Friday, November 18, 2016

New Aerial Survey Identifies More Than 100 Million Dead Trees in California

VALLEJO, Calif., Nov. 18, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that the U.S. Forest Service has identified an additional 36 million dead trees across California since its last aerial survey in May 2016. This brings the total number of dead trees since 2010 to over 102 million on 7.7 million acres of California's drought stricken forests. In 2016 alone, 62 million trees have died, representing more than a 100 percent increase in dead trees across the state from 2015. Millions of additional trees are weakened and expected to die in the coming months and years. With public safety as its most pressing concern, the U.S. Forest Service has committed significant resources to help impacted forests, including reprioritizing $43 million in California in fiscal year 2016 to conduct safety-focused restoration along roads, trails and recreation sites. However, limited resources and a changing climate hamper the Forest Service's ability to address tree mortality in California. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service officials are seriously hampered not only by short-term budgets passed by Congress, but also a broken budget for the Forest Service that sees an increasing amount of resources going to firefighting while less is invested in restoration and forest health, said Vilsack. "These dead and dying trees continue to elevate the risk of wildfire, complicate our efforts to respond safely and effectively to fires when they do occur, and pose a host of threats to life and property across California," said Vilsack. "USDA has made restoration work and the removal of excess fuels a top priority, but until Congress passes a permanent fix to the fire budget, we can't break this cycle of diverting funds away from restoration work to fight the immediate threat of the large unpredictable fires caused by the fuel buildups themselves." The majority of the 102 million dead trees are located in ten counties in the southern and central Sierra Nevada region. The Forest Service also identified increasing mortality in the northern part of the state, including Siskiyou, Modoc, Plumas and Lassen counties. Five consecutive years of severe drought in California, a dramatic rise in bark beetle infestation and warmer temperatures are leading to these historic levels of tree die-off. As a result, in October 2015 California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency on the unprecedented tree die-off and formed a Tree Mortality Task Force to help mobilize additional resources for the safe removal of dead and dying trees. This year, California had a record setting wildfire season, with the Blue Cut fire alone scorching over 30,000 acres and triggering the evacuation of 80,000 people. In the southeastern United States wildfires have burned more than 120,000 acres this fall. The southeast region of the Forest Service is operating at the highest preparedness level, PL 5, reflecting the high level of physical resources and funding devoted to the region. Extreme drought conditions persist, and many areas have not seen rain for as many as 95 days. Longer, hotter fire seasons where extreme fire behavior has become the new norm, as well as increased development in forested areas, is dramatically driving up the cost of fighting fires and squeezing funding for the very efforts that would protect watersheds and restore forests to make them more resilient to fire. Last year fire management alone consumed 56 percent of the Forest Service's budget and is anticipated to rise to 67 percent in by 2025. As the situation in the southeast demonstrates, the problem of shrinking budget capacity is felt across the U.S., not only in the western states. The health of our forests and landscapes are at risk across the nation, and the tree mortality crisis could be better addressed if not for the increasing percentage of the Forest Service budget going to fight wildfire. "We must fund wildfire suppression like other natural disasters in the country," says Vilsack. Forest Service scientists expect to see continued elevated levels of tree mortality during 2017 in dense forest stands, stands impacted by root diseases or other stress agents and in areas with higher levels of bark beetle activity. Photos and video of the surveys are available on the Forest Service multimedia webpage. Learn more about tree mortality and the work to restore our forests in California at the Forest Service's web page Our Changing Forests. # The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands managed by the Forest Service contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone and provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply.

#KeepThanksMoving campaign salutes behind-the-scenes individuals who deliver holiday happiness

GREENVILLE, S.C., Nov. 17, 2016 — Michelin North America, Inc. (“Michelin”) is entering a second consecutive holiday season to launch the transportation appreciation campaign, #KeepThanksMoving. The social and digital media initiative celebrates millions of transportation industry heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the holidays moving forward. As part of the campaign, Michelin encourages people everywhere to share their appreciation either by Twitter via the hashtag #KeepThanksMoving and or by posting on the MichelinUSA Facebook page, in order to recognize an outstanding individual’s service and dedication to delivering holiday happiness. “Michelin applauds the commitment of individuals in the transportation industry in the air, on our roads, and across the farms and fields of America who deliver when it matters most,” said Ralph Dimenna, chief operating officer of Michelin Americas Truck Tires, Inc. “These unsung heroes enable us to travel home, transport our food and gifts, and keep our economy moving, not to mention the millions of miles driven by shoppers and travelers during the holidays and throughout the year.” Not all heroes wear capes – heroes in the transportation industry include: - Airport workers, who will enable more than 27 million people to fly on U.S. airlines over a 12-day period around Thanksgiving 2016 alone. - Truck drivers, numbering more than 3.6 million, who will transport nearly 70 percent of all the freight tonnage in the U.S. this holiday season. - Farmers, each of whom supplies food for 144 people in the U.S. and abroad each year. - Miners who extract nearly 100 different kinds of minerals from the earth and provide the raw materials for heat, electricity, roads and bridges, and countless consumer products. - Parcel delivery workers, who will deliver nearly 20 billion of packages, letters and gifts during the 2016 holiday season. - Snow plow drivers who enable drivers to get to their destinations safely during inclement weather events. - Construction workers who provide our buildings, roads and infrastructure Each week, beginning Nov. 17 through Dec. 31, 2016, Michelin will recognize individuals in the transportation and travel industries, who demonstrate outstanding commitment to keep the holidays moving by the posts received on its social media channels mentioned above. Michelin will randomly select seven individuals, who are honored as holiday heroes via social media posts. Each person will receive a limited edition Michelin themed gourmet gift box from Try the World, an online gourmet store. The Michelin themed Try the World gift box features a selection of eight culinary delights from across the globe selected by Thomas Raquel, pastry chef at the world-famous Michelin three-star restaurant, Le Bernadin in New York. Participants can also download a “Thank-you” card from Michelinmedia.com to demonstrate gratitude toward community heroes, who keep the holidays moving forward. Official contest rules are posted on Michelinmedia.com.

Farm Journal Media Launches Farm Journal AgTech Expo

Lenexa, Kan. (Nov. 18, 2016)—Farm Journal Media announced today Farm Journal AgTech Expo, which will provide a 360-degree, customizable learning experience for farmers and retailers. It will debut Dec. 13-14, 2017, at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis. The market for agricultural technology products is robust and expected to grow to $240 billion by 2050, generating $800 billion in farm-level production value, according to a research report by Goldman Sachs*. At the same time, in a recent Farm Journal AgTech survey of farmers, nearly half of respondents expressed concern that it is difficult to keep up with technology—and many indicated they don’t know where to start. “The prolific pipeline of products and the intense need for information makes this the right time for Farm Journal to step up and invest in AgTech, a unique platform focused on all practical aspects of technology, not just data,” said Matt Morgan Vice President, Digital and Retail. “The Expo will also provide unparalleled access to technology products and company experts for farmers and retailers—and all for an affordable entrance fee for attendees.” In addition to hearing from industry-leading presenters, Farm Journal AgTech Expo attendees will choose from a two-track schedule of learning sessions covering topics such as the latest techniques in precision ag, innovative software to help maximize farm management and accounting, using benchmarking data to compare prices and performance in the field and the latest in driverless and other automated equipment. “The Farm Journal AgTech Expo will meet farmers where they are on the learning curve, whether a novice, an early adopter looking for the next big thing or somewhere in between,” said Susan Luke, Editorial Director. “AgTech Expo attendees will be able to customize their schedule to include back-to-basics and advanced learning sessions in a mix that’s right for them.” In addition to the Expo, the AgTech multimedia platform of products includes a weekly eNewsletter; special AgTech coverage across Farm Journal Media television, radio, magazine and online channels; and a new, farmer-focused website showcasing the products and services hitting the market.