A look at soil health in the farm bill

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Bill Richards has been concerned with the health of his soil for a long time.For more than 40 years, Richards and his family have used no-till to reduce costs and limit soil and nutrient runoff on their Pickaway County farm. Richards has also spent countless hours educating his fellow farmers about the importance of managing their land in a productive way while still protecting the environment. He served as the chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service from 1990 to 1993 as well.“In the late 1950s the agronomists were telling us there was no reason to till other than weed control. Ohio is the cradle of no-till because at Wooster we had Dr. [Glover] Triplett and Dr. [David] Van Doren who started the original no-till research. There was a group that got started and I was sort of the ring-leader, trying these things to make them work on a farm level,” Richards said. “It is a change. It is different management and a different culture. We have a culture carrying over from the plow of the old days where farms should look neat and clean and the soil should be turned over. We fell in love with big tractors and big horsepower. It is hard to get farmers to change, but when the prices get down near the variable costs of production, farmers are going to be looking for a way to produce more efficiently. When we started no-till, our mission was to save fuel and machinery costs — we had no idea about the soil improvement and the erosion reduction we’d see. We learned very quickly that with no-till we could spread over many more acres, but we haven’t progressed like we should. Other countries like Brazil, Argentina, Australia that do not have the price structure like we have here have adopted no-till at a much greater rate than we have here in the U.S.”For Richards and many others reducing and eliminating tillage has changed the way they farm and view the soil.“No-till has been a revolution in the way we farm and those using it long term are really benefitting. Then when you add cover crops you really can see the benefits. One of the problems is that we are not doing a good job of measuring those benefits. We have to be able to prove that we are really benefitting and lowering the risk of farming,” Richards said. “No-till is not the only conservation practice, but it is the easiest and the best and the fastest way to raise productivity and make row-crop production much more efficient.  We have been taught that it is all about yield, but it is how much money you have left over at the end of the year that really counts. Some years for us, no-till has lost us money, but over time it has made up money. No-till farmers benefit long term and our tenants also really benefit from that soil improvement from no-till.”Today, no-till is seen as an important component of conservation and (maybe more importantly) improving soil health that is more often being considered in the ongoing 2018 Farm Bill discussions.“Back in the ’85 Farm Bill they tied conservation to agricultural payments for the farms. That got a great jump in no-till because no-till was the fastest easiest and most profitable way to meet those standards. That sort of slipped away,” Richards said. “That is something that will probably be looked at very carefully in this upcoming farm bill. There is going to be a big push to tie conservation to crop insurance and that will bring no-till to the front again.“What responsibility are we willing to accept in return for low-cost crop insurance? I think that is going to be one of the issues in the farm bill that will cause some discomfort in the countryside. I think we have the duty and moral responsibility to use the best conservation technology available to control erosion, improve soil and water quality and increase productivity in the production of food fiber and energy for the long term benefits of people all over the world.”Richards and others have speculated that soil health requirements for participation in the crop insurance program could be a future farm bill possibility. In the initial version of the 2018 Farm Bill released by the House Ag Committee last week the crop insurance program was virtually unchanged from the previous farm bill, though as more is learned about the complexities of measuring and improving soil health, there is greater likelihood that soil health will work its way into the farm bill.But what exactly is soil health? The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service defines it as: the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. Every farmer knows that some soils are healthier than others but there is still plenty to learn about why and how.Jim Hoorman, an NRCS soil health specialist based in Ohio, outlined four key principles of improving soil health.“The first one is minimizing your soil disturbance. When you till the soil, you are burning up your organic matter and we have lost 50% of our organic matter in most of our soils. The second principle is to maximize the amount of live roots. You want to feed the microbes and we know that where we have live roots we will get 1,000 or 2,000 times more microbes,” Hoorman said. “The third principle is rotate your crops and maximize surface residue. You rotate crops to minimize problems with insects and diseases and you want to keep surface residue to protect the soil from erosion. You also want to increase your biodiversity above ground and below ground. The more species you have out there, the more soil life you will have and the healthier the soil system will be. Those are the key principles we are promoting at the Soil Health Division of the Natural Resource Conservation Service.”Improving soil health is certainly not an overnight process, Hoorman said.“Many times we have to crawl before we walk or run. A lot of these farms started with no-till and later added cover crops. The best place to start with cover crops is after wheat because you have several months for things to grow. Other great places to start are after a hay crop or maybe after some CRP ground. As guys go along they learn more about equipment, seeding rates and management,” Hoorman said. “It is also important to get cover crops out early by using shorter season corn and soybeans so you can get your cover crops planted, growing in the fall and get more roots.”More farmers are finding that healthier soils will ultimately produce better yields with fewer inputs, though there are often short-term yield sacrifices for long-term gains for improved soil health and farm profitability. This is one factor that makes the soil health advantages hard to quantify and more challenging to incorporate into federal farm programs.Jim Moseley, former U.S. Department of Agriculture deputy secretary, was on a panel with Richards and others at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference in March and said he was hoping soil health would be a bigger part of the farm bill discussion this time around.“I have been kind of disappointed in the discussion of the farm bill in the last year and a half. It has been about maintaining the status quo,” Moseley said. “We have had an unprecedented amount of new information and enthusiasm beginning to come forth in this area of soil health. If you have this beginning to sweep across the landscape with farmers I guess I expected there would be something innovative that would come out of this legislation to move us forward a little bit and that just hasn’t happened.”Jim Moseley, former U.S. Department of Agriculture deputy secretary, talks about soil health and farm policy at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference.One bit of soil health progress in terms of federal policy Moseley highlighted, however, could develop with the March 1 introduction of the Agriculture Data Act of 2018. The legislation would aggregate and anonymize the vast amount of farmer data that the U.S. Department of Agriculture already manages, making it accessible to land-grant university researchers while maintaining producer privacy. There will likely be a push to include a version of the Agricultural Data Act of 2018 in the next farm bill with one goal being to potentially develop future policy based on gaining a better understanding of the benefits of soil health.“The world of big data is sweeping across agriculture so we can make better decisions. That is in the private sector, but in the public sector it is difficult to access the wealth of data in the RMA, FSA and NASS. We have worked on this project for a year and a half there has been legislation introduced to collate and access the data so we can do a better job of giving answers to some tough questions,” Moseley said. “What is the linkage between the farmers doing good conservation practices related to their net profitability? Individuals are trying to make that correlation but their data sets are hard to come by. USDA holds real data. You can take the real data and synthesize it into a real solution. Once you get that then you can begin to develop policy around it.”And, beyond policy development, the lessons potentially learned through the research made possible through the Agricultural Data Act of 2018 could add credence and incentive at the farm level to focus on improving soil health outside of federal policy. Proof of profitability is a powerful incentive.“The No. 1 question about conservation from farmers is, ‘How is it going to help me with profitability?’ Big picture, there are three things that help with profitability and production: genetics, technology and the third leg to that soil for us to feed the growing population is soil health,” Moseley said. “Without soil health we have an unstable stool. If we are absent soil health we don’t get there.”last_img read more

Ukrainian goes with Bitcoin ATMs to bypass banking system

first_imgUkraine will soon have 150 new ATMs for both buying and selling cryptocurrencies, with around 30 of the machines slated to open by the end of August, The Kiyv Post has learned from Mike Chobanyan, head of the Bitcoin agency in Ukraine.The devices will allow both selling and buying hryvnias, the national currency, and a variety of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoins, Ethereum (or Ether), Waves, and Golos.Ukrainian entrepreneurs want to install the ATMs because of the troubled situation with the Ukrainian banking system, which generates problems for businesses, Chobanyan told The Kyiv Post. Using cryptocurrencies allows businesses to bypass the traditional banking sector, he said, declining to reveal the names of the machine buyers.Chobanyan himself brought the first Ukrainian cryptocurrency ATM to Odessa, a city in southern Ukraine, in April 2017. This device allows users to withdraw amounts of at least 500 hryvnias or 0.1 Bitcoin, around $20 at the current exchange rate.Bitcoin began being accepted by pioneering Ukrainian merchants as early as 2014. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Top 5 Issues Faced by Futurists Tags:#atm#bitcoin#Fintech#Ukraine center_img 6 User-Interface Musts for Personal Finance Apps Related Posts Trevor Curwinlast_img read more

Do Blue Jackets feel overshadowed by Ohio State football team

Ohio State football has become a fixture of central Ohio sports since 1890, when the team played its first game in Columbus. Winning 36 conference titles and seven national titles since their inaugural season, the Buckeyes have led the way in putting Columbus on the map in the sports world. Although the Buckeyes are the face of Columbus sports, the city is home to three professional franchises as well, including the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Yet, entering their 10th season and lacking the steady success of OSU, with just one playoff appearance on their resume, the Jackets play second fiddle in Ohio’s capital city. But even with OSU’s prominence within the city, Blue Jackets’ right wing Jared Boll said he doesn’t feel like the Jackets play in the Bucks’ shadow. “Obviously Ohio State football has been around forever and they’re No. 1, but you know it’s a different sport and we can’t really look at it like that,” Boll said. “We just have to worry about winning games and hopefully that will draw the fans.” Many foreign-born players, such as Jackets’ defenseman Anton Stralman who is from Sweden, don’t even pay attention to OSU sports. “I’m not too much into football or basketball so I don’t really care about Ohio State,” Stralman said. “I don’t really think about it that way. I think hockey fits into this town; it’s a sports town for sure.” Despite averaging only around 85 percent home capacity at Nationwide Arena last season, compared with OSU annually ranking among the top in the nation in attendance, Stralman said that the bright future of the franchise will continue to attract Ohio sports enthusiasts to their games.     “As we’re getting better I think the crowds are going to pick up as well,” he said. “It is obviously important that we play good, attractive hockey. That’s what gets the fans here.” And with the Buckeyes consistently proving themselves as a national football powerhouse, Boll said there is no reason the two can’t coexist and even support one another.   “The first couple years (with the Blue Jackets) I didn’t really follow them much, but once you live here you kind of grow to like them and you kind of have to like them living in Columbus,” he said. “I enjoy watching the football games, watching them win; they’re a great football team, and it’s always fun to cheer for a winning team.” read more

Gattuso confirms Silva Kalinic will stay at Milan

first_imgAC Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso has confirmed that he intends to retain both Andre Silva and Nikola Kalinic for next seasonSilva joined the Rossoneri last summer from FC Porto in a €38m deal, but had only found the back of the net 10 times in his 40 appearances.Prior to joining Milan, the 22-year-old had scored 21 goals in 44 matches for Porto.Meanwhile, Kalinic completed a €25m move to Milan but he has appeared to be a mere shadow of the player he was during his time at Fiorentina and the Croatia international only scored six goals all season.Cristiano Ronaldo, JuventusSerie A Betting: Match-day 3 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Considering there is a number of perfect starts so early in the Serie A season, as well as a few surprisingly not-so perfect ones….But, despite a lacklustre season from both of them, Gattuso intends to keep the pair at the San Siro.“Kalinic and Andre Silva? I hope that they will improve, Andre Silva has scored. All of you keep talking about an exit for them but we will hold onto them both, tightly,” said Gattuso, via Calcio Mercato.last_img read more

Bodies Recovered From Crash Site Near Girdwood

first_imgRCC responded to the scene in a Pave Hawk helicopter and was able to confirm the crash and that there were no survivors. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享UPDATE:The Alaska State Troopers Helo 2 and members of Alaska Mountain Rescue Group recovered four bodies from the plane crash wreckage, according to an online dispatch released on Thursday. The bodies were transported to the State Medical Examiner for positive identification. The names of the deceased have not been release while next of kin is being notified. On August 4, AST received a report of a plane crash outside Girdwood on Goat Mountain near Eagle Glacier at approximately 5,000 feet elevation.center_img Original Post:  According to the FAA’s website, four people died. The plane that went down was a Piper PA22. One crew member and three passengers died.last_img read more

TRAI seeks power to penalise errant telcos

first_img1. MTNL10.4%8.2% A recent study on the rate of call drops by different carriers has highlighted their continuing poor performances, according to the telecom regulator, TRAI. The Call Drop Rate Performance study, though limited to national capital Delhi in its first leg, is the regulator’s efforts to improve the overall service quality.The Mint noted dropped calls (call drop) as those that terminate abruptly for technical reasons before the call is complete. Recently, there were reports that telcom service providers were using new technology to artificially keep the calls connected even though there was no voice exchange from the other end.The regulator said Aircel was using the radio link time out technology to mask call more than other carriers. However, the big four — Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Reliance Communication — too were requested to further decrease their drop rates. MTNL, the government run telecommunication carrier, was the other service provider monitored for the study. Ranking of Telecos based on Call Drop Rates in Delhi Ranking of Telecos based on Call Drop Rates in Delhi Ranking of Telecos based on Call Drop Rates in DelhiCompanies2G3G Ranking of Telecos based on Call Drop Rates in Delhi1. MTNL10.4%8.2% Ranking of Telecos based on Call Drop Rates in Delhi2. Idea0.9%6.2% Ranking of Telecos based on Call Drop Rates in Delhi3. Reliance Communication-5.2% Ranking of Telecos based on Call Drop Rates in Delhi4. Airtel3.3%2.2% Ranking of Telecos based on Call Drop Rates in Delhi5. Vodafone2.8%1.4% Related”We have been conducting drive tests to access quality regularly and for the last 8-9 months we have increased the tests in terms of coverage with the number of cities going up to almost 12,” TRAI chairman R.S. Sharma told the Mint.The May 2016 study, however, indicated only Vodafone to have had a reduction in its call drop rates in Delhi, while all others lurked where they were or showed increase in call drops against the January 2016 study. Idea’s 2G, with 0.9 percent call drop rates, was better than 2.1 percent seen in January.Except Vodafone and Reliance, all other telecos could not even meet the benchmark in terms of call drops in Delhi region, noted the Mint.A source told the news outlet that the regulator may seek penalising power for itself against faulting telecos. The regulator has already set up a portal to register call drop complaints. It has also warned that not more than 2 percent of the calls on each of the carriers network should be dropped.The study, conducted to analyse the overall service quality offered by the carriers, also focused on three other important parameters of call set-up success rate, signal quality (Rx quality) and blocked call rate.Pro teleco lobby group Broadband India Forum highlighted that the study was welcome as there was a sustained improvement in call set up rate across many telecos. On the call drop issue, another lobby group noted that some chosen areas in Delhi were highly congested. 5. Vodafone2.8%1.4% Companies2G3G 3. Reliance Communication-5.2% 4. Airtel3.3%2.2%  Ranking of Telecos based on Call Drop Rates in Delhi 2. Idea0.9%6.2%last_img read more

Meghan Markle being treated the same as this controversial Royal the Palace

first_imgMeghan MarkleGetty ImagesIt looks like Meghan Markle is being put through the ringer, just like Princess Diana was. The Duchess of Sussex faces the same gruelling treatment upon entering the Royal Family as Princess Diana, with both failing to get any training on life as a royal, according to Princess Diana’s former butler.Meghan Markle will have received no training upon entering the Royal Family in 2018 when she married Prince Harry in a lavish Windsor Castle ceremony, according to royal commentator Paul Burrell. And we have to say, that might just be the case as Meghan Markle has been dubbed “Duchess Difficult” by many, including the Royal staff. What the former Hollywood star may need is proper training to become a Royal. As being a celebrity and being a Royal are not the same thing.Reportedly Paul Burrell worked with Diana from 1987 until her death in 1997 and revealed she received very little training to prepare her for royal life. Mr. Burrell spoke to Yahoo’s Royal Box. When asked what training Meghan would have received after marrying into the Royal Family, he said: “Would you believe there is no rulebook. There is no etiquette lesson. There are no advisers…..Nobody prepares people coming into the Royal Family.”  Meghan MarkleGetty ImagesMeghan Markle has already rubbed quite a few people the wrong way with her disregard for Royal rules and protocols. When asked whether Meghan will have to “tone down” her beliefs as a royal, Mr Burrell replied: “Yes, of course. What comes with maturity is a set of beliefs and they don’t always sit well with the Royal Family.”But it looks like that is something Meghan Markle won’t be doing. As the Duchess of Sussex got her independence when the couple Sussex split from the Royal household. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle moved to Frogmore Cottage to raise baby Archie away from the Palace. Meghan Markle already seems to be carving her own path as a Royal.last_img read more

20000 families living in Coxs Bazar hills amid growing landslide risk

first_imgAround 20,000 families living in Cox’s Bazar hills amid landslide risk. Photo: UNBAround 20,000 families have been dwelling on hill slopes of Cox’s Bazar district town and other areas amid growing risk of landslide in the monsoon season.Increasing rains with the advent of monsoon and unabated hill cutting have intensified the risk of landslide, creating panic among the hill residents.Azmul Huda, general secretary of Cox’s Bazar forest and environment conservation council, an environmental organisation, said, “The Rohingya people who have been living in Ukhiya and Teknaf areas by cutting down over 6,000 acres of forest also brace for possible landslide.”Besides, over 10,000 families in Badshaghona, Light House, Dakshin Diggul, Dakshin Hazipara, Pahartali, Sahikkika Palli, Ghonarpara, Maheshkhailla Para, Kalatali Adarsha Gram, Borachara, Boidyaghona, Mohajer Para, Link Road, Muhuri Para, Janarghora areas of Cox’s Bazar town are at the risk of landslide, he added.Azmul Huda said around 10,000 families are living amid danger in the hilly areas of Ramu, Maheshkhali, Teknaf, Ukhiya and Pekua upazilas. Most of the houses have been built on the land of forest department and government (khas) lands.Around 20,000 families living in Cox’s Bazar hills amid landslide risk. Photo: UNBTalking to UNB, some residents of the town said many illegal structures have been built by clearing forests and hills owned by the district administration.Cox’s Bazar Bachao Andolon president advocate Ayachhur Rahman said it was necessary to evict the illegal structures from the vulnerable hills well before the monsoon set in.”Now the list of casualties will be long if landslides occur in the area,” he said.Cox’s Bazar environment department deputy director Nurul Amin said at least 54 people, including six members of Bangladesh Army, were killed in landslides in different areas of the district in 2010.The number of deaths in landslides was 200 from 2010 to 2017 in the district, he added.Around 20,000 families living in Cox’s Bazar hills amid landslide risk. Photo: UNB”Eviction drives alone can’t solve the problem. Massive awareness programmes are also necessary to stop people from dwelling on hill slopes,” he added.Nurul Amin said miscreants are cutting down hills secretly at nights despite regular raids against illegal hill cutting. “Manpower crisis hampers our drive.”Cox’s Bazar forest department sources said around 5,341 hectares of land of the south forest department and 7,053 hectares under west forest department have been grabbed.Hundreds of people are also illegally living in hilly khas land of the district administration, the sources said.Cox’s Bazar deputy commissioner Md Kamal Hossain told UNB that people living in hills will be shifted to safer places like previous years.”There had been no serious accident last year due to the collective efforts. We’ve formed several committees to conduct eviction drives in the hills,” he added.last_img read more

13yearold boy found hanging at home in Uttarpara

first_imgKolkata: Mystery shrouds the death of a 13-year-old boy whose body was found at his residence in Uttarpara in a strangulated condition.The incident triggered tension among locals. The family members of the victim, however, alleged that he was murdered following some family rivalry. Police are probing into all possible angles behind the incident. The victim has been identified as Subhojit Jana. He was a class VIII student of Uttarpara Amarendra Vidyapith in Hooghly. The incident took place in Mondalpara area of Uttarpara on Saturday evening when his parents were not Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeat home. According to the preliminary investigation, police suspect that the victim might have been playing with a piece of cloth when the incident occurred. They are also investigating if or not the victim was trying to enact a scene that he might have watched on television. It was learnt from the police sources that when his parents reached home they found that he was lying on the floor with a piece of cloth tied around his neck. They immediately took the victim to Uttarpara State General Hospital where the doctors pronounced him brought dead. The family members of the boy told the police that they suspect foul play behind the incident as there was a family rivalry going on for sometime. They demanded a high-level probe. The senior police officers in the district assured the family members that they are looking into all possible angles. Police have sent the body for an autopsy.last_img read more

Ecounselling for tech courses begins

first_imgKolkata: The West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations Board (WBJEEB) on Tuesday kicked off e-counselling for admission to four-year degree level engineering and technology, four-year degree level pharmacy, five-year degree level architecture and for all degree level courses in Jadavpur University. The total number of seats available for admission as per website of the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations Board is approximately more than 30,000. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataA detailed notification regarding eligibility and other criteria for e-counseling and admission has already been put up in the website of the Board. The results of West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination was declared on May 20 and 80,580 students are eligible to take part in the couselling. The total number of seats has been created by the state Higher Education department with feedback from all institutions both government and private. Last year, the total number of seats available for admission was around 34,000. The online choice filling of preferred subjects and institutions will continue till June 30. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateThe locking will be done at 12 pm on June 30 and the board will publish the first list of seat allotment on July 3. If a student is satisfied with his college and seat allotment he/ she can go to any of the 22 reporting centres across the state and can lock his/ her seat after furnishing documents, payment of admission fees and other formalities. If a candidate is dissatisfied with seat allotment he/ she will have to inform the reporting centre and opt for the second round counselling. The results of second round counseling will be notified on July 9. If a candidate is still not happy with the seat allotment he will be eligible for third which is the last round of counseling. The results of third round seat allotment will be published on July 13. “The dates for physical reporting and admission at finally allotted institutes will be held till July 4 to 20 and the admission process will close on July 20,” said registrar of West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations Board Dibyendu Kar. Candidates have been advised to go through the notifications of the board before opting for counseling and other formalities for admission which has been clearly notified by the Board. Malayendu Saha, president of WBJEEB said that the board wants all institutions to commence classes by August 1. The majority of institutions available for admission on the basis of results of state Joint Entrance Examination in Bengal is affiliated to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Technology(MAKAUT). The total number of institutions under MAKAUT is 215 among which 90 offers pure engineering. It may be mentioned that the All India Council of Technical Education has recently denied affiliation to around 2,700 engineering colleges across the country as several seats in these colleges were lying vacant for the last few years.last_img read more