I am constantly amazed by the immense dedication and sheer intelligence people in agriculture embody. From brilliant geneticists to some of the hardest working advisors, farmers, and Extension individuals out there, I have a ton of respect. Agriculture is such a layered industry, and I cannot imagine it progressing without them.
Within the layers lies the excitement of discovery. Pages eight through 10 highlight a potential solution to blast disease in rice. The article states that each year, blast disease, caused by the fungal pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae, attacks and kills plants that represent between 10% and 35% of the global rice crop, depending on weather conditions. University of California, Berkeley, biochemists led by Michael Marletta, professor of chemistry and of molecular and cell biology, discovered that the fungus secretes an enzyme that punches holes in the tough outer layer of rice leaves. Once inside, the fungus rapidly grows and inevitably kills the plant.
Another component comes with funding that helps produce the research needed for success. Pages 11 through 13 discuss two different collaborators of a new, United States Department of Agriculture-funded grant. Louisiana State University is the lead institution for the project and has Texas A&M AgriLife as one of its collaborators. The Texas A&M AgriLife team is looking to take on rice smut with its portion of the grant. “We will equip the current and next generation of rice farmers, consultants, and researchers with the necessary knowledge and skillset to embrace the new climate-smart agriculture technologies and production practices,” said Prasanta Subudhi, the lead investigator of the project and a crop geneticist in the LSU AgCenter School of Plant, Environmental, and Soil Sciences.
Along with this year’s Rice Consultant of the Year nomination form (nominate a deserving consultant today!), page 14 includes information and results from rice cultivar trials conducted in Bootheel Missouri. These trials evaluated both grain and milling yields. Agronomic measures, including canopy height, lodging potential, disease incidence, and days to maturity, are also measured, said MU Extension rice specialist Justin Chlapecka.
This month’s Industry News on page seven features a message from Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president, as he emphasizes the importance of the new Farm Bill. From the perspective of looking back to the start of the #StillFarming campaign, Duvall emphasizes the importance of having the American people’s interest in and understanding of the upcoming Farm Bill.
I hope we all find something thought-provoking among or between all the layers that make up this constantly moving industry!