Tag Archives: USDA

123rf.com: Nutdanai Prathan

NAU researchers using genetic fingerprinting on cattle fever

Amidst new outbreaks of a disease that can be fatal to cattle, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded NAU a $490,000 grant for an ongoing research project on Babesia, an organism carried by ticks and responsible for cattle fever.

David Wagnerassociate director for Northern Arizona University’s Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, said his team has spent the past three years using genetic data to study cattle fever ticks in southern Texas.

The next phase of research will involve gathering samples from Mexico to expand knowledge of the ticks’ populations, movements and ability to persist in the environment. Wagner’s team also will address cattle fever ticks’ growing chemical resistance, which could further challenge management efforts.

Before the USDA’s efforts to eradicate cattle fever, it was widespread in southern states, costing the cattle industry annual losses equivalent to more than $3 billion dollars today. Following a strong eradication effort during the past century, new outbreaks of Babesia-carrying ticks have created heightened concerns.

Because Mexico has never eradicated cattle fever ticks, the USDA employs tick riders, cowboys on horseback who patrol a quarantine zone along the southern Texas border looking for stray cattle. Through DNA fingerprinting of the ticks, Wagner’s team found that the region’s deer carried the same ticks responsible for cattle fever, raising another concern for the way the disease is being managed.

Looking to the future, Wagner has an additional concern: the cattle fever tick’s ability to proliferate and spread into other states. “We developed a predictive model of suitable habitat for ticks in the U.S. based on predicted climate scenarios,” Wagner said. “We found that the suitable habitat for these cattle fever ticks will likely increase, creating a much more difficult management task.”

Small Business

USDA Celebrates National Small Business Week With Continued Investments to Help Rural Business Grow

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announces $4.7 million in additional investment for rural small businesses

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today kicked off National Small Business Week by highlighting USDA’s actions to help rural small businesses create jobs, get access to capital and spur economic growth. He also announced the selection of recipients for USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grants.  USDA remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy in small towns and rural communities, just as they are in our biggest cities,” Vilsack said. “USDA supports small businesses by providing job training, business development opportunities, strategic community planning and other resources.  We’re focused on making sure that Main Street businesses have the tools they need to grow.”

Secretary Vilsack announced 54 awards under the Rural Business Enterprise Grants program in 21 states – Alaska, Arizona, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. Please click here for a complete list of Rural Business Enterprise Grants awarded today.

USDA has several initiatives underway to support small businesses and the communities they serve.  Altogether, USDA business and cooperative development programs have had a significant impact on rural communities – achieving record results under President Obama. Since 2009, USDA has provided more than 15,000 loans and grants through its business programs, helping more than 60,000 rural small businesses.  For more information on USDA’s business and cooperative development programs, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/Business.html.

This assistance has also been directed toward historically underserved communities. For example, USDA Rural Development is working closely with the Appalachian Regional Commission on a public/private partnership to help economies prosper. This partnership is intended to create a stronger and more diversified Appalachian economy. It compliments several other initiatives USDA has in place. Additionally, USDA is working in persistent poverty areas in 16 states to leverage local partnerships and grow the economy through its StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity.

Rural small businesses are encouraged to contact their nearest USDA Rural Development office for information about available assistance.  A list of these offices is available at www.rurdev.usda.gov/StateOfficeAddresses.html.

The funding announced today under the Rural Business Enterprise Grants program will help support the Obama Administration’s vision by providing rural communities with resources to support small businesses, improve public facilities, and create new, sustainable jobs. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions for the grant.

The Rural Business Enterprise Grant program also supports the development of local food systems. For example, in 2010, the Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., received a $35,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant to support the county’s Farm Fresh program.  It is designed to enhance agri-tourisim. As a result, EDC provides transportation for more than 2,300 visitors from metropolitan areas to small farms and vineyards throughout rural New York. The funding has increased tourism in rural New York and expanded markets for several small businesses.

Rural Business Enterprise Grants and other USDA programs help rural small businesses manufacture new products, expand local food systems and create jobs. Secretary Vilsack continued a call this week for Congress to pass a comprehensive, multiyear Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible. Leaders from both parties have signaled a willingness to come together and get this critically important legislation passed.  On June 10, 2013, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan version of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. Secretary Vilsack noted that he is encouraged by signs that the House of Representatives will consider a bill this week.

President Obama’s plan to revitalize the rural economy has brought about historic investment over the past four years – including in America’s small towns and rural communities. USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.

Genetically Modified Foods, GMO

Just Say No To GMO

GMO foods are foods that have been genetically modified. They have been injected with a foreign substance in an effort to make food more resistant to disease, insects, frost or some other purpose.

The problem is that these foods are often injected with a virus, bacteria or other carrier that alters the original food and could also alter how it reacts in the body. Some say that GMO foods can alter our DNA. Tests on animals are showing an increase in liver, pancreas and kidney diseases.

Many other countries have placed restrictions and bans on GMO foods because they have not been proven safe. In the U.S., it appears the FDA approved some of these foods based on studies that were done by the food companies that had a financial interest in the outcome.

GMO crops that have been approved for selling its yield include canola, corn, cotton, flax, papaya, russet potatoes, red-hearted chicory, soybeans, squash (yellow and zucchini), sugar beets and tomatoes. Many of these products are found in packaged foods.

In the article, “Genetically Engineered Crops,” it’s unclear just how much of some of these crops were making it into the food chain, but according to the Non-GMO Project:

“According to the USDA, in 2009, 93% of soy, 93% of cotton, and 86% of corn grown in the U.S. were GMO. It is estimated that over 90% of canola grown is GMO, and there are also commercially produced GM varieties of sugar beets, squash and Hawaiian Papaya. As a result, it is estimated that GMOs are now present in more than 80% of packaged products in the average U.S. or Canadian grocery store.”

Recently they have approved growing genetically modified alfalfa crops. Alfalfa is fed to the animals that we consume, so what could be the possible end result to the consumer?

The article “Obama Deregulates GMO Crops Despite Supreme Court Injunction” states Obama overruled the Supreme Court decision that banned growing these genetically engineered crops. One question comes to mind; Does Obama understand the risks or how concerned some Americans are about this?

The best way to affect change is to not purchase foods with genetically engineered ingredients. You can get a helpful shopping guide at nongmoshoppingguide.com. Here are a couple of links explaining about GMO foods and signs that indicate that they could have a negative affect on us:

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You can find out more about Nurtured Living at nurturedliving.com. There is a peak food list, conversion chart and light organ chart that contains more related information under the Raphaology Resources link.

For an Eat Peak Tip of the Day, go to facebook.com/nurturedliving.

The information provided in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to replace professional care. Specific and implied results are not guaranteed. In addition, I am not a licensed therapist, counselor or doctor, and any information in this article has come from my own experience and/or education and is meant only for educational purposes and is not intended to be used as medical advice. Your self care for your well-being is ultimately your responsibility.