SOUTH DEERFIELD — Congressman Jim McGovern, flanked by a dozen federal and state agricultural officials, including representatives from UMass Extension Service and the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, rolled into western Massachusetts on August 25 as part of a two-day tour of farms around the Congressional district. Katie Campbell-Nelson, a University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension educator, was present at several of the farms where she teaches pest management practices. (8/25 Republican, 8/25 Hampshire Gazette, 8/25 Recorder)
News from the Media
NORTHFIELD — The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct project, in some cases, may benefit certain species but could cause significant harm to others.
Scott Jackson, associate professor of wetlands and wildlife conservation at the University of Massachusetts, has developed a Natural Resource Assessment report, outlining core habitats susceptible to harm from the installation of a pipeline and compressor station. (Recorder 8/11/15)
With trans fats on the way out, Americans can expect to see new shortenings in their snack foods. But will the replacements be any better?
In the future, customers can expect to see monounsaturated or “high oleic” oils in their foods.
“This is going to be the next trend. We’ll see our consumption of monounsaturated fats going way up,” said Eric Decker, head of the Department of Food Science at UMass Amherst. “This is the next big experiment on the United States population.” (The Commercial Appeal 8/7/15)
Jon Clements of UMass Extension, who works at the university’s Cold Spring research orchard in Belchertown said he has every reason to believe that this year’s crop will be above average.
“There hasn’t really been anything that’s had an adverse effect on it,” Clements said. “There was no spring frost, and the bloom was normal. We actually had a heavy bloom, there were lots of flowers. There was just no stress to the trees this year, there’s plenty of fruit out there.” (Recorder 8/7/15)
AMHERST, Mass. – Biochemist Elizabeth Vierling at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently received a three-year, $682,982 National Science Foundation grant to study how plants respond, at the molecular and cellular level, to stress in their environment and the role of a regulatory protein called S-nitrosoglutathione reductase (GSNOR). (8/5/15 News Release, 8/5/15 4-Traders.com, 8/6/15 Republican)
AMHERST – In recent years, the University of Massachusetts has offered a number of summer programs, but until this year a program in sustainable agriculture was missing. Ten students from around the country came to campus to the one-week program the last week of July. Their only regret was it wasn't two weeks long.
UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture instructor Sarah Berquist taught the program on sustainability and food systems. She said the summer is perfect for a program like this because "harvest is abundant." And she said the program "is a great opportunity to spread the word about our great program." (8/6/15 Mass Live)
A new program about environmental awareness kicks off in western Massachusetts today. The US Forest Service along with the University of Massachusetts, the city of Springfield, and the nonprofit Regreen Springfield will hold a series of workshops to highlight the importance of trees, birds and water in urban neighborhoods. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with David Bloniarz, a researcher with the U.S. Forest Service. To listen, click here.
Massachusetts honeybees are disappearing without a trace. Hives are left barren of bees, save for a small cluster of larvae, nurse bees, and an abandoned queen.The question is: Why?
Tuesday on Beacon Hill, scientists and lawmakers convened to explore the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder and to seek ways to protect decimated bee populations.
“We saw a 40 percent loss in bees this year in Worcester County,” Kenneth Warchol, program director of the Worcester County Beekeepers Association, said in an interview. “Bees are like canaries in a coal mine — they’re sending us a message that something’s wrong here.”
The USDA recently awarded a five-year, $241,000 grant to a team of food science researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to create a graduate training program that will combine laboratory research and practical application to help producers and processors improve the safety of fresh produce in the food supply.
Faculty and graduate students offered presentations on a variety of research topics including growing malt barley, cover crops in potato production, hardwood biochar in agricultural soils, effects of bee disease on hedgerow plantings, dual-purpose cover crops and much more.
The 358-acre agronomy and vegetable farm conducts research on vegetable crops, agronomic and bioenergy crops, organic agriculture and pasture. The farm has both a student-run vegetable project as well as a project that researches cattle, offering students hands-on experience with livestock. Faculty, extension staff and graduate students conduct applied research and are assisted by technicians, field staff and undergraduate students. (6/24/15 WWLP Channel 22)