluation and will allow us to effectively screen each species and variety for its effectiveness, its role with other crop mixes, and its range of adaptation,” Butler said. “These sites will also illustrate the use and effectiveness of cover crops for the purpose of sharing our findings with regional agricultural producers.” Short-term goals of the research are to identify the best cover crop species and varieties currently available through evaluation and screening, promote them to farmers and ranchers, and increase effective options within the marketplace. “Each collaborator has past and current research on cover crops,” Butler said. “This research complements existing efforts and allows us to focus more on improving soil health with cover crops. We also want to know what the agriculture industry and producers need so we can match those needs with our capabilities to produce better varieties. One variety won’t fit everyone; we’re here to better meet their needs.” Researchers will share results from this project with the public through national meetings and peer-reviewed publications. Certain outcomes, including molecular markers, will be made available through publication and publicly accessible databases.
News Article | February 15, 2017
New Release Features Clips PRIME, a Next-Generation Broadcast Clip Player With Seamless Links to Dynamic, Cutting-Edge Graphics MELVILLE, NY--(Marketwired - Feb 13, 2017) - ChyronHego today announced the launch of PRIME 2.0, an all-new high-performance update of the company's renowned Channel Box PRIME channel branding system. PRIME 2.0 is the 64-bit, all-software rendering engine that powers the PRIME Ecosystem, a universal graphics platform designed to meet the evolving demands of today's and tomorrow's broadcasters. "Today's broadcasters are grappling with an industry in transformation. They're having to evolve their facilities to support mixed resolutions including HD and UHD with SDI and IP operating side by side, and they're also preparing to transition from bespoke video solutions to a standardized and virtualized IT infrastructure. These factors demand the most efficient workflows possible, with unprecedented ease of use and maximum flexibility in installation environments," said Sören Kjellin, chief technology officer, ChyronHego. "ChyronHego's PRIME is already delivering unequalled power and a stunning return on investment to facilities worldwide. And now PRIME 2.0 gives our customers supercharged rendering power and unprecedented clips management on a future-proof foundation for the highly engaging broadcast graphics of today and tomorrow." PRIME 2.0 is a resolution-agnostic, software-based solution that leverages GPU and CPU technologies for maximum power in rendering graphics and effects. With the ability to output graphics and clips through a single system that formerly required multiple solutions, users gain more functionality and features at a lower cost. PRIME 2.0 includes PRIME Designer, a powerful design tool that enables the industry's fastest and most efficient graphics authoring. PRIME Designer offers quick and versatile drag-and-drop workflows both for scene construction and data binding. PRIME 2.0 also includes powerful and easy-to-use capabilities for building customized transitions, including ChyronHego's unique Warp Effects technology as well as auto-follow, mask, render to texture, and more. And, PRIME provides seamless integration with ChyronHego's NewsTicker, one of the industry's most versatile data and content management systems for channel branding. ChyronHego delivers the PRIME Ecosystem through a series of packages that can operate simultaneously together from a single PRIME 2.0 server or as stand-alone solutions. The Branding Package delivers all the experiences from the Channel Box line of products while meeting the specific needs of broadcast business branding, bringing extraordinary flexibility as well as delivering new efficiencies to operations, engineering, and management. PRIME 2.0 introduces Clips PRIME, a highly flexible broadcast clip player with the ability to support up to six independent channels of video from a single server. Clips PRIME features a broad range of dynamic and pre-canned transitions including the Warp Effects technology, a unique special effects capability that integrates with industry-leading third-party modeling and rendering tools such as Adobe® After Effects and 3ds Max from Autodesk®. Clips PRIME provides full integration with CAMIO, ChyronHego's MOS-based and NRCS-connected graphics asset management solution, giving broadcasters the ability to extend their newsroom capabilities significantly. With Clips PRIME, PRIME is introduced as a fundamental element in the CAMIO Universe, a comprehensive software-based ecosystem that empowers producers and journalists to create compelling broadcasts and deliver them rapidly to air. The CAMIO Universe is driven by CAMIO 4.2, a milestone release of ChyronHego's award-winning CAMIO graphic asset management server that features even greater integration with PRIME 2.0. More information about PRIME 2.0, the PRIME Ecosystem, and ChyronHego's full product portfolio is available at www.chyronhego.com. About ChyronHego ChyronHego, a portfolio company of Vector Capital, is a global leader in products, services, and solutions for the broadcast and sports industries. Specializing in live television, news, and sports production, ChyronHego offers some of the industry's most widely deployed solutions -- including Lyric®, the world's most popular broadcast graphics creation and playout offering; the all-new CAMIO Universe newsroom workflow; and the TRACAB™ optical sports tracking system. Headquartered in Melville, New York, ChyronHego also has offices in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. For more information on ChyronHego, visit www.chyronhego.com.
News Article | December 22, 2016
LONGMONT, CO--(Marketwired - December 22, 2016) - First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has received a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) grant of $200,000 for a broad effort to increase the capacity of Native American farmers, ranchers and tribal communities so they can advance their farming or ranching businesses, or so tribal communities can work more effectively to improve local control of community food systems. Under the grant, First Nations will conduct various in-person trainings and workshops, plus online webinars, for Native farmers, ranchers, tribal departments, nonprofit organizations, food entrepreneurs and others that will focus on business-management systems and techniques. The effort also will include training in conducting local food sovereignty assessments. In many cases, First Nations' existing The Business of Indian Agriculture curriculum and Food Sovereignty Assessment Tool will be utilized, and NRCS experts will also participate to provide relevant information on USDA resources available to participants. Some trainings will be "train-the-trainer" sessions for people who, in turn, will be able to assist Native American farmers and ranchers in their communities. The project will provide individualized technical assistance to as many as 10 Native American food producers who will assist in the development and implementation of business plans to advance their operations and increase production and/or gain access to new markets; and provide a series of 12 webinars on a wide variety of related topics such as food policy, food safety, marketing, food hubs, farm-to-school programs and others. "In the last two years we have been able to train over 200 Native American producers on The Business of Indian Agriculture," said Jackie Francke, Vice President of Programs and Administration at First Nations. "Under this project we look forward to working with them on an individual basis to fine tune their business plans and assist in preparing them for USDA opportunities. They know their farms and ranches, so we are here to help them formalize their ideas and concepts in the form of a business plan." For 36 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own - be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources - and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.
News Article | February 15, 2017
The American Water Resources Association (AWRA), the premier non-governmental organization dedicated to the advancement of multidisciplinary water resources management and research, is pleased to announce that Rafael Frias, III, client director with the global water business of Black & Veatch Corporation, began his tenure as national president of the organization on January 1, 2017. He succeeds Martha Corrozi Narvaez, associate policy scientist, University of Delaware Water Resources Agency, who transitioned to her role as immediate past-president. When asked about his goals in the next year, Frias responded, “I’m very proud to be part of AWRA and to have the privilege to lead this great organization during 2017. As we move forward, I look to continue to increase the value we provide to our members. AWRA is about our members and how they can leverage the organization for professional development and growth.” AWRA is also happy to confirm that Brenda O. Bateman, senior public policy coordinator for the Oregon Water Resources Department assumed her seat as president-elect at that time, as did newly elected National Board of Directors members Sharon Megdal, University of Arizona and Jared Bales, Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science (CUAHSI). “I am so honored to be entrusted with this role,” commented Bateman when asked her reaction to being voted president-elect. “AWRA has a great reputation as a professional organization, but it is my family as well. I hope to continue the tradition of leadership that Rafael Frias, Martha Narvaez, and others before me have demonstrated, building a healthy and valuable organization.” The following officers and directors began their terms of service on January 1, 2017: President – Rafael E. Frias III, Black & Veatch, Coral Springs, FL President-Elect – Brenda O. Bateman, Oregon Water Resources Department, Salem, OR Director – Sharon Megdal, University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZ Director – Jared Bales, Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science (CUAHSI), Arlington, MA Continuing their remaining terms as AWRA Board members for 2017 are: Past-President – Martha Corrozi Narvaez, University of Delaware, Newark, DE Secretary-Treasurer – Noel Gollehon, USDA-NRCS, Beltsville, MD Director – Betsy Cody, Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC Director – Laurel Stadjuhar, West Sage Water Consultants, Denver, CO Director – Lisa Beutler, MWH Global a part of Stantec, Sacramento, CA Director – Wayne S. Wright, Stantec, Seattle, WA For more information on AWRA’s Officers and Board of Directors, including bios., visit the Board of Directors page on the AWRA website. About AWRA Since 1964, American Water Resources Association has been dedicated to the advancement of water resources management, research and education, as well as a balanced approach toward solving water resources challenges. AWRA’s membership is comprised of professionals who share a common interest in working and learning across a wide range of disciplines focused on water resources policy, practice and education. Visit AWRA.
News Article | November 18, 2016
DAVIS, Calif., Nov. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California has selected Jarrod Martin as the 2016 Conservation Planner of the Year. Martin, the recently-appointed district conservationist for Merced County, did his award...
News Article | December 21, 2016
DAVIS, Calif., Dec. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today announced $225 million in funding for 88 partnership projects nationwide. California captured funding for four projects—three completely within the state and one shared with...
News Article | November 7, 2016
DAVIS, Calif., Nov. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California is expanding its initiative to assist private forestland owners in addressing tree mortality and other drought-related damage to improve forest health. NRCS will pro...
News Article | February 15, 2017
ARDEN HILLS, Minn., Feb. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Land O'Lakes, Inc. announced today that Jason Weller, former chief of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), will join the organization as a senior director of sustainability on Feb. 27, 2017. Jason will join the Land...