Extension Ag Update
December 2008
Articles Research Resources Internet Links Ag Facts Education

Internet Links

Agriculture & Public Health Gateway
The Agriculture & Public Health Gateway is a project of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. The Gateway provides a central place to access information about public health, agriculture, and the links between these two fields. It can be a useful resource for public health and agricultural professionals, advocacy and community organizations, policy makers, journalists, and educators.

Clean Energy Farming: Cutting Costs, Improving Efficiencies, Harnessing Renewables
This publication provides farmers with examples of ways to improve energy efficiency while saving money and utilize renewable fuels.

Energy Estimator for Tillage

Energy Estimator for Tillage is the first of several tools from Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) developed to increase energy awareness in agriculture. The tool estimates diesel fuel use and costs in the production of key crops in your area and compares potential energy savings between conventional tillage and alternative tillage systems. The crops covered are limited to the most predominant crops in 74 Crop Management Zones (CMZ's). NRCS agronomists have identified these crops and estimated the fuel use associated with common tillage systems. Without including every crop and tillage system, the Energy Estimator gives you an idea of the magnitude of diesel fuel savings under different levels of tillage.

Farm Risk Planning
USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) has launched an online resource to aid farmers and ranchers in focusing on how to protect against down-side risks, as well as how best to take advantage of up-side opportunities in the market.  The new resource allows producers to complete a risk management checklist, identify their enterprise’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and explore a wealth of risk management information.  The new resource features four modules: Risk Management Planning, Better Marketing Planning, New Enterprise Planning, and the Farm Planning Library. Each contains the best available information, consolidating resources from leading Land Grant Universities and government agencies.
Producers are able to complete two exercises online which give them a novel look at their risk management situation. First is the Risk Management Checklist, a three-page list of questions to stimulate conversation among the family or leadership team of any farm or ranch operation.
The second is a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis, a commonly used planning exercise in the business world, recognizing that small- to medium-sized farms are serious businesses which must use the same tools as any other modern business.

DiagnosticSpeak, The Ohio State University
Writer: Mauricio Espinoza, (330) 202-3550, espinoza.15@osu.edu
Source: Daral Jackwood, Center for Diagnostic Assays, OARDC, (330) 263-3964jackwood.2@osu.edu,
This is a valuable resource for any professional who works with diagnostics, including university researchers studying infectious diseases and food safety; large- and small-animal veterinarians and technicians; industry personnel monitoring herd or plant health; professionals in trade and industry associations; federal and state government scientists, including veterinarians and diagnostic laboratory personnel; private diagnostic laboratory professionals; and manufacturers of assays and reagents.

“Although there are multiple platforms for researchers to uncover information about infectious disease diagnostics, there is no single site known for quick collaboration between academicians, industry, manufacturers, government and other professionals working to diagnose diseases in animals and plants,” said CDA Director Daral Jackwood, a molecular biologist with the university’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).  Worldwide in scope, DiagnosticSpeak seeks to connect the scientific community of infectious disease investigators with each other and with the end users of diagnostic tools. “If someone has a question about a disease, test or technology, they can come to the site and find the right person with the right answer,” Jackwood explained.

Users of this Web site will find forums that address their particular interests and needs on a wide variety of areas, including bacteriology, parasitology, entomology and vectors, food safety, assay technology, and many others. The forum also provides technical information on various diagnostic tools and specific diseases.  To guarantee the integrity of information posted to the site, each forum at DiagnosticSpeak has assigned moderators — experts in the field — who will contribute to and monitor thread content.

For more information about DiagnosticSpeak.com, and to inquire about corporate sponsorships, contact Jackwood at (330) 263-3964 or jackwood.2@osu.edu.

New Farm Foundation Report: The 30-Year Challenge
Farm Foundation released a new report outlining major challenges and issues agriculture will confront in providing food, fiber and energy to a growing world over the next 30 years. The new report examines issues agriculture and policy makers may face in addressing the challenge of providing food, fiber and energy to a growing world.

Oilseed Processing for Small-Scale Producers
There are many varieties of seeds and nuts that can produce oils for food, nutraceuticals, skincare products, aromatherapies, fuels and industrial lubricants. This publication updated in 2008 describes the basic processes involved in oil processing including seed cleaning, extraction, clarification, packaging and storage. Sources for more information and equipment are included in the References and Resources sections at the end of the publication.