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The 2012 Idaho Hay and Forage Conference will be held Thursday and Friday, March 1-2 in Burley at the Best Western Burley Inn. A number of educational seminars and workshops will be held throughout the two days to provide growers with the latest information in the industry.

Rick Waitley, IHFA Executive Director, highlighted a few of the special presentations. According to Waitley, the conference offers a variety of subjects.

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USDA's National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced that the deadline for producer applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) has been extended to January 27, 2012.

While CSP is a continuous sign-up program and producers can apply to enroll at any time of the year, NRCS applies a cut-off date for applications to be considered during a particular fiscal year.

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012012_usda_cornA clearer picture of corn's biochemical responses to insect and fungal attacks is emerging, thanks to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) studies in Gainesville, Florida.

On one front, researchers identified defensive compounds, known as zealexins and kauralexins, which rapidly accumulate at fungal infection sites, impeding the microbes' continued spread.

On another front, the researchers discovered a new protein signal in corn, called ZmPep1, which alerts the plant to fungal intruders and helps mobilize a timely counterattack.

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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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