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Western Region
September 20, 2013
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The Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center


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Welcome to the Animal Agriculture in a Changing Climate Western Region Web Letter. Scroll down for current news and relevant information regarding climate change and agriculture that you might have missed. 


Do you have or know of any regional research efforts that should be highlight and shared? Please inform Liz Whitefield at e.whitefield@wsu.edu

 AACC Online Course
Register Now for the October Offering
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This 12-hour, self paced course is specifically designed for Extension educators and technical service providers across the nation who serve livestock and poultry producers. Topics include recent weather trends, climate impacts, adaptation and risk management, basic climate science, greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation practices, the basics of carbon markets, and communication strategies for dealing with this contentious issue. Please note that there will be new course sessions opening at the start of every month. Please visit the project website below below to view the introductory video, read the course brochure and syllabus, and to register for the course.


Ranchers and Farmers Efforts During the CO Flooding
Ranchers Rescue Animals After Seeing Them ALIVE on TV (Video-Denver CBS local News, September 15)
The Ochsner family spotted their cattle and some horses that belonged to their neighbor from Copter4 video airing on CBS4 News. After seeing their animals were alive their feelings of uncertainty changed to something closer to hope."It was a relief because we could see where they were and they were alright," rancher Kevin Ochsner said. The images of animals surrounded by fields of flood water were heartbreaking for anyone to watch, but the feelings were much stronger for the families who have built their lives around them.

Ray and Debbie Carpio spent a sleepless night watching flood waters rise out of the South Platte River covering their property at Horizon-Vue Dairy ranch and threatening the lives of their cattle in Kersey, Colorado, Friday September 13, 2013. Miraculously, none of the cattle were lost although many calves spent the night in standing water unable to lie down and rest.
Insight into Fire in the Western US

Into The Fire (NYT, September 19)

Fire has always been a part of the natural ecology - many plant species evolved in direct response to it and couldn't survive without it; when the sap of some pine cones melts, for example, seeds are released. But the reflexive practice of putting out all fires, which has dominated national policy for so many decades, has turned much of the American West into a tinderbox. On June 30, in the deadliest incident in wild-land firefighting in decades, 19 of the country's most highly trained, highly skilled firefighters died in a fire near Yarnell, Ariz....We probably wouldn't be as concerned about fires that are getting bigger and spreading farther, of course, were it not for the increasing intrusion of people and buildings into fire-prone landscapes. This development creates what fire experts call the wild-land-urban interface, or WUI (pronounced WOO-ee), and from Bozeman, Mont., to Laurel Canyon in California, more and more of us want to live there, with forested views and coyotes for neighbors - but without the fire. About 80,000 wildfires in the United States were designated for suppression each year between 1998 and 2007, and only an average of 327 were allowed to burn. Yet trying to put out all those fires leads inevitably to more intense, more dangerous and more expensive fires later on. The accumulation of dead wood and unburned "ladder fuels" - what ecologists call lower vegetation that can carry fire to taller trees - turn lower-intensity fires into hotter fires that kill entire stands of trees that otherwise might survive.


Livestock, Farming and Climate in the Media
In a series of papers to be presented next week, scientists offer new evidence that a potent chemical mechanism operating in the roots of a tropical grass used for livestock feed has enormous potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Weather Affects Crop Yield, Especially Hot Days (Science Daily, September 16)  
Because Wisconsin and Ontario are similar in terms of agricultural practices, types of vegetable crops produced, climate, and latitude, researchers in Ontario looked to data from Wisconsin when comparing the long-term effects of climate on vegetable crop yield. According to researchers from the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada), the length of the growing season is similar in the two locations, so growing conditions and yields could also be similar. Michael Tesfaendrias, Mary Ruth McDonald, and Jon Warland published the results of their extensive study in the July 2013 issue of HortScience. 
Obama Moves Forward with Carbon Limits on Coal Industry

Administration to Press Ahead With Carbon Limits

(NYT, September 20)


The Obama administration on Friday announced that it was not backing down from a confrontation with the coal industry and would press ahead with enacting the first federal carbon limits on the nation's power companies. Gina McCarthy (administrator of the EPA) unveiled the agency's proposal to limit new gas-fired power plants to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt hour and new coal plants to 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide. Industry officials say the average advanced coal plant currently emits about 1,800 pounds of carbon dioxide per hour. 

Bob Inglis: A Conservative Approach to Climate Change
Bob Inglis explains what's behind the denial of human-caused climate change that so many conservatives in his party embrace (Sound Clip- KUER UTAH, Sept 17)
Bob Inglis is a former Republican member of Congress from South Carolina-He's gone on to lead the Energy and Enterprise Initiative at George Mason University in Virginia.  It's proposing a solution to the world's climate change problem based on conservative political values, and he'll be explaining that at the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah.
Know of anyone who should receive this email? Please contact:
Liz Whitefield
Washington State University
Livestock Nutrient Management Program