Allied shuts Reading bakery

first_imgAllied Bakeries has closed its Reading bakery, which once employed 196 staff, following a strategic review of its UK bakery operations.The company shut the distribution depot and manufacturing plant on the Viscount Way site last month, and it closed the remaining plant this week.The decision to close was “regrettable but necessary as the Reading site is not suitable for future development,” Allied Bakeries said in a statement. It needed to move production to sites which are bigger and have greater capacity, it said.A consultation process with employees on the closure began in November 2005.Allied said: “This has not been an easy decision and in no way reflects the efforts and commitment of our employees at the site.” Allied Bakeries thanked employees for their support.last_img

Cycads to be saved by DNA

first_imgCycads growing wild in the forest of theRain Queen Modjadji.(Image: South Africa Tourism)  South Africa’s rare and sought-after cycads are to be protected by a new DNA barcoding initiative that will help clamp down on illicit trade in the endangered plants.Botany masters student Philip Rousseau, under the guidance of Professor Michelle van der Bank of the Department of Botany and Plant Biotechnology at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), initiated the project in January 2010. His aim is to preserve the ancient plants, which are often sold illegally to eager collectors in the US and Far East.The database will focus specifically on plants from the Encephalartos genus, as these are native to Africa, with 39 species occurring in South Africa alone. The country also is home to one species from the genus Stangeria, S. eriopus.The name Encephalartos comes from the Greek words en (within), kephali (head), and artos (bread). This refers to the traditional use of the pith of the stem as a starchy food, a practice reflected in the Afrikaans name broodboom (“bread tree”).“This project forms part of a global initiative, known as TreeBOL, to DNA barcode all the trees of the world within the next five years,” said Van der Bank. “UJ will generate a library of reference barcoding sequences for all cycad species, which will enable researchers and custom officials to identify specimens.”UJ is driving the African section of TreeBOL.According to the regulations South Africans need a permit to own a cycad, with one permit issued for every plant. Although the country’s laws are among the tightest in the world where cycads are concerned, officials have a difficult time with smugglers transporting valuable plants under the name of a less endangered species.In great demandNow modern technology is set to stop thieves in their tracks. The barcode library will deter illegal trade in cycads by preventing unscrupulous dealers and buyers from presenting rare plants as more common species. As visual identification is almost impossible once the leaves have been stripped for transport purposes, DNA will provide conservation officials with a foolproof way of identifying seized cycads.Plants are regularly stolen from protected areas and botanical gardens or simply dug out of their natural areas. In one such case, in January 2008, 103 extremely rare specimens with a value of US$1.3-million (R10-million), were plucked from the Lillie floral reserve in Limpopo province.Ruthless buyers, who are willing to pay $13 500 (R100 000) or more for cycads, ignore the fact that the plants take up to 800 years to grow tall stems, and that they are endangered in their native habitats because of excessive demand.Encephalartos cerinus, for example, was only described in 1989, but subsequent demand and poaching of the plant led to it tottering on the brink of extinction mere months after its discovery. Other species may have been wiped out before they were even discovered.Several cycad species are now extinct in the wild, while the numbers of others have dwindled alarmingly. In South Africa three of the 38 indigenous species are extinct in the wild – they are Encephalartos woodii, E. brevifoliolatus and E. nubimontanus. The cycad specialist group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified 12 more as critically endangered, and a further 13 as threatened.According to Dr John Donaldson of the IUCN cycad specialist group, South Africa has a disproportionately high number of critically endangered cycads. “We certainly are on the cusp of extinctions. We have a lot of rare plants that are down to less than 100 individuals in the wild,” he said.In recent years botanists have implanted microchips, which can only be read with a scanner, into rare cycads. This enables authorities to identify stolen plants and trace their rightful owners. The technology has proved effective on a number of occasions, although some canny thieves try to extract and get rid of the transponders. The DNA technology will overcome this hurdle.Plants of myth and legendThe palm-like cycads are the oldest seed plants on earth, with fossils dating back to the Early Permian period, about 280-million years ago. This puts the leafy specimens on the scene even before the Jurassic period when dinosaurs flourished.Just over 300 species have been described to date, falling into 10–12 genera and two or three families (the number of genera and families varies according to the taxonomic viewpoint).Cycads are found in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, America and Australasia. They have given rise to many myths and intriguing stories, and whole cultures have developed around them.One of the most famous is that of Ga-Modjadji, a rural community of over 150 villages near Tzaneen in Limpopo province, ruled by the Rain Queen Modjadji of the Lobedu people.The Modjadji dynasty is some 400 years old, but since the sixth Rain Queen, Makobo, read more

2015 Darke County Fair Photo Gallery

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Darke County Fair King AJ Warner talking to Dale Minyo. Darke County Fairboard Member Matt Aultman sharing about tractor pulls Tuesday and Wednesday with listeners.last_img

Livestock Care Standards Board continues to protect Ohio’s animals from farms to fairs

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The show ring and the county fair offer great opportunities to showcase many positive things about Ohio agriculture. With this opportunity, though, comes the responsibility of young livestock exhibitors to practice and display ideal animal care standards.“Animal welfare is definitely something that is very important to me and that picture isn’t always painted properly,” said Kolt Buchenroth, a junior fair exhibitor from Hardin County. “Not everybody comes from that 4-H and FFA environment and has that guidance to properly treat those animals. Even if they don’t, they need that to make sure everything is done properly. Those animals that need help obviously can’t speak for themselves.”Buchenroth has shown at the Hardin County Fair (taking place this week) and Ohio State Fair in the past, actively helping to educate the public and fellow exhibitors on animal agriculture. Through his many years of working with livestock projects, Buchenroth said he has gained a deeper appreciation for the care and wellbeing of production animals. His earliest experiences were with horses before becoming more familiar with cattle.“Horses and cattle are polar opposites if you ask me. And so when I got into the cattle, I found that you’ve got to have a lot of patience. My mom’s horses are well-oiled machines and she can ask them to do what she wants to do and they just do it,” Buchenroth said. “Breaking a steer from an early age is something where you have to learn to have patience and perseverance not to give up on those. But also I’ve found something that works really well is just that positive reinforcement.”Buchenroth has spent months preparing for his final year at the Hardin County Fair this week, concluding a journey that began years ago and has been maintained by his deep-seated care for animals.“The champion’s made while no one is watching — what that means to me is get out of bed in the morning, go out to that barn, feed those animals,” Buchenroth said. “You’ve got to put in the hard work, you’ve got to put in the time and it will pay off.” It also means that exhibitors have the duty to adhere to proper animal care both in (and out of) the spotlight of the show ring and the county fair. Ohio leads the nation in setting the standards for proper care of agricultural animals since Ohio voters brought into law the Livestock Care Standards Board in 2009. The 13-member committee meets three times a year to discuss issues of animal welfare in Ohio, taking action on certain cases where a need to improve livestock health is recognized.State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey has been part of the Board since its inception.Tony Forshey“There are several states that have livestock care standards, and they’re usually called animal welfare standards or animal care standards. But none are as strict as ours,” Forshey said. “Many of those states have guidelines and they may have some rules. Their laws may say that you may do this or may not do this. Our laws say you shall and you will — you must. That’s why our law is unique from anybody else’s. Ours are enforceable.”The Livestock Care Standards overseen by the Board range in dealing with everything from the proper care of 4-H and FFA projects to items including feed, transportation, euthanasia practices, and civil penalties for those found in violation. Tips directed to the Board come in on all communication lines, including social media. The Ohio Department of Agriculture helps to monitor such interactions.“The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board is an entity of itself. It’s a separate board — just like Board of Education, or any other board — but it happens to be housed at the Department of Agriculture,” Forshey said.The Board is made up of individuals from all around the agricultural and livestock industries, keeping a close eye on the latest trends developing year-to-year.“Something I think is a little unique is this is the first time that commodity groups can actually police themselves,” Forshey said. “Say you have 100 people out here in a commodity group and you’ve got two bad actors — nobody has authority over them. They can actually police themselves now by saying hey, we’ve got a guy out here who’s doing this and does not represent our industry and he’s doing some bad things from an animal care standpoint.”Forshey also mentioned how the Board goes out of its way to constantly review its practices and standards on a yearly basis, whereas the governmental requirement for such organizations is a review every five years. In each of its three meetings a year, the board sets aside time to review a third of their regulations to make sure they are up-to-date and relevant in the ever-changing world of animal care.It’s quite a job and all work is voluntary. Board members do not get paid for their duties. Field staff members are used when needed read more

Prime Minister Launches NHT’s Best Schemes Competition

first_imgPrime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says the National Housing Trust’s (NHT) Best Schemes Competition is an important initiative that plays a vital role in encouraging the development of model communities all over Jamaica. Prime Minister Simpson Miller made the statement at the launch of the competition which was held at Angels Grove in Spanish Town on Thursday, January 31. The Prime Minister emphasised that through the NHT, the Government’s goal to make housing more affordable is being achieved. “We have reduced interest rates so that persons earning under $10,000 per month could move toward owning their own homes and the NHT has provided home grants of $1.2 million each to low-income contributors as well as to people with disabilities. We have done this because we are building a better Jamaica through the building of better communities,” she said. The Prime Minister also highlighted that in collaboration with Food for the Poor and JEEP, the NHT launched First Step Homes which is another initiative to help the most vulnerable own their homes and provide stability for their families. Mrs. Simpson Miller pointed out that one of the mandates given to the NHT is to lift people out of poverty and set them on a path toward economic empowerment and social advancement. “We are utilising the NHT to train inner-city youths in Kingston and St. Andrew in construction and related skills, under the YUTE BUILD Programme. The programme is helping to put idle hands to work, and put food on the table for at least 40 young person and their families living in NHT scheme communities,” she said. The NHT’s Best Schemes Competition now in its 20th year is being held under the theme “Celebrating Communities”. The competition is open to all 132 of NHT’s built schemes and encourages communities to showcase what they have achieved in the areas of culture, health, education, environmental awareness and governance and entrepreneurship.last_img

PM determined to build pipeline tackle climate change despite court ruling

first_imgJustin Trudeau says his government remains committed to getting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion built and also to its national climate-change plan, both of which were put in jeopardy by a court ruling that overturned federal approval for the project.The prime minister says the government will move forward to get the project built “in the right way” by acknowledging the court’s criticism of the flawed environmental review process and the failure to meaningfully consult with Indigenous Peoples.Thursday’s court ruling prompted Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to announce that her province is withdrawing from the national climate change plan and will stay out until the federal government gets its act together, as she put it.While he’d prefer to work collaboratively with provinces on climate change, Trudeau says Notley’s move doesn’t change anything for the federal government.He says the federal government remains committed to imposing a carbon price on provinces that do not implement their own polluter-pay scheme, including Alberta if need be.But he says Alberta’s own climate change plan remains in place, which means its carbon pricing regime will be in sync with the federal government’s for the next few years.last_img