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World Ag Expo will celebrate 45 years of excellence February 14-16, 2012, in Tulare, California. The largest annual agricultural exposition of its kind, World Ag Expo touts more than 1,400 exhibitors who display cutting-edge agricultural technology and equipment on 2.6 million square feet of show grounds.

An estimated average of 100,000 individuals from 70 countries attend the Expo each year to learn about the latest advances in agriculture.

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From driving tractors to vaccinating calves, farm families worry that changes to federal laws governing what work youths can get paid to do on the farm could change their way of life.

Last fall, the U.S. Department of Labor proposed changes to the rules that prevent young workers from being paid to do certain tasks in the agriculture industry. Those laws, known as agricultural hazardous occupations orders, hadn't been updated since 1970. The intent is to bridge the gap between rules for farms and the more stringent rules that youths not working in agricultural settings have to follow.

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Scientists now have a way to more accurately compare how efficiently plants and photovoltaic, or solar, cells convert sunlight into energy, thanks to findings by a research consortium that included a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist.

The study, published in Science, could help researchers improve plant photosynthesis, a critical first link in the global supply chain for food, feed, fiber and bioenergy production.

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The manufacturing facility for Wolf Trax plant nutrition products has completed an overhaul and upgrades to its equipment as the company prepares to meet increased demand in 2012. The work to the manufacturing and packaging equipment will help ensure steady production during peak periods and increase manufacturing capacity at the facility.

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Walt Sandbeck, fertilizer specialist at AGGRAND has recently been certified by the American Society of Agronomy as a Certified Crop Adviser (CCA). To attain this prestigious certification, Sandbeck passed both an International CCA exam and the State of Wisconsin CCA Exam, worked for nearly 10 years as a crop adviser and provided documentation of professional competence.

As a Certified Crop Adviser, Sandbeck has signed and agreed to uphold the CCA Code of Ethics. This means he will always focus on grower profitability while optimizing and protecting natural resources.

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A diverse group of public and private sector agricultural professionals are joining the University of California to form the Conservation Agriculture Systems Institute (CASI), an organization that will be formally launched at a public meeting Jan. 27 in Clovis, California.

“This is the agronomic and ecological equivalent of the ‘moon race’ back in the early 1960s,” said CASI coordinator Jeff Mitchell, a UC Cooperative Extension cropping systems specialist.

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