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Salt-loving plants may be key to global efforts for sustainable food production

Farmland is vanishing in part because the salinity in the soil is rising as a result of climate change and other human-made phenomena. In an Opinion piece publishing in the Cell Press journal Trends in Plant Sciences, researchers propose a new concept for breeding salt- tolerant plants as a way to contribute to global efforts for sustainable food production.

“We suggest that we should learn from nature and do what halophytes, or naturally salt-loving plants, are doing: taking up salt but depositing it in a safe place — external balloon-like structures called salt bladders,” says co-senior author Prof. Sergey Shabala, of the University of Tasmania, in Australia. “This strategy has never been targeted by breeders and, therefore, could add a new and very promising dimension to breeding salinity-tolerant crops.”

Soil salinity is claiming about 3 hectares, or 7.4 acres, of usable land from conventional crop farming every minute. This costs the agricultural sector many billions of dollars each year and jeopardizes the ability to meet the target of feeding 9.3 billion people by 2050. Unfortunately, decades of plant breeding for salinity tolerance have not resulted in a major breakthrough that might allow us to resolve this issue.

Dr. Shabala and his colleagues note that recent research on salt bladders creates the exciting possibility of modifying genes in traditional crops such as wheat or rice to allow them to develop salt bladders without a major impact on their growth and yield. “We know already about the key genes required to grow trichomes, or outgrowths of a plant. If we learn to activate those that trigger the developmental shift from an ordinary trichome to a salt bladder, one may be able to grow external salt depots on any crop,” says co-senior author Prof. Rainer Hedrich, of the Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology and Biophysics, in Würzburg, Germany.

They are confident that researchers have all of the tools needed to identify the molecular transporters involved in salt loading within salt bladders as well as the developmental switches that are involved.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Study Tallies Food Waste Diversion Efforts

WASHINGTON — Food manufacturing companies generate more food waste than food retailers, but also divert a higher percentage of it to other uses, according to a new study.

The report, the BSR Analysis of Food Waste Among Food Manufacturers, Retailers & Wholesalers, conducted by consulting firm BSR, estimated that in 2011, manufacturers generated 44.3 billion pounds of food waste, and diverted 94.6% of it from landfills to “higher” uses, such as donations and recycling. Retailers, meanwhile, generated an estimated 3.8 billion pounds of food waste, but diverted only 55.6% to higher uses.


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In total an estimated 4.1 billion points of food waste was disposed of in landfills or incinerators in 2011, or 8.5% of the food waste generated. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of food diverted from manufacturers went to animal feed, while food donation and composting were the most common diversion destination for food waste at the retailer and wholesaler level.

The report was commissioned by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, which is led by Grocery Manufacturers Association, Food Marketing Institute and National Restaurant Association. It concluded that companies have opportunities to continue to reduce the amount of food waste they generate and to identify options for directing it to higher uses.

Read more: Industry Coalition Joins USDA Food Waste Challenge

“The findings uncovered by BSR are encouraging, but it’s clear we can and must do better when it comes to reducing food waste,” said Michael Hewett, director of environmental and sustainability programs, Publix Super Markets, and co-chair of the FWRA. “It’s important to find more ways to keep food and food waste out of landfills, identify the challenges that prevent us from doing so, and develop responsible policies to assist in these efforts.”

Susan Kujava, industry relations director at General Mills and co-chair of the FWRA, said, “The primary objective of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance is to reduce the volume of food waste sent to landfill by addressing the root causes of waste, and securing pathways to donate safe food or recycle it for use elsewhere. This new data not only helps us better understand how industry currently is managing food waste, it gives us a benchmark against which we can measure our progress.”

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Study Tallies Food Waste Diversion Efforts

WASHINGTON — Food manufacturing companies generate more food waste than food retailers, but also divert a higher percentage of it to other uses, according to a new study.

The report, the BSR Analysis of Food Waste Among Food Manufacturers, Retailers & Wholesalers, conducted by consulting firm BSR, estimated that in 2011, manufacturers generated 44.3 billion pounds of food waste, and diverted 94.6% of it from landfills to “higher” uses, such as donations and recycling. Retailers, meanwhile, generated an estimated 3.8 billion pounds of food waste, but diverted only 55.6% to higher uses.


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In total an estimated 4.1 billion points of food waste was disposed of in landfills or incinerators in 2011, or 8.5% of the food waste generated. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of food diverted from manufacturers went to animal feed, while food donation and composting were the most common diversion destination for food waste at the retailer and wholesaler level.

The report was commissioned by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, which is led by Grocery Manufacturers Association, Food Marketing Institute and National Restaurant Association. It concluded that companies have opportunities to continue to reduce the amount of food waste they generate and to identify options for directing it to higher uses.

Read more: Industry Coalition Joins USDA Food Waste Challenge

“The findings uncovered by BSR are encouraging, but it’s clear we can and must do better when it comes to reducing food waste,” said Michael Hewett, director of environmental and sustainability programs, Publix Super Markets, and co-chair of the FWRA. “It’s important to find more ways to keep food and food waste out of landfills, identify the challenges that prevent us from doing so, and develop responsible policies to assist in these efforts.”

Susan Kujava, industry relations director at General Mills and co-chair of the FWRA, said, “The primary objective of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance is to reduce the volume of food waste sent to landfill by addressing the root causes of waste, and securing pathways to donate safe food or recycle it for use elsewhere. This new data not only helps us better understand how industry currently is managing food waste, it gives us a benchmark against which we can measure our progress.”

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Kroger to accelerate sustainability efforts

Kroger Co. said it intends to accelerate its efforts to achieve greater sustainability by 2020, even as it noted its success in achieving or exceeding many of the sustainability goals it set for 2015.

“We intend to push faster and more accelerated improvements across all areas of our business,” Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO of the Cincinnati-based chain, said. “Our annual sustainability report contains quantifiable evidence of the progress we are making.”

According to the chain’s eighth annual sustainability report issued Wednesday, Kroger’s immediate goals include establishing its first-ever water conservation targets for its stores, moving the store base to “zero waste” and attempting to source 100% certified sustainable palm oil for its manufacturing facilities.

Kroger said it is committed to reducing water consumption at its stores by 5% this year, following a reduction in water usage at its manufacturing plants last year of 61 million gallons.

The company also said it is moving toward the EPA’s Zero Waste threshold of 90% at all retail locations — a goal it expects to achieve by increasing waste diversion programs at all stores to 70% by the end of 2015, compared with 59% at 988 retail locations at the end of 2013.

The company said 27 of its 38 manufacturing facilities had achieved zero waste at the end of 2013. Kroger also said it is committed to sourcing 100% certified sustainable palm oil by the end of 2015, with three food production facilities that make products containing palm oil beginning the transition to the new program.

The sustainability report also cited Kroger’s progress in 2013 in other areas, including the following:

• Contributing nearly 73 million pounds of food and other products to more than 100 local food banks; and contributing, through food and cash donations, more than 200 million meals to families in need. Supporting organizations that feed the hungry is the chain’s top community priority, Kroger said.


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• Providing $ 46 million to more than 30,000 schools and charitable organizations through Community Rewards, a sales-based community fund-raising program that enables shoppers to select a cause they believe Kroger should support.

• Encouraging more than 45,000 employees to participate in walking and weight-loss challenges; and investing more than $ 27.5 million in incentives to encourage associates to meet health-screening targets.

• Reducing energy consumption since 2000 by nearly 35%, with 557 Energy Star certified stores and 517 other stores that are eligible to become certified.

• Creating more than 40,000 jobs since 2007.

• Spending nearly $ 2 billion annually with businesses owned by minorities and women.

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Panda restoration efforts look at digestive systems

Mississippi State University researchers were part of the team that learned that giant and red pandas have different digestive microbes, a finding with important implications for conservation efforts and captive animal rearing.

Gastrointestinal diseases are the major cause of mortality in wild and captive pandas, but little is known about their digestive process.

The giant panda is an endangered species, while the red panda is considered a vulnerable species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Both eat mostly fibrous bamboo.

Candace Williams, an MSU doctoral student in biochemistry, conducted the research in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Memphis Zoo and the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Williams presented her findings at the American Society for Microbiology in Boston in May.

Her study was funded through the university’s Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the Memphis Zoological Society.

“Although they are different species, the giant panda and red panda share several characteristics,” Williams said.

Under the direction of biochemist Ashli Brown Johnson, MSU scientists set out to determine if there were similarities in the microbes that digest this plant-based diet.

To investigate the microbes, Williams collected fecal samples from two giant pandas and one red panda at the Memphis Zoo. The team also obtained samples from a red panda at the National Zoo. Williams used advanced genetic sequencing techniques to determine what gastrointestinal bacteria were present.

“The procedure revealed all microbes in the fecal matter, including some that were not known,” Johnson said. “Study of these microbes may have unrealized potential for agriculture, biomass digestion for bioenergy crops or other discovery research applications.”

Fecal samples from both species were dominated by plant material, which impeded identification of the microbes. A student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed a method to remove this plant material, allowing the digestive microbes to be clearly identified.

“Our results revealed significant differences between the microbes found in the two panda species,” Johnson said. “While they have some similar microbes in their digestive tracts, each panda species has a different dominant microbe present.”

Understanding the gastrointestinal bacteria in pandas will help guide reforestation efforts throughout China’s mountainous region. The Chinese government has established 50 panda reserves within the animals’ home range. Additionally, China has banned logging to preserve the habitat of the declining species.

“With gastrointestinal disease causing the greatest natural mortality of red and giant pandas, a greater understanding of the digestive microbes will assist in maintaining captive panda populations housed at zoos,” Williams said.

Mississippi State scientists have worked with the Chinese Academy of Science’s Institute of Zoology to monitor and identify the wild panda population. Future research will examine the nutritional composition of bamboo to determine whether the pandas are consuming different varieties of the fibrous plant.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mississippi State University, Office of Agricultural Communications. The original article was written by Karen Brasher. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

New Federal Bill Aims to Squash State GMO-Labeling Efforts

Efforts to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have sprouted across more than two dozen states, including two successful bills in Maine and Connecticut, along with measures that came up short at the ballot box in California and Washington.

But proposed federal legislation introduced on Wednesday would put an end to that by prohibiting any mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food. It would also prohibit voters from proposing initiatives for labeling genetically engineered food at the state level.

The bill, named the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” was introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS). The bill aims to ensure that America can continue to produce an adequate amount of food to “feed the world,” Pompeo reportedly told a group of agriculture journalists.

Pompeo added that since there exists no evidence that genetically engineered foods posed a health or safety risk to humans, GMO labels mislead consumers into thinking there may be a safety risk.

Such legislation has received strong support from the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food, a group of industry organizations including the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which has been a major opponent of GMO-labeling efforts.

Proponents of GMO labeling call the bill an affront to states’ rights and an attack on consumers who wish to know what they’re buying.

“It’s clear that Congressman Pompeo and the GMA are willing to do whatever they can to immediately prohibit states from enacting sensible legislation for consumers to have the right to know what they’re buying and feeding their families,” Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs at the Center for Food Safety (CFS), told Food Safety News.

CFS is one of the leading proponents for GMO labeling, having donated $ 455,000 to labeling efforts in Washington state during the 2013 elections. At the same time, GMA spent $ 11 million to help defeat Washington’s mandatory labeling proposal.

Pompeo’s bill would reportedly require food companies to submit new genetically modified foods to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for review. The food under review would be “base products,” such as vegetables or fruits, as opposed to the final food product.

Pompeo added that the bill would not affect companies labeling their foods as “GMO-free.”

O’Neil called the bill “unworkable,” saying it offered no solutions to the debate over GMO labeling. He said that the bill was unprecedented in its push to preempt state law without a federal standard in place, but that the food industry should not be underestimated in its opposition to GMO labeling.

“The moneyed interests pushing this bill so urgently have a sizeable war chest,” O’Neil said. “It’s clear that they’re going to do whatever it takes to keep consumers in the dark.”

Representatives for the GMA did not return calls from Food Safety News as of press time.

As labeling efforts crop up in more states ahead of the next election cycle, the industry is seen as looking for a way to cut off new labeling measures before they make it to the ballot box, where millions more are likely to be spent on advertising campaigns.

Money spent on opposition campaigns to California’s GMO-labeling Proposition 37 topped $ 46 million, while campaigns in favor of labeling raised $ 9.2 million. In Washington, GMO-labeling Initiative 522 saw $ 22 million in opposition funding and $ 8.2 million in support.

Two states, Maine and Connecticut, have passed GMO-labeling laws, but the rules for both are contingent upon other states also approving labeling laws.

A labeling law in Vermont could be the first passed without such contingencies. It has cleared votes in the state’s House and Senate, though it faces a legal battle from the food industry. Voters may also push forward with GMO labeling in Oregon and Colorado this November.

Roughly 60 to 70 percent of processed foods in grocery stores contain at least one genetically modified ingredient, according to GMA.

Food Safety News

Wegmans continues to push sustainability efforts

This month Wegmans Food Market will be sponsoring a program that will boost the sustainability efforts of its customers. When a customer brings plastic bags to a Wegmans for recycling it will increase the contribution the company will make to The Nature Conservancy, a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect lands and water.

Last year in April, Wegmans customers recycled 177,000 pounds of plastic bags — the equivalent of about 11 million new bags. The company wanted to improve on this and came up with a plan to contribute at least $ 10,000 to The Nature Conservancy. To inspire customers to scour closets, pantries and other storage areas for plastic bags to recycle, Wegmans pledged to contribute 50 cents to the Conservancy for every additional pound above last year’s total of 177,000 (with a minimum contribution of $ 10,000).

“Sustainability is a company-wide priority at Wegmans, and the duty to protect air, land and water for people today and tomorrow belongs to all of us,” Jason Wadsworth, sustainability coordinator, said in a press release. “We’re very proud of the steps we and our customers have already taken to reduce, reuse and recycle, but to keep moving in the right direction, we need to keep coming up with more and better ways to conserve these precious resources. It made sense to us to inspire customers to do their best too by working together on this recycling initiative.”

During April, signs near the recycling bins in the stores’ vestibules will remind customers to bring in their plastic bags for recycling, and Wegmans will track the total weight as the month goes by. In addition, on Saturday April 26 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., the first 300 customers at every store who bring in a bunch of clean dry plastic bags will receive a coupon for a Wegmans reusable bag.

“The reusable bags come in lots of designs and colors, and they’re actually the best option from an environmental standpoint,” Wadsworth said in the release.

Since some customers prefer plastic bags, however, Wegmans has also looked for ways to increase the amount of plastic that is recycled. In January, Wegmans introduced new plastic bags with the slogan “Return to Sender.” The bags are made with 40 percent recycled plastic.

“It helps people to know we put their plastic shopping bags to good use after they bring them back to the store,” he said. “Our supplier uses those recycled bags as raw material for brand new bags. Last year, together with our customers, Wegmans recycled a total of 3.6 million pounds of plastic bags and wrapping.”

Today, every Wegmans store now uses on average 4,000 fewer plastic carry-out bags per day compared with 2007, the year Wegmans introduced reusable bags and began reformulating its carry-out plastic bags. That’s 120 million fewer bags each year.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Sterile flies save food crops, millions of dollars in eradication efforts

Irradiated, sterile flies dropped over seaports and agricultural areas to mate with unsuspecting females save food crops and millions of dollars in prevented infestations and the ensuing eradication efforts. But blasting these secret-suitor insects with radiation via electron beams, X-rays or gamma-rays, tends to make them weaker than typical males — and not so appealing to females as possible mates.

What sterile-insect operations need, says University of Florida insect physiologist Daniel Hahn, is the insect world’s version of George Clooney: 52 years old, gray-haired and still dazzling the ladies.

Hahn, an associate professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and his former postdoctoral associate, Giancarlo López-Martínez, now an assistant professor at New Mexico State University, describe in research publications this month and last, that sterilizing insects in a low-oxygen environment helps create suitors who more closely resemble the suave Clooney than do those sterilized in a normal-oxygen environment.

“Our males (insects) are not only more sexually competitive, they are maintaining their sexual competitiveness and their virility, into old age,” Hahn said, “and that has the potential to make them much better biological control agents.”

The sterile insect technique, or SIT, has been used for decades and is considered a much preferable alternative to spraying pesticides over urban or suburban areas near major ports. In this biological control method, large numbers of sterile, male insects are released to compete with wild males for the attention of invasive wild females.

A female duped into accepting a sterile male would then find herself without offspring, thus trimming the population and its threat to the state’s important agricultural crops. The technique has been used effectively against the Mediterranean fruit fly, called the Medfly, and the cattle-infesting screw-worm fly, among others.

Florida spends roughly $ 6 million a year using SIT to prevent Mediterranean fruit fly infestations, while California spends about $ 17 million a year. Because of the inherent dangers in importing even one Mediterranean fruit fly into the state, in their recent studies, López-Martínez and Hahn investigated the physiological effects of applying low-oxygen treatments prior to and during irradiation sterilization on two other plant pests: the Caribbean fruit fly and the invasive cactus moth.

The “low-oxygen effect” has been known for decades, but the physiological basis for it had never been rigorously tested or analyzed, Hahn said. They suspected, and found, that under the low-oxygen conditions, the insects’ cells would produce antioxidants that can help better protect them from the off-target radiation damage.

Some operations that rear and sterilize insects, such as one in Guatemala that produces many of the sterile medflies dropped over Florida’s major ports roughly every seven days, do employ low-oxygen conditions, called hypoxia or anoxia. But many others don’t, he said, including those who rear and sterilize the cactus moth.

The reseachers found using a low-oxygen environment during sterilization boosted the sterile males’ longevity as well as their ability to attract and successfully mate. They found that the positive effects of low-oxygen treatments even extended into their ‘old age’ — in the insects’ case, about 30 days under cushy laboratory conditions.

Treatments that both improve the sexual performance of sterile males and maintain high performance longer in older males can substantially increase the effectiveness and decrease the economic costs of SIT programs, Hahn said.

The January paper was published by PLoS One, and the February paper in the Journal of Economic Entomology. Hahn and López-Martínez were joined as authors of that paper by James Carpenter of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Tifton, Ga., and Stephen Hight of the USDA-ARS at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Combined efforts in Chile yield PMA Fruittrade Latin America

The Produce Marketing Association, Fedefruta, Chile’s Fruit Growers Federation and Yentzen Group announced a partnership to bring together the fresh produce supply chain at the inaugural PMA Fruittrade Latin America, an international convention and exposition in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 12-13.

The first-of-its-kind event for South America will replace both Fedefruta’s and PMA’s long-standing individual conventions in the region. Uniting PMA’s community of global buyers with Fedefruta’s depth in the grower and supplier sectors and Yentzen Group’s global outreach will bring unique value to attendees and exhibitors. PMA’s strength in the retail segment is expected to bring a strong supermarket presence to the show, including Costco Wholesale Canada and Tesco Stores Ltd.

More than 90 exhibitors and 2,250 attendees will populate the show floor, accompanied by educational programming focused on PMA’s expertise in global trends and market information combined with Fedefruta’s technical expertise to round out the event.

“This new collaboration is part of PMA’s strategy to help the industry build consumer connections by linking members to the people, markets and insights needed to grow business and increase consumption,” said Nancy Tucker, PMA’s vice president of global business development. “This event is designed to help industry members build connections — to experts, ideas, trends and talent — so produce and floral companies can focus on building consumer demand for the products they grow, ship and sell.”

“Merging the biggest event of the fruit and vegetables industry in Chile, Fruittrade, with the global outreach of PMA will offer even greater opportunities for the whole region,” Fedefruta’s chairman Cristián Allendes said.  “Fedefruta, together with PMA, Yentzen Group, and support from ProChile — the Export Promotion Bureau from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile — will turn Fruittrade into the main business meeting point for the produce industry in Latin America”.

“This alliance creates a unique opportunity for the Chilean and Latin American industry — the power to bring together the entire marketing chain of fruit and vegetables from Latin America in one place,” said Gustavo Yentzen, president and founder of Yentzen Group.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Combined efforts in Chile yield PMA Fruittrade Latin America

The Produce Marketing Association, Fedefruta, Chile’s Fruit Growers Federation and Yentzen Group announced a partnership to bring together the fresh produce supply chain at the inaugural PMA Fruittrade Latin America, an international convention and exposition in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 12-13.

The first-of-its-kind event for South America will replace both Fedefruta’s and PMA’s long-standing individual conventions in the region. Uniting PMA’s community of global buyers with Fedefruta’s depth in the grower and supplier sectors and Yentzen Group’s global outreach will bring unique value to attendees and exhibitors. PMA’s strength in the retail segment is expected to bring a strong supermarket presence to the show, including Costco Wholesale Canada and Tesco Stores Ltd.

More than 90 exhibitors and 2,250 attendees will populate the show floor, accompanied by educational programming focused on PMA’s expertise in global trends and market information combined with Fedefruta’s technical expertise to round out the event.

“This new collaboration is part of PMA’s strategy to help the industry build consumer connections by linking members to the people, markets and insights needed to grow business and increase consumption,” said Nancy Tucker, PMA’s vice president of global business development. “This event is designed to help industry members build connections — to experts, ideas, trends and talent — so produce and floral companies can focus on building consumer demand for the products they grow, ship and sell.”

“Merging the biggest event of the fruit and vegetables industry in Chile, Fruittrade, with the global outreach of PMA will offer even greater opportunities for the whole region,” Fedefruta’s chairman Cristián Allendes said.  “Fedefruta, together with PMA, Yentzen Group, and support from ProChile — the Export Promotion Bureau from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile — will turn Fruittrade into the main business meeting point for the produce industry in Latin America”.

“This alliance creates a unique opportunity for the Chilean and Latin American industry — the power to bring together the entire marketing chain of fruit and vegetables from Latin America in one place,” said Gustavo Yentzen, president and founder of Yentzen Group.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Efforts to curb climate change require greater emphasis on livestock

Dec. 20, 2013 — While climate change negotiators struggle to agree on ways to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, they have paid inadequate attention to other greenhouse gases associated with livestock, according to an analysis by an international research team.

A reduction in non-CO2 greenhouse gases will be required to abate climate change, the researchers said. Cutting releases of methane and nitrous oxide, two gases that pound-for-pound trap more heat than does CO2, should be considered alongside the challenge of reducing fossil fuel use.

The researchers’ analysis, “Ruminants, Climate Change, and Climate Policy,” is being published today as an opinion commentary in Nature Climate Change, a professional journal.

William Ripple, a professor in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, and co-authors from Scotland, Austria, Australia and the United States, reached their conclusions on the basis of a synthesis of scientific knowledge on greenhouse gases, climate change and food and environmental issues. They drew from a variety of sources including the Food and Agricultural Organization, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and recent peer-reviewed publications.

“Because the Earth’s climate may be near a tipping point to major climate change, multiple approaches are needed for mitigation,” said Ripple. “We clearly need to reduce the burning of fossil fuels to cut CO2 emissions. But that addresses only part of the problem. We also need to reduce non-CO2 greenhouse gases to lessen the likelihood of us crossing this climatic threshold.”

Methane is the second most abundant greenhouse gas, and a recent report estimated that in the United States methane releases from all sources could be much higher than previously thought. Among the largest human-related sources of methane are ruminant animals (cattle, sheep, goats, and buffalo) and fossil fuel extraction and combustion.

One of the most effective ways to cut methane, the researchers wrote, is to reduce global populations of ruminant livestock, especially cattle. Ruminants are estimated to comprise the largest single human-related source of methane. By reflecting the latest estimates of greenhouse gas emissions on the basis of a life-cycle or a “farm to fork” analysis, the researchers observed that greenhouse gas emissions from cattle and sheep production are 19 to 48 times higher (on the basis of pounds of food produced) than they are from producing protein-rich plant foods such as beans, grains, or soy products.

Unlike non-ruminant animals such as pigs and poultry, ruminants produce copious amounts of methane in their digestive systems. Although CO2 is the most abundant greenhouse gas, the international community could achieve a more rapid reduction in the causes of global warming by lowering methane emissions through a reduction in the number of ruminants, the authors said, than by cutting CO2 alone.

The authors also observed that, on a global basis, ruminant livestock production is having a growing impact on the environment:

  • Globally, the number of ruminant livestock has increased by 50 percent in the last 50 years, and there are now about 3.6 billion ruminant livestock on the planet.
  • About a quarter of the Earth’s land area is dedicated to grazing, mostly for cattle, sheep and goats.
  • A third of all arable land is used to grow feed crops for livestock.

In addition to reducing direct methane emissions from ruminants, cutting ruminant numbers would deliver a significant reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of feed crops for livestock, they added.

“Reducing demand for ruminant products could help to achieve substantial greenhouse gas reductions in the near-term,” said co-author Helmut Haberl of the Institute of Social Ecology in Austria, “but implementation of demand changes represent a considerable political challenge.”

Among agricultural approaches to climate change, reducing demand for meat from ruminants offers greater greenhouse gas reduction potential than do other steps such as increasing livestock feeding efficiency or crop yields per acre. Nevertheless, they wrote, policies to achieve both types of reductions “have the best chance of providing rapid and lasting climate benefits.”

Such steps could have other benefits as well, said co-author Pete Smith of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. “Cutting the number of ruminant livestock could have additional benefits for food security, human health and environmental conservation involving water quality, wildlife habitat and biodiversity,” he explained. 

Agricultural researchers are also studying methane reduction through improved animal genetics and methods to inhibit production of the gas during digestion.

International climate negotiations such as the UNFCCC have not given “adequate attention” to greenhouse gas reductions from ruminants, they added. The Kyoto Protocol, for example, does not target ruminant emissions from developing countries, which are among the fastest-growing ruminant producers.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Klug Wins Award for Education Efforts

COMMERCE, Calif. — Unified Grocers here said Sue Klug, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, has received the 2013 Torch Award from the Illuminators Educational Foundation.

Sue KlugThe award is given to an industry executive who advances education in their company and the industry by example and leadership. According to the Illuminators, Klug has dedicated herself to helping others learn by initiating and actively supporting company and industry education and mentoring programs such as tuition reimbursement, the USC Food Management and Executive programs and the retail management certification program of the Western Association of Food Chains.

“I’m a firm believer in the value of continuous learning and professional development, and I’m delighted to be recognized by an organization that shares my passion,” Klug said in a statement.


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The Illuminators is an organization of vendors and suppliers dedicated to developing and enhancing key relationships within the grocery industry and providing opportunities for education and leadership. The Illuminators Educational Foundation offers scholarships to high school seniors and college students.

Read more: Unified Grocers Revamps Under New CEO

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Marketing efforts help Georgia peaches wrap up a very sweet season despite rainy weather

When people think of Georgia, they think of peaches. And while the Peach State has not been the nation’s top producer in many years volume-wise, when it comes to quality and name recognition, Georgia still earns its nickname. And this year’s Georgia peach season looks like it may have been one for the record books.

Each year, Georgia produces more than 130 million pounds of peaches between mid-May and mid-August. And despite above-average GA-Peaches-1Georgia produces more than 130 million pounds of peaches each year. This season was one for the record books, despite rain throughout July. rainfall during the month of July that hampered harvesting, the Georgia Peach Council said the majority of its members picked and shipped 90 percent of full-crop estimates.

“One of the biggest challenges in a wet summer is consistency, and we managed to have not only excellent consistency but excellent quality from start to finish,” said Will McGehee of the Georgia Peach Council. “Although a final tally is still being determined, from our standpoint as growers, 2013 will wind up being a great year.”

Increased marketing efforts by the Peach Council paid off in retail and media recognition for its “Sweet Georgia Peaches” program.

“All in all, we believe that our marketing and public relations efforts, combined with the sweet and delicious flavor and reputation of Georgia peaches led to an extremely successful 2013 season,” McGehee said.

For retailers, a “Georgia in July” marketing kit available for use by strategic partners in target markets throughout the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest was a hit. The kit included point-of-sale merchandising display bins highlighting freestone peaches, Sweet Georgia Peaches farm market bags, recipes and nutritional information.

Retailers were also encouraged to share the Sweet Georgia Peaches Facebook app with consumers. It allows consumers to send a ‘virtual’ Georgia peach to sweeten someone’s day and can still be accessed by logging onto www.facebook.com/SweetGeorgiaPeaches.

On the consumer front, the council worked extensively to extend its awareness and education efforts from the Midwest to the East Coast. Registered dietitians promoted the versatility of Georgia peaches during televised healthy eating segments in select Southern markets. Sweet Georgia Peaches spokesperson and cookbook author Gena Knox appeared in cooking demonstrations for television stations in major Southeastern markets.

Social media played an increasingly important role in this year’s campaign. In addition to regular Facebook and Twitter posts throughout the season, the council created a YouTube channel to tell the story of Georgia peach farmers, many of whom are fourth- or fifth-generation farmers. A series of videos is available online that highlight the state’s peach producers, explain why Georgia peaches taste so sweet and provide consumers advice on how to pick the perfect peach.

To coincide with the YouTube channel launch and the first day of summer, the council scheduled Sweet Georgia Peach deliveries to television weathercasters in select cities. The result was a flurry of media mentions, as well as Facebook and Twitter posts showing pictures of meteorologists posing with their sweet treats.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Marketing efforts help Georgia peaches wrap up a very sweet season despite rainy weather

When people think of Georgia, they think of peaches. And while the Peach State has not been the nation’s top producer in many years volume-wise, when it comes to quality and name recognition, Georgia still earns its nickname. And this year’s Georgia peach season looks like it may have been one for the record books.

Each year, Georgia produces more than 130 million pounds of peaches between mid-May and mid-August. And despite above-average GA-Peaches-1Georgia produces more than 130 million pounds of peaches each year. This season was one for the record books, despite rain throughout July. rainfall during the month of July that hampered harvesting, the Georgia Peach Council said the majority of its members picked and shipped 90 percent of full-crop estimates.

“One of the biggest challenges in a wet summer is consistency, and we managed to have not only excellent consistency but excellent quality from start to finish,” said Will McGehee of the Georgia Peach Council. “Although a final tally is still being determined, from our standpoint as growers, 2013 will wind up being a great year.”

Increased marketing efforts by the Peach Council paid off in retail and media recognition for its “Sweet Georgia Peaches” program.

“All in all, we believe that our marketing and public relations efforts, combined with the sweet and delicious flavor and reputation of Georgia peaches led to an extremely successful 2013 season,” McGehee said.

For retailers, a “Georgia in July” marketing kit available for use by strategic partners in target markets throughout the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest was a hit. The kit included point-of-sale merchandising display bins highlighting freestone peaches, Sweet Georgia Peaches farm market bags, recipes and nutritional information.

Retailers were also encouraged to share the Sweet Georgia Peaches Facebook app with consumers. It allows consumers to send a ‘virtual’ Georgia peach to sweeten someone’s day and can still be accessed by logging onto www.facebook.com/SweetGeorgiaPeaches.

On the consumer front, the council worked extensively to extend its awareness and education efforts from the Midwest to the East Coast. Registered dietitians promoted the versatility of Georgia peaches during televised healthy eating segments in select Southern markets. Sweet Georgia Peaches spokesperson and cookbook author Gena Knox appeared in cooking demonstrations for television stations in major Southeastern markets.

Social media played an increasingly important role in this year’s campaign. In addition to regular Facebook and Twitter posts throughout the season, the council created a YouTube channel to tell the story of Georgia peach farmers, many of whom are fourth- or fifth-generation farmers. A series of videos is available online that highlight the state’s peach producers, explain why Georgia peaches taste so sweet and provide consumers advice on how to pick the perfect peach.

To coincide with the YouTube channel launch and the first day of summer, the council scheduled Sweet Georgia Peach deliveries to television weathercasters in select cities. The result was a flurry of media mentions, as well as Facebook and Twitter posts showing pictures of meteorologists posing with their sweet treats.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Marketing efforts help Georgia peaches wrap up a very sweet season despite rainy weather

When people think of Georgia, they think of peaches. And while the Peach State has not been the nation’s top producer in many years volume-wise, when it comes to quality and name recognition, Georgia still earns its nickname. And this year’s Georgia peach season looks like it may have been one for the record books.

Each year, Georgia produces more than 130 million pounds of peaches between mid-May and mid-August. And despite above-average GA-Peaches-1Georgia produces more than 130 million pounds of peaches each year. This season was one for the record books, despite rain throughout July. rainfall during the month of July that hampered harvesting, the Georgia Peach Council said the majority of its members picked and shipped 90 percent of full-crop estimates.

“One of the biggest challenges in a wet summer is consistency, and we managed to have not only excellent consistency but excellent quality from start to finish,” said Will McGehee of the Georgia Peach Council. “Although a final tally is still being determined, from our standpoint as growers, 2013 will wind up being a great year.”

Increased marketing efforts by the Peach Council paid off in retail and media recognition for its “Sweet Georgia Peaches” program.

“All in all, we believe that our marketing and public relations efforts, combined with the sweet and delicious flavor and reputation of Georgia peaches led to an extremely successful 2013 season,” McGehee said.

For retailers, a “Georgia in July” marketing kit available for use by strategic partners in target markets throughout the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest was a hit. The kit included point-of-sale merchandising display bins highlighting freestone peaches, Sweet Georgia Peaches farm market bags, recipes and nutritional information.

Retailers were also encouraged to share the Sweet Georgia Peaches Facebook app with consumers. It allows consumers to send a ‘virtual’ Georgia peach to sweeten someone’s day and can still be accessed by logging onto www.facebook.com/SweetGeorgiaPeaches.

On the consumer front, the council worked extensively to extend its awareness and education efforts from the Midwest to the East Coast. Registered dietitians promoted the versatility of Georgia peaches during televised healthy eating segments in select Southern markets. Sweet Georgia Peaches spokesperson and cookbook author Gena Knox appeared in cooking demonstrations for television stations in major Southeastern markets.

Social media played an increasingly important role in this year’s campaign. In addition to regular Facebook and Twitter posts throughout the season, the council created a YouTube channel to tell the story of Georgia peach farmers, many of whom are fourth- or fifth-generation farmers. A series of videos is available online that highlight the state’s peach producers, explain why Georgia peaches taste so sweet and provide consumers advice on how to pick the perfect peach.

To coincide with the YouTube channel launch and the first day of summer, the council scheduled Sweet Georgia Peach deliveries to television weathercasters in select cities. The result was a flurry of media mentions, as well as Facebook and Twitter posts showing pictures of meteorologists posing with their sweet treats.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Marketing efforts help Georgia peaches wrap up a very sweet season despite rainy weather

When people think of Georgia, they think of peaches. And while the Peach State has not been the nation’s top producer in many years volume-wise, when it comes to quality and name recognition, Georgia still earns its nickname. And this year’s Georgia peach season looks like it may have been one for the record books.

Each year, Georgia produces more than 130 million pounds of peaches between mid-May and mid-August. And despite above-average GA-Peaches-1Georgia produces more than 130 million pounds of peaches each year. This season was one for the record books, despite rain throughout July. rainfall during the month of July that hampered harvesting, the Georgia Peach Council said the majority of its members picked and shipped 90 percent of full-crop estimates.

“One of the biggest challenges in a wet summer is consistency, and we managed to have not only excellent consistency but excellent quality from start to finish,” said Will McGehee of the Georgia Peach Council. “Although a final tally is still being determined, from our standpoint as growers, 2013 will wind up being a great year.”

Increased marketing efforts by the Peach Council paid off in retail and media recognition for its “Sweet Georgia Peaches” program.

“All in all, we believe that our marketing and public relations efforts, combined with the sweet and delicious flavor and reputation of Georgia peaches led to an extremely successful 2013 season,” McGehee said.

For retailers, a “Georgia in July” marketing kit available for use by strategic partners in target markets throughout the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest was a hit. The kit included point-of-sale merchandising display bins highlighting freestone peaches, Sweet Georgia Peaches farm market bags, recipes and nutritional information.

Retailers were also encouraged to share the Sweet Georgia Peaches Facebook app with consumers. It allows consumers to send a ‘virtual’ Georgia peach to sweeten someone’s day and can still be accessed by logging onto www.facebook.com/SweetGeorgiaPeaches.

On the consumer front, the council worked extensively to extend its awareness and education efforts from the Midwest to the East Coast. Registered dietitians promoted the versatility of Georgia peaches during televised healthy eating segments in select Southern markets. Sweet Georgia Peaches spokesperson and cookbook author Gena Knox appeared in cooking demonstrations for television stations in major Southeastern markets.

Social media played an increasingly important role in this year’s campaign. In addition to regular Facebook and Twitter posts throughout the season, the council created a YouTube channel to tell the story of Georgia peach farmers, many of whom are fourth- or fifth-generation farmers. A series of videos is available online that highlight the state’s peach producers, explain why Georgia peaches taste so sweet and provide consumers advice on how to pick the perfect peach.

To coincide with the YouTube channel launch and the first day of summer, the council scheduled Sweet Georgia Peach deliveries to television weathercasters in select cities. The result was a flurry of media mentions, as well as Facebook and Twitter posts showing pictures of meteorologists posing with their sweet treats.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Marketing efforts help Georgia peaches wrap up a very sweet season despite rainy weather

When people think of Georgia, they think of peaches. And while the Peach State has not been the nation’s top producer in many years volume-wise, when it comes to quality and name recognition, Georgia still earns its nickname. And this year’s Georgia peach season looks like it may have been one for the record books.

Each year, Georgia produces more than 130 million pounds of peaches between mid-May and mid-August. And despite above-average GA-Peaches-1Georgia produces more than 130 million pounds of peaches each year. This season was one for the record books, despite rain throughout July. rainfall during the month of July that hampered harvesting, the Georgia Peach Council said the majority of its members picked and shipped 90 percent of full-crop estimates.

“One of the biggest challenges in a wet summer is consistency, and we managed to have not only excellent consistency but excellent quality from start to finish,” said Will McGehee of the Georgia Peach Council. “Although a final tally is still being determined, from our standpoint as growers, 2013 will wind up being a great year.”

Increased marketing efforts by the Peach Council paid off in retail and media recognition for its “Sweet Georgia Peaches” program.

“All in all, we believe that our marketing and public relations efforts, combined with the sweet and delicious flavor and reputation of Georgia peaches led to an extremely successful 2013 season,” McGehee said.

For retailers, a “Georgia in July” marketing kit available for use by strategic partners in target markets throughout the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest was a hit. The kit included point-of-sale merchandising display bins highlighting freestone peaches, Sweet Georgia Peaches farm market bags, recipes and nutritional information.

Retailers were also encouraged to share the Sweet Georgia Peaches Facebook app with consumers. It allows consumers to send a ‘virtual’ Georgia peach to sweeten someone’s day and can still be accessed by logging onto www.facebook.com/SweetGeorgiaPeaches.

On the consumer front, the council worked extensively to extend its awareness and education efforts from the Midwest to the East Coast. Registered dietitians promoted the versatility of Georgia peaches during televised healthy eating segments in select Southern markets. Sweet Georgia Peaches spokesperson and cookbook author Gena Knox appeared in cooking demonstrations for television stations in major Southeastern markets.

Social media played an increasingly important role in this year’s campaign. In addition to regular Facebook and Twitter posts throughout the season, the council created a YouTube channel to tell the story of Georgia peach farmers, many of whom are fourth- or fifth-generation farmers. A series of videos is available online that highlight the state’s peach producers, explain why Georgia peaches taste so sweet and provide consumers advice on how to pick the perfect peach.

To coincide with the YouTube channel launch and the first day of summer, the council scheduled Sweet Georgia Peach deliveries to television weathercasters in select cities. The result was a flurry of media mentions, as well as Facebook and Twitter posts showing pictures of meteorologists posing with their sweet treats.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Marketing efforts help Georgia peaches wrap up a very sweet season despite rainy weather

When people think of Georgia, they think of peaches. And while the Peach State has not been the nation’s top producer in many years volume-wise, when it comes to quality and name recognition, Georgia still earns its nickname. And this year’s Georgia peach season looks like it may have been one for the record books.

Each year, Georgia produces more than 130 million pounds of peaches between mid-May and mid-August. And despite above-average GA-Peaches-1Georgia produces more than 130 million pounds of peaches each year. This season was one for the record books, despite rain throughout July. rainfall during the month of July that hampered harvesting, the Georgia Peach Council said the majority of its members picked and shipped 90 percent of full-crop estimates.

“One of the biggest challenges in a wet summer is consistency, and we managed to have not only excellent consistency but excellent quality from start to finish,” said Will McGehee of the Georgia Peach Council. “Although a final tally is still being determined, from our standpoint as growers, 2013 will wind up being a great year.”

Increased marketing efforts by the Peach Council paid off in retail and media recognition for its “Sweet Georgia Peaches” program.

“All in all, we believe that our marketing and public relations efforts, combined with the sweet and delicious flavor and reputation of Georgia peaches led to an extremely successful 2013 season,” McGehee said.

For retailers, a “Georgia in July” marketing kit available for use by strategic partners in target markets throughout the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest was a hit. The kit included point-of-sale merchandising display bins highlighting freestone peaches, Sweet Georgia Peaches farm market bags, recipes and nutritional information.

Retailers were also encouraged to share the Sweet Georgia Peaches Facebook app with consumers. It allows consumers to send a ‘virtual’ Georgia peach to sweeten someone’s day and can still be accessed by logging onto www.facebook.com/SweetGeorgiaPeaches.

On the consumer front, the council worked extensively to extend its awareness and education efforts from the Midwest to the East Coast. Registered dietitians promoted the versatility of Georgia peaches during televised healthy eating segments in select Southern markets. Sweet Georgia Peaches spokesperson and cookbook author Gena Knox appeared in cooking demonstrations for television stations in major Southeastern markets.

Social media played an increasingly important role in this year’s campaign. In addition to regular Facebook and Twitter posts throughout the season, the council created a YouTube channel to tell the story of Georgia peach farmers, many of whom are fourth- or fifth-generation farmers. A series of videos is available online that highlight the state’s peach producers, explain why Georgia peaches taste so sweet and provide consumers advice on how to pick the perfect peach.

To coincide with the YouTube channel launch and the first day of summer, the council scheduled Sweet Georgia Peach deliveries to television weathercasters in select cities. The result was a flurry of media mentions, as well as Facebook and Twitter posts showing pictures of meteorologists posing with their sweet treats.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Nutrition education remains at fore of CPAC’s consumer marketing efforts

Continuing in its direct-to-consumer marketing campaign, the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee will again dovetail with the U.S. Potato Board’s promotional efforts.

Linda Weyers, assistant director of CPAC, said, “Our goal is to educate consumers on the fact potatoes are very nutritious and also non-fattening, and we will be coordinating our message with the USPB’s ‘Hungry Girl’ campaign starting this fall.”

For the 2012-13 shipping season CPAC tuned its message to the Potato Board’s “Five Distinct Potato Seasons” promo, using Colorado potatoes as a prime example of how versatile, nutritious and delicious spuds can be.

“We have Olympic figure skater Rachael Flatt continuing as our spokesperson for 2013-14,” Weyers continued. “Rachael will be in our social media presentations, and we are looking to use recipes she and her mother, Jody, especially like.”

CPAC employs Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to broadcast its message, and Weyers said, “Our social media presence is growing. Racheal Werner, our marketing and administrative assistant, works on both of our Facebook pages as well as our Twitter account and our Pinterest boards.”

Werner, a 2013 graduate of Adams State College in nearby Alamosa, CO, has a degree in agriculture business and is at home in the IT atmosphere at CPAC. Weyers said that holiday promotions through the social media sites are now being planned by herself and Werner.

“We have about 500 followers on Facebook, and the number grows steadily,” Weyers said. “Our Pinterest presence is also pretty amazing, with our potato recipes being reposted more than 20 times. And Racheal tries to post every day.”

In reaching consumers, CPAC will also use food shows, including PMA Fresh Summit and regional opportunities in and near Colorado. The committee has a long-established relationship with the Colorado chapter of the American Culinary Federation, with chefs attending shows and participating in the annual Colorado Potato Festival in Monte Vista.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines