Fresh From the Field, March 28, 2019

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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                                                                                                 March 28, 2019

Success Stories 

Nebraska flood. USDA photo. USDA NIFA Impacts

Nebraska Extension Offers Resources to Flood Victims

As Nebraskans begin returning to their homes in the aftermath of widespread historic flooding, Nebraska Extension has mobilized a number of resources to aid in the road to recovery.

Those affected by the flood are likely unsure of where to begin. Extension encourages individuals returning to homes and properties to first take steps to ensure their safety. When a home or building is flooded, there is likely damage to the structure. Buildings need to be thoroughly dried and it is critical to test domestic wells for bacteria. Also, be cautious when working in and around contaminated floodwater.

Extension has compiled a list of the state’s certified public health environmental laboratories where homeowners can obtain a water test kit.  

To read the article about flood resources, visit the KTIC radio website.

NIFA supports the Nebraska Extension Service.

News Coverage

Bay horse in snow. Photo credit Falita Liles. USDA NIFA Impacts

Economic Impact of the Horse Industry in Minnesota

Minnesota has about 680,000 households with horse enthusiasts, whereas about 29,000 own a horse. The direct economic impact of the horse industry in Minnesota is $541 million, with a creation of 15,113 jobs. However, the total economic impact of the horse industry in Minnesota is $1 billion, with a creation of 21,039 jobs.

NIFA supports the University of Minnesota Extension.

Read the article about the economic impact of horses in Minnesota.

Safeners photo Photo credit You Soon Baek University of Illinois

Natural Plant Defense Genes Provide Clues to Safener Protection in Grain Sorghum

Weeds often emerge at the same time as vulnerable crop seedlings and sneak between plants as crops grow. How do farmers kill them without harming the crops themselves?

Seed and chemical companies have developed two major technologies to avoid crop injury from soil- and foliar-applied herbicides: genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops and safeners, chemicals that selectively – and mysteriously – protect certain crops from damage. Scientists in a new University of Illinois (U of I) study have identified genes and metabolic pathways responsible for safener efficacy in grain sorghum.

The researchers plan to expand the experiment to wheat, and hope to identify more precise safener-herbicide-crop combinations that could eventually translate to broadleaf crops.

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

To read the full article, visit the U of I web site.


Taking the temperature of chicken. Getty Images. USDA NIFA Impact

Potluck Panic! Teaches Students Food Safety

With support from a NIFA award (2012-70003-20059), University of Delaware Food Science and New Mexico State University Media Productions created and assessed an interactive web-based food safety game, Potluck Panic!. Players of Potluck Panic! are challenged with serving safe foods by recognizing and minimizing risky food handling practices from production through processing, packaging, distribution, and final handling. Game play features nine challenge levels of content complexity for food safety risks and prevention strategies. Gaming features include visual and textual prompts, music and other sound effects, random distribution of corrective action cards that necessitate player strategizing for success, bonus cards to incentivize play, and scoring and timing features. Embedded learning supports include repetition of concepts across commodities and the food safety continuum, an Ask-a-Scientist help feature, and feedback for player actions that fail to minimize food safety risks. Formal, Institution Review Board-approved, assessment of Potluck Panic! with over 300 post-secondary students demonstrated positive impact on player food safety awareness and interest. Secondary school educators provided positive evaluation of Potluck Panic! with envisioned use of the game as a valuable educational tool to reinforce subject content and inspire student career choice. Potluck Panic! was honored by the Association for Communication Excellence with the Silver Award in the Interactive Media Program. Potluck Panic! is available for public use.

NIFA supports Potluck Panic! with Higher Education Challenge Grant funds.

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