first_imgYou may not find research in fruit and vegetable diseases to be intriguing, but if you no longer had high-quality fresh food on your plate, you might change your mind. If federal earmark funding is taken off the table for America’s land-grant universities, the safety of our abundant food supply will suffer.For example, phytophothora is a devastating disease for fruits and vegetables grown in the humid regions of the U.S., including Georgia. Nationally, the disease costs farmers $182 million. It costs Georgia farmers $38 million annually. Tomatoes or bell peppers can be healthy one day. The next day, the entire field could be wiped out. Infected fields often are destroyed to stop the disease’s spread. Solutions to this disease are complex, yet hardly exciting, nor thrilling or sexy. Having resources to find the solutions to the problems that plague our nation’s farmers is paramount to our ability to feed, clothe and house our citizens. Often it’s how farmers grow crops that determines the prevalence of the problem. Research into best practices is vital to their success. The scientific community isn’t going to fund studies of solutions to plant diseases like phytophothora. The scientific process mainly focuses on and funds studies that involve high-minded science, usually using molecular tools that investigate fundamental theory and process. Studying the best time of the season to plant bell peppers in south Georgia, while perhaps holding the solution to phytophothora, is never going to win a Nobel Prize. Some might also ask why farmers don’t fund this research directly, much like the Boeing Corporation funds research into the development of a new generation of aircraft. Farming is a diverse industry where no single farmer has the ability to directly support needed research. Some might also ask why multinational pesticide and chemical companies don’t support this research. Since the solution likely doesn’t involve a chemical which can be sold for profit, there is no incentive to develop strategies that don’t make money. Federal earmarks remain the only process for supporting this vital research. Without it, these projects fall between the cracks of the types of studies typically supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Research Initiative and the profit-driven research that pesticide companies might support. The very essence and value of public land-grant university research is that it is free from industrial, corporate, profit-motive influence. It is the closest thing we have to objective research for the good of the nation. Without federal funds, public university research may not have found the solution to the boll weevil, ways to protect and preserve our land and water or effective systems to prevent devastating foreign animal diseases from wiping out our food supply. Or we may have found the solutions, but the information would not be readily available for all to see, use and benefit from.There have been misguided projects amid the system of federal earmarks. There likely will be again. But research projects funded by the USDA support important issues that wouldn’t get the attention of other funding sources, yet are vital to ensuring we all have a safe, abundant and high-quality food supply. University of Georgia scientists are studying ways to fight phytophothora in fruits and vegetables right now. Their work is being funded by federal earmarks.Without this support, no one else would be looking for solutions to this problem. Research funded by federal earmarks may be the only hope we have to continue growing important Georgia food crops.last_img read more

first_imgBristow Group, a helicopter services provider for the offshore oil and gas industry, has voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. A Bristow helicopter; Author: Ronnie Robertson – under the CC BY-SA 2.0 licenseAnnouncing the filing on Saturday, May 11 Bristow said it intended to use the proceedings to restructure and strengthen its balance sheet and achieve a more sustainable debt profile, while continuing to provide industrial aviation services to its clients well into the future.All of Bristow’s businesses are operating in the ordinary course and are anticipated to continue to do so for the duration of the Chapter 11 process. The Chapter 11 filings pertain to certain of Bristow’s legal entities in the United States and two of its Cayman Islands subsidiaries.Bristow’s other non-U.S. entities, including those holding Bristow’s non-U.S. air operating certificates (AOCs), are not included in the Chapter 11 filings.L. Don Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bristow Group Inc., said, “After working diligently with our advisors on a thorough review of strategic financial alternatives, the Board of Directors and management concluded that the best path forward for Bristow and its stakeholders is to seek Chapter 11 protection. This process will allow us to strengthen our balance sheet, achieve a lower and more sustainable debt level and emerge as a stronger company. We have the support of the overwhelming majority of our parent company senior secured noteholders, with whom we have entered into a Restructuring Support Agreement that will help to de-lever our balance sheet, and we are actively working with other important stakeholders as we enter this process.”Miller continued, “We expect to execute a prompt and efficient reorganization, and to emerge from this restructuring process as a stronger company that is an even better business partner, employer and trusted service provider.”To ensure its ability to continue operating in the ordinary course of business, Bristow has filed customary motions with the Bankruptcy Court seeking a variety of “first-day” relief for the filing entities, including authority to pay employee wages and benefits, vendors and suppliers in the ordinary course for goods and services provided after the Petition Date.In addition to executing the Restructuring Support Agreement with the company, certain senior secured noteholders made a $75 million term loan to the company prior to the court filing, and provided a commitment for a further $75 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing that would be available upon court approval. The financing package provides Bristow with capital that enables the company to fund its global operations and make continued investments in safety and reliability during the Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings.The following eight entities are included in the filing: Bristow Group Inc., BHNA Holdings Inc., Bristow Alaska Inc., Bristow Helicopters Inc., Bristow U.S. Leasing LLC, Bristow U.S. LLC, BriLog Leasing Ltd. and Bristow Equipment Leasing Ltd.Notice from NYSEPrior to Bristow’s filing for the Chapter 11, the company on May 7 received a continued listing standard notice from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) because the average closing price of its common stock over a prior 30 consecutive trading day period had fallen below $1.00 per share, which is the minimum average closing price per share required to maintain listing on the NYSE.Under the NYSE rules, Bristow has a period of six months following the receipt of notice to regain compliance.Spotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email. Offshore Energy Today, established in 2010, is read by over 10,000 industry professionals daily. We had nearly 9 million page views in 2018, with 2.4 million new users. This makes us one of the world’s most attractive online platforms in the space of offshore oil and gas and allows our partners to get maximum exposure for their online campaigns. If you’re interested in showcasing your company, product or technology on Offshore Energy Today contact our marketing manager Mirza Duran for advertising options.last_img read more