Fresh from the Field, July 19, 2018

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

Editor: Falita Liles                                                                                              July 19, 2018

Success Stories 

 Fresh from the Field NIFA Impacts A Bull trout swims in a stream  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo

Fluorescent Fish Making a Mark

Stock enhancement is the process of raising fish in a hatchery and releasing them to a body of water to add to existing fish populations or create a population where one previously did not exist. For decades, the marking of fish has been used to determine the successfulness of stocking programs in recreational waters. Researchers have commonly used a chemical that produces fluorescent marks on the internal bony structures of fish. Because workers can never be sure if they are netting a marked fish in the field, they must spend many hours in the lab, dissecting sampled fish and examining their bones to determine if they were part of the stocking program.

Researchers at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (UAPB) tested the application of calcein, a fluorescent dye that produces visible external marks on fish, as a potential substitute for traditional chemicals. After being marked with calcein, crappie were stocked in eight Arkansas reservoirs, which were later sampled to determine the survival rate of stocked fish.

UAPB researchers found that the use of calcein allowed for near real-time estimates of stocking success since the marks are visible on the surface of the fish for at least a year. To sample a population of the dye-marked fish took only a day or two, as opposed to the hundreds of hours required to analyze fish marked with traditional chemicals in the lab. Additionally, instead of being sacrificed, the sampled fish can continue to contribute to the fishery.

NIFA supports this research through Evans-Allen funding.

Read the full story at the Land-Grants Impacts Database. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

News Coverage

Fresh from the Field NIFA Impacts USDA photo

Little Books and Little Cooks 

For many children, academic difficulties begin before they start school. In a national survey, teachers reported that 35 percent of kindergarten children were not ready for school. Poor academic skills in the early years place children at risk, often leading to grade retention, school failure and dropout, delinquency and running away, as well as unemployment and underemployment in adulthood.

Cooking with parents is one educational activity that can help to increase children's abilities in math, science, reading, language, motor development and social skills in a meaningful and appealing way.

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension's Little Books and Little Cooks Program, which began in 2012, offers Nevada's Clark, Washoe, and Lincoln County preschool children and their parents the chance to cook and read stories together. Extension provides the books, recipes, and cooking instructions.

In 2017, six new books and recipes were added, and the curriculum was also used in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania communities. In addition, a seven-week series was delivered 61 times state-wide totaling 424 two-hour workshops, reaching families at at-risk elementary schools, libraries, and Head Start sites. Participants included 477 families in Nevada’s Clark and Lincoln Counties, and 165 parents and 172 children in Washoe County.

Also in 2017, the program offered community activities at 58 events throughout Nevada to promote children's healthy eating and physical activity. Program faculty delivered information sheets, handouts, promotional displays, posters, and newsletters in English and Spanish, reaching nearly 4,000 people.

NIFA supports the Smith-Lever Act.

Read the full article at the Land-Grant Impacts Database. Photo: USDA


Fresh From the Field NIFA Impacts USDA photo ServSafe Extension

Extension Supports Retail-Food Manager Certification

ServSafe is a nationally recognized food safety certification, and many states require at least one person to be certified in each licensed commercial operation.

The University of Delaware Extension offered 18 classes in ServSafe and Dinesafe, with combined participation of 306. About 86 percent of participants report that they will wash hands more frequently; 82 percent will wash, rinse, and sanitize surfaces; 75 percent will calibrate thermometers regularly; and 79 percent will appropriately hold hot foods. 

Ohio State University Extension educators reached 1,700 participants in an online ServSafe Level 2 course. About 98 percent of participants reported being comfortable talking with coworkers about increasing the safety of food in their establishment, compared to 58 percent before the class. 

Kansas State Research and Extension had 632 participants attend in-person ServSafe classes, where 89 percent indicated they planned on using what they learned at work and/or at home. 

Pennsylvania State University Extension offered 141 workshops, reaching 1,900 participants. The follow-up survey showed participants shared food safety information with an additional 2,200 people.

NIFA supports these programs through the Cooperative Extension System.

Read more about ServSafe here. Photo: USDA

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Fresh from the Field NIFA Impacts pollinators