Technology is supposed to make people’s lives easier. Yes, technology had helped the print media improve our news gathering and dissemination. This same technology has also inundated us with an endless supply of information at our fingertips, sometimes an almost suffocating amount of information.
My email Inbox is a daily reminder of the good and bad that this technology has brought us. Keying in content of days past has been replaced by the copy and paste convenience of today. That convenience needs to be supplemented with an auto-purge function so the Inbox does not max out.
My apologies, but here is my attempt to purge my emails, but yet share with you some snippets that maybe weren’t on your radar screen.
1. Swine Health Information Center Disease Matrix
SHIC’s Swine Disease Matrix was developed last year to evaluate transboundary and emerging diseases, and was recently reviewed and updated by the SHIC Monitoring and Analysis Working Group. The objective of the Matrix review is to facilitate a swine health reporting and communication network among the international contacts of the working group.
SHIC Executive Director, Paul Sundberg, says the Matrix is a living document demanding periodic updates and the working group reviews each disease listed and its impact in three different categories: economic impact (impact on the farm level); market impact — domestic and international; and the chances of introduction and emergence in the U.S. herd. The overall score assigned in the Matrix is the average of the three categories. As a result of the review, scores on diseases in the Matrix were changed to reflect current conditions in the industry.
It’s good to be aware of what might be knocking on the door of the U.S. swine industry.
2. Food security leads to peace
A well-fed population is a content population.
Conflict, globally and locally, is often caused when one hungers for what they don’t have – those hungers may be figurative or real. On March 30, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs issued “Stability in the 21st Century: Global Food Security for Peace and Prosperity,” a report on how U.S. efforts to fight food insecurity around the world can provide increased security and economic vitality at home, particularly in rural areas.
“The discussion of food security as a driver of stability is an urgent one as Congress and the administration consider the future security of the United States,” says Council president Ivo H. Daalder. “It is vital that the United States sustain successful investments, such as those in international agricultural development that have contributed to decades of human progress — especially as famines are emerging on multiple fronts, populations are booming and the effects of climate change are making farming more difficult.”
“The complex new food security challenges we face call for bold U.S. leadership but also present new opportunities for America,” says Dan Glickman, former U.S. secretary of agriculture and co-chair of the report task force. “Agriculture must become more productive in low-income countries, not just to feed rapidly growing populations but also to generate economic opportunity in the food system as hundreds of millions of young people enter the workforce in the coming decades. In addition, as agriculture abroad intensifies, incomes rise, translating into attractive new markets for American farmers and the broader agribusiness sector. Active U.S. leadership would help accelerate this.”
Specifically, the report calls for the Trump administration and Congress, in close collaboration with the private sector, civil society, universities, multilateral institutions and other national governments, to take urgent action in four key areas.
• Make global food and nutrition security a pillar of U.S. diplomatic and national security engagement and strengthen the integration and coordination of activities both within the United States and around the world;
• Prioritize public research investments to unlock innovation and harness new technologies for the agriculture, food and nutrition sectors;
• Productively partner with committed companies to amplify the power of the private sector to transform food and nutrition security, from individual entrepreneurs to multinational businesses;
• In strategic alignment with foreign policy goals, ensure that U.S. agriculture and nutrition assistance programs are efficient and support low-income countries’ capacity to implement responsible and effective policies.
3. Soybeans are incredible
Hog producers know just how amazing soybeans are, as soybean meal has been a pig-diet staple for decades. Soybean producers also know how amazing the bean is with hundreds of products that have been realized from this legume. Now, the amazing bean may make one of the swine industry’s byproducts more, er, palatable. It long has been argued that if livestock didn’t smell, neighbor relations would be a lot more smooth.
Since 1994, the Indiana Soybean Alliance has funded the Student Soybean Product Innovation Competition at Purdue University. This year, 16 teams participated to find innovative new uses for soybeans that meet a market need and ultimately increase demand for soybeans.
Though they came in second, a team of two Purdue juniors studying food science earned a $10,000 prize for Soy Poo-fession, a technology using soybean oil and soy lecithin to emulsify the water in a toilet bowl, eliminating the odors rather than simply masking odors as usual air fresheners. Kuan-Ting Lee, from Taiwan, and Yudi Wen, from China, foresee Soy Poo-fession possibly being used to mitigate or eliminate livestock manure smells.
I’ve got a long way to go to purge all superfluous emails, but a guy as to start somewhere.