Thursday, February 22, 2018

Climate and Grazing Land

We often see pieces on climate change and its impact on agriculture. Many of these articles are focused on the impact to cash crops,  but a recent study by the University of Minnesota takes a closer look at the impact of climate change on grazing areas. We invite you to read through the linked article and utilize the discussion points provided to guide your conversations around the globe!

Global Grazing Lands Increasingly Vulnerable to a Changing Climate

Discussion Points

  • What did this study find? Be specific?
  • Why can grazing land be at a higher risk due to climate change than some other areas?
  • Many points were shared regarding climate change and global grazing areas. Of all the points shared which did you find most surprising and why?
  • In your opinion what can be done to combat climate change in grazing areas? Justify your reasoning. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Antimicrobial Resistance in Kenya

Antibiotics are a tool that farmers and producers can use to battle sickness and disease with their livestock. But like many things in this world, if a good thing is overused or abused there can be harmful results. This is the case with antimicrobial resistance. Often times developing countries can be at a much higher risk of antimicrobial resistance for a variety of reasons. The linked video from the FAO shows how farmers in Kenya are protecting against antimicrobial resistance.

AMR in Kenya - Rising to the Challenge

Discussion Points

  • What is antimicrobial resistance (AMR)? If someone walked up to you on the street and asked you what AMR is and why it is a concern what would you tell them?
  • What are farmers in Kenya doing to combat and protect against AMR? Of these practices which do you feel is most important and why?
  • In the video it stated that developing countries are at a higher risk of AMR. Why is this?
  • The "one health" concept mentioned in the video calls on everyone to fight AMR. Why is this so important? How do we get everyone to "buy in" to fighting AMR?

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Green Milk

Many are well aware of China’s growing demand for food speicifically meat. However, did you now that milk consumption is on the rise in China as well? The linked article takes a look at this demand and the potential impact expanding could have on the country if practices are not changed and improved. We encourage you to read through the linked article and utilize the discussion points provided to guide conversations around the world!

China’s Need to Turn Milk Green

Discussion Points

  • What has been the trend of milk consumption in China over the past years and what direction is it heading?
  • The article calls for a need to change current practices. What would be the impact if dairy production expanded in China and dairy producers kept doing “business as usual?”
  • China is calling on other countries for advice and education to improve their practices. As a world community we can all learn so much from another. Whether we adapt others practices directly or it causes us to reflect, analyze, and improve things indirectly; we can truly learn so much from one another. We challenge you to pick an area of interest to you in agriculture (dairy, swine, crops, horticulture, natural resources, etc.) and research another countries practices, rules and regulations, facilities/equipment, etc. Have a discussion on what your home country can learn from that country and what you might do differently to improve things at home.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Gene Editing and Global Hunger

This week we take a look at the potential impact of gene editing and genetic modifications to impact hunger at a global level. This topic often can become controversial, but there are opportunities for great discussion if civil discussions can occur. We encourage you to utilize the discussion points below to have conversations around gene editing and genetic modifications in agriculture with others. It is important to have these conversations with those in agriculture, but we challenge you to have these conversations with those not directly tied to agriculture as well. Everyone is a consumer and needs to know their options and be able to make educated decisions.

Can gene editing provide a solution to global hunger?

Discussion Points
  • How can genetically modified or gene edited crops help combat global hunger?
  • What is the difference between genetically modifying and gene editing?
  • What are the benefits and concerns with gene editing and gene modification? 
  • Do some additional research. What does science say about the safety of gene editing and genetic modification of agricultural products?
  • In your opinion what role will gene editing and gene modification play in the role of battling global hunger? What has it's role in the past been?

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Global Learning in Agriculture

This blog post is coming to you from State College, Pennsylvania home of Penn State University. I am in town as part of the Global Learning in Agriculture Conference hosted by Global Teach Ag! This is an online conference happening Friday afternoon, but leading up to the capstone conference we have had weekly round table discussions and on-demand presentations revolving around bringing global agriculture to classrooms, utilizing technology, global agriculture in a domestic setting, and reaching diverse learners. As the week has gone on we have come across some interesting trends and points that educators, extension personnel, and agriculture professionals have discussed. I want to share some of these intriguing questions below and encourage the conversations to continue in your classrooms, coffee shops, and communities around the world. In fact you can even join the conference discussion on Twitter utilizing the hashtag #GLAG18!

Discussion Points

  • Is it important to learn about agriculture at a global level? Explain your responses.
  • Recently in our society and in countries around the world the word "agriculture" has picked up a bad stigma. Dr. Daniel Foster made the following statement, "Often, when talking to high school students, I ask them if they are interested in Ag and they say no. When I ask them if they want to work in food, with fiber, or to help solve natural resource issues...they say YES." Think about that for a minute. How have we gotten to this point? What can be done to overcome this?
  • Tonight we had a great discussion about reaching and working with diverse learners and populations. It was noted time and time again that before anything trust must be established. What do you feel is the best way to gain trust with diverse learners/populations and why is this so important? 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

U.S. and Japan Beef Trade

Agriculture products are traded around the world and are very important to agriculture markets and farmers bottom lines. This week we take a look at the relationship between Japan and the United States on trade, specifically Beef. We encourage you to look over the attached article and utilize the discussion points below to guide conversations in your classrooms, coffee shops, and communities around the world!

U.S. Urges Japan to Eliminate Import Restrictions on U.S. Beef

Discussion Points

  • What is the history of beef trade between Japan and the United States?
  • What trade agreements does your home country have with others? Why are these trade agreements so important?
  • Recently I moderated a panel of agriculture experts who stressed the importance of building positive relationships with other countries to strengthen trade agreements. In your opinion what are the best ways to build strong relationships with other countries?
  • What are your predictions on the future of U.S. beef imports into Japan and why?

Monday, January 8, 2018

Final Hurrah in Haiti

Today was our final full day in Haiti. It’s hard to believe how quickly our time has gone and how much has been accomplished. We started off the morning going in many different directions. Some ventured to the preschool and elementary to teach, others spearheaded more tractor operation training, and a small group tested soil in the lab. These activities took us right up to lunch.

Following lunch we all made our way to teach an English lesson at the elementary. Once we had completed our lesson we split into two groups. One prepped a meal for the feeding center and the other helped move medical equipment from the clinic up to the university. We then came together to make our way to the feeding center to distribute the meal to the young children in the community. Upon our return we took time to recognize the students from UCCC for their hard work over the past week. We presented certificates of recognition for “Tractor Fundamentals” and “Problem Solving Workshop.” It was evident the Haitian students were proud of their achievements from the past week.

We concluded our day with volleyball and more intense games of spoons. It has truly been an unforgettable experience with a group that has become more like a family than friends. Great things were achieved this past week, but there is a lot more work yet too do. We look forward to continuing to collaborate and move agriculture forward with our partners in Haiti. Stay tuned for some exciting news from this partnership coming in the next couple of weeks!