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_imgThe Ballingarry native has been managing the U21 hurlers for the past two seasons, and he guided the Premier to a Munster final in 2016.Speaking to Tipp FM Sport William Maher had nothing but praise for those he worked with.Tipperary Co. Board wish to announce that due to work commitments coinciding with further educational opportunities, Tipperary U21 Hurling Manager, William Maher (Ballingarry) will not be seeking an extension to his term as manager when the position is up for renewal later in the year. His decision, taken now, concurs with his immediate priorities and also to allow Tipperary Co. Executive time to plan ahead for his successor.During his two year term as manager, William guided Tipperary to the Munster U21 Final in 2016 which his side lost to the eventual All-Ireland Champions. At a time when the grade is very strong provincially, his developmental panel acquitted themselves well in this year’s campaign.Tipperary Co. Board Chairman, Michael Bourke in appreciation had this to say, ‘I thank William Maher for the enormous effort and contribution he has made to Tipperary in his tenure as U21 hurling manager. His knowledge and passion for the game is up there with the best and it’s unfortunate for him and the County that results didn’t give him the rewards his efforts deserved. I wish William well in his career and hope he will be able to continue to share his expertise through involvement with his club’. Tipperary Under 21 hurling manager William Maher is stepping down from the job.His intention to leave the fold was announced at the County Board meeting last night.He’s taken the decision for personal and family reasons.last_img read more