agriculture

The dead zone is an area in the Gulf of Mexico where the oxygen is so low that fish and shrimp can’t live.

 

Scientists say this year’s dead zone is 8,776 square miles now -- about the size of New Jersey. Over the last five years it’s averaged 5,543 square miles.

 

It’s caused largely by agricultural runoff from the Midwest, and brought downstream by the Mississippi River. That runoff is high in nitrates, from fertilizer, which causes algae to bloom. When the algae dies, it sucks oxygen out of the water.

On today's program live from the Louisiana Farm Bureau convention, Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain addresses agricultural topics, including trade with Cuba and the sugar industry and its response to trade with Mexico.


giphy.com

In Tuesday's Senate Agriculture committee, Senator Gerald Long reacted to a House-approved bill allowing the LSU and Southern University Ag Centers to research the growing of cannabis as industrial hemp.

“I think we’re on slippery slopes here,” suggested Long. 


An international committee of cancer experts shocked the agribusiness world a few days ago when it announced that two widely used pesticides are "probably carcinogenic to humans." The well-respected International Agency for Research on Cancer published a brief explanation of its conclusions in The Lancet and plans to issue a book-length version later this year.

A government-appointed group of top nutrition experts, assigned to lay the scientific groundwork for a new version of the nation's dietary guidelines, decided earlier this year to collect data on the environmental implication of different food choices.

Congress now has slapped them down.

Baltimore's seaport is a world of big, noisy steel machines: giant cargo ships, cranes and roaring trucks.

In the middle of this hubbub, David Ng, an agricultural specialist with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, tries to find things that are small and alive: snails, moths and weed seeds of all sorts.

The House Appropriations Committee began hearings on the budget proposals for each of the state’s departments Monday. Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain is asking for a bit more money this next year, and Representative Henry Burns (R-Haughton) quizzed him about the reasons.

Jim Engster speaks with child abuse survivor Tom North about his book, "True North," and Grace Boatright, Legislative Director of the National Grange talks about non profit organizations with missions to assist rural America and agriculture, and Roman Krznaric, founding faculty member of the The School of Life, discusses his latest book called, "How Should We Live."

Jim Engster speaks with political consultant, Raymond Strother, and Dr. Denise Reed of the Water Institute of the Gulf about coastal marsh erosion, and Jeff Kuehny of the LSU AgCenter about Arbor Day events.


The State of Honey Bees in Louisiana

May 30, 2012

Earlier this week Governor Bobby Jindal signed a bill into law that creates a "Save the Honeybee" license plate.

But why are honeybees so important?

For that answer WRKF's Ashley Westerman turned to Dr. Tom Rinderer, the researcher leader at the USDA Honey Bee Lab here in Baton Rouge. That lab will benefit from the proceeds from license plate.

"Honeybees are absolutely vital to American agriculture, they pollinate in excess of $20-billion worth of crops a year," said Rinderer.


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