Lady Entomology

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When calling an exterminator, just out of habit a customer expects the person who shows up at their door to be a male.

Now where that stereotype has been rather accurate for years, according to an article published Wednesday by The Guardiana high number of bug hunters have entered the field wielding double X chromosomes.

Women in the entomology field face a number of challenges because sexual bias including comments about their physical appearance, physical ability, and knowledge of the field.

Lydia Brown of Maricopa Agricultural Center at the University of Arizona said times have occurred where she’s felt “threatened” while working on off site facilities.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as of 2014 women made up only 3.7% of pest control workers. In the next decade, the woman will gain more opportunities in this field as it’s expected to grow around 20% in the next 10 years.

Commonly referred to as exterminators, pest control technicians require more training than most consumers realize due to the delicate science and chemical behind entomology.

The Guardian successfully explained that entomology remains a male dominated field while promoting women to join the field. However, the article doesn’t cover well the challenges women may face in the field.

Many companies have learned that many benefits follow a gender diverse payroll.

“Women come off as more nurturing and trustworthy at the door when one-on-one and face-to-face with the customer,” said Micki Tolentino, a corporate training administrator at Insight Pest Solutions. “I have put at ease many stay-at-home moms who request an interior service because of my gender.”

For a job field that is demanding physically and mentally, companies have to realize the importance of a diverse employee pool while considering a safe work environment for its employees and the most financially effective routes for its business.

See full article here: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/sep/23/female-exterminators-breaking-through-pest-control-glass-ceiling

Cage-Free Commitment

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McDonald’s recent choice to move to cage-free eggs caused organizations like The Center for Food Integrity to question McDonald’s motives.

Considering poultry- chickens, turkeys, eggs, etc.- firmly holds the spot as Kentucky’s No. 1 ag commodity, many Kentucky poultry producers turned their heads at this announcement.

Even as consumers still remember the pink goo chicken nuggets, McDonald’s announced Sept. 9 that they would transition to using cage-free eggs only within the next 10 years for all its restaurants in the U.S. and Canada.

“This is a bold move, and we’re confident in our ability to provide a quality, safe, and consistent supply.” Said Marion Gross, senior vice president and Chief Supply Chain Officer of McDonald’s North America.

McDonald’s claims to base its choice with health and safety cautions, but in reality, a switch to cage-free eggs isn’t very bold, especially with current culture and market trends.

The younger generation wants a more transparent and sustainable food supply, said food industry analyst Phil Lempert; however, much of the same younger generation does not have the education in ag literacy needed to fully understand these issues.

Many consumers see the words “cage-free” and assume it’s healthier for them an that means the same thing as “free-range” or “pasture-raised”, which all have different meanings.

Between Calloway, Trigg, Graves, and Marshall counties, at least one of each different style farms exist.

This doesn’t mean McDonald’s choice to make the switch is wrong, just perhaps for the wrong reasons.

The cage-free hen houses have unique benefits like the hens’ ability to perform many natural habits, but at the same time, it comes with its own side effects including more premature hen deaths, poorer air quality for workers, and greater risk for egg contamination, according to The Center for Food Integrity.

So McDonald’s recent marketing choice could very well be a marketing and strategic branding move aimed at a younger, more eco-conscious generation rather than a move towards better food quality and care.

See the full articles here:

http://www.foodintegrity.org/mcdonalds-on-cage-free-eggs-weighing-science-with-consumer-preference/?utm_content=buffer9f301&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

http://news.mcdonalds.com/Corporate/news-stories/2013/McDonalds-to-Fully-Transition-to-Cage-Free-Eggs

Help Wanted

Donald Trump, usually praised for his vocal stance on immigration, may lose the farmer vote as his immigration comments fell under fire on Friday on the U.S. Immigration webpage.

Previously calling undocumented immigrant workers “rapists and murderers,” Trump wants to deport all undocumented workers and to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Firm in his belief, Trump risks losing a farmers who depend on the nearly 1.4 million undocumented immigrant workers which is 60% of the ag labor force, said The National Council of Farm Co-Operatives president and former deputy agriculture secretary during the George W. Bush administration, Chuck Conner.

Removing the immigrant work force leaves farmers “screaming” for workers in a field that Americans refuse to enter, Carlos Castañeda, a California farm labor contractor, said. Most Americans refuse to do the back-breaking, labor intensive jobs that undocumented workers dedicate themselves to.

The American Farm Bureau Federation released a 2014 survey revealing that:

If Congress passed an enforcement-only immigration bill, fruit production within the United States would fall by as much as 61%, the average farm income would fall by as much as 30% and the price of fruit in supermarkets would increase by 6% ‒ all due to a lack of labor.

Removing the workforce, even if the majority of that workforce is undocumented, would affect all aspects of the agriculture market and ripple out to other areas. Many farms would not be able to sustain their production rates and risk shutting down completely if their immigrant workers were removed causing a drop in United States grown fruits and vegetables and a rise in produce and meat prices.

Even as Trump bashes the undocumented workers, many farmers stand with their workers rather than Trump and lobby for temporary documents for their seasonal workers because the immigrants will do labor that even unemployed Americans refuse.

See the full articles here:

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/donald-trump-2016-farmers-fear-argriculture-213201

http://www.us-immigration.com/us-immigration-news/us-immigration/trump-could-lose-farmer-vote/

The Other 80%

Of the farmland in the continental U.S.A., 353.8 million acres of those acres aren’t owned by those who farm the land. Over one third of American farmland is rented out, and 80% of the rented ground is owned by non-farmers.

Many land owners rent their acreage out because they do not have the means to or do do not wish to farm the land on their own. The majority of people owning the last big farms are widows in their 60s who have no way of doing the work on their own.

The 911 million acres of American farmland are easily considered a highly valuable resources. This past Tuesday, Ag Web, powered by Farm Journal, reported on the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) issued 2014 Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) survey.

TOTAL is currently the only survey that gathers data on land ownership, and the survey shows great potential in the market. NASS administrator Joseph T. Reilly said:

“Farmland has always been a valuable resource, but what we see in most recent TOTAL results is the emergence of farmland as a future investment. More families are creating trust ownerships to make sure land remains in their family for farming or as an investment.”

In the next five years, 10% of American farmland will change owners. The problem arises when at some point in the land transfer an owner no longer thinks of agriculture or farming as a lucrative enough source of income for the land.

With the agricultural sector under pressures to feed an ever-growing population and Americans demanding fewer imported products, prices for farmland reach new highs. At the same time, developers want the same land for projects and will pay top dollar for sites.

Farmers who operate in the break-even margin cannot afford to buy lands from owners so the chance of it being sold to developers is always present.

But if even only a few farmland owners each year sell to developers, America will no longer have the means to sustain its population and reach a new level of national hunger.

See AgWeb’s full article here: http://www.agweb.com/article/80-of-rented-ground-owned-by-non-farmers-NAA-ben-potter/