• AgroterrorismHouse, Senate committees approve agroterrorism bill

    The U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee and U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed the Securing our Agriculture and Food Act, clearing a key hurdle for the bill’s consideration by the full House and Senate. The Securing our Agriculture and Food Act requires the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS), through the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs, to lead the government’s efforts to secure the U.S. food, agriculture, and veterinary systems against terrorism and high-risk events.

  • Food securityLasers to keep poultry safe from avian bird flu

    Last week, the British government has extended the avian influenza (bird flu) prevention zone to April 2017. Also, the requirements of the zone have changed, meaning keepers may let their birds out provided that they have enhanced biosecurity measures in place. One such biosecurity measure is an automated laser which repels unwanted – and potentially infected — birds without causing harm to the wild birds, the chickens being protected, and the surrounding environment.

  • Water securityWhy farmers and ranchers think the EPA Clean Water Rule goes too far

    By Reagan Waskom and David J. Cooper

    President Trump issued an executive order 28 February directing federal agencies to revise the Clean Water Rule, a major regulation published by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers in 2015. Framers and ranchers are particularly worried that the Clean Water Rule could expand federal regulations that impact their private property rights. However, regulatory agencies and the regulated community need to know the limits of the Clean Water Act’s reach so they can take appropriate measures to protect water resources. If the rule is scrapped, we still will need to know which water bodies require protection under the law. If the Trump administration withdraws or weakens the Clean Water Rule, it is likely to leave regulators interpreting case by case whether tributaries and adjacent waters are covered, as they have been doing since 2006, and land and water owners guessing about what they can do with their resources. So in the end, repealing the rule won’t answer the underlying question: how far upstream federal protection extends.

  • Grain dust explosionsFewer grain dust explosions reported in U.S. in 2016

    The number of grain dust explosions in the United States fell to a 10-year low in 2016, but two of the incidents resulted in the first reported fatalities since 2013, according to an annual report released by Purdue University’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. There were five grain dust explosions in 2016, compared to eight in 2015 and a 10-year average of 9.2 per year.

  • Food securityGlobal food production needs to keep increasing, but not as fast as previously thought

    Food production must double by 2050 to feed the world’s growing population.” This truism has been repeated so often in recent years that it has become widely accepted among academics, policymakers and farmers, but now researchers are challenging this assertion and suggesting a new vision for the future of agriculture. Production likely will need to increase between 25 percent and 70 percent to meet 2050 food demand – meaning that production needs to keep increasing, but not as fast as many have claimed.

  • Food securityMajor deposit in the world’s largest seed collection in the Arctic

    A major seed deposit critical to ensuring global food security was made to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Arctic Circle today. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is the largest collection of agricultural biodiversity in the world. Located in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, the Seed Vault is owned by the Norwegian government. Seed samples for some of the world’s most vital food sources like the potato, sorghum, rice, barley, chickpea, lentil, and wheat will be deposited at Svalbard in the coming days, bringing the total number of seed samples at the facility to 930,821.

  • U.S-MexicoTexas agriculture experts: Mexico may retaliate if U.S. imposes tariffs

    By Mariana Alfaro

    Texas agricultural experts say President Trump’s threatened tariff on Mexican goods could lead to retaliation that would hurt Texas farmers and ranchers — as well as consumers. The idea of a tariff on Mexican imports or a radical change to the North American Free Trade Agreement worries many Texas agriculture industry leaders, who say it is in the state’s best interest to continue fostering a positive trade relationship with Mexico rather than imposing tariffs on their imports.

  • Food securityMillions of tons of food could be saved with better logistics

    Each year, nearly a quarter of a million tons of food is discarded in industry and retail in Sweden – unnecessarily. Researchers want to do something about it, giving companies in the food supply chain specific tools that can reduce both food waste and the environmental impact of food transport.

  • Food securityStopping human-made droughts and floods before they start

    Alberta’s rivers are a main source of water for irrigated agriculture in Canada’s Prairie provinces. But climate change and increased human interference mean that the flow of these headwaters is under threat. This could have major implications for Canadian gross domestic product, and even global food security.

  • Food securityU.S. harvests to suffer from climate change

    Some of the most important crops risk substantial damage from rising temperatures. To better assess how climate change caused by human greenhouse gas emissions will likely impact wheat, maize and soybean, an international team of scientists now ran an unprecedentedly comprehensive set of computer simulations of U.S. crop yields. The simulations were shown to reproduce the observed strong reduction in past crop yields induced by high temperatures, thereby confirming that they capture one main mechanism for future projections.

  • Food securityGround-breaking discovery for world food security

    Researchers have made a discovery that could help conquer the greatest threat to global food security – pests and diseases in plants. The researchers say this could be a game-changer for crop protection. “In agriculture, the need for new control agents grows each year, driven by demand for greater production, the effects of climate change, community and regulatory demands, and toxicity and pesticide resistance,” one researcher said.

  • Food securityWhitefly: a formidable threat to food security

    Researchers have sequenced the genome of the whitefly (Bemisia tabici), an invasive insect responsible for spreading plant viruses worldwide, causing billions of dollars in crop losses each year. The genome study offers many clues to the insect’s remarkable ability to resist pesticides, transmit more than 300 plant viruses, and to feed on at least 1,000 different plant species.

  • Food securityDust Bowl would devastate today’s crops: Study

    A drought on the scale of the legendary Dust Bowl crisis of the 1930s would have similarly destructive effects on U.S. agriculture today, despite technological and agricultural advances, a new study finds. Additionally, warming temperatures could lead to crop losses at the scale of the Dust Bowl, even in normal precipitation years by the mid-twenty first century.

  • Biological emergenciesDeveloping the National Livestock Readiness Program

    The National Agricultural Biosecurity Center has received $331,118 from the Department of Homeland Security through its Basic Ordering Agreement with K-State to develop the National Livestock Readiness Program. The project, with its initial deliverables completed by September 2017, will provide a clearinghouse for planning, training, and knowledge products to help state and local entities prepare for transboundary livestock disease outbreaks.

  • Food securityCommon grass to help boost food security

    Common Panic grasses could hold the secret to increasing the yields of cereal crops and help feed the world with increasing temperature extremes and a population of nearly ten billion people by 2050. The grasses have the potential to improve crop yields for staple foods such as wheat and rice by transplanting enzymes from Panic grasses.