June Was Fourth Wettest on Record for New Jersey

New Jersey had 8.2 inches of rainfall this month, which is 4.18 inches above average ranking June as the fourth wettest since 1895, according to Dave Robinson, New Jersey state climatologist at Rutgers University… "May was the third warmest May on record and June, at a half degree above normal averaging 70.6 degrees, was the thirtieth warmest on record," Robinson said. "So, it was mild in June, but not as abnormally mild as May was."… As of right now, it looks like we are in a weather pattern that likely will not lock the state into a prolonged period of warmth or dry weather.  But, the two warmest months of the year are on the way.

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Open House Attracts 350 Guests

After a day of unrelenting rain, skies cleared on Sunday afternoon (June 28) for the second annual open house at Fair Winds Farm, celebrating the month of the horse in New Jersey. About 350 guests, most of them with no connection or experience with horses, walked up the tree-lined lane, past fields of mares and foals, to the Cream Ridge farm for an afternoon of everything equine… Fair Wind’s Mark Mullen invited several partners and exhibitors to open the doors to the farm and the horse world to the general public, with FFA members parking cars and exhibiting alongside Rutgers University Equine Science program, Harness Horse Youth Foundation, Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization, NJ Quarter Horse Association, NJ Farm Bureau and Monmouth County 4H, complete with real bunnies in baskets… "It was a beautiful day and we had enthusiastic participation from many groups and a lot of non-horse people here, visiting Dr. Hogan’s clinic, seeing all the demos," said Fair Winds’ owner Mark Mullen. "People were very complimentary about the farm and all the horses and activities. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time."

Read the entire article at www.harnesslink.com »

Food for Thought: Use More Forages in Livestock Farming

Small-scale livestock farming in the tropics can become more intensive yet sustainable if more and better forage is used to feed the animals being reared. This could benefit farming endeavours in rural South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, and see a move away from the increased reliance on grain-based feeds, say scientists at CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture) and Thomas Rudel of Rutgers University in the US, in Springer’s journal Ambio… Rudel and his associates at CIAT argue that the "LivestockPlus" program could be a way forward by increasing the use of forages to feed livestock, which is often reared on small farms, in the tropics. Its agricultural research and extension efforts help to intensify in sustainable ways the management of forage grasses and legumes, shrubs, trees, and animals… "In addition to enhancing the food security of poor consumers by reducing global demand and prices for grains, forage-focused sustainable intensification would improve the productive capacity of poor producers who raise crops and livestock on small landholdings in rural South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Central America.", says Rudel.

Read the entire article at www.phys.org »

Senators, Health Experts Demand Action to Address Biolab Accidents

Key members of Congress, public health leaders and biosecurity experts demand better oversight and accountability for laboratories in the wake of a USA TODAY Network investigation that revealed widespread safety lapses and pervasive secrecy that obscures failings by researchers and regulators… The "lack of transparency and significant variability in how safety lapses are reported and reprimanded across all levels of government is very concerning," said U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs… Richard Ebright, a biosafety expert at Rutgers University in New Jersey who has testified before Congress, said lab oversight by the CDC and USDA is clearly ineffective. Ebright said both agencies have conflicts of interests as regulators because they conduct research in their own labs and their departments fund studies at facilities receiving inspections.

Read the entire article at www.usatoday.com »

Jersey Shore Oyster Industry Growing Again

Lying 50 yards off the shore of a remote cove along a stretch of mud flats on the Delaware Bay – where prehistoric man once cultivated oysters with a kind of primitive aquaculture – modern-day researchers and aqua-farmers have been working hand in hand for more than a decade to seed and grow New Jersey’s beleaguered oyster industry… Ultimately, it took more than 40 years and many tries by the late Rutgers biologist Harold H. Haskin to develop a disease-resistant strain of oysters that is now the industry standard from Maine to Florida. So remarkable was Haskin’s research and ultimate success in helping revive the oyster species here and elsewhere that after he retired in 1984, Rutgers named its Shellfish Research Laboratory in Port Norris after him. The research Haskins began continues today at the lab, according to Kathryn Ashton-Alcox, a field researcher there… "It’s so important to continue the research of the species and the management of it, so that the industry continues to grow," Ashton-Alcox said. "We’ve merged the resources of Rutgers, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the industry-growers to successfully work together to recover this important industry."

Read the entire article at www.philly.com »