The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 16, 1986 · Page 14
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 14

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, January 16, 1986
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Page 14
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Farm The Salina Journal Thursday, January 16,1986 Page 14 Briefly Salina is site of tillage school The reduced tillage operations of nine Saline County farmers will be highlighted Jan. 23 at a Conservation Tillage School at the Saline County 4-H Building. Cooperating Saline County farmers will be Wayne Johnson, Russell Burger, Chester Peterson, Leon Hahn, Gary Melander, Byron Johnson, Kenneth Will, Chuck and Mike Henry and Delmar Sidener. The farmers will speak at 10 a.m. about their experiences with no-till grain sorghum and soybeans. Afternoon speakers will include: Jack Brotemarkle, Kansas State University specialist, on "weed control in reduced tillage," Ray Lamond, KSU specialist, on "fertilization with reduced tillage," and Dale Fjell, area extension agronomist, on "reduced tillage cultural practices." The meeting is planned from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Participants can pre-register by calling the Saline County Extension Office, 827-3651. Cattle meeting set for Monday ABILENE — Miles McKee, professor of animal science at Kansas State University, will speak Monday at a meeting of the Dickinson County Cattle Producers Association at the Elks Club. Also speaking will be Tom Anderson, Syntex Animal Health, Salina. A 12-ounce sirloin steak dinner will be served from 6:30 to 7 p.m. for $4.50. No reservations are needed. Gary Gfeller is association president. AAM to have regional meeting Members of the American Agriculture Movement from north-central Kansas plan a regional meeting at 7:30 p.m. today at Salina's Cavalier Court. Topping the agenda will be discussion of the national convention last weekend in Oklahoma City. Timber management to be topic HILLSBORO — The management and utilization of native timber will be discussed at a public meeting Jan. 23 at the Hillsboro City Building. Mike Blair, area extension forester, will discuss harvesting and utilizing native timber, managing and marketing timber as a cash crop, growing firewood and harvesting native timber for lumber. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. Conservation dinner scheduled ABILENE — The annual meeting of the Dickinson County Conservation District is planned at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 in Sterl Hall. The event will be sponsored by the district, Dickinson County banks and county conservation contractors. Banker's Conservation Awards will be given to five farm families for their achievements in conservation farming. Awards also will be presented to winners in the district's poster, limerick and essay contests for grade school students. The program, a slide presentation on "Farming in Nepal," will be given by George Sanneman of Idana. The district also will elect one supervisor to fill the expiring term of Edwin Wilson. Conservation meeting is set MINNEAPOLIS — The annual meeting of the Ottawa County Conservation District is planned Monday at Minneapolis High School. A free supper will be served at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the meal can be obtained before Friday at one of Ottawa County's four banks. Agenda items include the presentation of the Bankers' Awards, the election of a district supervisor and the naming of winners in the poster, essay and limerick contests. The New Image singers from the high school also will perform. Energy on the farm is topic ABILENE — "Energy on the Farm" will be the topic of a meeting planned today at 1:30 p.m. at Sterl Hall. Douglas Walter, extension specialist in residential energy at Kansas State University, and Joseph Harner, KSU extension agricultural engineer, will present the program. Discussion will focus on energy use in farm homes and shop buildings. "Proper management of farm energy use can reduce operating costs and improve profitability, often with very little investment," Walter said. "Even more significant investments, such as replacing heating and air conditioning equipment, can be recovered easily through reduced energy use. A high efficiency furnace can cut heating costs by as much as 35 percent.'' Walter and Harner will use slides to illustrate their talk. They also plan brief comments about other energy sources, such as wind, solar and biomass. Soil science class to be offered "Soil Science" is a credit course to be offered by Kansas State University in Salina, beginning Tuesday. Class sessions will be offered from 6 to 8:45 p.m. through April 29 in room 106 of the Kansas Technical Institute General Technology Center. The course will present information on the fundamental chemical, physical and biological properties of soils, including formation, fertility and management. Students will learn about conservation, erosion control, fertilizers and recycling of soil nutrients. For registration information call 1-800-432-8222, or write K-State's Division of Continuing Education, Umberger Hall 317, Manhattan, Kan. 66506. Ottawa Young Farmers to meet MINNEAPOLIS — Keith Bolsen, extension specialist in livestock nutrition, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27 to the Ottawa County Young Farmers. Bolsen has conducted experiments on harvesting, processing and storage of feed stuffs for maximum nutritional benefit to livestock. A question and answer session will follow his talk. The meeting will be in the Minneapolis High School Vo-Ag Department. District conservationist retires McPHERSON — Bob Whelpley, McPherson County district conservationist for the Soil Conservation Service, has retired after 35 years as conservationist. Whelpley joined the Sedgwick County District of the service after he graduated from Kansas State University in 1951. He had also worked in the Pratt and Jackson County districts before coming to McPherson about IBVfe years ago. Farm researchers reap turmoil For Lease Space formerly occupied by the Diet Center in Kraft Manor 211 W. Cloud Rhone 827-7O20 By The New York Times BELTSVILLE, Md. - In 1910, when the Department of Agriculture established its first research facility here on a 475-acre stretch of pasture and woodland about 15 miles north of the Capitol, a farmer was fortunate to have a cow that could produce two buckets of milk a week. Today, purebred cows produce seveh gallons daily. Such remarkable gains would not have occurred without the pioneering breeding and nutrition studies undertaken at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, the hub of the $2 billion-a-year farm research programs administered by the federal and state governments. Yet like almost everyone else connected with American agriculture, the Beltsville Center's scientists and administrators are in turmoil. Experts in and out of the government have been increasingly critical of the center's research goals. And in a time of rapidly advancing scientific expertise in Europe and Asia, the center's operating budget is not keeping pace with inflation. For decades the work of the center's 400 scientists has focused on a single goal: producing more food. By any measure, they have been spectacularly successful. Agriculture has consistently outpaced other industrial sectors in efficiency and productivity. American farmers now raise four tunes as much corn on a single acre as they did 40 years ago. At the turn of the century, the United States had 20 million cows; today, 11 million produce more than twice as much milk. Within the honeycomb of the Beltsville Center, scientists are busy setting the foundation for America's new agricultural frontier, conducting an array of often exotic studies designed to further improve productivity. In one laboratory, Harold Hawk uses a specially- fabricated laser to isolate the x and y chromosomes in sperm from several species of farm animals. The three-year-old research could help farmers produce cows instead of bulls, chickens when they do not want roosters and sows when boars are not desired. The technology might also be adopted some day by human reproduction centers to enable couples to choose, from the moment of conception, whether they will have a boy or a girl. Another group of scientists have been busy trying to solve the pesticide waste problem. Led by Philip C. Kearny, the team has identified and genetically altered two soil bacteria that enjoy the taste of several potent insecticides. After feeding on the toxic brew, the bacteria have broken down most of the contaminants into less dangerous byproducts. The scientists then treat the pesticides with ultraviolet light that further hastens the degradation, producing a harmless soup, they say, that can be disposed of in ordinary landfills. The system shows promise for treating thousands of gallons of toxic waste, and is currently being tested at a field station in Laredo, Texas. Such remarkable research has become almost commonplace at the center. But it has not silenced the critics. Some say that the Beltsville program has helped fanners harvest far more food than can be sold here or consumed abroad and that overproduction has caused market prices to plummet, farm in- Some say the Beltsville program has helped farmers harvest far more food than can be sold here or consumed abroad. comes to drop and the costs of the government's farm programs to soar. The research has also fostered a system of industrialized farming that is squeezing smaller growers out of agriculture, a trend that has quickened in the 1980s and resulted in an American tragedy in the heartland that shows no signs of abating. Concern over such wrenching changes has led to lawsuits, congressional inquiries and criticism by activists who say federal scientists, especially those working in the field of biotechnology, are probing new and dangerous frontiers. Small farmers say their special problems have been ignored by federal scientists, and others say the Beltsville Center has not initiated enough studies aimed at successfully producing crops without expensive chemicals or big machines. "We are doing work in these areas," said H. Graham Purchase, a special scientific adviser at the center. "But we are not designating this research specifically for small farms or for non- chemical fanning." Public pressure has brought a halt to such key research projects as a study of mechanical harvesting equipment. And genetic engineering experiments in which human genes are transplanted into pigs and cows are being undertaken with much greater care since a lawsuit was filed in 1984 charging that such research'violated the "biolog ical integrity of species" and could result in scientists designing livestock, and eventually human beings, just as engineers now design machines. "We are being swept up in the whirlwind of change in American agriculture," said Waldemar Klassen, the director of the Beltsville Center. "We are aware of the new sensitivity to what we are trying to do out here. But we also are convinced that our principal goal, to help farmers produce an abundant supply of food at less cost, is valid. Otherwise, we could end up in a situation in which we import most of our food." Even as Klassen and his deputies defend their programs against public criticism, they are also fighting within the government to gain greater financing. The center's operating budget totals $72 million for this fiscal year, more than any other Department of Agriculture research facility. Yet the center's scientific instruments are aging, and its buildings, most of them designed in the Depression, are less than adequate for state-of-the- art research. Nevertheless, Beltsville's scientists forge ahead, producing research that has gained them international acclaim. Miklos Faust, head of the center's fruit laboratory, has developed an orchard of apple trees that are no taller than stalks of corn. The dwarf trees, planted in one closely packed row after another, were raised not from seeds, but from tiny snippets of plant tissue nurtured in a glass bottle. Faust says his trees will produce more and cost less to maintain since farmers will be able to put away their ladders and harvest the fruit from the back of a pickup truck. Not far from Faust's lab, Karl Norris, a 64-year- old engineer, hovers over an infrared scanner and computer console that automatically determines the protein content in finely-ground samples of wheat. The scanning system has replaced expensive and time-consuming chemical analysis. It has also been adopted by hospitals for determining fat composition in patients. Klassen recently completed a study saying the Beltsville Center would need $162 million over the next seven years to upgrade its buildings and purchase equipment so as to compete for scientists like these. "It's the minimum that needs to be done," said Klassen. "The United States has a lead in agricultural research, but it's fragile. "The Europeans are doing well. The Japanese are coming on fast. We might be the laughing stock of the department because we're looking for money now. But I believe in adversity there is often opportunity." Carlin budget doesn't include funds for watertight HUTCHINSON (HNS) - So far, the proposed 1987 budget for Kansas' lawsuit against Colorado over the Arkansas River looks much like the river as it passes Dodge City: Dry. Under the base budget proposed by Gov. John Carlin, no money is set aside for the lawsuit with Colorado over the Arkansas River, said Susan Duffy, analyst in the state Budget Office. In addition, no money is included in the proposed "enhanced" budget, which depends on increasing the state's sales tax. Attorney General Robert Stephan filed the suit Dec. 16 in the U.S. Supreme Court. The suit contends Kansas is not getting its fair share of Arkansas River water from Colorado as provided by the compact between the two states. The 1985 Legislature appropriated $225,000 for preliminary legal and technical work related to the suit for the 1986 fiscal year, which began July 1,1985, and ends June 30. Alden Shields, director of the budget, said the reason no money was proposed was that planners were not sure whether the entire $225,000 budgeted in fiscal year 1986 will be used. Any funds not used in fiscal year 1986 could be carried forward to fiscal 1987. "The governor has taken the position that he will stay in close touch on the situation," Shields said. "He is monitoring the situation." If more money is needed, it may be taken from other areas of the budget as the Legislature sees fit. Stephan's office had requested another $225,000 to continue work on the lawsuit, said Neil Woerman, spokesman for Stephan. The attorney general's office will work toward getting some funds for the project during the 1986 legislative session. The only way the $225,000 for fiscal 1987 fit into the budget was when no limitations were placed on spending, Shields said. David Pope, chief engineer of the Division of Water Resources and member of the Kansas-Colorado Arkansas River Compact, said he thought some money would be appropriated. "The legislative leadership has expressed overwhelming support for it," Pope said. "The initial budget as proposed is not always what is appropriated in the end." Pope said he understood Carlin also supported Kansas' fight against Colorado. He did not know why the money was not proposed in the intial budget document. No money has been appropriated directly in the Division of Water Resources either, according to Duffy. Normally, small amounts of money are set aside with the division to pay for costs associated with the compact, including dues and travel. That money is still in the budget. While Kansas has no money in the budget, Colorado officials have asked for an additional $665,000 to spend between Jan. 1 and June 30 and another $656,000 to spend during its next fiscal year. The Colorado money would go for engineering studies and legal fees associated with its defense against Kansas. Even before the Colorado request for additional financing, the state had allotted $284,965 to prepare for a possible suit with Kansas. Call or mail your news tip to The Salina Journal; up to $45 in cash prizes awarded weekly. 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