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Posts Tagged: Morrill Act

A 'multi-million dollar food fight' heats up, plus other recent news coverage

Currently, GMO labeling is not required in the United States. Some manufacturers label foods that do not contain GMOs.
Alison Van Eenennaam, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis, commented on a KCRA news segment about Proposition 37, an initiative on California's November ballot that, if passed, would require special labeling on products that contain genetically modified ingredients.

The reporters called the proposition a "multi-million dollar food fight."

"All of the data that's come out from the American Medical Association and National Academy of Sciences have all agreed that the food products on the market today that are genetically engineered are safe," Van Eenennaam told the reporter

Polls show the 'Yes on Proposition 37' campaign  is "way ahead" of those who oppose the initiative, "but there's a long way to go until November," the reporter said.

Vision still pays dividends after 150 years
Sacramento Bee editorial

The Sacramento Bee editorial staff called the 1862 Congress of the United States one of the most productive in American history. One of the reason was it's passage of the Morrill Land-Grant College Act July 2, 1862. The act created the world's best system of public colleges and universities for people of modest means, the editorial said. Previously most Americans had no access to higher education. California took up the land-grant offer in 1864 and the University of California was born – at Berkeley – in 1868. Later, the University Farm would become UC Davis. The Citrus Experiment Station would become UC Riverside.

Building a better, tastier tomato
Lauren Sommer, QUEST Northern California, KQED

Lauren Sommer interviewed Ann Powell, associate researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, about her finding that the gene that creates "green shoulders" in tomatoes influences the amount of sugar in the ripe fruit. Powell says now that they know about this gene, plant breeders could put it back in commercial varieties.

Bees need a hand, especially in drought
Debbie Arrington, Sacramento Bee

In honor of National Honeybee Day, the Sacramento Bee paid homage to the indispensable pollinator with information about the challenges it faces. Colony collapse disorder, drought and urbanization take their toll. There was some good news: "Bees got through the winter a little better," said Eric Mussen, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, apiculture. "This spring, we saw bigger, earlier and more swarms." However, nationwide, the hot dry summer has made it a tough year for honey production.

Posted on Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 9:47 AM

NPR talks about land grant universities

Pete Goodell, UC Cooperative Extension advisor, sweeps a cotton field to monitor insects.
While visiting the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, NPR's Talk of the Nation did a segment about land grant universities.

Sara from Fresno called into the show to explain the role of UC Cooperative Extension. She said:  "...we use the extension service to help us determine what kinds of things we can use to keep the crop healthy, not just pesticides, but how to check the crops and to make sure that they're healthy. They use independent research all the time to help us with this. And with the public funds just dwindling, we have a lot less independent research that go on and have to go on more of what the chemical companies are telling us."

When asked for an example, according to the show's transcript, Sara said: "Well, I'm looking at a cotton crop right now, and the farmer advisers, the cotton farmer advisors in California, helped us what the program called plant mapping, where we were able to take a look at what's going on with the plant even though we might have bugs out that could be damaging the crops."

Sandy Rikoon, professor of rural sociology at the University of Missouri, told listeners, "Many countries are trying to duplicate the extension system. Many countries have research, agricultural research, but what they don't have is that group of people who take the research and then take it to the people."

Host Neal Conan mistakenly said the California State University is one of the land grants and we have asked NPR to correct the online version to state that UC is California's land grant institution. 

Posted on Friday, July 6, 2012 at 11:56 AM

UC marks 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act

Los Angeles Times writer Patt Morrison moderated a panel discussion at the Morrill Act celebration.
At a gathering on the west lawn of the state Capitol on Monday, University of California President Mark G. Yudof called the Morrill Act, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862, "A catalyst that transformed the United States." The legislation provided federal land to states to build universities that would extend to more Americans educational opportunities in agriculture and the mechanical arts. The act launched the University of California.

Los Angeles Times reporter Patt Morrison moderated a panel discussion at the event, and wrote a post about the Morrill Act sesquicentennial on the newspaper's Opinion L.A. blog today.

Morrison asked Abraham Lincoln, portrayed at the event by lanky Sonoma County teacher Roger Vincent, "President Lincoln - the opportunity for every American to go to college? Really?" He nodded.

"'What a snob,' I remarked," Morrison wrote in her post, a reference, she said, to former senator and former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum gibing at President Obama’s goal of making a college education available to all Americans.

When Lincoln was president, 50 percent of Americans were involved in producing food. A steady movement away from the occupation has created significant challenges and opportunities for the agriculture industry.

"Americans may be even more aware of what they eat, the panelists noted, with the growth of popularity of organic foods and health-conscious diets like First Lady Michelle Obama’s, but even less aware of where food comes from and how it gets from field to plate," Morrison wrote.

Yudof and UC Cooperative Extension advisor Rose Hayden-Smith, a historian and leader of ANR's Sustainable Farming Systems Strategic Initiative, made speeches. The texts of their presentations are linked below.

Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 2:15 PM
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