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Drought, poor wheat harvest in Kansas has effects on national economy, says climatologist

The Kansas wheat harvest may be one of the worst on record — and the loss doesn’t just hurt Kansas, according to a Kansas State University expert.

“The rains came too late to benefit the wheat production, so we may have our lowest wheat harvest on record,” said Mary Knapp, service climatologist in the university’s agronomy department.

That isn’t just disappointing for Kansas farmers, but could affect other food availability and the overall economy. Drought conditions lead to poor pasture conditions and hay production, which then impacts the number of cattle ranchers can graze, Knapp said.

“Then it starts trickling into the community because if you have wheat farmers with very low production, they most likely also received very low income,” Knapp said. “That farmer is not going to invest in machine upgrades or make as many purchases in the community. That will cause the economy to drag, which may result in a ripple effect that can be far reaching.”

Knapp says it takes about as long to recover from a drought as it did to reach drought status, so if it has been three years in the making, it will take three years or more to recover from the drought effects. And even getting more rain may not improve drought status.

“You can have a drought punctuated by a flood and still be in a drought,” Knapp said. “If the rain comes too quickly, it doesn’t have a beneficial component.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. The original article was written by Lindsey Elliott. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Price outlook poor for limes

Bad weather in Mexico has greatly reduced the spring lime crop, sending the prices for the citrus fruit to never-seen-before highs. “The price has gone completely stupid. They’re the highest prices I’ve seen in 40 years I’ve [been in business],” said Peter Testa, president of Testa Produce, a Chicago wholesaler. “It’s unprecedented,” agreed Alfonso Cano, produce director for Northgate Gonzalez Markets in Southern California. “We’re …

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Supermarket News

US (NY): Back to business after last year’s poor apple crop

US (NY): Back to business after last year’s poor apple crop

Finding a ripe, juicy apple to pick should be much easier this year after last season’s crop was devastated by frost.

The New York State Apple Association is expecting the upcoming yield of the State’s official fruit to be strong given “near-perfect” growing conditions bolstered production to typical levels. The weather conditions followed a more normal pattern this season, unlike last year’s early Spring that decimated apples orchards statewide and left consumers with little to hand pick off trees.

“We know our short crop last year left everyone with a taste for more,” said Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association, in a statement. “Most important for New York apple lovers in our State, we can better deliver on our commitment to get our apples to you fresher and faster than anywhere else.”

Fruit size and sugars are expected to be ideal because of “strong bloom, good pollination and plenty of sunlight, heat and moisture,” according to NYAA officials. Popular varieties should also be more readily available, including Gala, McIntosh, Empire and the newer Honey Crisp, as a result of new plantings made over the past five to six years.

“We want retailers to know that we have more than rebounded from last year, thanks to much more benevolent weather and smart growers who’ve been planting more of what consumers want,” Allen said.

Last year, the State’s apple crop was estimated at around 17.1 million bushels, but this year’s production could see yields exceeding 30 million bushels, according to NYAA.


Publication date: 8/16/2013

Poor Dietary Habits Killing More Than Smoking

More exercise is not cutting into the nation’s high obesity levels, and unwise diets are killing more people than about anything else—including smoking, drinking and drug use. Those are among the findings of a new study by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

The independent research center rolled out its findings last week at a “Let’s Move” event hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. The report, with its interactive county-by-county assessments of life expectancy, physical activity, obesity and blood pressure, continues to attract attention.

In the study, the IHME identified the top ten risk factors for health loss in 2010 and the number of deaths attributable to each one. Here are the death totals by risk:

Diets                                               678,282

Smoking                                        465,651

High Blood Pressure                  442,656

High Body Mass Index              363,991

Physical Inactivity                      234,022

High Blood Sugar                       213,669

High Total Cholesterol             158,431

Ambient Air Pollution              103,027

Alcohol Use                                  88,587

Drug Use                                       25,430

“If the U.S. can make progress with dietary factors, physical activity, and obesity, it will see massive reductions in death and disability,” says Ali Mokdad, who heads the county health performance team at IHME. “Unhealthy diets and a lack of physical activity in the U.S. cause more health loss than alcohol or drug use.”

Diet, however, is a large cut-out. IHME tracks 14 dietary risk factors, including diets low in fruits, diets low in nuts and seeds, diets high in sodium, diets high in processed meats, diets low in vegetables, diets high in trans fatty acids, diets low in seafood omega-3 fatty acids, diets low in whole grains, diets low in fiber, diets high in sugar-sweetened beverages, diets low in polyunsaturated fatty acids, diets low in calcium, diets low in milk and diets high in red meat.

Americans upped their physical activity by about 15 percent in the decade ending in 2010. Still, deaths due to lack of physical activity is ranked as 5th highest.

Christopher J. L. Murray, director of IHME, says the study shows communities can make progress in addressing risk factors and in moving towards health outcomes. That message lines up nicely with Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign.

The study, titled “The State of US Health, 1990-2010: Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors,” is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Food Safety News