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Illinois AgrAbility celebrates 30 years of helping farmers, families

Urbana, Ill. – Illinois AgrAbility proudly acknowledges 30 years of service to Illinois agricultural producers. The program provides assistance to Illinois farmers with physical limitations and disabilities so they can maintain their independence and continue farming. 

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NIFA grant project aims to develop virtual reality training for ag safety education

URBANA, Ill.– Safety awareness is critical for operators of agricultural equipment, and a core component of training for applicator technicians. A new University of Illinois project aims to develop virtual reality (VR) simulation materials for an immersive learning experience. 

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NIFA grant project aims to improve food safety testing for leafy greens

URBANA, Ill.  – Lettuce is an important food commodity in the U.S., popular for its health and nutrition benefits. But leafy greens can be carriers of foodborne disease, leading to frequent product recalls.

A new University of Illinois study aims to develop better testing methods for produce. Matt Stasiewicz, assistant professor of applied food safety at U of I, received a $348,753 grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) for the project.

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Donation gives students, faculty a step up on grain bin safety

As farmers wrap up harvest, safety on the farm and on roadways must remain top of mind – for farmers and everyone who benefits from their hard work. College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) students are learning about safety while they and the University of Illinois benefit from a recent donation that helps everyone who learns and works at the campus’ South Farms.

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Creative solutions ensure pesticide applicators can go to work in Illinois

URBANA, Ill. – While many of us are staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, some 37,000 licensed pesticide applicators are going to work, ensuring an abundant food supply and weed- and insect-free outdoor spaces. Every year, about a third of these applicators sit down in testing locations across the state to renew their licenses. So, when it became clear in-person testing would be impossible this spring, thousands of jobs were on the line.

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Paper: Disposal of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing poses dangers to drivers

Champaign, Ill. – Environmental concerns about hydraulic fracturing – aka “fracking,” the process by which oil and gas are extracted from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water and chemicals – are well documented, but according to a paper co-written by a University of Illinois environmental economics expert, the technique also poses a serious safety risk to local traffic.

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There’s a lizard in my lettuce: Illinois study spotlights surprising finds in salads

URBANA, Ill. – When a dead bat was found in a package of salad greens in 2017, the Florida story spurred product recalls and national media attention. The incident, assumed to be rare, was one of dozens of cases of consumers finding animals – live, dead, or severed – in fresh produce over the past 15 years. A University of Illinois study catalogues and analyzes these incidents as part of a larger effort towards greater food safety and quality improvements in the fresh produce industry.

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Monkeypox: The New Virus on the Street

Monkeypox, a virus hailing from the rainforests of central and west Africa, recently crossed the Atlantic and appeared for the first time in the Western Hemisphere, infecting prairie dogs and people primarily in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana. Pet owners and veterinarians became infected after handling prairie dogs that had been in close contact with Gambian giant rats—believed to be the source of the outbreak—at an exotic pet distributor in Illinois.

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Fleas Can Make Your Pet Very, Very Itchy

Fleas are tiny wingless critters that annoy pets and disgust owners. Most pet owners will battle fleas or the allergic response fleas can cause. Flea allergy dermatitis—an inflammation and irritation of the skin—is the most common skin allergy in dogs and cats.

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West Nile Virus: For Horse Owners, the Focus Shifts to Prevention

The panic surrounding West Nile virus has quieted down, but the virus is still a cause for concern among horse owners. This crafty virus crossed the Atlantic in 1999 and has made a rapid progress westward. Over 9,000 equine West Nile cases were reported last year, including 431 Illinois cases. With a new vaccine available and an increased vigilance against mosquitoes, veterinarians and horse owners alike hope these numbers will be lower in 2003.

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