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California Milk sends 70,000 lbs of dairy to Harvey, Irma areas

When 42,000 pounds of cheese was delivered this week to the Houston Food Bank, another food relief truck was on its way to Treasure Coast Food Bank, all from the California dairy community in an effort to to support families in need who were affected by recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida.  The total commitment of more than 70,000 pounds of protein-rich dairy foods like cheese, yogurt, cream, and protein drinks was coordinated by the state’s dairy farm families through the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) in cooperation with dairy processors.

“We’re farmers. Nourishing people is what we do. We couldn’t stand by when so many people are in need,” said dairy farmer Dante Migliazzo, Chairman of the CMAB. “Wanting to join in the relief effort, we reached out to the dairy processor community, the folks who turn our milk into nutritious dairy foods, in the hopes of doing something. The response was tremendous, and within days two trucks filled with over 70,000 pounds of product were ready to go.”

The Treasure Coast Food Bank in Fort Pierce, Florida received 861 cases (18,532 packages) of cheese, 590 cases (7,080 packages) of crema, 2,736 bottles of protein drink, 5,040 servings of cup yogurt and 1,440 servings of drinkable yogurt from Cacique, FitPro, Pacific Cheese Company, Rizo Lopez and Super Store Industries. Today, the Houston Food Bank received 37,884 packages of Cacique cheese for distribution to its network of more than 600 hunger relief charities.

Shipping and logistical support was provided by CMAB partner HarbyrCo Global Products Solution.

“We’re so grateful to our processor partners for their support of the people and communities affected by Harvey and Irma and for the assistance of Feeding America and HarbyrCo in getting these products into the hands of the people who need them most,” said Migliazzo.

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Syngenta joins CURES to release pollinator stewardship film

Syngenta has teamed up with the Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship (CURES) to release an educational film showcasing best-management practices (BMPs) for protecting pollinators on farms and urban landscapes.

“Because farmland treated for pests is often shared by pollinators, it is important to help farmers and pesticide applicators understand how best to control damaging crop pests, while minimizing the impact on pollinators,” said Parry Klassen, executive director, CURES, and the film’s producer and narrator. “Additionally, proper pesticide use should protect pollinators’ forage and habitat.”

In the film, “Pollinators and Pesticide Stewardship,” Klassen shares BMPs set forth in the brochure of the same name. These guidelines include reading and following pesticide label directions and precautions—and using integrated pest management (IPM), an approach that takes into account the unique chemical, cultural, mechanical, and biological aspects of a farmer’s operation to inform a customized pest-management program.

“Many crops are dependent upon the pollination role provided by bees and other pollinators, and it is incumbent on farmers and crop input providers to protect pollinators, while managing crop pests and improving crop yields,” said Caydee Savinelli, pollinator and IPM stewardship lead, Syngenta. “Delivering crop protection products brings the responsibility to educate farmers and applicators on BMPs for using these important inputs in a safe and environmentally sustainable way.”

This film reflects the latest project resulting from a long-standing collaboration between Syngenta and CURES—a relationship built on the common goal of proactive pesticide stewardship. Since CURES’ inception 20 years ago, Syngenta has worked with the organization to sponsor educational outreach efforts on a wide range of topics relating to health, safety and the environment.

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Florida rancher rushes to save cattle after dike breaks

A Florida rancher is scrambling to get his cattle to higher ground after a dike broke in Okeechobee County a few days ago following heavy rainfall and Hurricane Irma.

According to WPTV, several cows are dead, while others are trapped on strips of dry ground at Alderman-Deloney Ranch. A massive effort by the ranching community in underway to help herd the livestock out and host the cattle until the ranch dries up. 

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Land O’Lakes Drone Challenge down to final three

More than 157 innovators from 47 countries entered the competition and now Land O’Lakes Prize: Drone Challenge is down to three finalists. A crowdsourced competition launched in February 2017, the Drone Challenge is searching for the next valuable, user-friendly drone solutions that will help farmers make better decisions for their crops as they work to produce more food to feed more people.

The competition, managed through the HeroX platform, was designed to accelerate the development of drones for the ag industry.

“We’ve been a leader in deploying ag technology through our WinField United business. In the precision and decision agriculture and satellite imaging space, we have a number of tools available that provide value to farmers, like the R7 Tool by WinField and R7 Field Forecasting application,” said Mike Macrie, Land O’Lakes chief information officer. “We believe drones—with a few more years work and the right financial incentives, can be another useful tool in our farmers’ toolbox.”

Because today’s drone solutions require a great deal of time and effort in the data collection and processing workflows, the drone challenge innovators’ proposed solutions must limit the need for human involvement in field data collection, decrease the time needed to access crop imagery, and improve the ability for a farmer to make decisions based on field health data.

Based on these criteria, judges from the University of Minnesota and WinField United ag tech experts selected three finalists to compete in a closed live judging event, demonstrating their proposed solutions in a field setting at Westland Dairy, a Land O’Lakes member-owner, in Watkins, Minnesota on Sept. 20-22:

  • Sandhills Robotics, Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • CreateUAS, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  • American Robotics, Boston, Massachusetts

A prize of $5,000 is guaranteed for finalists. If a finalist meets all requirements better than any other, they take home $140K. The winners, if any, will be announced in the days following the judging event and will retain intellectual property rights to the solutions they develop to help farmers use drone technology more effectively.

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