MAY 5, 2010
Vol. 28 No. 19
UGA RESEARCHERS CREATE DISEASE-FIGHTING GENETIC PROCESS Scientists with the University of Georgiaâ€™s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have created a process that could be used to fight a variety of debilitating human diseases and lead to the development of healthier, more environmentally friendly livestock. Steven Stice, director of the UGA Regenerative Bioscience Center and Research Assistant Franklin West introduced pluripotent stem cells - which can develop into any type of cell in the body - into developing pig fetuses to contribute to the development of cells for a variety of tissue types, including lungs, kidney, heart, skin and muscle. The study produced 13 healthy piglets and revealed a method for making pigs that can be used as a source of cells and organs for regenerative medicine. This is the first time pigs have been produced from pluripotent stem cells. In an announcement May 4, the university said the pluripotent stemcell research could hold the key to new therapies for human diseases, including diabetes. Similar processes have been done in mice, which are poor physiological models for human medical studies and are not a source of tissue and organs for human therapy. Pigs are closer to humans physiologically and thus better for medical study. The project could be a boon to transplant research. Pig organs are used as transplants, but the rejection rate is high because the human body recognizes pig tissue as a foreign substance. The UGA discovery will allow researchers to make genetic modifications that will improve transplant success rates. Stice and Westâ€™s discovery is a new tool that can be used to determine which sources of cells work best in treating particular diseases. In addition to the human medical applications, the study sought ways to produce disease-resistant livestock. The growth of more healthy, productive livestock in developing countries could help alleviate poverty and starvation. These animals can be effectively raised on lower-quality feed and do not require high-nutrient additives. Producing pigs through use of pluripotent stem cells is less problematic and less controversial than cloning. Once the pigs from the study reach sexual maturity and it is determined that they produce viable sperm and egg cells, they can begin naturally mating, and their offspring will produce the cells needed to move move into the therapy stage and clinical trials.
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WATER ENHANCEMENT AID NOW AVAILABLE IN SOUTHWEST GEORGIA The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for additional financial assistance under the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) until May 14. This program provides technical and financial assistance to farmers in 27 Southwest Georgia counties to improve water quality and quantity on their farms. NRCS has $1 million available in fiscal year 2010 for participants to implement advanced irrigation management practices, including drop nozzle irrigation retrofits with end gun shutoffs, remote soil moisture monitoring, sod-based rotation and variable rate irrigation. The eligible counties are Baker, Calhoun, Chattahoochee, Clay, Colquitt, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Houston, Lee, Macon, Marion, Miller, Mitchell, Randolph, Schley, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Taylor, Terrell, Turner, Webster and Worth. Part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), AWEP includes payments for management activities and cost sharing for installation of certain conservation practices. AWEP’s programs include activities for micro-irrigation systems, irrigation water management plans, roof runoff management and irrigation reservoir planning, to name a few. The 2008 farm bill allocated $73 million for AWEP in FY2010. Producers should contact an NRCS office at a local USDA Service Center to apply. Visit http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/ for a directory of service centers. For more information about this and other NRCS programs, visit www.ga.nrcs.usda.gov.
HOUSE, SENATE BILLS WOULD EXPAND REACH OF CLEAN WATER ACT Two bills in Congress, the Clean Water Restoration Act in the Senate and America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act in the House, seek to remove the word “navigable” from the Clean Water Act (CWA), greatly expanding the scope of the 1972 law. America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act (H.R. 5088), introduced by Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), would expand the original CWA to cover all waters. It is the fifth such attempt in the House to expand CWA jurisdiction beyond its original intent. The Clean Water Restoration Act (S. 787), introduced by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) and assigned to the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, would grant the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers jurisdiction over all waters within the states, including groundwater, ditches, storm drains and farm ponds, as well as all activities affecting these waters, public or private. Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 interpreted the Clean Water Act as limited to Congress’ use of the term “navigable” in the original law, an important limit to federal regulatory control. Farm Bureau is concerned that the expansion of federal control will result in burdensome environmental regulations on agricultural producers. Georgia has made extensive progress in water management and policy at the state level. The state’s regional water councils work to develop plans to manage water within Georgia. GFB supports those councils and has been active in the water planning process. By removing “navigable” from the CWA, most of the local authority for water planing will be stripped away in favor of greater federal control.
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GA. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION DIVISION BURN BAN IN EFFECT Georgia’s annual air quality ban on outdoor burning, mostly in the northern half of the state, began on May 1. The annual restrictions will be in place for 54 counties through September 30. The ban prohibits citizens and businesses from burning yard and landclearing debris. It is in addition to the year-round state ban on the burning of household garbage. The following counties are subject to the 2010 burn ban: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Columbia, Coweta, Crawford, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Richmond, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Twiggs, Upson, Walker, and Walton. The outdoor burning ban is under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Environmental Protection Division (EPD), Air Protection Branch. According to the EPD, which imposes the ban on outdoor burning to comply with federal clean air regulations, the ozone levels and levels of fine particulate matter in North Georgia reach unhealthy levels during the summer months and open burning is a significant contributor of pollutants that form ozone. Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) Prescribed Fire Program Manager Neal Edmondson said most burns for established agricultural purposes are exempt from the ban, but he emphasized that before conducting the burns producers should contact the GFC for information about what types of burns are allowed in their county. To apply for a burn permit, call 1-877-OK2-BURN. The phone system informs callers whether they can burn in their county. Residents may also call their county GFC office for more information or visit www.GaTrees.org. BEEF CHECKOFF TO LAUNCH NEW AD CAMPAIGN Hoping to advance the idea that beef is healthy to eat, the beef checkoff is launching a new advertising campaign called “Profiles,” which will include print advertisements, checkoff radio spots and state Beef Council promotion activities. “Profiles” seeks to build on the success of the “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner,” campaign. It is aimed at informing consumers on the variety of lean meat choices beef offers. There are 29 lean beef cuts, and the promotion is designed to play up that fact. The initial phase will include cuts of T-bone, tenderloin, top loin, top sirloin, top round and 95 percent lean ground beef on plates with healthy side dishes. “Americans have a love affair with beef,” said Iowa producer Terri Carstensen, chair of the checkoff’s advertising committee, “but traditionally they hold back from choosing it because of nutritional concerns. Yet beef provides 10 essential nutrients needed for a healthy, active lifestyle.” Carstensen said the campaign will emphasize the eating experience and how beef fuels the body.
Leadership Alert page 4 of 4 UPCOMING EVENTS DEEP SOUTH POULTRY CONFERENCE May 12 UGA Tifton Rural Development Center Tifton This conference provides education programming for poultry producers with emphasis on broiler and breeder management. Contact Claudia Dunkley at (229) 386-3363 or email@example.com. LEGUME MANAGEMENT FIELD DAY May 13 Central Georgia Research and Education Center Eatonton This field day lasts from at 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and will cover forest legume development and use of forest legumes in grazing systems. For more information, visit www.caes.uga.edu/commodities/fieldcrops/forages/events/misc/LegFD10.htm. U.S. HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE FARM BILL HEARING May 14 Clayton State University 1:30 p.m. Morrow This is one in a series of field hearings being held across the country by the House Agriculture Committee regarding U.S. farm policy in advance of the 2012 Farm Bill. Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall and GFB Peanut Advisory Committee member Andy Bell will be among those testifying. Live video coverage of each hearing can be found on the committee's Web site: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/audio.html. The committee will also collect public comments on its Web site: http://agriculture.house.gov/inside/feedbackform.html. All comments received online by June 14 will be included in the committee's farm bill field hearing record. DEADLINE TO SUBMIT RECIPES FOR GFB COOKBOOK May 14 Georgia Farm Bureau is preparing to publish a cookbook to honor promote Georgia agriculture. Send us your favorite recipe whether it’s an original you’ve created yourself, a traditional dish passed down for generations or your own unique spin on a classic. Recipe categories include: appetizers, beverages, breads, soups, salads, dressings, poultry and eggs, beef, pork, lamb and game, shellfish and fish, vegetables and side dishes, slow cooker recipes and desserts. Cooking and eating are about sharing, community and friendship. If there is a special memory associated with your recipe, please share that, too, so we can include that with your recipe. You must be a Farm Bureau member to submit a recipe and there is a limit of two recipes per person. To submit a recipe visit http//:www.gfb.org and click on the “Recipes Needed” icon near the top of the web page. If you don’t have access to a computer, take your recipe to your county Farm Bureau office for assistance in having it submitted. MILK QUALITY & MASTITIS CONTROL WORKSHOP May 19 Greene County Extension Office & Stewart Dairy 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Greensboro Workshop will cover how mastitis develops, mastitis and quality milk standards, mastitis detection and control of mastitis. Training will be available for both English and Spanish speaking producers and employees. Workshop will begin at Greene County Extension Office and will include a provided lunch courtesy of Shamrock Animal Health Services, Inc. After lunch the workshop will continue at the Stewart Dairy in White Plains. The $20 registration fee covers the cost of the book Winning the Fight Against Mastitis, which is available in English and Spanish. The registration deadline is May 14. Please call 706453-2083 to register or for more information. FOREST CARBON OFFSET MEETING May 20 Georgia Forestry Commission Headquarters Macon Landowners, foresters, and other stakeholders are invited to attend a free informational meeting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on opportunities available to landowners and foresters in the carbon market. Lunch will be provided. For more information, contact GFC Forester Josh Love, at (706) 437-6961 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To register, visit http://workshop.climateactionreserve.org/