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July 8, 2016

Over the past 20 years, the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (the “2501 Program”) has invested millions of dollars into our nation’s community-based organizations, land grant universities, and cooperative extension. This funding has been used by grant recipients to develop and strengthen innovative outreach and technical assistance programs and other resources targeted at historically underserved producers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of nearly $10 million for the program. Proposals for this year’s funding cycle are due July 29.

Unique footage of a Bryde’s Whale has been released by Auckland University of Technology. The footage shows an adult whale feeding, briefly joined by a young calf, and was filmed from a drone off the coast of Auckland. It is thought to be the first time the feeding behavior of a Bryde’s Whale has been recorded by an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The jaws of this whale are lined with between 250 and 365 plates of baleen, which bear long, coarse bristles on the inner edge, used for trapping food. The skin of the Bryde’s whale is black or dark grey, with white patches on the throat and chin, and may sometimes appear mottled due to pock marks caused by parasites and small sharks.

The ecology of an area changes when humans move in and build homes and businesses. Sometimes this has a direct impact on disease development. Researchers in the University of Illinois Department of Entomology have been working on this intersection with the ecology and think it possible to limit our risks. Research conducted by Prof. Brian Allan found that the removal of bush honeysuckle significantly reduces the disease risk posed by lone star ticks due to reduced habitat and forage for critical tick hosts (e.g., deer).  These findings suggest that management of plant invasions can reduce human disease risk, a possible win-win scenario for conservation and human health. 

UPCOMING EVENTS

July 11 - Farm Dreams, Blue  Yonder Organic Farm, North Salem, IN
August 15-18 - Midwest Community Development Institute, Moline, IL
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