A collection of roughly 255-million-year-old fossils suggests that three major plant groups existed earlier than previously thought, and made it through a mass extinction that wiped out more than 90 percent of Earth’s marine species and roughly 70 percent of land vertebrates.
Last updated 9:42 a.m., Jan. 28
U.S. federal government employees have returned to work on Jan. 28, following a 35-day partial government shutdown, according to multiple news sources. It was the longest shutdown in U.S. history.
“I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump was quoted as saying by NPR.
As of Jan. 25, the shutdown, which began Dec. 22, 2018, affected approximately 800,000 federal employees and services for millions in the United States, according to The New York Times.
The government plans to pay all furloughed employees their back pay by the end of the week of Jan. 27, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
The U.S. Senate and House passed a short-term spending bill Jan. 25, and the president signed it that evening to reopen the government, according to CNN. The bill will fund the government through Feb. 15, with no funding going toward Trump’s proposed United States-Mexico border wall, according to the news station.
Effect on agriculture
“President Trump’s announcement of the reopening of the federal government is welcome news, as it will bring thousands of our employees back to work and return us to our mission of providing our customers with the services they rely upon,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a prepared statement.
“I extend my sincere thanks to the thousands of USDA workers who stayed on the job during the shutdown to offer as many of our normal activities as we could,” Perdue continued. “The President has already signed legislation that guarantees backpay for all employees, and we will move forward on that as soon as possible. Meanwhile, we will prepare for a smooth reestablishment of USDA functions."
Seed Your Future has launched its new free online horticulture career exploration resource. Much more than a basic alphabetical list of the almost 100 careers in the horticulture industry, the tool first asks site visitors to consider what they are interested in, and then lists careers in horticulture that might match their interests. Each listed career links to a unique page that contains key information to help the user learn about that career.
Every career page includes information about the job, the level of education required, links to where to study in the U.S., data about salaries, links to professional organizations supporting that career, and engaging videos of people in those careers. Meant to provide introductory information to each career across the art, science, technology and business of horticulture, the new resource will continue to grow as more careers are featured, and more videos selected to help users understand all of the diverse options in the horticulture industry.
“Seed Your Future is committed to providing quality, reputable information about all of the exciting careers available across the art, science, technology and business of plants,” says Susan E. Yoder, executive director of Seed Your Future. “Showing students, parents, mid-career changers, educators, and anyone else interested in plants that there are meaningful and rewarding careers working with plants is one of the goals of Seed Your Future. Whether this resource introduces site visitors to a fulfilling career, or a lifelong passion, one thing is clear — the more we know about plants, the more we can make a difference in the world today."
Research identified the lack of detailed, centrally accessible information about the careers available in horticulture. Parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and youth all expressed the need for online resources to help them find out more about the careers available working with plants.The site SeedYourFuture.org/careers serves as a digital hub for all horticulture-career information in a concise, easy to read format with links to external resources, places to study and find scholarships, and videos of real people in each of the careers fields.
BioSafe Systems announced the promotions of Jeff Kline from market segment manager to vice president of sales for agriculture and professional products, and Eric Smith to east coast sales manager for turf & ornamental markets.
“Jeff has been a valuable part of our business over the past 10 years,” says Rob Larose, CEO and president of BioSafe Systems. “We are expecting him to help BioSafe Systems continue to grow in the next 10 years.”
In this new role, Kline will be responsible for strategic planning and marketing.
“I am excited to work with our team and partners to continue providing high-quality products that protect our customer’s brand,” Kline says. “I am honored to be a part of this great company and look forward to many more years of positive impact within our core markets.”
Kline has been working with the company since early 2007.
Eric Smith has successfully grown his territory, gained product knowledge and built strong relationships with BioSafe’s distribution networks. Smith will work with the team to promote and support sustainable solutions in turf and greenhouse/nursery industries.
“Eric has been an integral part of our growth,” Kline says. “I look forward to him leading the East Coast T&O team to new heights.”
BioSafe Systems also announced that Maxwell Gilley, who started his career with BioSafe Systems in January 2019, will be the new technical sales representative for turf & ornamentals in California.Prior to joining BioSafe Systems, Gilley worked for two years as a product development scientist.
HAYSVILLE, Kan. — The John C. Pair Horticulture Center in Haysville remains open for extension-outreach and research after being slated for closure.
After receiving feedback from stakeholders, a Kansas State University task force proposed a number of ideas to broaden and modify the scope of work, while simultaneously improving operational efficiencies at the center. One proposed change included making it Kansas’ primary site for industrial hemp research.
“It’s not one, two or even three things – it’s several small steps that will lead to a new, sustainable future,” said Cheryl Boyer, K-State associate professor and extension specialist for nursery crops. “It’s a lot of work, but we are up to the task.”
Staff members are making plans for a field day and tour of the center on June 4.
“This will be the public’s opportunity to experience first-hand the research being conducted at the Pair Center and see how it connects to our everyday lives,” said Sedgwick County horticulture agent Matthew McKernan.
“Whether you are purchasing a bag of local grass seed or buying a new tree from a local garden center or nursery, it is the research conducted at the Pair Center that helps our local horticulture industry provide you with plants that are best adapted to our local growing conditions,” he said.
For now, seed buyers, nursery owners and fans of the Pair Center’s nationally known organic sweet potato slips can count on service continuing and expanding.
Yet for those involved in efforts to keep the center open, the time for celebration still has not yet arrived.
“We’ve been given a Band-Aid for the short term,” Boyer said. “But we still need to arrive at solutions for the medium- and long term.”
The John C. Pair Horticultural Center opened in 1970 as the Kansas State University Horticulture Research Center with a focus on research and extension activities related to woody ornamental crop production and utilization.
In addition to woody ornamentals, research crops at the center have included grapes, peaches, strawberries, asparagus, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and tomatoes. The center currently evaluates trees, shrubs, flowers, turfgrass and bulbs.
Last June, the College of Agriculture announced the center, as well as the Pecan Experimental Field, an 80-acre stand of native pecan trees in Chetopa, would be closed as a budget-cutting measure. Officials noted that difficult decisions had to be made due to reductions in base support from the state as well as recent enrollment declines that led to reduced tuition revenue.
After news of the closure decision spread in June, K-State President Richard Myers and Interim Dean of the College of Agriculture Ernie Minton were contacted by private citizens, members of the garden and nursery industry, political leaders, Extension Master Gardeners and others concerned about the loss of the Pair Center.
“I received lots of letters from businesses, and I appreciate that,” Myers said in October.
“And who,” he asked, “can articulate our need for research and extension … better than businesses that rely on research and extension?”
McKernan said the groundswell of support shows the Pair Center’s importance “not just to our local gardeners and garden centers, but its’ impact on the horticulture industry across the United States.”
Responding to the public, Myers, Minton and other K-State leaders charged faculty and staff with finding ways to keep the center open without reversing the budget cuts.
“We appreciate the administration for rethinking this decision,” said Jason Griffin, director of the Pair Center. “We have to give a big shout-out to local- and national-level industries that stepped up to voice their concern about the decision.”
Griffin, Boyer and McKernan were part of a task force which was formed to solicit and generate ideas and then submit a detailed plan to help the center become self-sustaining.
“We needed to come up with a feasible, entrepreneurial plan that would allow the center to keep its doors open and continue research in order to address the needs of the future,” Boyer said. “Now we need time to move forward on these plans and complete the tasks that we have laid out for ourselves.”
Topping the list of initiatives factoring into the Pair Center’s new operational reality is industrial hemp research.
K-State leaders envision the center becoming the home base for industrial hemp test crops in Kansas, which would likely result in grant funding – with strict conditions. Certified plants and seed could generate operating revenue for the center.