The bad, the good of honey bees and field crops

Honey bees are negatively impacted by the insecticide-coated seeds of some field crops, yet they also seem to benefit from the presence of other field crops near their hives, according to new research by CFAES scientists. Read the story.

Find them on a farm near you: ‘Ideas you can put to use’

Woman looks up on light bulbIt’s all about innovation. Starting in August, CFAES’s Sustainable Agriculture Team will present 10 tours of Ohio farms to spotlight new crops and methods. “It’s an opportunity for participants to kick the tires on other farm operations and see how other folks are addressing sustainability issues,” said CFAES’s Mike Hogan, who’s a co-organizer of the series and a member of the team. Details about the tours here.


A handy new guide to the bees in your garden

Image of bumble bee 2Ohio’s bees are more than honey bees. They’re bumble bees (like this one), carpenter bees, cuckoo bees and others, and you can identify more than a dozen of them — types you’re likely to see in your garden — using a new pocket card from CFAES. (Photo: David Cappaert,

Are we out of the woods yet? No, we’re really getting INTO them

Toddlers bright expressionTake time this summer to get to know the woods in your own backyard. So says CFAES Forestry Program Director Kathy Smith, who’s helping teach a workshop that will help you do just that.

Oceans awash: Why ‘biodegradable plastic’ often isn’t

A new report from the United Nations “finds that biodegradable plastics, commonly found in plastic bags and bottles, degrade at extremely slow rates,” according to a story in the Christian Science Monitor. CFAES scientist Fred Michel is quoted in the story among others. The issue relates to the growing amount of plastic polluting our oceans. The authors of the report, according to the UK’s Guardian newspaper, wrote: “There is a moral argument that we should not allow the ocean to become further polluted with plastic waste, and that marine littering should be considered a ‘common concern of humankind.’”

Algae alert network underway

sirenA project called the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network, or CyAN, is developing an early warning system to detect toxic algal blooms in inland lakes across the U.S., reports a recent Columbus Dispatch story by James Steinbauer. Senior researcher Justin Chaffin of Ohio State’s Stone Lab on Lake Erie is quoted among others. The project involves the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, and NASA. More from EPA.

Produce growers: ‘Find your path(ogen) to clean water’

June 20.The Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series continues on Monday, June 20, with Find Your Path(ogen) to Clean Water: Food Safety Water Quality Standards and Testing Protocols for Produce Growers in Delaware in central Ohio. The series booklet says the event is “designed to shine a bright (UV) light” on produce-related water quality standards in the Food Safety Modernization Act. Get details here on p. 18.

Bees exposed to ‘wide, concerning range of pesticides’: Study

Honey bees living next to corn and soybean fields are “exposed to a surprisingly wide and concerning range of pesticides,” according to a May 31 Newsweek story about research involving CFAES insect scientist Elizabeth Long, who was at Purdue University at the time of the study. There’s a video interview, too, with the story.

Get the drift? Hopefully not

Ripe red grapesOhio’s corn and soybean growers could soon be spraying a lot more of two potent herbicides on their fields. That’s why experts from CFAES are offering tips on how to keep those herbicides from getting onto other crops, especially valuable specialty crops like grapes.

Farm tour Tuesday to feature diversified veggies

Market“I think what visitors will learn is the real time commitment and dedication it takes to manage a year-round, highly diversified farming operation,” says OSU Extension Educator Jerry Iles about Tuesday’s Diversified Vegetable Farm Tour at Schultz Valley Farms in southeast Ohio. Read a press release about the tour here. Iles calls the owners, Josh and Lynne Schultz, “amazing young producers.”