Summer 2015 EDEN Newsletter

In This Issue

From the Chair

Dr. Mike Yoder formal photographAs we reach the mid-point of summer, it is time to register for the 2015 EDEN Annual Meeting, to be held October 6-9, in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  This year’s meeting logo is “Enroute to the Next 20 Years,” a recognition of our efforts during the first 20 years and look at our vision for the next 20.

An exciting pre-conference tour is being planned by the Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Management Center.  This tour promises an up-close and personal view of the issues facing border states.  Participation in this tour is limited, so register soon.

The planning committee has put together a great program with workshops, workgroup meetings, a report from NIFA and an update about the new EDEN Strategic Plan, a look at the opportunities EDEN has for collaboration with our 1984 Land Grant institutions, and more.

Following the Friday workshop, “Making EDEN Work for You,” those who are interested are invited to travel to Albuquerque, NM for the 2015 Balloon Fiesta.  This tour promises to provide a memorable ending to the week.

The EDEN Exercise Ad-Hock Committee has been busy this past year and while I don’t want to steal the thunder from their presentation at the annual meeting, their recent survey, measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of EDEN’s ability to disseminate information, provided impressive results.  To hear specifics, you will need to listen to Michael Gaffney’s (committee Co-Chair) presentation Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

Since January, the EDEN Executive Committee has been planning for a September meeting with selected Extension Directors,   and Beverly Samuel, NIFA National Program Leader, Jane Schuchardt, Executive Director, ECOP/APLU, and Nick Place, EDEN’s representative to ECOP.  The purpose of the meeting is to allow the Extension Directors to provide input regarding the future direction of EDEN.  Input from this meeting will be included in the future strategic planning process.  We have never had this opportunity to bring the directors to the table for these discussions and look forward to a productive and informative meeting.

I hope to see everyone in Las Cruces in October.  Take a minute right now to register and reserve your hotel rooms! –Mike Yoder, EDEN Chair

HPAI Update

On July 7, 2015, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Nutrition held a public hearing on the impacts of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) on the U.S. poultry sector. The key witness, Dr. John Clifford, Deputy Administrator of Veterinary Services at the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), started his testimony with a chilling statement: “Today, we are facing the largest animal health emergency in this country’s history. We are dealing with an unprecedented outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) that is taking a heavy toll on the poultry industry.” Indeed, USDA has Commercial Broiler House with Birdsconfirmed HPAI in 21 states, which includes nine states where HPAI was identified in commercial poultry. Of the 232 total poultry premises with confirmed cases of HPAI, 211 are commercial facilities where 7.5 million turkeys and 42 million chickens and pullets have been depopulated. USDA has committed over $500 million – an amount more than half of APHIS’ yearly discretionary budget – in addressing this outbreak.

How did this devastating outbreak occur in the first place? According to USDA scientists, the HPAI H5N8 virus originated in Asia and spread rapidly along wild bird migratory pathways in 2014. Dr. Clifford reported that wild ducks and geese brought the disease first to the Pacific flyway, and later to the Central and Mississippi flyways. Initial detections in the United States were in wild birds and backyard flocks, and may have resulted from direct contact with sick migratory birds. USDA epidemiologists believe that wild birds were responsible for introducing HPAI into the environment, and from there it was spread into commercial poultry houses. Further investigation by USDA scientists showed that the virus was introduced into commercial poultry facilities from the environment or from farm-to-farm transmission on human sources such as boots or equipment. Dr. Clifford pointed out that APHIS cannot associate transmission of the disease with any single one of those factors, but it seems clear that lateral spread occurred when biosecurity measures that are sufficient in ordinary times were not sufficient in the face of such a large amount of virus in the environment.  While the results of USDA’s preliminary epidemiological investigation did not show a single source of transmission, it did emphasize the importance and need for improved biosecurity. Dr. Clifford also stressed that USDA is treating the potential threat of more infections in the fall with the utmost seriousness as it is very likely that wild birds will carry the virus with them when they begin migrating south in the fall.  When asked about the use of vaccines to prevent and control HPAI, Dr. Clifford said this is being studied but cannot be adopted until a suitable vaccine is found and trade implications are clarified with countries that import U.S. poultry products.

Poultry industry representatives also testified at the hearing and thanked USDA for its support while stating that indemnification guidelines and depopulation and disposal measures need to be improved. No new outbreaks have been reported since the last confirmed detection of HPAI in a layer flock in Iowa on June 17, 2015 and many affected farms are beginning to repopulate their flocks.

Article by Nathaniel Tablante – EDEN Delegate and University of Maryland Point of Contact

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Weather Wednesday – Hail

On this April Fools Day, we’ll be discussing hail. Hail is widespread throughout the world, but doesn’t often have the top of mind awareness of other storm-related topics…unless, that is, you’re growing crops or insuring buildings or vehicles. According to the National Weather Service’s hail page, the average loss from hail each year is about a billion dollars. However, in 2001 there was one storm event that eventually stretched from Kansas City to Illinois that caused $2-billion damage on a single day.

Hail is not normally considered a major threat to human life. The last reported fatality in the United States was in 2000 when a Texas man died after being struck by a softball sized hail stone. Two children reportedly perished in Russia in 2014. Livestock losses are reported from time to time.

The National Weather Service rates hail from less than a quarter inch or pea sized to over 4 inches or softball sized. The preferred references are actual measurements or approximations based on fixed sizes such as a quarter or a regulation sized softball. “Grapefruit sized” is a far less precise term. One of the reasons for using common objects as references is it allows storm spotters and others to report the size without venturing out into a storm with its associated risks to take actual measurements.

vivian_hailThe largest hail stone reported in the U.S was over 8 inches in diameter with a circumference of over 18 inches.

corn_field_hail_6-24-14
Phil Katz-MSU Extension

Crop loss from hail is a significant risk to producers. Depending on where crops are in the growth cycle and the extent of the damage, growers are often cautioned to have a little patience to determine if the crops can bounce back. Many state extension services can provide more information.

 

hail carDamage to vehicles is usually pretty obvious in terms of dents and broken glass. There are some DIY fixes for smaller dents including letting the vehicle sit in the hot sun so the metal expands a bit. The best advice though is to contact your insurance carrier and/or a competent body shop. A worst case scenario is when a new car dealer’s lot or other parking lot is hit. Damage can easily escalate into six figures or more. Several years ago here in the Champaign-Urbana area, dozens and dozens of cars parked at the local airport were badly damaged.

thHail can also damage roofs constructed of various materials. Again, working with your insurance carrier to arrange for an inspection by a qualified roofer is always a good idea. Some damage may be hard for the untrained eye to see and ladder work is often best left to professionals anyway.

Siding on homes also can be easily damaged. Steel or aluminum siding can be dented and still maintain its structural and weatherproof integrity.Bad_Siding_Hail_Damage Hail can absolutely shred vinyl siding and immediate action to cover exposed underlayment or insulation is necessary to avoid more widespread water damage.

 

 

howhail
NOAA Graphic

One question that is often asked is, does the presence of hail, especially large hail, tell us anything about the structure of a thunderstorm? Since hail is formed when water droplets freeze as they are lifted above the 32-degree line by updrafts, it stands to reason that the presence of ever larger hail stones in a storm reflects the strength of that updraft so it can be an indicator of both the strength and height of a thunderstorm cell. Hail is easily seen on radar because of its dense mass. Many videos shot by storm chasers show large hail as part of some tornadic thunderstorms.

Spring 2015 EDEN Newsletter

In This Issue

Cappadocia Balloons Thinkstock2015 EDEN Annual Meeting
Call for Proposals Deadline April 10

 

From the Chair

Greetings,

March 2-4, the EDEN Executive Committee conducted its mid-winter meeting in Saint Dr. Mike YoderAugustine, Florida.  This meeting is an opportunity for the committee to evaluate EDEN’s progress towards the fulfillment of current projects, evaluate partnerships, membership and any other ships that may be appropriate.

As EDEN begins assess its role for the next 20 years, the primary topic of discussion was development of a new strategic plan.  Plans were developed to conduct this strategic plan during the summer and fall of 2015.  To conduct this plan, we have asked Dr. Nick Place, EDEN’s representative to ECOP, to bring a number of State Extension Directors to the table, to meet with the EDEN Executive Committee and our NIFA representative.  Since the Directors have been major supporters of EDEN, it is imperative that we have an understanding of their vision for EDEN’s relationship with Extension.  Once the strategic plan has been developed, it will be presented to the membership for approval at the EDEN Annual Meeting in October, in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

A number of agenda items were discussed at this year’s mid-winter meeting including but not limited to:

  • Use of “Response Notes” during a disaster to inform not only our Federal partners but EDEN delegates and State Directors.
  • EDEN’s response to “climate variability.” As Extension seeks to determine it’s proper role in addressing the issues of climate variability, what can EDEN bring to the table?
  • Inviting greater participation in EDEN by our 1994 sister institutions.
  • Re-writing our “standard operating procedures” to help direct operations and guide new officers.
  • Strengthening support for EDEN delegates at the state level. Being sure delegates receive needed support for participation in EDEN activities, including the annual meeting

As EDEN prepares for the next 20 years, it is important that we remember our roots, an integrate lessons learned into the strategic planning process.  We look forward to this process and to sharing the results with all delegates at the 2015 Annual Meeting.

Best wishes,

Mike Yoder

EDEN Chair

America’s PrepareAthon!

Disasters can happen at any time and take us all by surprise, so the time to prepare is now. America’s PrepareAthon! is working to help people, just like you, prepare ahead of time.

National PrepareAthon! Day is April 30, 2015 and there will multiple ways to prepare for six specific disasters: earthquake, flood, hurricane, tornado, wildfire, and winter storm. The purpose of America’s PrepareAthon! is to help people understand what type of disasters can happen in their community, how to prepare for those disasters, how to recover from damage from those disasters, to increase their preparedness in general, and to prepare as a community.

Preparing for disaster is extremely important so America’s PrepareAthon! makes it easy to join. Just go to their website and join a group, then begin telling others about what you are planning. Participants can plan an event for themselves, their families, or their communities whatever they are comfortable doing. There are discussion forums for participants to share event ideas, along with disaster preparedness tips.

If you are interested in finding out more information, see their fact sheet and frequently asked questions. Don’t forget to join a group, follow the conversation at #PreparAthon, and be prepared to get prepared on April 30! —  Written by Michelle Buffkin, AU Agriculture Communications Student/EDEN Community of Practice Social Media Assistant.

 

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Featured Resources

  •  Flooding: The Big Picture describes the phases of disaster response on the context of floods. Each phase links to additional information. Brought to you by the EDEN flood NEIL and CoP.
  • America’s PrepareAthon! also has flood resources, including a playbook for an organizational tabletop exercise.
  • Need a resource on basic disaster preparedness? Check out these two courses from EDEN. One is for families and the other for businesses.
  • Grant opportunities
    • State Farm Service Learning Grant. Closing date is May 1. Steve Cain is coordinating discussions.
    • Strengthening the Public’s and/or K-12 Students’ Environmental Literacy for Community Resilience to Extreme Weather Events and Environmental Changes. Contact Keith Tidball if you’re interested in this opportunity.
    • Specialty Crop and Organic Agriculture Research and Extension. Steve Cain is coordinating discussion on applicability of drought education to specialty and organic crops. Contact Steve for more information.