Recommended Reading: Week of August 20

Welcome to our new installment of Small Farms’ Recommended Reading! Here you’ll find a variety of articles handpicked each week by the Small Farms team. These include resources, educational articles, and tips — all in one location for a quick browse of news in addition to our bimonthly newsletter.

This week we’re reading about the gene that controls plant germination, the future of expiration dates on milk, and drones replacing bees. Additionally, a nationwide forum was used to brainstorm ways to economically revitalize the dairy industry. Back-to-school food safety tips assist in preventing foodborne illness, geoengineering might not be a feasible option to cool down Earth, and hemp is an exciting new option for growers statewide round out this week’s SFP Recommended Reading.

Evolution in Plant Germination 
Scientists at the University of York have recently discovered that there is a key gene, MFT, that determines whether plants germinate. Although it is known that hormones ABA and GA affect germination, MFT interprets these hormones and is able to tell the plant whether to germinate or not. Read more.

Barcodes on Milk?
Currently, expiration dates on milk are based on experience and not science. The “sell by” dates are typically before the milk actually goes bad, yet consumers will throw away the milk on that date. New bacteria identifying technology is being tested in hopes of reducing milk waste by using real-time barcodes instead of “sell by” dates. Read more.

Drones Filling the Gap in Pollination

Orchard owners may soon be able to use fully automated processes to pollinate trees. This is a huge step as there are fewer and fewer bees and, at times, bees are not active during cold days that may occur during critical pollination windows in the northeast. Read more.

Back to School Food Safety Tips

Bacteria can live on a surface for up to 32 hours and contaminate school lunches. Tips such as using an insulated bag with two or more cold sources can help you or your child’s lunch at a safe temperature for hours. Read more.

Geoengineering Would Be Detrimental to Crops
Scientists from UC Berkeley did research regarding injecting particles into the atmosphere to block the sun and cool Earth. This, called geoengineering, would decrease global warming by using volcano eruptions as a model. However, doing this would result in lower crop productivity, which results in a less attractive option to combat global warming. Read more.

Hemp: New Option for Farmers in New York
Increased funding from New York State and Research from Cornell University, Binghamton University, and SUNY Morrisville have partnered with growers and cultivators for pilot programs. This crop, devoid of almost all THC, can be used for fiber, nutritional substances, and potentially medicinally. Read more.

Kelsie Raucher

Kelsie is from southwest Missouri and grew up on a 150-acre farm helping her family buy and sell horses and cattle. She credits FFA for finding her passion for agriculture and food issues and desiring a career as an “agvocate.” Since coming to Cornell, she has gained interest in local production, global food issues, and environmental impacts of and on agriculture. She joined the Cornell Small Farms Program in May of 2018 and is excited to gain experience to complement coursework in the Agricultural Sciences major and Communication major.
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