February doesnt have much going for it. Its the shortest of the twelve months and is buried near the end of winter, when all people want is a warm day and sunshine (at least here in the Midwest). But the month does have Valentines Day. The occasion has usurped much of January in recent years, with red hearts, chocolates and teddy bears appearing in stores not too long after the new year starts.
The holiday takes the No. 1 spot for flower sales during the year (with the rose the most popular), 10 percent of engagements happen on Valentines Day and more than 190 million greeting cards change hands, according to the U.S. Greeting Card Association. Whats interesting about that number is that men account for only 15 percent of card sales, which means that either women buy cards for many people, or there are a
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This is the first story in a series about the future of university Extension in various states across the nation.
The Michigan economy is lagging behind the rest of the country, the result of a weakened manufacturing base. But while the states agricultural base is growing, the states budget is declining, so funding for more research and outreach to potato growers in the state is falling to the industry and its growers.
Michigan claims deep roots in scientific agriculture. In 1855, the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan was founded near Lansing, the state capital. The college was one of the first to teach scientific agriculture, and it was a model for land-grant institutions established by the Morrill Act of 1862.
Congress created the Cooperative Extension System in 1914 with the Smith-Lever Act. The system was a partnership between USDA and the 69 land-grant colleges in
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The Skagit Valley in northwestern Washington is a fertile delta formed by the Skagit and Samish rivers. It was there in 1938 that then 22-year-old Norman Nelson began potato farming. The land, with its high organic matter content and cool, wet climate, was ideal for growing potatoes.
We probably have some of the best soil in the world, said Jerry Nelson, president of Norm Nelson Inc. and son of the founder.
In the mid-1940s, Norman Nelson bought an old packing shed and began packing his own product. He created the Double-N brand and logo, which the company still uses to this day. From its start, the company grew white potatoes. In the 1970s russets were added, but that lasted less than 10 years, while more acres were devoted to reds, yellows and the occasional purple variety.
Norman Nelson Inc. grew White Rose from 1938 until the mid-1990s, when
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In the small Montana farming town of Sidney, Robert Evans adjusts his Bluetooth. Hes not chatting with colleagues or closing a business deal. Hes watering his fields.
A research leader at the USDA Agricultural Research Services Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory, Evans is using the latest in wireless communications technology to boost irrigation efficiency. Thanks to Bluetooth and a wireless network of small soil-moisture and temperature sensors, the field in front of him is able to continuously dictate its exact water needs. Signals sent to an irrigation station tell individual sprinklers just how much water to emit and where.
This system, the ultimate in high-tech precision irrigation, was built around the concept that most agricultural fields are filled with environmental nuance. Because of factors like soil type, subsurface conditions, topography, drainage issues and disease problems, a piece of farmland that looks uniform on the surface is, in
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