Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, December 30, 2000, Image 19

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    Com Growers Applaud
ST. LOUIS, Mo. The Na
tional Corn Growers Associa
tion (NCGA) recently
applauded the announcement of
the completion of the genome
sequencing project for a mus
tard plant, Arabidopsis.
This is the first complete
plant genome sequence and the
most complete sequence of any
higher organisms, even more
complete than the human
genome announced earlier this
The National Science Foun
dation, an independent govern
ment agency that focuses on
funding basic research, made
the announcement in Washing
ton, D.C. The NSF said the Ara
bidopsis has become the plant
counterpart to the lab mouse,
providing clues to how many or
ganisms work and with poten
tial applications in agriculture,
energy, and medicine. The mus
tard plant is a model for more
than 250,000 other plant types.
“This is a breakthrough for
plant research that will affect ail
corn growers, and NCGA mem
bers can take great pride that it
was leadership by NCGA that
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led to the announcement,” said
Lee Klein, NCGA president and
a farmer from Battle Creek,
Neb. “Wednesday’s announce
ment wouldn’t have been possi
ble without NCGA leading the
effort to get major funding for
the Plant Genome Initiative.
Thanks to NCGA, this sequenc
ing project is four years ahead of
Klein and NCGA member
Bob Boeding of lowa were in
Washington, D.C., for the an
“The NCGA knows that the
future of the corn industry is
written in corn’s genetic code,”
Klein emphasized. “To compete
internationally, the U.S. must
continually work to maximize
yield and minimize yield loss
from disease, pests, and the
weather without harming the
environment. Modern biotech
nology through plant genomics,
holds the key to achieving this
Arabidopsis is the smallest
genome of all plants and is a
valuable scientific model be
cause of its short life span. The
genome is the complete set of in-
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Bumdown doesn't get any faster.
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Plant Genetic
structions for making an organ
ism. It contains the master
blueprint for all cellular struc
tures and activities for the life
time of the cell or organism. By
understanding genomes, scien
tists can learn how genes con
tribute to the shape, function,
and development of the whole
plant and to use genes from corn
and other significant crops to
improve traits such as nutri
tional value, stress tolerance,
and resistance to pests.
Since 1995, the NCGA has led
efforts to obtain funding for
corn genome and plant genome
research. The “National Com
Genome Initiative” called for
funding of a five-year, genome
mapping, sequencing, and trait
identification research program
for corn. In 1997, the NCGA
began calling for a “Plant
Genome Initiative” to generate
increased support for the project
and in recognition of the fact
that genome research in other
plants would, ultimately, benefit
to corn research efforts.
With the leadership of Sena
tor Kit Bond, chairman of the
Senate VA, HUD appropria
tions subcommittee, the NCGA
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Mapping Breakthrough
secured $4O million for the first
year (FY 1998) of a National
Science Foundation (NSF) plant
genome initiative. In providing
the funding, the NSF was di
rected to accelerate the Arabi
dopsis full genome-sequencing
project and to move beyond the
current work towards more
“economically important plant
genome projects such as corn,
wheat, rice, and soybeans.”
Since the first year’s funding, an
additional $2OO million has gone
to the NSF Plant Genome Initia
The benefits of this initiative
• Reduced worldwide malnu
trition due to higher yielding
and more nutritious crops.
• Development of tailored
hybrids with valuable specialty
starches, oils, and protein con-
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Lancaster Farming, Saturday, December 30, 2000-Al9
New MUlennium
The second edition of the nutrient manage
ment book, published this summer, offered an
updated and improved resource for readers.
The Reference Guide to Animal Health
and Housing also came on the scene in April,
featuring professional input from leading ex
perts to help producers establish and main
tain sound management practices.
November 4 brought Lancaster Farming’s
45th anniversary of reporting on agriculture
news, price reports, features, columns, and
In June a writer joined the editorial staff.
Lancaster native Michelle Ranck now covers
livestock, dairy, and environmental issues for
the paper.
The Antiques Center is a new addition to
the “B” section. Weekly features spotlight
quilts, collectibles, china, heritage toys, and
advertising for the antique aficionados
among our subscribers.
To help urban neighbors understand agri
culture, Lancaster Farming developed an In
ternet site featuring the Cow Cam in
cooperation with Kreider Dairy Farms in
Manheim. A camera is now in place in the
two-acre barn which takes a picture every few
minutes and displays the activities of the
cattle on the Website.
Electronic pagination also became a part of
the “putting the paper to bed” routine at the
end of every week. In mid-July Lancaster
Farming began using computers to create the
layout of the paper.
In early November the editorial staff ac
cepted a Public Relations In Agriculture
Award from the Berks County Farm-City
This year brought lots of exciting changes
and growth to not only this paper but also in
dustry. We appreciate the opportunity to
report on such an exciting and important
business. The staff at Lancaster Farmingw
ishes you the best in the new year as we ap
proach 2001.
Visit our Website
at www.
• Revitalization of rural
America because of a more
robust agricultural sector.
• Expansion of plant-based
renewable resources for energy
and raw materials for chemicals.
• Significant reductions in
crop losses and reliance on pesti
cides through improved biologi
cal control methods.
• Improved yields and re
duced crop losses from heat,
drought, and salt.
• Improved nitrogen-use effi-
• For livestock producers
modify the digestibility of phos
phorous in feed corn to reduce
the amount of phosphorous that
enters ground water.
• Development of tailored
hybrids with valuable specialty
starches, oils, and protein con
(Continued from Page Al 3)