USDA’s Coshocton Lab Is Officially Closing

The USDA is closing its Agricultural Research Service North Appalachian Experimental Watershed Lab in Coshocton County, Ohio, as part of the agency’s shuttering of 259 domestic offices, facilities and labs across the country.

The facility has been an important site for no-till research since the 1960s. Its original objective was to address the problems of flooding and erosion from farmland, but pesticide and nutrient movement in runoff from fields into groundwater became important new issues for which the lab tested management practices.

Bill Haddad, a consultant who has lobbied for no-till farming practices since he learned about them in 1969, said the Coshocton lab was important to the launch of no-till practices across the country.

“I’m not sure why on God’s green Earth they chose that facility to close when there are other things that could have been closed that wouldn’t be missed,” Haddad told the Times Recorder of Zanesville, Ohio.

In Other No-Till News

After 2 years of research, Purdue University scientists believe high concentrations of neonicotinoid insecticides coming from waste talc exhausted from farm machinery could be causing bee deaths around agriculture fields. The insecticides are commonly used to coat corn and soybean seeds.

Monsanto received deregulation from the USDA for MON 87460, the company’s first-generation, drought-tolerant trait for corn. The company plans onfarm trials this year to give farmers experience with the product.

A new USDA report says farmers practiced crop-residue management (CRM) on roughly 172 million acres, or 62% of planted acres, in 2004 — up…

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