Fresh from the Field, Sept. 13, 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                                                                                                    Sept.13, 2018

Success Stories 

Photo caption WSU Extension forester Andy Perleberg left instructs Kittitas County landowner Bill Hundley how to measure tree heights

Washington State Wildfire Protection Could Save $26 Million in Firefighting Costs

Working forests throughout Washington State are losing vigor and trees are dying off due to drought, overly dense stands, bark beetle epidemics, and wildfire. Washington State University (WSU) Extension worked with state and USDA partners and stretching educational services to neighboring Oregon and Idaho landowners. They taught a series of classroom-based and “out-in-the-woods” educational lessons that helped 1,500 landowners implement forest health and wildfire hazard mitigation practices across 125,000 acres of their ownerships. The wildfire protection practices are expected to save at least $26 million for firefighting costs. This active management will also save costs related to watershed protection, infrastructure damages, and human health.

NIFA supports this research through the Renewable Resources Extension Act Capacity Grant Program.

Contact: Andrew B. Perleberg, WSU Extension Forester. Photo Credit: Andy Perleberg/WSU Extension.

News Coverage

Fresh From the Field NIFA Impacts  Iowa USDA photo by Scott Bauer

Successful Transition Cow Program Could Save Iowa Farmers $1.2 Million 

Dairy producers throughout Iowa were able to re-evaluate best management practices for their transition cow program. Project Director Jennifer Bentley notes that while transition cow management encompasses only 20-30 percent of a herd, it ultimately influences the milk production and health of 100 percent of the cows.

Six hundred producers took part of online training to increase awareness of risk management and best practices for dairy cattle.

Nearly 3,200 cows, about 20 percent of the milking cows in Iowa, were represented by producers taking part in this program. One producer noted they will reduce their calving cost by $400. This equals a $1.2 million total potential in reduced cost or increased profitability for this group of producers. Overall, producers are seeing a 60 percent reduced incidence in metabolic disorders, 20 percent less calf mortality, less pelvic inflammatory disease, and over 2,000 pounds more milk. 

NIFA supports this research through the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Program.

Read more at the Extension Risk Management Education’s page. USDA Photo.


 Fresh From the Field NIFA ImpactsNewborn piglets suck the breasts of their mother iStock

Mucosal Environment of Older Pigs Helps Newborn Piglets with Intestinal Injury Recover

Researchers from North Carolina State University (NC State) have found that the intestinal mucosal environment of juvenile pigs can stimulate repair of intestinal injuries in newborn piglets. The findings have implications both for understanding why newborns of many species – including humans – are unable to repair these injuries on their own, as well as for potential future treatments.

Intestinal ischemic is a painful condition that makes it difficult for the intestines to work properly. This injury occurs when blood flow to a portion of the intestine is cut off, resulting in the loss of epithelial cells that line intestinal walls. Once this barrier is damaged, intestinal contents can leak into the bloodstream, causing sepsis and often fatal infections. Infants are particularly vulnerable to these injuries; this research shows it may be because they lack the ability to quickly repair the damaged areas.

“In these intestinal injuries, the epithelium sloughs off and creates small holes through which bacteria enter the bloodstream,” says Amanda Ziegler, NC State postdoctoral researcher and lead author of a paper describing the research. “Older animals and human adults can repair these holes within minutes to hours, but newborn pigs cannot. We want to understand the repair mechanism – or lack of it – in newborns.”

Future studies to identify and rescue specific defects in neonatal intestinal repair mechanisms will drive development of novel clinical interventions to reduce mortality in infants affected by intestinal ischemic injury.

NIFA supports this research through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.  

Read the full story at NC State News. Photo: iStock.

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NIFA Impact Fresh from the Field ELI Sept 2018