University of Georgia Cooperative Extension peanut agronomist Scott Monfort advises Georgia’s peanut growers to take action to protect their dryland crop.Weather conditions worsened during the latter part of the summer for dryland peanuts as little, if any, rainfall was recorded at critical stages of the growing season. Monfort estimates that as much as one-third of Georgia’s dryland crop has produced very little, and the crop is being severely affected by the drought conditions.“We’re really wanting growers to look at these dryland crops, even though some may be only 115 or 120 days old, and see whether or not they should dig them or just leave them in the field,” Monfort said. “Some of our crop is in bad enough shape that there’s almost no point in digging them. There’s not a crop to dig in some places.”In addition to the weather, this year dryland farmers are facing challenges including the lesser cornstalk borer, an insect that thrives in drought-like conditions. Treatments are ineffective without rainfall, so the pest has become a major problem. The damage inflicted by the lesser cornstalk borer can lead to Aspergillus flavus fungus, which often results in the growth of carcinogen aflatoxin. Underground white mold has also been more problematic this year. This is largely attributed to poor peanut field rotations, which farmers are resorting to in response to low commodity prices. Farmers are more inclined to produce additional peanuts because of the decline of cotton prices.Due to these challenging factors, dryland farmers have to consider a plan B to compensate for not having a viable crop.“Some of the questions we need to be asking are, ‘Do I really have a crop? Can I even make a crop?’ It’s probably a good thing that these growers start looking so they can prepare their insurance adjusters for what’s coming down the road,” Monfort said.According to Monfort, almost half of Georgia’s peanut crop, which was more than 340,000 acres last year, is grown on dry land, or farmed without irrigation. Georgia’s peanut acreage this year is around 720,000 acres, with an estimated 324,000 acres being dryland peanuts.Monfort classifies one-third of Georgia’s dryland crop as suffering through severe drought conditions, one-third as intermediate — those fields that might have a crop but are being impacted heavily by the drought — and one-third that looks “pretty good.” One-third in severe drought means that a little more than 100,000 acres are in precarious conditions at this stage of the growing season.“We’ve got a lot that may be in a too-little-too-late kind of a situation,” Monfort said. “I have pulled up a bunch of plants so far that just don’t look that good.”Georgia’s best chance for rainfall came on Friday, Sept. 2, when Hurricane Hermine moved through south Georgia and up the Atlantic Coast. While Hermine dumped as much as 5 inches in some fields, its impact was just as negative as it was positive.“It helped a good portion of those (plants) that have peanuts on them that hadn’t matured out. As long as they didn’t come loose in the hull, they should continue to mature,” Monfort said. “Those intermediate and good sections may do all right, but the hurricane just caused more issues for the one-third of the crop that is ridden with disease and insect damage.”
New Jersey begins bidding process for 1.1GW of offshore wind FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Press of Atlantic City:The state Board of Public Utilities voted unanimously Monday to open a bid process Sept. 20 for the nation’s largest solicitation of offshore wind energy.Companies will compete for ratepayer subsidy of construction costs and 20 years of operation costs for 1,100 megawatts of electric generation capacity, according to the BPU. The window to apply will close Dec. 28, and a decision on which projects will qualify for ratepayer subsidy will be made by July 1, 2019.That should give companies enough time to qualify for federal tax credits, due to expire at the end of 2019, said board President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. The tax credits will save ratepayers about 12 percent of the construction costs, he said.It’s the first step in meeting the state’s goal of 3,500 MW of offshore wind by 2030, Fiordaliso said, and of reaching 100 percent green energy for the state by 2050. Last week Gov. Phil Murphy called on the board to open two additional 1,200 MW solicitations of offshore wind capacity — one in 2020 and another in 2022.Fiordaliso said the solicitation asks companies to estimate a net economic benefit of their projects, compared to the costs to ratepayers. The BPU will provide a guidance document to help developers calculate net economic benefits. The bid — or bids — with the best mix of cost and economic benefit will be chosen for ratepayer subsidy of construction and operating costs, he said. All income from sale of electricity will be returned to ratepayers.Companies may apply to provide anywhere from 300 MW to the full 1,100 MW, he said. But each company must also provide data on what it would cost for it to provide 400 MW, so all companies can be compared on that measure.More: BPU opens bid solicitation for 1,100 MW of offshore wind
Col. Ortega: The protagonists of the different events discussed, such as General Julio César Ruano Herrera, Colonel Mario Enrique Paiz Bolaños, Colonel Ricardo Méndez Ruiz, Engineering Colonel Edgar Leonel Ortega Rivas, Engineering Colonel Julio Alfredo Antillón Guerrero, Lieutenant Colonel Sigfrido Contreras Bonilla, Engineering Colonel Antonio Meléndez, Engineering Colonel Ricardo Figueroa Archila, General Rafael Rossito Contreras, General Mauricio Izquierdo, General José Luis Quilo Ayuso are among many who provided me with important data. Diálogo: Who were some of the people you interviewed for this project? By Dialogo September 11, 2015 Congratulations friend Kaibil Jorge Ortega on your new book and blessings to you, your wife and daughters. I know how good and illustrative your books are. Sincerely Col. (Ret.) Ismael Rodriguez Meraz, Honduras.Regards. Dear Jorge: Thank you for mentioning me as a collaborator in writing your book. Your description is very interesting, since I can attest to the work and the research it took over several years. Even though you were removed from different positions, you kept up your drive to get to the end with drive and achieve success. Col. Ortega: Five. “Los Paracaidistas” (Paratroopers), in 1997, which is being revised now for a new edition. “Los Kaibiles” (The Kaibiles), in 2003, which has had seven reprints. “Los Marinos” (Seamen), in 2006. “Pilotos Aviadores” (Aviators), in 2011, and “Nuestras Guerras” [Our Wars], printed in 2014. Col. Ortega: There is no conflict between the humanities and the Military. What is necessary is to dedicate time in your off-hours to writing and researching, which require a personal commitment and a lot of discipline to complete research projects on Military history. Make time and be productive. After that was “Los Kaibiles,” in 2003, which is in its seventh reprint with more than 10,000 copies. This has allowed me to bring to life other research projects and publications. It is doing phenomenally in the domestic and foreign markets. Col. Ortega: It is a long story, but at the beginning, it was a research project to join the Guatemalan Academy of Geography and History. But at the time, political-military events were not favorable towards the project. I left Guatemala to become a defense attaché in Mexico, and that made it more difficult to find information. The project stayed on the back burner for several years, while I completed and published “Los Pilotos Aviadores” (Aviators), “Nuestras Guerras” (Our Wars), and a book of ironic short stories. Col. Ortega: Yes, the challenges of a short story fascinate me. Saying everything in just a few words, recreating settings, feelings, and actions. I published two books of this sort. The first was “Vida y Milagros de Margarita Angulo” (The Life and Miracles of Margarita Angulo), in 2003, and the second, “La Reina de los Calzones Rotos” (The Queen of Ripped Underpants), in 2013. Both were published by Editorial Palo in Hormigo, Guatemala. Diálogo: How did you balance time for your military duties with time for writing? Upon leaving the Army, I joined the university faculty full time – where I have been for 15 years – and I dedicated a bit of time every day to finish the Military Engineers project, which I presented at that FILGUA 2015 International Book Fair this year. The book’s reception and the critics’ reviews have been very good so far. Diálogo: How many military books did you write before “Los Ingenieros Militares”? Col. Ortega: Because it is a Military history book, academic rigor permeates the work throughout. But I managed to interweave stories and anecdotes from the protagonists from these different times. Can you imagine? From the Late Classical Period of the Mayas to December 2014, in 400 pages. That is an unprecedented odyssey, with many voices that allow us to recover the past and approximate the truth about these events. Retired Guatemalan Infantry Colonel Jorge Ortega, who served his country for 33 years as an Army officer, has published six books about his country’s military history, most recently, “Los Ingenieros Militares” (The Military Engineers), which was released at the at Guatemala’s International Book Fair – FILGUA – 2015. Col. Ortega: An apprentice writer [like me] always has some ink in his well… I have been working on a document since 2002 about the experiences we lived through during the Domestic Armed Conflict in Guatemala. It is a treatment of a complicated time in our nation’s history. It is slow work collecting the information, evidence, testimony from survivors, the life experiences of widows and orphans, anecdotes, publications, press clippings, news videos, mementos, and official documents from that period. Always within the Military sphere, but with application to any human environment. It is in the final review phase. “La Anatomía del Liderazgo” [The Anatomy of Leadership], a work about a Soldier’s (Col. Ortega’s) lessons learned in guiding our men and women in uniform, successes and failures in critical combat situations and in peacetime; life-or-death situations. Diálogo: How many copies were printed in this edition? Another line I’m working on is a book of short stories titled “Alma, ¿cuándo eres mía?” (Soul, when will you be mine?), always in the genre of ironic short stories. In the following interview with Diálogo, Col. Ortega discusses his latest book and how he wrote his other five books focusing on the Armed Forces, which are considered important reference materials on Guatemala’s Military history. Col. Ortega: First, it was a personal commitment to give something back to my Army, which gave me the best job in the world: serving my country. Second, the lack of work on Guatemala’s Military history was a void to be filled. Now, there is a reference work and support for those leading Troops in Guatemala and abroad. It discusses the last two conflicts with our neighbors: the 1903 War of Totoposte and the 1906 National Campaign, in which the Guatemalan forces were victorious, winning a sound and lasting peace with our neighbors that continues to this day. This book was sold out within five weeks of its launch, and a reprint is now being made. Col. Ortega: It was a real challenge to locate the sources of information, but I managed to find them through patience and perseverance. Sometimes, you come up against a dead end or doors that are closed tight to you. But for anyone researching the past, greater difficulty leads to greater creativity! It is a continual challenge: You need contacts and a search plan with options and alternatives, and you need to be very flexible. But the most important thing is to never lose sight of your research goals. Diálogo: What inspired you to write these books about the Military? Col. Ortega: Each book has its charm, some because of the research process, others because of the people you meet while writing it, or the parallel events that facilitate or become obstacles to the composition. Let me give you some examples. The first is “Los Paracaidistas” (Paratroopers), in 1997, which hibernated for more than a decade after it was drafted before it was published. Colonel Jorge Ortega: It is part of a series of publications on the special units of the Guatemalan Army that I decided to compose years ago as my contribution to the Military. But apart from that, Engineering Col. Luis Felipe Ramos González, who at the time was the commanding officer of the Corps of Engineers, asked me to draft historical research on the Engineering Branch and the Army Corps of Engineers, saying that I had his full support in locating sources of information. This project lasted about 10 years. Col. Ortega: 1,500 copies. Diálogo: Given that there was no tradition of books on Military history in Guatemala, what did you base your works on? The book “Nuestras Guerras,” 2014, is dedicated to recovering from obscurity those Guatemalan men and women who went to war a century ago and were deployed to the borders of our country to defend sovereignty, territorial integrity, and peace for our nation. Diálogo: The book has a lot of research, but you managed to enlighten the narrative with a lot of human-interest stories… After that came “Los Marinos” in 2005. Putting this project together took me through an incredible maze to learn the history of the Naval Forces. After it was published, it garnered praise from Swedish and Guatemalan Seamen, the founders of the Guatemalan Navy, and a commemorative postage stamp. It is the history of Guatemala as seen from the sea. Diálogo: How has your life been since you retired from the Military three years ago? It was a real ordeal to get “Los Ingenieros Militares” written and published, but it was released this year after more than a decade of work. The manuscript left Guatemala and returned, after a long journey at the end of my Military career. It was a fellow traveler and companion during the autumn years of my Military career. And it is going along very well right now. Diálogo: Have you written books that are not about the Army? Diálogo: What do you think your best book is? Diálogo: Are you planning to write more books? Diálogo: How did this research project become a book? “Los Pilotos Aviadores,” in 2011, is a fabulous book. It is a collection of 100 years of feats by Guatemalan men and women conquering our air space. This publication allowed us to recognize publicly the pioneers of aviation, including the first female Aviator Pilot of Guatemala, who was decorated with the Guatemalan Air Forces Cross. We also achieved a postage stamp commemorating a Century of Air Locomotion, under the Directorate General of Mail and Telegrams. Diálogo: How did the idea for a book The Military Engineers originate? Col. Ortega: Spectacular! With its bright and dark spots, with joy, personal satisfaction, and my family, with sadness at the passing of friends and relatives, with work and with projects for the midterm. There’s always a bit of nostalgia for the Army days, but those are chapters in life that we must complete, and now I am left with the satisfaction of having fulfilled my duty to the nation through my Military career. One is a Soldier forever! We love our country unto death.
(CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing) – Business continuity planners say they’re talking to their employees and other stakeholders about pandemic preparedness. Is it really happening?At the start of CIDRAP’s February 2007 Business Preparedness for Pandemic Influenza: Second National Summit in Orlando, 45% of attendees said communication was the most important preparedness priority for their company “beyond health and safety.” That ranked it No. 1. By the end of the conference, communication was No.1 by an even wider margin—67%.I asked participants which of two kinds of communication took precedence. One priority is a standby crisis communication plan—developed now so you’re ready to roll if and when a pandemic materializes. The other priority is a pandemic precaution advocacy rollout—actual communications, now, aimed at alerting employees and others to the risk, telling them what the company is doing, and urging them to get ready. The pandemic precaution advocacy rollout eked out a narrow victory, 32% to 30%, with 38% saying the two were equally important. These are the answers I wanted to hear, but I don’t trust that they reflect what’s really happening.Just about every time I’m invited to give a speech or run a workshop on pandemic communication, I ask my client whether I should focus mostly on crisis communication (“when the virus hits the fan”) or precaution advocacy (“getting ready together”). The usual choice is crisis communication. I have to argue hard for some attention to the prepandemic communication task of sounding the alarm.When I have a chance to run a workshop that covers both, I have learned the hard way to start with crisis communication. If the group works on precaution advocacy first, the messages it comes up with tend to be awfully mild—largely because participants haven’t imagined their way into a serious pandemic yet. Working first on crisis communication gives people a sense of the horrific messages they would have to deliver in the middle of a catastrophic pandemic. That sets a very different context for the second half of the program: “What can we say to people beforehand to help prepare for the exercise we just went through?”Good pandemic precaution advocacy now, in other words, can make pandemic crisis communication later a less impossible task. Not much of it seems to be happening yet from companies.What’s happening, what’s notIn fairness, some pandemic precaution advocacy is happening for some stakeholders. In particular, many companies are talking to their suppliers about pandemic preparedness—mostly in search of promises (unenforceable though they may be) to keep the supply chain filled no matter what. I hope the dialogue will move to a more realistic level, something like this: “We can manage without X and Y if we have to. What can we do together to make you likelier to be able to keep us supplied with Z?” But at least a dialogue is happening.Companies are less interested in initiating pandemic conversations with customers. I assume this is because companies don’t have good news for customers and are in no hurry to offer up bad news. “Don’t expect us to be able to meet your needs” isn’t a fun message to deliver. But in many cases, these crucial conversations are happening anyway, initiated by the customers.So far I have seen virtually no pandemic communication between companies and their shareholders. But the investor community may finally have pandemic risk on its radar screen. For a while, articles speculating on the likely economic impact of a severe pandemic became commonplace. As the lead sidebar article in this issue points out, the business press has lost interest in the pandemic story, at least for the moment. We can only hope that investors got the message already, and will start asking companies how prepared they are. The sooner the better.At the Orlando conference, Michael Evangelides, principal of Deloitte Consulting, LLP, presented data showing that CFOs were a lot less interested in pandemic preparedness than were continuity managers. That would change fast if huge pension funds started asking hard questions. Imagine how companies might respond, for example, if they got a letter from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) indicating that CalPERS was planning to screen its investments for pandemic preparedness.Corporate pandemic communication aimed at neighbors or the general public still seems to be extremely rare. In fact, business leaders have been shockingly silent in the general-interest media about pandemic risk. Thanks to Google News, I am able to read a lot of media stories (local as well as national and international) about pandemic risk. The main sources are usually health officials, politicians, or academics, not companies. The companies that manufacture antivirals are an obvious exception, and I’ve seen other exceptions—articles on the preparedness efforts of the grocery, telecommunications, and banking industries, among others. But finding examples of corporate CEOs speaking out on pandemic preparedness is hard.In late 2006, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University sponsored a 3-day conference on pandemic news coverage. I asked a lot of participants what they were writing about business preparedness. “Not much,” reporter after reporter told me. “It’s hard to find a company willing to say anything on the record about its pandemic planning.”Are you talking to employees yet?The single most important audience for corporate pandemic precaution advocacy is, of course, employees. Are companies actually talking to their employees about pandemic preparedness?I don’t mean vague assurances that employees should “rest assured that your company is doing everything possible to be fully prepared in the unlikely event of a bird flu pandemic.” I’ve seen some of those. I mean detailed, vivid communications that aim at three key goals:Briefing employees on company preparedness effortsInvolving employees in those effortsPersuading employees to launch their own preparedness efforts at home and in the communityI haven’t seen many corporate efforts to achieve these three goals.Judging from my clients, getting top management’s okay to talk frankly with employees about pandemics is an uphill battle. I hear two basic reasons for not doing so:”We’re not ready yet”—As if it made sense to wait till your corporate pandemic planning were nearly done before asking employees to get involved, and before urging them to do some planning of their own.”We don’t want to unduly frighten people”—As if the looming possibility of a severe pandemic weren’t “duly” frightening . . . and as if it were more important to keep employees unconcerned than to get them prepared.There’s a better rationale for not communicating right now: “Employees aren’t interested in pandemics. Until they are, there’s not much point in trying to talk to them.” This is, of course, the exact opposite of the we-don’t-want-to-frighten-them rationale; it suggests waiting for a teachable moment when frightening your employees will be more feasible. If your company already has its pandemic employee precaution advocacy messaging done and you’re just waiting till employees are in a mood to listen, okay. Don’t wait too long.But I’d bet my mortgage that’s not what’s happening. If anything, companies will be even less willing to talk candidly and frighteningly about pandemics when their employees are already buzzing with pandemic anxiety.Go ahead, get startedSo what are companies really waiting for? I’m afraid they’re waiting for a pandemic. The votes at CIDRAP’s Orlando conference notwithstanding, it seems to me that most companies have not yet made communication a priority in their pandemic preparedness work. In particular, they have not yet done much employee pandemic precaution advocacy.It’s time to get started.An internationally renowned expert in risk communication and crisis communication, Peter Sandman speaks and consults widely on communication aspects of pandemic preparedness. Dr. Sandman, Deputy Editor, contributes an original column to CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing every other week. Most of his risk communication writing is available without charge at the Peter Sandman Risk Communication Web Site, which includes an index of pandemic-related writing on the site.
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A quarantined cruise ship in Japan now has 61 confirmed cases.Li, 34, died early Friday, Wuhan Central Hospital said in a post on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform, an announcement that triggered grief on social media — over a doctor who was hailed a hero — and anger over the government’s handling of the crisis.”He is a hero who warned others with his life,” a fellow Wuhan doctor wrote on Weibo after reports of his death emerged.”Those fat officials who live on public money, may you die from a snowstorm,” wrote one angry Weibo user. A Chinese doctor who was punished after raising the alarm about China’s new coronavirus died from the pathogen on Friday, sparking an outpouring of grief and anger over a worsening crisis that has now killed more than 630 people.At least 31,000 people have now been infected by a virus that ophthalmologist Li Wenliang and colleagues had first brought to light in late December.The disease has since spread across China, prompting the government to lock down cities of tens of millions of people, while global panic has risen as more than 240 cases have emerged in two dozen countries. His death also highlights the enormous risks that frontline doctors have taken to treat patients in overwhelmed and under-equipped hospitals in Wuhan, the quarantined city of 11 million people where the virus emerged in December.Medical staff are overstretched and lack sufficient protective gear, the deputy governor of Hubei province admitted Thursday.Li sent out a message about the new coronavirus to colleagues on December 30 in Wuhan — the central city at the epicentre of the crisis — but was later among eight whistleblowers summoned by police for “rumour-mongering.”He later contracted the disease while treating a patient.Censors even appeared to struggle with out how to deal with his death.State-run newspaper Global Times and state broadcaster CCTV first reported on Weibo that Li had died late Thursday, only to delete their posts after the death rapidly surged to be among the top topics on the popular platform.Even the World Health Organization reacted to the first reports of his death to express sadness.Analysts have said that local authorities played down the extent of the outbreak in early January because they were holding political meetings at the time and wanted to project an aura of stability.The first fatality was reported on January 11. The death toll has since soared to 636, with 73 more reported on Friday and an additional 3,000 new infections.- Global spread -The virus is believed have emerged from a market selling exotic animals in Wuhan before jumping to humans and spreading across China and abroad as millions travelled for the Lunar New Year holiday.Some 56 million people in Wuhan and surrounding cities have been ordered to stay home, while several countries have banned arrivals from China and advised their citizens to leave.Major airlines have suspended flights to and from the country.But cases keep emerging.Two cruise ships carrying thousands of holidaymakers in Hong Kong and Japan have been placed under quarantine as authorities test people for infections.On Friday another 41 people tested positive aboard the Diamond Princess in Japan, bringing the total of infected cases on the ship to 61,There were 3,700 people aboard the ship when it arrived in Japanese waters.Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday another cruise ship, the Westerdam, was heading to the country with one confirmed case, and no foreigners would be allowed to disembark.In Hong Kong, 3,600 people spent a second night confined aboard the World Dream, where eight former passengers have tested positive for the virus.Hong Kong has been particularly nervous because the crisis has revived memories of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). That killed nearly 300 people in the city and another 349 on the Chinese mainland in 2002-2003.While the death toll continues to rise, experts have stressed that at two percent mortality, 2019-nCoV is far less deadly than SARS, which killed around 10 percent of the people it infected 17 years ago.The outbreak has nevertheless been declared a global health emergency.Topics :