A team of agricultural scientists across the Southeast are using a $1.8 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) grant to study the impact of aphids in sorghum crops.Michael Toews, an entomologist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is among the scientists on the five-year project, which is a collaborative effort among multiple institutions throughout the Southeastern Coastal Plain region including UGA, USDA ARS, Fort Valley State University, Auburn University, Clemson University, North Carolina University and the University of Florida.The grant funds graduate students, technical support, fertilizer and crop inputs, analytical testing, lab supplies and general applied field research work.According to Toews, multiple scientists are needed to work on the problem because the sugarcane aphid is a difficult pest to manage on sorghum in the Southern U.S.“We frequently collaborate with scientists across the region and across disciplines to solve particularly vexing problems and this is one where we need the expertise of lots of people,” said Toews. “Grant support enables us to put in a tremendous effort in a short period of time across the region, the Southeastern states, and with a really intense focus that enables us to make a lot of progress synergistically.”Researchers who are part of the grant will examine insecticide seed treatments, proper timing of insecticide applications, host plant resistance, and biological controls including predators and entomopathogens, which is a group of naturally-occurring fungi that kill aphids.These tests will provide growers with short-term solutions, thus allowing farmers to produce a crop. However, Toews hopes the project will result in a more permanent solution to the problems presented by aphids. “In the long term, we need to breed for resistance to this insect so the sorghum plant can withstand the attack from a genetic standpoint,” Toews said. Georgia farmers planted 55,000 acres of grain sorghum in 2014, prior to aphids being discovered in the state. That acreage decreased drastically in subsequent years.“By 2016, Georgia growers only planted 20,000 acres of grain sorghum because the sugarcane aphid was such a devastating pest that cut into profits and the ability to produce a crop,” Toews said.Researchers are also using the grant to study planting dates to determine if planting sorghum earlier or later in the summer will reduce damage caused by sugarcane aphids.The project includes all four types of sorghum grown in Georgia — grain sorghum, forage and silage sorghum, and sweet sorghum.“In the short term, by participating in the UGA Statewide Variety Testing program, we are trying to help farmers identify the best available commercial hybrids for grain, forage and silage sorghum to plant in the coming year, so that the aphids don’t cause serious losses,” said Xinzhi Ni, a USDA ARS entomologist.A portion of the grant money also allows Toews to hire and train future scientists.“This is a great example of how we utilize federal dollars to not only solve problems but also train the next generation of agricultural scientists,” said Toews. “That’s an important part of what we do here at the University of Georgia.”To learn more about what scientists in the UGA Department of Entomology are researching, visit ent.uga.edu.
The Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) and the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) today announced key appointments associated with implementation of Vermont’s health reform efforts. Richard Slusky, Director of Payment Reform for DVHA and former CEO of Mount Ascutney Hospital, will move to the GMCB and assume the role of overall Director of Payment Reform for the state. Lindsey Tucker will be the Deputy Commissioner for the Health Benefits Exchange within DVHA. Tucker is currently a policy manager with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation and formerly was Health Reform Policy Manager for Health Care for All, a Massachusetts consumer advocacy organization.‘We have a very ambitious agenda for health reform, and hope to do things no other state has done in terms of transforming health care payment and delivery and using the Health Benefits Exchange to derive value for all Vermonters,’ said Robin Lunge, Director of Health Care Reform for the Shumlin Administration. ‘These individuals will be central to that effort.’ Slusky has been Director of Payment Reform within DVHA since 2010. In his new role, he will assume responsibility for advising the GMCB in a general effort to implement changes in provider payment that move away from fee-for-service and toward methods that reward quality and efficiency in health care delivery.‘Richard has proven himself an innovative leader in Vermont’s health reform efforts,’ said Anya Rader Wallack, Chair of the GMCB. ‘In his new role he will continue to bring his expertise to bear on our reforms, but with a broader focus on all-payer and system-wide reforms that will advance a more comprehensive agenda.’ Slusky will be responsible for overseeing payment reform ‘pilots’ throughout the state that test new methods of paying doctors, hospitals and other providers. He also will guide the board’s efforts to translate the experience from pilots into general payment policy for both public and private insurers.‘This is enormously important work, and really gets to the heart of Vermont’s efforts to control the rate of growth in health care costs while maintaining a high-quality health system,’ said Slusky. ‘If we don’t change how we pay providers, we will not be successful, in the long run, at bending the cost curve.’Slusky’s move is part of an effort to assure that the state has adequate capacity, both at the GMCB and within DVHA, to implement payment reform. Mark Larson, Commissioner of DVHA said, in replacing Slusky, he seek to enhance their ability to include the Medicaid program in payment reform efforts.As Deputy Commissioner for the Exchange, Tucker will be responsible for providing leadership and direction in the development, implementation, and operation of Vermont’s Health Benefit Exchange, created in Act 48 as passed by Vermont’s legislature in 2011. The Exchange will be the base for Vermont’s integrated and universal health care system. The purpose of the Vermont Exchange is to facilitate the purchase of affordable, qualified health benefit plans in the individual and group markets in this state in order to reduce the number of uninsured and underinsured; to reduce disruption when individuals lose employer-based insurance; to reduce administrative costs in the insurance market; to contain costs; to promote health, prevention, and healthy lifestyles by individuals; and to improve quality of health care.‘I am very excited to have Lindsey join our health care leadership team,’ said Larson. ‘She brings a wealth of experience in health care reform in Massachusetts where she built a reputation as a skilled coalition and consensus builder. Her experience matches the Shumlin Administration’s commitment to engaging Vermonters in our efforts to control health care costs and ensure quality health care to all Vermonters.’Tucker said the scope of Vermont’s reforms and strong commitment to successful implementation attracted her to Vermont. ‘Vermont is on the cutting edge of health reform, and I am thrilled to be part of this terrific team working to implement Act 48. I look forward to bringing my health reform experience from Massachusetts to the Green Mountain State as it charts its own path toward truly universal health coverage,’ she said. Tucker has an MSc from the Harvard School of Public Health and a BA from Yale University. She will start in her new role as Deputy Commissioner for the Health Benefits Exchange on December 12.Slusky has an MBA from the Boston University Graduate School of Management. He will assume his new position immediately.11.29.2011 read more
Published on February 23, 2014 at 5:42 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3 Facebook Twitter Google+ The Panthers were frantically passing the ball around the perimeter. Each time someone caught it, a Syracuse player rushed up, arms in the air, denying even the slightest opening for a high-percentage shot.It was the first half and the shot clock was running down. SU’s 2-3 zone was frustrating Pittsburgh. Finally, the Panthers got an opening, passing it down to an open Cora McManus in the paint. But Brittney Sykes came and poked the ball away from her. It rolled down the baseline as the final second ticked off the shot clock.Exasperated expressons swept across the faces of the Pittsburgh players. Sykes clapped her hands in excitement.The futility was only just beginning for the Panthers.“We did a very good job of sitting on their sets,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “We got a very good scout from the first game and obviously when you’re playing the zone, playing the same as the first time, they’re going to do a lot of the same things.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen Chelsea Welch’s 3-pointer from the left wing swished through the net with 1:22 left in the opening half, it gave Pittsburgh its first field goal of the game. Each time a Pittsburgh (11-17, 3-11 Atlantic Coast) player appeared to have an opening, Syracuse’s (20-8, 9-6) stingy 2-3 zone made sure to close it out.On SU’s Senior Day, the defense forced 15 turnovers and blocked six shots, as the Orange blew out Pittsburgh 67-36 on Sunday in front of a season-high 1,532 fans at the Carrier Dome.“I think we were aggressive on the ball,” Sykes said. “We really focused, and we scouted them really well.”Sykes captained the impressive defensive effort. She recorded just two blocks and a steal, but was in a Panther’s face at every opportunity.Late in the first half, Pitt had yet to record a field goal. Loliya Briggs cut down the right baseline and appeared to have a good look at getting one in the basket. But then Sykes elevated and sent the ball 10 feet behind her.“It brought me back to high school when I used to block shots,” Sykes said. “To not get the foul call made me really happy. I just try to defend the basket for my team getting back and to get another offensive possession.”Only one player on Pittsburgh made more than one field goal, and starters Briggs and Asia Logan combined to go 0-for-18.And even when the Panthers made a small run late in the game, no one on the Pitt bench clapped. There were no cheers, no acknowledgement. There was only a 28-point deficit, and 7:56 left to go before the offensive nightmare would come to an end.“We were able to contest most of their shots and make them shoot shots that they don’t normally take,” SU guard Brianna Butler said. “I think that was the key for our success today.”Overall, Pittsburgh looked helpless. No one could find a way to crack the SU pressure in the first half, and when the Panthers did get a shot off, it rarely even touched the rim.Hillsman said that it was without question the best defensive effort he has seen from his team this season.“You get into those games, and you start getting down the court, and the pace is going,” Hillsman said. “I just knew we were winning, that’s all I knew.“That was the goal, just to be winning.” Comments read more