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Task Force Reports - R142 - October 2011

The need to decrease concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) in Earth's atmosphere has been identified as one of the most pressing modern-day environmental issues. Agriculture, in addition to being affected by the climate, contributes to climate change through its exchanges of GHGs with the atmosphere. This report provides up-to-date information on the science of carbon sequestration and GHG mitigation for various sectors of U.S. agriculture, including logistical and economic considerations for implementing practices designed to decrease GHG emissions from agriculture. The report draws on elements of the related 2004 CAST Task Force Report, Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation: Challenges and Opportunities for Agriculture. Cochairs: Ron Follett, USDA-ARS-NPA; Sian Mooney, Boise State University; Jack Morgan, USDA-ARS-NPA; Keith Paustian, Colorado State University. R142, October 2011, ISBN 978-1-887383-33-2, 106 pp., $50.00; Interpretive Summary, 2 pp., free.  Quantity Discounts: Discounts are offered for purchases of 6+ copies of the same publication sent to a single address. Orders of 6 through 99 copies are discounted 25% from listed prices. Orders of 100 or more copies are discounted 35%.  Please contact the CAST office to place a discounted order.

CAST Commentaries - QTA2011-2 - June 2011

Humans and animals have been consuming genetically engineered (GE) food from plants for decades, but the recent approval of GE salmon intended as human food has resulted in debate and some controversy. Many still have concerns about the environmental impact and food safety issues of such an approval. More research is needed as policymakers struggle with laws ranging from the approval of GE procedures to the labeling of such food in the markets. This Commentary looks at how GE animals are currently regulated and what type of data is needed to demonstrate the safety of GE organisms. The authors also look at the opportunities for public participation in the regulatory process and the implications for the future of this technology.  Chair: Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, University of California-Davis. QTA2011-2, 8pp., June 2011. AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY.

PowerPoint Slide Presentation - Part 1 of 2


PowerPoint Slide Presentation - Part 2 of 2


Issue Papers - IP47 - May 2011

The purpose of this CAST Issue Paper (IP 47) is to go beyond the generalizations and accusations often associated with the air quality topic. Experts from six universities examine a large amount of data and focus their information and conclusions around the key livestock areas: swine, poultry, dairy, and beef. Their critical analyses look at a wide scope of issues, from greenhouse gas emissions to the logistics of manure storage facilities. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is increasing efforts to monitor emissions from agriculture, so further research is important for all parties involved, and this paper provides solid, science-based information. Chair: Larry D. Jacobson, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota, St. Paul. IP47, May 2011, 24 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

CAST Commentaries - QTA2011-1 - March 2011

Everyone is concerned with return on investment, and agricultural research continues to be an example of the positive impact well-placed funding can have.  Agriculture is a key to the nation's economy, and research not only boosts that industry, it also promotes solutions for many of the country's pressing problems in the areas of health, energy, environment, rural development, trade, and food safety.  This Commentary is directed to the Congress (for funding), the Administration (for initiatives), and the public (for insight). Recognized scholars provide an assessment of the high "rate of return" agricultural research has delivered to the American and global public and why funding is truly in the public interest. As the authors point out, "Plans for a better future start today."  Chair: Dr. Wallace Huffman, Iowa State University, Ames. QTA2011-1, 12pp., March 2011. AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY.

CAST Commentaries - QTA2010-1 - September 2010

A panel of experts has outlined key issues regarding biomass crops by examining the harvest, transportation, and storage of cellulosic material. Task Force Chair Jerry Fruin indicates that successful biomass feedstock production depends on the smooth blending of successful approaches to these three logistical necessities. Citing a number of research activities aimed at providing solutions to specific processes within the feedstock chain, they look at biomass collection, storage, and costs, and then highlight results from studies regarding switchgrass and corncobs. Chair: Dr. Jerry Fruin, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul. QTA2010-1, 8pp., September 2010. AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY.

Other Publications - August 2010

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) sponsored a three-day symposium in Washington, D.C., June 2010, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. Thirty-two presenters, speaking individually or as panelists, addressed the topic of Sustaining Animal Agriculture: Balancing Bioethical, Economic, and Social Issues.

Approximately 250 people from a wide variety of organizations attended the symposium, which was held in the Jefferson Auditorium at the USDA's South Building. Attendees had the opportunity to interact with presenters during several Q&A sessions throughout the meeting.

Critical issues addressed during the symposium included
• bioethical and animal welfare issues,
• analysis of certification and regulatory programs,
• integration of competing concepts surrounding the ethical use of food animals,
• long-term survival and food security,
• societal and global impacts, and
• consequences of decisions by consumer and government decision makers.

Issue Papers - IP46 - June 2010

Part 9, "ANIMAL AGRICULTURE'S FUTURE THROUGH BIOTECHNOLOGY." Animal biotechnology, which includes both genetic engineering and mammalian cloning, has expanded rapidly in recent decades. These technologies already have been applied in biomedical research and now are nearing application within the food system. This paper from CAST reviews animal biotechnology techniques, discusses related key ethical issues, evaluates religious views and traditions regarding animal biotechnology, summarizes public opinion research on the topic, and evaluates the challenges and opportunities for the ethical development of agricultural animal biotechnology. Chair: Paul B. Thompson, Professor of Philosophy, Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics and Community, Agriculture, Recreation, and Resource Studies, Michigan State University, East Lansing. IP46, June 2010, 16 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Papers - IP45 - January 2010

This timely Issue Paper includes a preface from Dr. Norman E. Borlaug and has been prepared as an update of CAST Paper No. 1, written by Dr. Borlaug in 1973. The authors of the current paper address (1) future demands facing agriculture; (2) the relationship of bioenergy and bioproducts to agriculture; (3) major issues impacting future U.S. agricultural productivity; (4) major issues facing agricultural productivity in other parts of the world; (5) strategies to meet future food needs; and (6) examples of research areas that could enable the next "Green Revolution." The authors question the commitment by the United States and many other countries for support of agricultural research and indicate the far-reaching impact that such research, education, and resulting technology--or lack thereof--will have on the nation and the world. Chair: Gale Buchanan, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, The University of Georgia, Tifton Campus. IP45, January 2010, 16 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Papers - IP44 - November 2009

Despite current uncertainty about the United States' economic future, most reports suggest that growth will resume and competition for freshwater will continue.As one of the largest users of water in the United States, agriculture will be impacted significantly by changes in water availability and cost.How water managers and users respond to water use challenges will determine, in part, the long-term availability of water for municipal, agricultural, and other uses.The authors provide insight into how water challenges are being addressed in four specific areas of the United States as helpful case studies in developing solutions to similar water issues in other regions.Chair: Dr. Sharon Megdal, Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona, Tucson. IP44, November 2009, 20 pp.FREE.Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

CAST Commentaries - QTA2009-2 - October 2009
This Commentary explores the interaction between the regulatory policy of the Endangered Species Act, public perception, and science in relation to the interpretation of risk to endangered species from various "stressors" associated with agricultural practices. In the absence of definitive government policy, courts are establishing risk mitigation procedures that may adversely affect agricultural productivity and practices. The authors address several potential remedies, including (1) better communication, (2) clear policy and agency coordination, (3) recognition and consideration of long-term impacts, and (4) balanced and consistent implementation. Chair: Bernalyn McGaughey, Compliance Services International, Lakewood, Washington. QTA2009-2, 8 pp., October 2009. AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY.