Making national ag headlines
George McGovern passes, Midwest economy up, and UC Davis professor appointed to UN committee
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 2:00 AM
Scattered in between all the election coverage, the national media did manage to cover a few agriculture related topics recently.
In 2000, in partnership with former Senator Bob Dole, George McGovern created the George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. The former Senator passed away this past weekend at the age of 90.
Making headlines (even if in brief):
South Dakota's George McGovern passes
Former US Senator George McGovern, who died at a hospice near his home in South Dakota Oct. 21, at the age of 90, will leave behind a long list of things to be remembered for.
He was a World War II pilot, flying 35 missions over German-occupied Europe and amassing numerous medals in his honor. Among the medals awarded him was a Distinguished Flying Cross for making a hazardous emergency landing of his damaged plane and saving his crew.
Later in his life he became involved in politics. He received the Democratic presidential nomination for the 1972 election. He ran an anti-war campaign against incumbent Republican President Richard Nixon, but failed to gain the majority vote.
Mostly though McGovern will be remembered for his stance on agriculture, food, nutrition, and hunger.
"His work drafting legislation in his own country to meet the nutritional needs of vulnerable women, infants and children and as a vigorous champion of school lunch programmes, both in the US and around the world, has helped give millions of the world's poorest children the nutritional foundation needed to succeed in school and life," said the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General José Graziano da Silva.
"He will be sorely missed by the FAO community and by our partners in the fight against hunger."
McGovern was appointed the first director of the US Food for Peace Programme by President John F. Kennedy in 1960 and was instrumental in the foundation of the World Food Program in 1963. He served in the US Senate from 1963 to 1981 and as state earlier, ran for US president in 1972.
From 1998 to 2001, McGovern served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture.
In 2000, in partnership with former Senator Bob Dole, he created the George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which commits an annual amount from the US federal budget to provide nutritious meals to poor students around the world.
McGovern and Dole were honored in 2008 with the World Food Prize for, according to the prize organizers, "their inspired, collaborative leadership that has encouraged a global commitment to school feeding and enhanced school attendance and nutrition for millions of the world's poorest children, especially girls".
Economic index jumps for Midwest and Western states
An index of economic conditions in 10 Midwest and Western states jumped this month after three months of drought-induced doldrums.
The Rural Mainstreet survey of rural bankers rose to 56.6 for October from 48.3 in September. It was the first time since June that the index rose above growth neutral 50.
Survey organizers say any score above 50 on the 100-point scale suggests the economy will grow in the months ahead.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says the effects of the drought are being more than offset by high incomes from high agriculture and energy prices.
The survey covers Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
UC Davis professor to head UN food & ag committee
Frank Mitloehner, a professor and air quality specialist at the University of California, Davis, has been selected to chair a United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization committee to measure and assess the environmental impacts of the livestock industry.
The international effort is a first step toward improving the sustainability of the livestock sector, particularly as the global consumption of meat, dairy products and eggs continues to rise.
As chair of the new committee, Mitloehner will lead representatives of national governments, livestock industries, nonprofit and private sectors in establishing science-based methods to quantify livestock's carbon footprint, create a database of greenhouse gas emission factors for animal feed, and develop a methodology to measure other environmental pressures, such as water consumption and nutrient loss.
The effort will last three years. Mitloehner will serve as chair for the first year.
Among the founding members of the committee are: the governments of France, Ireland, the Netherlands and New Zealand, the European Feed Manufacturers' Federation, the European Vegetable Oils and Proteinmeal Industry, the International Dairy Federation, the International Meat Secretariat, the International Egg Commission, the International Poultry Council, the International Federation for Animal Health, and the World Wildlife Fund.
"By the end of three years, we'll have a methodology that's globally accepted, that anyone in the world can use to quantify the environmental impact of their livestock," Mitloehner said in a press statement.