As the federal government ponders the future of farm programs, one research group is preparing for life with or without price supports. The Peanut Collaborative Research Support Program is finding worldwide solutions now that may help Georgia farmers in the future. “Peanuts are a global crop with global problems,” said John Williams, assistant program director of the Peanut CRSP at the University of Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station in Griffin. “Peanuts have leaf spot wherever they grow,” he said. “Wherever peanuts are grown, used or stored, aflatoxin is a problem. The research we support in utilization has no boundaries. Some of it is focused on small producers, but that’s scale. Those technologies can be scaled up much easier than scaled down.” The Peanut CRSP uses international research to solve the global and domestic problems of growing peanuts. “The Peanut CRSP is the outcome of an act of Congress to deploy the skills and knowledge of the land-grant system for development,” Williams said. “The goal is to achieve peanut technology that helps both developing countries and the United States.” One of the program’s major focuses is creating new peanut products. “Developing products outside the United States promotes consumption, which encourages exports and trade,” Williams said. Scientists at the UGA Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement in Griffin add to the program. They’ve focused on product development in the Philippines and Thailand and post-harvest handling and storage in Jamaica and Belize. In 1996, a new project began in Bulgaria. One of the greatest possibilities for U.S. farmers is oil. “The potential is spectacular for peanuts,” Williams said. “The oil from peanuts, from a health perspective, equals the quality of olive oil.” Olive oil sells for three to four times the price of other oils. “We’re working to help expand that quality market. And we’re going to be promoting these desirable high-oleic oils so people move to frying with healthier oils,” Williams said. “The general peanut oil isn’t as healthy as canola or olive oil. But these new ones are,” he said. “They match very closely with olive oil’s health qualities. Down the road, it’s going to be really important.” The CRSP research also enables farmers to grow peanuts with lower input costs. “On a global scale, a sustained development of technologies has led to better varieties,” Williams said. “There are a number of components of that. One is developing and accessing germ plasm. Many of the problems with peanuts have cheap solutions in the genetics.” That long-term investment into resistance is going to be important. “The people outside the United States have been more concerned up until now, because they’ve had to compete on a world-price basis,” he said. “So for them, cheap technology to control diseases has a greater priority than here.” The long-term survival of the American peanut industry may depend on using such technology. “Certainly it could help reduce chemical inputs,” he said. “And you will have to use other technologies like integrated pest management that use resistance, management techniques and a small amount of chemicals.” One of the CRSP successes is research that takes genes from wild relatives and puts them into peanuts to create resistances. Farmers now can buy varieties resistant to leaf spot disease, which costs Georgia farmers $100 to $150 per acre per year for chemical control. “The opportunity is there through resistances to cut that to $50 per acre,” Williams said. The Peanut CRSP can show a $10 U.S. return for every $1 spent from the release of new varieties, he said. “When the program was started there was a great deal of cry about why Congress was spending all this money to make other countries more competitive,” Williams said. “That probably has changed.”
The No. 2 seed University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team (10-6-2, 6-2 Big Ten) took on No. 3 seed Michigan (12-4-2, 4-2-2 Big Ten) in a tightly contested semifinal of the Big Ten Tournament Friday. The defending champs, however, could not advance as the Badgers fell to the Wolverines 1–0 in Westfield, Indiana to end their season.In a postgame conversation with UW Athletics, head coach John Trask believed it was always going to be a tough game, even though the Badgers defeated the Wolverines a few weeks ago.“Compliments to Michigan,” Trask said. “We had an excellent game against them in the regular season and were fortunate enough to beat them in the regular season.”In the 20th minute, a penalty was given when the Badgers handled the ball inside the box.Volleyball: Badgers overcome No. 12 Boilermakers in five setsThe University of Wisconsin volleyball team defeated No. 12 Purdue Friday night in five sets at the UW Fieldhouse — Read…Sophomore Marc Ybarra easily slotted away the penalty to give the Wolverines the only goal of the game.“It was a correct call on the penalty kick,” Trask said. “I had no issue with that.”With cold and sleety conditions, there was not much offensive production from both teams.It was an especially tough day for the Badgers, as they managed to get off only four shots all game, with none on target.Football: Stagnant offense, injuries lead to 22-10 loss at Penn StateTo keep Big Ten Championship hopes alive, Saturday’s showdown in Happy Valley was a must-win for Wisconsin football. In a Read…“I was proud of the guys today,” Trask said. “I thought we battled for 90 minutes and it was a fair result.”Despite finishing second in the Big Ten regular season and bowing out in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, Wisconsin was not selected to participate in this year’s edition of the NCAA Tournament. After a hard fought season, including winning four out of the final six games of the season, the Badgers finish with a 10-6-2 record overall and 6-2 in Big Ten play.
Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Starling Marte is seen during during a news conference where his contract extension was discussed before a spring exhibition baseball game against the New York Yankees in Bradenton, Fla., Thursday, March 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) – Starling Marte wants to be part of what he hopes will be a long run of success for the Pittsburgh Pirates.Less than two years after his major league debut, the 25-year-old outfielder finalized a $31 million, six-year contract with the Pirates on Thursday.“There are a lot of reasons,” Marte said through interpreter Peter Greenberg, his agent. “I didn’t feel I needed to wait because I like where I am. I have confidence in the organization and I feel comfortable.”Marte receives a $2 million signing bonus from the Pirates, who are coming off their first postseason appearance since 1991. He gets salaries of $500,000 this season, $1 million next year, $3 million in 2016, $5 million in 2017, $7.5 million in 2018 and $10 million in 2019.Pittsburgh has an $11.5 million option for 2020 with a $2 million buyout. If that option is exercised, the Pirates have a $12.5 million option for 2021 with a $1 million buyout.If Marte finishes among the top five in MVP in any of the next six seasons, the option prices would increase by $500,000 each. If he finishes among the top five in 2020, the option for the next year would go up by $500,000. The option prices can increase by a maximum of $1 million each.The deal replaces a one-year contract agreed to earlier this month that would have paid him $516,000 while in the major leagues and $300,000 while in the minors. He would have been eligible for arbitration after the 2015 season and for free agency after the 2018 World Series.Marte hit .280 with 12 homers, 35 RBIs and a team-high 41 steals last year, his first full season in the majors. When he made his big league debut at Houston on July 26, 2012, he led off the game with a first-pitch home run against Dallas Keuchel.Marte has a .275 career batting average with 53 stolen bases and a .773 on-base plus slugging percentage.“This is something that’s part of our plan to sign young men who are going to be great players,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “We feel very fortunate Starling was willing to commit to us as we were willing to commit to him.”Marte becomes Pittsburgh’s fourth player with a deal beyond 2014: right-hander Charlie Morton and outfielder Jose Tabata have contracts through 2016 and outfielder Andrew McCutchen through 2017.“It’s an exciting time,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We’re not trying to build a house. We’re trying to create a home. This is tangible evidence that we’re creating a place where players want to be, a place where they want to thrive, a place where players want to settle.”Notes: Pittsburgh acquired OF Keon Broxton from Arizona for a player to be named and assigned him to Altoona of the Double-A Eastern League. … The Pirates optioned RHP Brandon Cumpton to Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League.