Family Food Bytes
CULVER’S BOOSTS AG ED (FarmWeek). Culver’s restaurants donated $465,000 in 2018 to agricultural educational programs, including the Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation and FFA programs, to help ensure that younger generations have access to agricultural education. The donations are part of Culver’s Thank You Farmers Project, an initiative that supports agricultural education programs that teach smart farming.
PEORIA AG LAB KEEPING BUSY – Ongoing research at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research could benefit consumers across the U.S. in more ways than one. Work at Peoria’s ag lab has not only uncovered possible replacements for deet, a common insect repellant, but also identified a way to amplify the effectiveness of penicillin and other common antibiotics.
NO TASTE FOR WASTE (FarmWeeknow) - Farmers put great effort into producing their crops knowing they’re feeding a growing population. Unfortunately, a surprising amount of farmers’ harvests never reach their intended source. According to No Taste for Waste, as many as 160 billion pounds of food are left uneaten each year. Food waste is the single greatest contributor to landfills, and significant portions of valuable inputs — including water — are dedicated to crops that will eventually be discarded. The No Taste for Waste initiative is a collaboration between the American Farm Bureau Federation, CropLife America, The Meredith Corporation, and Valent, to bring attention to the nation’s food waste problem. One product of the initiative is a bookazine called “Waste Less, Save More,” which appeared on shelves last summer.
According to No Taste for Waste, a surprising amount of farmers’ harvests never reach their intended source. In fact, as many as 160 billion pounds of food are left uneaten each year. (Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)
SCIENTISTS ‘HACKING PHOTOSYNTHESIS’ (NPR’s The Salt) – Scientists at the University of Illinois are working to ‘hack photosynthesis,’ with the goal of growing stronger plants faster, with less need to detoxify molecules picked up in the air. “This is very important,” said biologist Amanda Cavanagh. “It’s really the first major breakthrough showing that one can indeed engineer photosynthesis and achieve a major increase in crop productivity.”
SOLAR POWER SOON KNOCKING ON DOORS OF CHICAGO AREA (Crain’s Chicago Business) – Solar power is coming soon to Illinois, but not in the way advocates envisioned when a landmark 2016 state law set the stage for the boom. The “community solar” program mandated in the 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act, is set to kick off within weeks. Chicago-area residents should prepare for offers to purchase subscriptions in solar farms that potentially could offer savings on their electric bills, as well as the positive feeling of making more renewable energy happen in the state.
WIDELY EDIBLE COTTONSEED MEAL CLOSER TO REALITY (is there a source?) For human food or animal feed, another source of protein could be on the horizon. The world could benefit from the life work of Keerti Rathore, Ph.D., a research plant biotechnologist at Texas A&M, who says, “The world’s cottonseed production could meet the basic protein needs of about 500 million people.” Rathmore’s team finally developed a transgenic cotton plant with ultra-low gossypol levels in the seed. Earlier this fall, the USDA approved the team’s petition for determination of non-regulated status, moving the meal from the seed one step closer to becoming a feed and food source – and increased competition for soybean meal. A cotton plant produces a lot of seeds. Worldwide, farmers produce about 45-46 million tons of the seed, which contains about 23 percent protein. But today, the source of protein cannot be used for human nutrition or feed for monogastric animals such as pigs because cottonseed contains the toxin gossypol. Today, cattle can be fed cottonseed because they can tolerate gossypol.
About Family Food Bytes: This is a collection of articles gathered from both mainstream and agriculture media and is designed to keep you informed as a member and leader within the Cook County Farm Bureau organization. The articles summarized above are not intended to represent Cook County Farm Bureau policy or positions, but rather to provide members an idea of what is being reported regionally, nationally, and globally.