“Strategies to rebuild the soil, the foundation of all agricultural production, are essential to ensure that agricultural lands impacted by the floods are productive again,” said Congressman, Tom Latham (IA-4), co-chair of the Congressional Soils Caucus. “Sediment and debris removal and reconstruction of fields after erosion can be extremely costly. It is essential to have strategies and programs in place that assist producers in this regard.”
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) sponsored a Congressional educational briefing, “Farming after the Flood”, on October 26th. The briefing focused on the impacts, mitigation approaches, and costs related to farmland flooding. The three speakers providing information on these main aspects of flooding included:
• Scott Olson, a farmer from Tekamah, Nebraska (NE), discussed the economic and environmental impacts that flooding has had on his family operated corn and soybean farm, as well as on other producers in Burt County, NE located near the Missouri River. Since May 28, Scott has documented the 2011 Missouri River Flood with over 3,000 aerial photographs. You can find photos of the flood at: www.leevalley.net.
• John Wilson, an extension educator with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, discussed the common problems farmers encounter in post-flood recovery and presented a series of management options for addressing these challenges. John co-leads a team of extension staff from Iowa State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to reclaim agricultural land devastated by the 2011 Missouri River Flood. Archives of related webinar presentations are located at: http://flood.unl.edu/crops.
• James Callan, a crop insurance consultant, provided insight into the Federal crop insurance program that is available to mitigate the negative economic impacts from flooding damage and crop yield losses. James served six years in USDA, from 2003 to 2009, in the capacity of Chief of External Affairs, Associate Administrator, and Acting Administrator of the Risk Management Agency, which collectively administer the multi-billion dollar Federal crop insurance program.
During the briefing, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1), a member of the Congressional Soils Caucus, stated, "Scott and John are acutely aware of the economic impacts of the flooding and I appreciate that they took the time to visit D.C. to share their experience with members and staff here." He continued, saying "We have spent considerable time with the communities up and down the Missouri River to serve as a conduit of information on the recovery of economic losses incurred from the flood. It seems like the local communities have been working with the State in the good spirit of cooperation that still runs strong in Nebraska."
Many agricultural fields will need to undergo a significant recovery process, including the removal of sediment from fields, if crop yields are to recover. In many cases, the soil is physically damaged; therefore gullies need to be filled and top soil replaced. ‘Flooded soil syndrome’, a condition which occurs when flooding results in fields devoid of plant roots and decreases soil microbial and fungal populations, is also a serious problem. One way to stimulate soil microbial and fungal activity is to plant cover crops. Cover crops protect the soil from erosion, improve the structure for soil, conserve below-ground moisture, and provide a habitat for soil biology. Federal conservation and insurance programs can help offset some of the costs of mitigating the impacts of flooding. As producers seek to offset their losses from the flood, support for these programs is foremost on their minds. Cooperative extension, education, and research have been fundamental for providing producers with information on how to deal with this unique and devastating situation.
To view a PDF of the PowerPoint presentations from the “Farming after the Flood” educational briefing, please visit: https://www.soils.org/science-policy/activities/educational-briefings. To view the one-page summary developed for the briefing, please see: https://www.soils.org/files/science-policy/flood-one-pager-final.pdf.
The Soil Science Society of America sponsors joint educational briefings with other organizations several times a year. To view information from those briefings see: https://www.soils.org/science-policy/activities/educational-briefings.
The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive, international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members dedicated to advancing the field of soil science, providing information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use. For more information, visit www.soils.org.
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) www.agronomy.org, is a scientific society helping its 8,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services. For more information, visit www.agronomy.org
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Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
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