Fresh from the Field, Feb. 1, 2018

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Fresh from the Field is a weekly album showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Editor: Falita Liles                                                                                                   Feb.1, 2018

Success Stories

Fresh from the Field

Saving Ranchers Money

Glenn Shewmaker, professor at the University of Idaho, wants to help ranchers save money. According to Shewmaker, livestock producers who implement managed grazing practices could see increased carrying capacity of pastures, extended grazing seasons, and reduced winter feed costs.

Increasing carrying capacity could reduce annual cow production cost by up to $100/cow. For a typical ranching operation of 350 cows, this could represent an annual savings of $35,000.

NIFA support this project through the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program.

Read the full article at Western SARE. USDA photo by Keith Weller.

News Coverage 

photo by NASA feral swine

Weed Less, Grow More with Mulch

Gardeners may improve their soil and weed control with organic mulch, according to research at Michigan State University’s (MSU) Extension Office. Mulch can be used in nearly every garden setting to prevent weeds from growing. Prevention is the best defense against a weedy garden. Mulch may smother annual weed seeds and reduce or eliminate cultivation, hand weeding, and chemical weed control, while contributing beneficial organic matter.

An MSU study demonstrated that organic mulch regulates soil temperatures by as much as 18 degrees at mid-day, which allows moisture levels to remain more consistent and diminishes moisture losses. A caution, though: Mulching may decrease the need for watering, but does not eliminate it.

NIFA supports the research with the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program.

Read the full article at MSU Extension. Photo courtesy of Bert Cregg, MSU.

The Library 

photo by NASA feral swine

Controlling Feral Swine 

Feral swine cause thousands of dollars in damage to landscaping, vegetable and fruit crops, underground irrigation systems, and spread bacteria to livestock in Texas. Wild hogs occasionally prey on livestock, especially newborn lambs, goats, and calves. The feral swine population in Texas has been estimated at 2.6 million – and could grow tremendously, as one sow can reproduce more than 40 piglets in one year.

Research and Extension agents at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) preliminary findings indicate savings on average of $11,000 per year in property damage for producers and landowners when feral swine are used for human consumption.

NIFA supports this project through Agricultural Extension Programs at 1890 Institutions.

Read the full article at PVAMU. USDA photo.


USDA Photo by Lance Cheung

Making a Difference with Youth Nutrition

The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is a NIFA-funded nutrition education program established in 1969 to serve the needs of low-income families and school-aged youth. Operated through the land-grant university system and Cooperative Extension, EFNEP extends the research of the universities to our most needy families to improve their nutrition, overall health, and quality of life. In North Carolina, EFNEP is administered through NC State University and NC A&T State University.

Watch the video from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

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