Greenhouse short course

first_imgThe Greenhouse Short Course isn’t all that short, and you don’t have to have a greenhouse to find it appealing. The three-day program is really four workshops in one.The short course is offered at the Bamboo Farm and Coastal Gardens in Savannah, Ga., Feb. 20-22 and at the University of Georgia Experiment Station in Griffin, Ga., Feb. 27-March 1.In each city, the first day includes workshops on either basic greenhouse skills or greenhouse management skills. The second day is a plant propagation school, and the third is an industry tour.Pesticide credits in Category 24 will be awarded.The fees are $145 for the greenhouse skills workshop, $65 for management skills, $195 for the plant propagation school and $75 for the industry tour. You can register for all or any combination.Hands-on workshopsThe workshops will be a mix of classroom-style lectures and hands-on workshops. The basic skills workshop covers fundamentals of plant growth, fertilizers, potting mixes, pH and soluble salts, planting, watering, pests and diseases, pesticide application and safety and spraying techniques.The propagation school covers all the basics of taking and rooting cuttings. Much of the program is hands-on training, and you get to take your handiwork home.Finally, the bus tour will visit some of the best Georgia greenhouses and nurseries and take a look at the newest annual and perennial flowers. Stops for beautiful landscapes, leading garden centers and fine dining are included.Registration starts at 8 a.m. The program begins at 8:30 each day and ends at 5 p.m. Early registration is strongly encouraged and should be postmarked by Jan. 31. After that date, fees increase by $20.You must specify the location you will attend. For full details, call (770) 229-3477. Or check the Web at read more

Food safety act

first_imgConcerned Georgia farmers gathered in Atlanta, Macon and Tifton on Wednesday, March 20 to hear a summary of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s new Food Safety Modernization Act. Proposed by Congress, the act was developed in an effort to improve the safety of the nation’s food supply.Representatives from the FDA, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Farm Bureau, the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences were on hand to field questions about the act. Similar listening sessions are being held in selected other states. Opinions soughtGrowers and consumers have until May 16 to submit their concerns regarding the proposed regulations. “We are aware of the different climates, growing practices and scales of operation,” said Mike Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine for the FDA. “We have our hands full to come up with a rule that takes account of all that diversity…and is feasible at the end of the day.” Taylor applauded farmers for taking an active role in risk management. “We are asking you to put on one more hat – manage food safety on your farms,” he said. The listening sessions in Georgia focused primarily on the proposed standards for harvesting, packing and holding produce for human consumption. A second proposed rule recently released for public comment addresses preventative controls in food processing businesses and restaurants, including animal foods and foods imported into the U.S. “We have to protect U.S. growers from imported foods undercutting consumer confidence in their products,” Taylor said.Under the new act, food importers would be required to document their processes. Currently, the U.S. relies on “a few FDA inspectors,” Taylor said. “We are shifting the paradigm. We’ll be doing more foreign inspections and strengthening private audits to increase public confidence.” Inspection system has improvedMike Doyle, director of the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin, Ga., said the nation’s current foodborne outbreak detection system has improved over the past few years and is now “incredibly effective at detecting outbreaks” of foodborne illness.“Most recently we’ve had outbreaks tracked to organic spinach, pistachios, hazelnuts and cantaloupes. A recent CDC study found leafy greens were responsible for 22 percent of foodborne illnesses,” Doyle said. “Produce is nutritionally good for people, but it’s also good for growing bad bacteria. Cantaloupe has a pH of 6 to 7 and this is where bacteria grow very well.”Scientists with the UGA CFS will be working closely with Georgia cantaloupe growers this summer to assess which sanitizers work best to reduce pathogens on the melons. Outbreaks affect farmers, processors, tooJim Gorny, senior advisor for produce safety for the FDA, said outbreaks of foodborne illness affect all farmers and food processors. “The spinach outbreak in 2006 left three people dead and over 100 people ill. That was the tipping point for the produce industry,” he said.Taylor said most farmers think a foodborne illness outbreak will never be linked to their farm. He compared that reasoning to a lightning strike. “It’s a very low probability that you’ll be struck, but if you are hit, you are likely to die,” he said. “What would a lightning strike on your farm look like? We don’t want you or your customers to be injured.” Bob McLeod of 4 P Farms grows cantaloupes in Wilcox County. “No farmer wants to provide an unsafe product. We feed our children and grandchildren the same food,” he said. “Everything this act covers, we already do. If they could combine some of these things, it would be better on us.”Tricia Wainwright of Taylor Orchards in Reynolds, Ga., agrees. “We do GAP (good agricultural practices) and GMO (genetically modified organisms) and we already have third party audits,” she said. Phillip Grimes grows cantaloupes, snap beans, broccoli, peanuts and cotton. He agrees with 90 percent of the new act, “as long as it doesn’t get ridiculous.” “It needs to be done, more food safety testing, more regulations, up to a certain point that we can work with and farm feasibly,” Grimes said. “We don’t need any Salmonella or Listeria out in the market place. We don’t want anybody to get sick. We want to do the best we can and need to know which direction we need to take to do that.”Act focuses on microbial risksThe proposed rules focus on microbial risks but don’t apply to certain produce like artichokes, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and potatoes that are normally not eaten raw. The act defines produce as fruits and vegetables, mushrooms, herbs and tree nuts. It doesn’t include grains or foods grown for personal or on farm consumption. “The rules are aimed at farms or FDA-regulated food facilities and mixed type facilities where there is a farm and some sort of processing plant,” Taylor said. “It covers farms with $25,000 in sales or more per year.” Greg Weeks of Field Fresh Organics in Peach County wasn’t happy to hear of the exemption for farmers who annually earn less than $25,000. He feels the rules should be the same for all involved. The new rules focus on commonly identified routes of produce contamination including agricultural water, farm worker hygiene, manure and other soil amendments, animals in growing areas and equipment, tools and buildings.If passed by Congress, Gorny says the new act would “affect small and large farmers” in 2016 or 2017. “Our role is to develop standards,” he said. “(The farmers) are the ones that make food safer for consumers.”To comment on the new food safety act, go to!docketDetail;D=FDA-2011-N-0921 or mail comments to Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD, 20852.last_img read more

Trans Mountain pipeline costs are adding up for Canadian government

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享National Observer:The Trans Mountain oil pipeline is costing a Canadian Crown corporation some staggering interest expenses that cast doubt on strong revenues from the infrastructure touted in the federal government’s recent economic update.The interest expenses were $20 million over a single month in September, right after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government purchased the pipeline and related assets from Texas energy company Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion. As part of the purchase, the government also had to set aside an additional $500 million as a security deposit in case of environmental damage, and this appears to be part of the interest expenses.If the interest expenses continue to pile up at that rate over the year, they will come to represent a larger sum than the amount of money that the government has said the pipeline is on track to raise this year primarily from toll charges.Oil pipelines earn revenues by charging tolls to companies that are shipping fuels on the infrastructure. The Trudeau government has said that the proposed Trans Mountain expansion project, if completed, would generate more revenues and could be sold back to the private sector, along with existing assets, as a profitable venture.In a new quarterly report, the Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV), the Crown corporation that now owns and operates the pipeline through a network of subsidiaries, said it incurred $21.27 million in interest expenses related to Trans Mountain during the third quarter ending Sept. 30.The pipeline from the oil patch to the west coast and its related expansion project was acquired by Ottawa in a deal that cleared Aug. 31. These two dates represent approximately a month’s worth of expenses, or $255.24 million over the year. That is well above the “over $200 million” that Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s fall fiscal update said the pipeline was on track to make in “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization,” or EBITDA, a type of metric used in finance to show a performance snapshot. EBITDA doesn’t include things like capital investment costs or expenses linked to debt.Tom Sanzillo, director of finance at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, co-authored a report in June with Kathy Hipple, a financial analyst at the institute and corporate finance lecturer at Bard College, stating that the Canadian government was facing at least $11.6 billion in costs to complete the pipeline. “This transaction and the cost of further planning and construction could add a $6.5 billion unplanned expenditure to Canada’s budget during FY 2019,” the report states, boosting Canada’s projected deficit by 36 per cent.Sanzillo told National Observer that while it is not uncommon for a government economic development transaction to keep revenues, capital costs and operational expenses separate, the interest expenses and fiscal update numbers represent an incomplete picture. “For a project of this size and importance,” said Sanzillo, “the executive has a responsibility to also produce an all-in-one, true and accurate inclusive project accounting that answers the question: ‘How much is this costing the Canadian taxpayer?’ These financial disclosures are partial, and absent a full accounting, are irrelevant. Because it is only a partial explanation, it says nothing about the financial viability of the project.”More: The Trudeau government’s Trans Mountain purchase has triggered staggering interest expenses Trans Mountain pipeline costs are adding up for Canadian governmentlast_img read more

Edo Dep. Gov, Eguavoen, Enigie Star in Oba Ewuare II Coronation…

first_img By Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt Hon. Philip Shaibu at the weekend led the All Stars FC of Benin against the Austin Eguavoen captained Ex-players of Bendel Insurance FC of Benin in a novelty match to mark the coronation anniversary of Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Ewuare II who was physically present at the game. The deputy governor who scored the winning goal of the match played right inside the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium as part of activities marking the Oba’s one year anniversary of his coronation, dedicated his goal to the Benin monarch. He said the Oba was his father just as the revered monarch calls him his son, adding that he was ready to play again and again to celebrate the Oba.  Presenting the giant trophy to Shaibu after the match, Oba Ewuare praised his physical fitness despite the heavy stress of his office as deputy governor.  The monarch said he was particularly pleased that he could make out time to watch the football match in commemoration of his first year on the throne of his forefathers.  It was fun as the Enigie (Dukes) and  selected palace chiefs engaged themselves in entertaining the monarch in 20 minutes novelty football which saw the dukes triumphing in penalty shoot outs. Speaking shortly after the game, the Oba of Benin commended the organisers of the event, urging Edo people to love themselves and encourage charity.  He said Edo is one, stressing that the Bini, Esan and Afemai should see themselves as one big family and live in peace.  While urging the Enigie (Dukes) to direct their energy towards the promotion of peace and security in their respective domains, Oba Ewuare II, noted that with their display on the field of play, the chiefs have proved that they are physically fit to carry out their various assignments in the palace.  Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more