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Archive for the ‘Extension’ Category

Agricultural economist measures impact of forthcoming federal GMO labeling law

John Bovay

John Bovay

A new label on food packaging could soon alter the purchasing habits of American shoppers and significantly affect producer operations. A federal law will take effect in July 2018 that informs consumers about the genetic science that may be at work behind their favorite foods. This designation may lead to price increases and other far-reaching consequences in the grocery industry and beyond, says Assistant Professor John Bovay of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UConn Extension, and the College’s GMO Working Group. Bovay has started investigating how the execution of the legislation might take shape and the ways it could reverberate through the national economy.

The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) law introduces labeling standards that require companies to disclose if genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are present in their products. Although many consumers and non-government organizations (NGOs), such as the Non-GMO Project, champion greater transparency and increased awareness about the foods we eat and drink, Bovay cautions that it could further perpetuate misconceptions about the safety of genetic engineering (GE) technology in food production. These factors could drive customers and producers to respond in ways legislators may not have intended or foreseen. These reactions also largely depend on how the government decides to implement and regulate the law, but they have thus far offered few details on their plans. Despite these challenges, Bovay is drawing from prior examples of labeling initiatives and consulting other relevant studies to project the outcomes and costs of the new law. Bovay is completing his research with Julian Alston, a distinguished professor in the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis. (more…)

Extension educator promotes partnership and volunteerism in economic and community development projects

Laura Brown

Laura Brown.

Connecticut has quaint rural communities, scenic coastal towns and bustling urban areas. These diverse locations are home to an array of businesses, attractions, municipal services, community organizations and residents, making every one of Connecticut’s 169 towns truly unique. Laura Brown recognizes and celebrates the distinct character and resources of each town through her work as a community and economic development educator for UConn Extension in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR). She helps towns harness the benefits of their assets, promoting community sustainability through programs that improve environmental and economic outcomes.

“My work centers on helping communities make informed decisions, giving them the capacity to recognize their strengths and develop strategies to overcome their challenges,” says Brown. “I love meeting new people, reaching out to potential partners and getting to know what local communities need and how I can help them achieve their objectives. Every town is different and a one-size-fits-all approach does not apply.”

Brown introduced the First Impressions Program to Connecticut in an effort to help towns reflect on their particular qualities and resources. Since it can prove difficult for towns to accurately assess themselves, First Impressions employs an outside perspective to gather feedback on communities. The program provides a framework for residents to observe other communities and evaluate their visit. Sharing this information with local municipalities can initiate policy change and other reforms to enhance plans for community and economic development. Brown describes First Impressions as giving communities “a fresh set of eyes to see what’s happening in their towns.” (more…)

CAHNR in the news

Students with mobile devicesAgriculture in America reported on what Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) is doing about climate issues. One of the solutions is the Climate Corps course, which gives students a real world experience and benefits the community. Extension Educator Chet Arnold was quoted. He is the Department of Extension in Middlesex County and CLEAR.

By Patsy Evans

Image of the week

Kousa dogwoods produce edible aggregate fruits that vary in fleshiness (juiciness) according to cultivars. Fruits from this particular tree are very large, sweet and juicy. Fruits are evident on kousa dogwoods well into November this year.

Kousa dogwood from UConn plant database.
#UConnHomeandGarden #UConnExtension

Awards and accolades for CAHNR

Worthley plaqueAssociate Extension Professor Tom Worthley received the Fred Borman Outstanding Urban Forestry Professional Award from the Connecticut Urban Forest Council on November 7, 2017.

By Patsy Evans