Tag Archives: Agriculture

The 3rd Farming by Satellite Prize decided on Monday 23rd January at International Green Week in Berlin 

BERLIN,  Germany, 2017-Jan-25 — /EPR ENVIRONMENT NEWS/ — The 3rd Farming by Satellite Prize, promoting the use of satellite technologies in agriculture, was decided on Monday 23rd January at International Green Week in Berlin. The overall winner of €5,000 was a team from ISA Lille in France with their idea for using satellite data to pair the issues of managing nitrogen levels together with solving soil compaction, and using cover crops to address this in an environmentally sensitive way. The €4,000 Special Africa Prize went to “Shamballite” a team from Kenya with their innovative and well-documented idea for a mobile and satellite-based Farming Information System.

They beat stiff competition from 76 other young people across 13 European and 8 African countries. Judges selected seven teams from Europe to take forward to the final ‘live’ judging round, and another three from Africa, who made their presentations by video-link. Portugal was successful in getting two teams through to the final round, and other finalists were from Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany and Italy. For the Special Africa prize, it was Kenya that was particularly successful – providing two out of the three finalists, with the third coming from Morocco.

The €3,000 Second Prize and €1,000 Third Prize went to Czech Republic and Italy respectively. Farming by Satellite Prize is an initiative of the European GNSS Agency (GSA) and the European Environment Agency (EEA). It is sponsored by CLAAS, a leading manufacturer of agricultural engineering equipment, and crop protection experts Bayer CropScience.

Reviewing the winning entries this year, GSA judge Reinhard Blasi said: “The judges were particularly impressed with the high quality and professionalism that has evolved over time, especially for the African participants. It was this and the holistic approach focussing on a real challenge for Kenya´s farmers that helped “Shamballite to win first place. The idea sends simple mobile messages to support farmers with decision-making by closing specific information gaps.“

Commenting on the environmental aspect of entries, Hans Dufourmont of EEA added: “It has been remarkable to see how the Copernicus’ European Union open data policy becomes a real game changer that boosts the uptake of satellite imagery for improving the environmental aspects of farming practices: we have seen plenty of proposals taking advantage of the free access to Sentinel satellite data.

Said Christian Radons of CLAAS: “As agriculture becomes more knowledge intensive, our role extends beyond machinery design and manufacture to use science, innovation and technology to make a difference across the whole value chain. We really want to encourage tomorrow’s innovators to apply their talents to the agriculture sector, which is why we have supported the Farming by Satellite Prize since the first edition in 2012. With each edition of the Prize, we notice the submissions improving in quality and applicability. This is a great signal for the future of farming and food production.”

Commented Alex Melnitchouck of Bayer CropScience: “Today’s farmers have a lot of knowledge at their fingertips, helped by the spread of mobile communications. Combine this with the latest seed varieties, detailed weather data and crop analysis tools, and they have a better chance to increase production and cope with climate change. There is a real opportunity to help farmers with decision-making and use advanced technology in simple ways to manage their businesses better, and to lower costs. The Farming by Satellite Prize is a way of raising awareness of these opportunities and tapping into the talents of young people to make them happen.”

The last words go to the winners who said: “We are so excited to have been selected as winners; it has been a great experience, and we hope to see our idea become reality.”

Entrants must be under the age of 32 and can take part as individuals or as a team. They can submit case studies of trials, or new ideas and innovations, particularly those relying upon European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), the forthcoming GALILEO system and COPERNICUS (the European Earth Observation Programme).

For more information visit: www.farmingbysatellite.eu or contact organiser Andrea King at andrea.king@askhelios.com.

SOURCE: EuropaWire

EPA-registered and USDA-Certified Organic Pesticides Now Available for Licensing through Verde Bio-Science

An agribusiness licensing company, Verde Bio-Science, has added a line of patent-pending EPA-registered and USDA-certified organic products available for licensing by others.

The newly-added organic line includes multiple insecticides and herbicides, plus a fungicide, miticide, horticultural oil, and several repellents.   The eleven new products bring the company’s total list of product registrations available for licensing to 438.

“We are pleased to add these EPA-registered and USDA-certified organic products to our license offering,” said Jeff Elliott, Executive Vice President of Sales for Verde Bio Science. “We receive numerous requests for licenses for certified organic products; these new inputs will make a number of our clients very happy.”

Verde Bio-Science, a DBA of Custom Chemicides, licenses companies to manufacture, sell, and distribute its agricultural and horticulture products through its patent-pending Smart Licensing Program.

“Our licensing program brings together people, companies, and products from various pesticide and fertilizer industries,” said Elliott. “On one side of the business, we work with scientists, labs, chemists, corporations, and even bench-shop chemists who have patented, patent-pending, and post-patent ag products they want to license to others.”

“On the other side of our business, we have clients who purchase licenses from us allowing them to begin manufacturing the products almost instantaneously.  Purchasing a license satisfies their immediate need for the product, and eliminates the costly multi-year effort of registering the chemical, conducting test trials, and gathering crop data.

“Our clients have saved a great deal of time, money, and aggravation by purchasing licenses for the exact products they need, as well as opening whole new lines of business for their company.”

Verde Bio-Science also offers full turn-key business packages ranging from chemical manufacturing facility development and set-up, to the hiring of a sales force for those newly entering the ag industry.

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Loss of Atrazine Would Wipe Out 21,000 to 48,000 Jobs Dependant on Agriculture

Banning the agricultural herbicide atrazine would cost between 21,000 and 48,000 jobs from corn production losses alone, according to University of Chicago economist Don L. Coursey, Ph.D.

Dr. Coursey announced his findings at a briefing sponsored by the Triazine Network today at the National Press Club in Washington.

Coursey estimates atrazine’s annual production value to corn alone to be between $2.3 billion and $5 billion. Atrazine’s additional value to sorghum, sugar cane and other uses increases these totals.

“The economic data on atrazine are very clear. As a first-order estimate, banning atrazine will erase between 21,000 and 48,000 jobs related to or dependant on corn production, with additional job losses coming from both sugar cane and sorghum production losses,” Coursey said. “The range is wide because we have never before banned a product on which so many depend and for which suitable replacements have a wide variety of prices and application regimes.”

“If all of that job loss were concentrated in the agricultural sector, its unemployment would grow by as much as 2.6 percent. Replacement costs for corn farmers could reach as high as $58 per acre,” Coursey said.

Atrazine has been a mainstay of corn, sorghum and sugar cane production for 50 years. The second most-used herbicide in the U.S., it controls a broad range of yield-robbing weeds, is safe for the crop and supports a variety of farming systems, including soil-saving conservation-till agriculture.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) re-registered atrazine in 2006 based on the evidence of nearly 6,000 studies and more than 80,000 public comments. It began an additional, unscheduled review of atrazine in late 2009.

“Atrazine is essential to U.S. agriculture. We appreciate Dr. Coursey’s findings and will distribute them to our members, the EPA and to our elected representatives. With unemployment still painfully high across the nation, we can’t afford to lose as many as 50,000 jobs and the corn yield that sustains them,” said Jere White, Triazine Network chairman and executive director of the Kansas Corn Growers Association.

EPA cited a media report and claims by a longtime anti-atrazine group when it announced the additional, unscheduled review. It was the first time in history EPA did not cite sound science to initiate a review process.

Coursey’s statement can be viewed at http://agsense.org/.

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Backed By 6,000 Studies And 50 Years Of Use, Atrazine Can Be Used Safely

For 50 years, sound science has governed U.S. regulatory decisions on atrazine, a well-studied herbicide that farmers rely upon worldwide to produce safe, healthy and abundant crops. Syngenta, as a science-based company, looks forward to a continuing, open and transparent safety review of atrazine by the U.S. EPA in 2010 and expects a positive outcome.

Last week, two environmental activist groups escalated their attacks on Syngenta and atrazine, urging a departure from the EPA’s methodical, science-based approach to regulating crop protection products such as atrazine. Syngenta believes these claims are baseless and wrong.

These activist groups urge the removal of safe, regulated crop protection tools farmers rely on to produce safe and abundant food for the world. It is estimated forty percent of the world’s food supply would not exist without the use of such products.

Committed to the highest ethical standards
“Syngenta is committed to promoting and maintaining high standards of corporate responsibility worldwide in an industry that is essential to global agriculture and food production,” said Dr. Tim Pastoor, principal scientist for Syngenta Crop Protection. “The activist report is an irresponsible and defamatory characterization of our company’s efforts to implement high standards of stewardship for the safe, effective and environmentally responsible use of its products. Our people are committed to the highest level of ethical standards in all our business practices.”

Transparent review of the best science
EPA’s 12-year evaluation completed in 2006 found atrazine poses “no harm that would result to the general U.S. population, infants, children or other … consumers.”

To reach its conclusion, EPA required that Syngenta initiate studies defined by the EPA and conducted using internationally recognized Good Laboratory Practices.

“Syngenta is required by the EPA to conduct a long list of mandatory high-quality studies under rigorous scrutiny by the agency,” said Pastoor. “Every data point is available to verify the studies were done properly and the science can be verified by EPA scientists. Recently cited studies by activist organizations are not required to adhere to the same standards. The EPA’s recent evaluation reviewed the best science in its regulatory decision, so these activist calls for yet another review of atrazine would only be repeating the work that has been done already.”

World-renowned institutions including the World Health Organization, the National Cancer Institute, and governments in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom all have studied atrazine. WHO said atrazine is deemed “not classifiable as to carcinogenicity to humans,” placing it in the same cancer risk category as substances such as tea, rubbing alcohol and talc. The Australian government said“it is unlikely that atrazine is an endocrine disruptor in humans.”

In addition, Anne Lindsay, former Deputy Director, Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. EPA, in testimony before the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee of the Minnesota House of Representatives, said “EPA has taken an especially close look at the research conducted by Dr. Tyrone Hayes which reports that atrazine adversely affects sexual development in frogs, causing a mixture of sex organs in a single animal. EPA has concluded that the existing data are insufficient to demonstrate that atrazine causes such effects. The Agency’s conclusions are supported by the independent, expert peer review of the SAP (Science Advisory Panel).”

Thousands of farmers rely on atrazine for more than half of U.S. corn
“Farmers have told us again and again to fight for atrazine, which is an important tool in growing affordable and abundant food, and we will,” Pastoor said. “Atrazine is relied on to control weeds on more than half of U.S. corn, and a 2003 EPA review said ‘the total or national economic impact resulting from the loss of atrazine to control grass and broadleaf weeds in corn, sorghum and sugar cane would be in excess of $2 billion per year if atrazine were unavailable to growers.’ That would have a devastating effect on our farm economy.”

For more information, visit www.atrazine.com.

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