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Terrence RobinsonFarmers harnessing wind to save apples [Albany Times Union 2013-03-25] – “After last year’s crippling frost, dozens of orchards around the state started investing in the machines. Terrence Robinson (right), an applied fruit crop physiologist at Cornell University, estimated that the number of wind machines in the state likely doubled between 2012 and 2013. The 2012 frost prompted Cornell to conduct a study of the machines’ effectiveness. The study found that farms that already utilized the machines fared much better during the frost. ‘The most viable means of frost protection seems to be these wind machines,’ said Robinson. He said that the university recently worked to encourage farmers to think about methods for protecting against frost, rather than simply relying on crop insurance to make up for losses in years that crops fail. ‘A lot of growers have taken up our advice and run with it,’ he said.”

From mushrooms to dandelions, foraged food finds way to U.S. tables [ 2013-03-23] – “Cornell University ecologist Antonio DiTommaso said he was encouraged by the growing interest in eating wild plants and thinks the trend could affect which crops are grown. He no longer buys lettuce in the summer, he said, choosing instead to eat a mixture of plants from his yard in upstate New York. He wondered how far the movement could go in supplanting traditional agriculture. ‘It might have been okay 10,000 years ago,’ said DiTommaso, an assistant professor in the crop and soil sciences department. ‘If we get all of New York City running through our fields in upstate New York, I don’t know that there would be much left.'”

Compost helps restore soil in arid region of China [Cornell Chronicle 2013-03-25] – “Parched land in China has prompted Cornell environmental experts to come up with a simple solution to restore soils in arid areas, using wood chips and compost. Led by Rebecca Schneider, associate professor of natural resources, researchers have shown that a method they developed to restore agricultural land by adding components into the upper soil layer, and collecting and retaining water to make the most of meager rainfall supplies can also contribute to soil fertility and carbon sequestration.”

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