Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part special report on bird flu in Vietnam. Part one, “Vietnam’s success against avian flu may offer blueprint for others,” appeared Oct 25.Oct 26, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – HANOI, Vietnam – Nguyen Van Tich’s farm lies at the end of a narrow dirt road that runs under the tall edges of rice paddies and snakes between old bomb craters turned into fish ponds.The tucked-away property, one of the largest in this 10,000-person district 20 miles from Hanoi, is new-looking and prosperous. In the 7 years they have owned it, 44-year-old Tich and his wife have stocked their 1.75 acres with citrus trees, coconut palms, pig pens, a duck pond, and a long brick coop filled with fuzzy chicks that skitter away from a stranger’s shadow.The couple went into debt to build the farm, and their care for their investment shows in the wire mesh that swathes the chicks’ shelter and the vaccinations recently administered to their 1,000 ducks and hens—measures prescribed by Vietnam’s central government to contain the threat of H5N1 avian influenza.”I am a professional; [this farm] is my life,” Tich said through an interpreter. “If I lose it, I lose everything.”The willingness of Tich, pictured at right,* and thousands of small farmers like him to follow the government’s orders does much to explain Vietnam’s dramatic change of fortune on avian flu, from one of the countries hardest hit by the virus to one of the most successful in controlling it (see part one of this series).The Vietnamese government is openly proud of those results, and international animal and human health experts have applauded its apparent success. Yet some of those experts caution, and interviews with farmers and consumers confirm, that Vietnam’s continued success is not guaranteed—because it may depend on new and stricter government prescriptions that the populace may find hard to accept.”What is being talked about is trying to change really basic behavior that people have been engaged in all their lives,” said Dr. Richard Brown, a World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist based in Hanoi. “It is going to be a slow process.”As the H5N1 outbreak expands, planners worldwide are acknowledging that scientific and political efforts to control the virus will fail unless they are accompanied by willing cultural change. Vietnam’s attempts to create that change are being closely watched.A model for successVietnam’s success against avian flu has made the country an island of viral suppression in a sea of transmission—this year, according to reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), H5N1 has recurred in neighboring Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand.And Vietnam’s successful measures are stringent and strictly maintained.In Ho Chi Minh City, for instance, raising chickens in the city has been banned, and chickens raised in the countryside are inspected twice before they cross the city limits—once by rural authorities and a second time at one of four municipal checkpoints. More than 2,000 trucks pass through the checkpoints each day; if the birds’ paperwork is in order, the truck carrying them is allowed to proceed along limited designated routes to one of three new slaughterhouses.If the birds do not pass inspection, they are confiscated on the spot. “We take them to the incinerator,” Dr. Truong Thi Kim Chau, vice-director of the city’s sub-department of animal health, said through an interpreter.The country’s health authorities do not take success for granted.”The risk of bird flu still exists in Vietnam,” said Dr. Bui Quang Anh, the Hanoi-based director general of the department of animal health in the agriculture ministry, pointing to the likelihood that the virus still circulates in ducks, geese, and quail within Vietnam, and the possibility of its being carried over the Chinese border in smuggled live chickens.Strict additional measuresTo counter that perceived threat, the ministry proposes strict additional prevention measures in its Integrated National Operational Program for Avian and Human Influenza, known because of its binding as the “Green Book.”The measures vary. One proposal is to permanently ban the raising of ducks, an integral component of the rice-growing economy because they are herded into harvested paddies to clean and fertilize them. Another is to take poultry raising out of the hands of the backyard growers, who make up 70% of producers, and concentrate the industry in large, biosecure farms.Most controversially, for many Vietnamese, the government proposes to alter the way that chicken, a major food, changes hands. It is phasing out the markets where consumers choose live birds and have them slaughtered, and substituting birds killed in a modern slaughterhouse and sold shrink-wrapped and chilled in supermarkets.The change—already instituted in Ho Chi Minh City and under way in the north—would alter much more than basic commerce. It challenges deep-rooted food preferences, because already-dead chickens are considered less tasty and nutritious. It could affect social patterns, because markets are where neighbors meet each morning. It touches even religious practice: Slaughtering and cooking chicken on behalf of family ancestors is a crucial observance during Lunar New Year.”This is the big challenge in Vietnam,” said Dr. Le Truong Giang, vice-director of Ho Chi Minh City’s health department. “Not all the population agree, but more and more people agree with us.”But in Hanoi, Tran Thi Tuyet—a university graduate working in a silk shop to perfect her English—vigorously disagreed.”We know bird flu is very dangerous,” she said. “But Vietnamese people, we like to go to the market, we want to see the birds. Where I live, outside the city, there are many markets selling chickens still.”Meeting cultural resistanceIn Vietnam’s health agencies, and in the cities and villages, there are scattered signs that acceptance of anti-bird flu measures may not be complete.The two-shot poultry vaccination campaign mandated last year by the agriculture ministry inoculated approximately 160 million birds—80% of the country’s total—in late 2005, Dr. Anh said. But a repeat this year, meant to catch a new crop of birds, vaccinated 140 million, about 65%. And a campaign to halve the country’s duck population, which stood at 60 million in 2003, has stalled at 40 million birds.”We are thinking of how to change the jobs of the duck farmers in the countryside,” Dr. Anh said. “The farmers are very poor. We should have something else for them to do.”On a mid-September morning in Viet Doan commune—where 1,500 ducks were culled in 2005—400 local farmers followed along eagerly as a team from CARE International staged games and contests with an anti-flu theme. The gathering was part of a program that the humanitarian agency has been testing in Vietnam since 2004 that coaches rural residents to evaluate their own understanding of avian flu and teaches them preventive measures, from handwashing to keeping poultry away from other animals.”Some food shops in the commune have stopped selling poultry meat or duck’s blood,” said Dr. Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, a trainer on the program’s staff. “Some farmers keep their poultry behind a fence. But it is difficult to change behavior; it requires a long time.”Tich, the farmer, did not attend the gathering. At his farm down the road, there was a modest fence, two strands of barbed wire slung loosely between low posts. A chicken flapped over it, landing clumsily in a mob of month-old ducklings (see left*)—ducklings that, under a strict interpretation of government guidelines, should not exist.Asked about the ducks, Tich looked nonplussed. News of the ban, he said, had reached him only 10 days ago; he had bought the ducks 3 weeks before.”What I heard is, the local authority just encouraged not to raise new ducks.” he said through the interpreter. “It is not a policy.”Tich had complied with most of the policies in the government campaign against avian flu. In addition to vaccinating his adult birds and confining his chicks until they are a month old, he scours his chicken coops with disinfectant every time a crop is sold, wears gloves and a mask when he kills a bird for his own use, and buries dead chickens in a hole with lime instead of eating them or feeding them to fish.But he seemed skeptical of the effort and expense in some of the further measures yet to come.”Avian influenza is a very big concern for our family, because we have invested quite a lot of capital in our poultry,” he said. “But if the government banned duck-raising, I might switch to raising other animals. I might not grow poultry anymore.”*Photos ©2006 Maryn McKenna. Used with permission.Reporting for this story was supported by the East-West Center, Honolulu (www.eastwestcenter.org).
Thurles Sarsfields are looking back on what might have been as they bowed out of the Munster Club Hurling Championship yesterday.Extra time was needed to separate the Tipperary Champions and their Waterford counterparts Ballygunner in Walsh Park.In the end the Deise outfit emerged winners on a scoreline of 1-21 to 1-19. Afterwards Sars coach Paddy McCormack paid tribute to his sides determination as they fought back from 2 points down with just four minutes left at the end of normal time.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Our web site keeps track of the stories that generate the most interest and at the end of the year we like to review the top stories to gain insight into how to better serve readers of our web and print content and our radio listeners. Plus, it is always fun to see which story comes out on top. To revisit all of these favorite web stories and videos in the last year, look for “2017 top stories of the year” on the right side of this web page. In addition to these top posts, other noteworthy drivers of web traffic in 2017 included the Ohio and Pro Farmer crop tours, the Ohio State Fair livestock show results, and Between the Rows. Weather challenges, the tough farm economy, and all things draft horse also garnered major web traffic in the last 12 months.As we count down the last days of the year, we’ll also count down the 10 most popular stories of 201710. Is Dannon guilty of marketing flimflam?There has been quite a bit of buzz in the dairy industry about Dannon recently and attorney Leisa Boley-Hellwarth delved into the legalities of the issue. Dannon claims they are merely giving the consumers what they want. Many in agriculture disagree and assert that Dannon’s actions are merely “marketing flimflam” and “fear-based marketing.” What do you think?
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Luke Schulte, Beck’s HybridsFor many farmers across Ohio, soybean yields have been good to great, but the soybean quality has not been as promising. Uncharacteristically warm temperatures along with high rainfall and humidity as the soybeans matured led to some ugly looking soybeans this fall. From disease to insect feeding and compromised pods, there are many factors that have taken a toll on soybean seed quality this year.DiseaseThe unseasonably warm temperatures and high humidity during late August and September led to a significant frogeye leaf spot (FLS) infection on the soybean pods themselves. Typically, we think of this disease as more damaging to soybean vegetation. However, with extremely high volumes of inoculum present, along with a favorable environment, pods were infected as well. As the FLS lesions continued to develop, they not only penetrated the pod wall infecting the soybeans, but also weakened or thinned the pod walls, allowing moisture to move into the pod cavity. Varieties more susceptible to vegetative infection of FLS had increased pod infection with the heightened inoculum levels.Insect damageStink bugs are a pest that we have seen for quite some time but may not have always felt like they had any impact on our yields. While that may be somewhat accurate, when it comes to soybean quality it’s a different story. Since stink bugs are typically not problematic until later in the growing season (near the R5 growth stage) it’s less likely to cause as much yield damage as earlier arriving pests or pathogens that hit at the R2 or R3 gorwth stage. Stink bugs are not “chewing” insects as they have piercing-sucking mouthparts. They cause injury to soybeans by puncturing pods and sucking fluid from the developing soybeans. Often times this leads to shriveled, light-weight soybeans. The injured pods allowed moisture from the excessive rainfall to contact the plants, resulting in soft, discolored soybeans.Some of these same fields that experienced poor soybean seed quality recieved a fungicide/insecticide application at or around the R3 growth stage. So why didn’t these applications seem to make a difference? Many of the fungicide products we use today provide approximately three to four weeks of activity. It’s likey that too much time elapsed between the R3 fungicide application in mid- to late-July to provide significant fungal suppression in late August and September. The R3 growth stage application may have also reduced inoculum levels, but overall protection could not be expected as the soybeans were near maturity. Also, as referenced above, stink bug populations typically do not cause significant impact until much later, around R5, or the beginning of seed fill. By this time the insecticide component had already run its course in terms of effectiveness.Compromised or open podsDuring the month of July, much of Ohio experienced drier growing conditions. This is when many early-planted soybeans began pod formation. Hot, dry weather throughout the month of July, followed by average to above average rainfall in August and early September caused soybean cavities to be disproportional to soybean seed size. Adequate to excessive rainfall led to very large soybean size in many cases, resulting in stretched pods that allowed moisture to enter. Lastly, many soybeans harvested in late September and early October had been mature for some time, but field conditions prevented us from harvesting them. This resulted in ripped and broken soybean pod sutures (pod seams) from the continued wetting and drying cycles.For many Ohio farmers, Mother Nature was kind in terms of overall yields in 2018. However, she also dealt some rough hands as the growing season concluded, resulting in less than desirable soybean seed quality.
LOUISVILLE, KY – MARCH 15: A detail of an official NCAA Men’s Basketball game ball made by Wilson is seen on the court as the Iowa State Cyclones play against the Connecticut Huskies during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)It’s been a tough week for Iowa fans. This past Tuesday, former football star Tyler Sash passed away at the age of just 27 years old. Friday, former basketball player Roy Marble, the leading scorer in Hawkeyes history, died after a year-long battle with cancer. He was only 48 years old.Friday afternoon, Iowa released a touching six-minute tribute video in Marble’s memory. You can view it below.A Tribute Video to Roy Marble http://t.co/EyoS82ilVl— The Iowa Hawkeyes (@TheIowaHawkeyes) September 11, 2015Our thoughts and prayers are with Marble’s friends and family during what’s surely been a tough week.
Tourists are still filling golf courses and shops in Kimberley, B.C., but the smoke-filled city’s unique SunMine solar power project is operating at less than half of capacity as nearby forest fires continue to rage.Wildfires that have destroyed thousands of hectares of trees and filled the sky with thick smoke have put companies in B.C.’s resource and tourism industries on high alert.“Our main industry is really tourism, you know, mountain biking and hiking,” said Scott Sommerville, chief administrative officer at Kimberley, which issued an evacuation alert late Thursday that remained in place on Friday afternoon.“Downtown has been very busy … I’ve heard the golf courses are very busy,” he said. “Obviously, that’s going to change, we’re the No. 1 news story in B.C. today so that might affect tourism a little bit.”The city recently signed a letter of intent to sell the one-megawatt-capacity SunMine power plant to Teck Resources Ltd., the mining company that owns the retired mine on which it was built three years ago. The deal is to go to a referendum in October during the municipal election.The project, B.C.’s largest solar power plant, was supposed to generate profits for the municipality but last year heavy smoke from fires meant it barely broke even and the results are expected to be the same this year given this summer’s smoky conditions, Sommerville said.About 436,000 hectares of forest have been consumed so far by the fires, said B.C. Wildfire Service chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek in an update conference call on Friday afternoon.A lack of rain in weather forecasts suggest there’s little hope that the fire danger will decrease over the weekend, he said.“There are areas that are obviously curtailed for harvesting (wood) because of the wildfire conditions,” said B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson during the same call.“At this point we haven’t seen any curtailments as a direct result of the fire, in mills, but if the fire season persists, we likely will see an impact on log supply until we can make it safe to get back into the woods again.”Industry has been lending equipment and personnel to help build fireguards to fight the fires, he added.Vancouver-based Conifex Timber announced on Thursday that it was temporarily shutting down operations at its mill in Fort St. James, B.C., due to an anticipated evacuation order.In a post on its website, Vancouver-based West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. says it will keep its B.C. lumber, pulp and panel manufacturing mills operating as long as it is safe, but advises employees to make sure their supervisors have up-to-date contact information in case they have to evacuate.“The most important thing is the health and safety of all our West Fraser employees and their families who have been impacted by the fires in B.C.,” said CEO Ted Seraphim on the site.“This is a challenging time during which I am grateful of all the efforts of our employees who are working to protect our mills, fight forest fires and support each other.”Spokeswoman Tara Knight said all of the company’s mills were still operating on Friday afternoon but it is a “dynamic situation” that requires constant monitoring.B.C. mining operations owned by Teck are also not being impacted by the fires, said spokesman Chad Pederson on Friday, adding the company has response plans in place at all of its operations.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter.Companies mentioned in this article: (TSX:TECK.B, TSX:WFT)
BOUCHERVILLE, Que. – Lowe’s Companies Inc. is reducing its Canadian footprint by closing 31 properties across the country in a bid to streamline its business.The home improvement company said Monday in addition to closing 27 stores, it will also shutter two regional support centres in Mississauga, Ont. and St. John’s, N.L., a truss plant in St. John’s, N.L. and a block plant in Kamloops, B.C. as part of a plan to focus instead on the most profitable parts of its business.Among the 27 stores set to close by the end of January are nine in Ontario, nine in Quebec, six in Newfoundland and Labrador, two in Alberta and one in British Columbia.Sylvain Prud’homme, chief executive of Lowe’s Canada, did not say how many employees would be affected by the closures, but said the changes will allow the company to improve collaboration between its banners to better serve customers.“Everything will be done to ensure a smooth transition until the stores are closed, and Lowe’s Canada will support impacted employees, including by transferring eligible employees to other locations within our network whenever possible,” Prud’homme said in a statement.In addition to the 31 locations the brand is closing in Canada, it will also axe 20 stores in the U.S.The Canadian closures amount to a reduction of about three per cent of the brand’s total retail network square footage.The company currently has 68 Lowe’s and 430 Rona stores in the country — part of its network of 2,390 home improvement locations across North America, including Reno-Depot, Dick’s Lumber, Contractor First and Ace locations it also owns.Lowe’s Canadian business is based in Boucherville, Que. and has more than 630 corporate and independent affiliate dealer stores.David Soberman, a University of Toronto professor specializing in marketing and retail, said Lowe’s 2016 acquisition of Rona Inc. in a deal valued at $3.2 billion. has likely fuelled some of the Canadian cuts.“They probably had too many locations,” he said. “Now, this will mean people will have to drive a bit further to find a Lowe’s or a Rona store.”He said the company has also been facing fierce competition from fellow home improvement businesses Home Depot Inc. and Canadian Tire Inc. and to some extent, Costco Wholesale Corp. and Walmart Inc., which are “extremely powerful” and stock some home and garden products.E-commerce giants including Amazon Inc. have also posed a threat because of their efficiency, but Soberman said their impact on Lowe’s is limited because many construction and do-it-yourself products are bulky, heavy and cost more to ship — “not things that are suited to online retail.”Companies in this story: (TSX:CTC)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico racing regulators are set to decide if they will issue the state’s sixth and final license for a horse racetrack and casino.The New Mexico Racing Commission on Thursday also could name the winning bid for the final license despite objections from New Mexico five existing “racinos.”Under the state’s compacts with casino-operating tribes, only six racinos are allowed in New Mexico. The five existing racinos are in Hobbs, Ruidoso, Farmington, Albuquerque, and Sunland Park.There three other proposals out of Clovis, New Mexico, including one involving “moving grandstand” that will allow an audience to travel alongside running horses.Two other projects are proposed for Tucumcari along this historic Route 66 and Lordsburg near New Mexico’s Bootheel.The Associated Press
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The NDP Party has selected a candidate to represent Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies in the upcoming Federal Election.The candidate name that has been added to the NDP website, to run for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies, is Marcia Luccock.Energeticcity.ca has tried reaching out to the NDPs for more information on Luccock but has not returned our calls. Luccock will take on the incumbent Bob Zimmer from the Conservative party, Ron Vaillant representing the Peoples Party of Canada, Catharine Kendall of the Green Party, Mavis Erickson of the Liberal Party, and Jacob Stokes of the Rhinoceros Party of Canada.A local debate has been announced for October 10, 2019, at the Lido Theatre. All the candidates have been invited to attend.General Election day is set for October 21, 2019.
Ohio State junior forward Sara Saekkinen (25) drives the puck down the ice in their game against Minnesota on Jan 26. Credit: Cori Wade | For The LanternIt was the first night of senior weekend for Ohio State, but the evening belonged to Bemidji State and redshirt sophomore goalie Lauren Bench, whose 44 saves allowed a Beavers’ comeback victory in Columbus.Bemidji State women’s hockey (11-16-2, 8-9-2 WCHA) upset No. 9 Ohio State (17-12, 11-10 WCHA) 3-2 on the road Friday night, turning a 2-0 first period deficit into a 3-2 win for its third straight season defeat against the Buckeyes.“They’re similar to us.” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “They grind it out, they play relentless. I don’t know how to break that down philosophically, but they do have our number this year, that’s for sure.”Ohio State dominated the puck for most of the night, putting 46 shots on net, with Bench saving all but two of them.Bench made 22 saves in the third period alone, as Ohio State mounted an urgent offensive front that tried to regain the 2-0 lead they built in the first period on goals from senior forward Madison Field and senior defenseman Lauren Boyle.Junior forward Abby Halluska scored her second goal in as many games against the Buckeyes to put the Beavers on the board and slice the Ohio State lead in half three minutes into the second period.Her breakaway goal off a Buckeye turnover was Halluska’s fifth of the year, and marked a palpable shift in momentum for a Beavers offense that had been outshot 13-5 in the first period and had scored only 54 goals coming into the series.Bemidji State did not let up, as the game-tying strike was provided by Bemidji State sophomore forward Lydia Passolt eight minutes into the second, which took the air out of the Friday night Buckeyes home crowd.Much like their last meeting on Nov. 10, which also saw goals from Halluska and Field, the Beavers and Buckeyes entered the game’s final period knotted at two apiece. Bemidji State completed the comeback with a long-range slap shot that snuck past Ohio State sophomore goalie Lynsey Wallace for her sixth goal of the season, giving the Beavers a 3-2 lead three minutes into the third period.Wallace replaced freshman goalie Andrea Branedli, who Muzerall said is participating in an international tournament with her native Switzerland National Hockey Team. Braendli was named NCAA No. 2 Star of the Week after two straight shutout performances the past weekend at St. Cloud State.Bemidji State was 0-9-1 before getting its first two season wins against the Buckeyes in November, but now claim wins against No. 1 Wisconsin and No. 9 Ohio State in back-to-back weekends.Bench made 27 saves in the Beavers’ upset against Wisconsin this past Friday, which Muzerall said helped build her confidence, as she entered this series with the second-lowest save percentage in the WCHA at .914.Ohio State has lost three straight against Bemidji State, despite outshooting them 119-78, which Ohio State redshirt junior Jincy Dunne said is becoming indicative of the Buckeyes’ shortcomings on offense.“That seems to be a common theme in a lot of our losses we’ve had,” Dunne said. “We’ve just got to find a way to get the puck in the net.”Dunne added that the festivities of Saturday’s senior night may add some fuel on the fire for the Buckeyes.“I think it will be more emotional just because we love our seniors,” Dunne said. “Especially because this could potentially be our last home game. We don’t know yet.”Bemidji State will hope to make it four in a row against the Buckeyes on Saturday night with a season sweep. If it wins, it would be Ohio State’s seventh loss in nine games.The Buckeyes are facing a must-win situation, as they stand at No. 9 and would likely drop from the polls with another loss, which would keep them out of the eight-team NCAA Tournament.