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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April Showers Bring May Flowers
          Spring is in the air!  With spring comes warmer days as well as plenty of pollen and bugs.  One very important bug to agriculture is the bee. Now I know the bee is often seen as just a pest that, ABC news says, millions of people across America are allergic to.

          However the bees are a very vital part of the pollination process of many crops.  It is estimated by,  that 1 out of 3 bites of the food we consume, is a result of bees pollination. That is 90% of the world food that is pollinated by bees. Canola farms have one of the best relationships with bees, providing an excellent food source for the bees, while, in turn, the bees produce a measurably higher yield for the farmers. Because of this, the coexistence between these farms and bees is extremely important.

                    One of the big problems today is that many of the pesticides used on crops, are killing off the bee. Bees pollinate up to $15 billion  worth of crops in the U.S. each year, and if they die, the crops don't get pollinated and we eventually too will die.  Reported by Fox News, these pesticides are causing, what scientist are calling, Colon Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD causes the bees to become confused or disoriented and eventually the bees will abandon their hive and queen.

          Two of the most important things that can be done to help save the bee population is buy organic as well as buying from local farms.  Here at AMP we are equipped to meet the needs of local farmers striving to switch their farming equipment from non-organic to organic.  For more information visit use at or for a more one-on-one contact call us at (407)299-1592.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Going Green

       One of the newest trends that has been sweeping the nation is organic produce and products. Now some people are all for it and some people are asking what all the hype is about.  Organic is defined by the Webster dictionary as "coming from a living organism or food produced without the use of pesticides, chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulant, antibiotics, or pesticides." 
       Some might say, who would want to feed their family or themselves foods that are treated with these poisons, unfortunately mainstream Americans have gotten use to not really worrying about what's in products or how produce is grown but rather what is the quickest and most convenient to eat.

       Although this has become "the norm", Americans have really embraced the organic "trend", so much so, in fact, that as of 2016 out of a survey of 100,000 homes, 82.3% of American households now contain organic products and produce. From, 2015 - 2016 the National average of organic products and produce has raised 3.4%, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau Statistics.

        One of the biggest issues expressed by those trying to eat healthier and buy more organic foods is generally the expense of it as well as the availability. Thankfully a lot of companies are trying to get on board with providing more organic or natural products. Many have discovered Whole Foods stores, as well as, local farmers markets that have fresh organic produce and products available, however often these products tend to cost more making them less desirable to the mass public.

     One of the major companies that is joining this healthier eating through organic products and produce, is that of Costco.  Now I know it may seem hard to believe, however, as of 2015 Costco was bringing in somewhere around $4 billion annually in organic food, beating out even the sales of Whole Foods.  Not only are they providing a great chunk of organic food throughout America, but they are also working towards creating more organic farms here in the U.S.  Up until now, a lot of organic products are imported from Mexico and even some from Chile, however Costco has gone so far as to lend money to local farmers who are transitioning to organic farming, in order to increase the supply for the demand that we have here in the U.S.

       As society is ever changing, so we too must change with the times.  The transition from non-organic to organic farming is, oftentimes, an expensive and time consuming process.  Generally to cleanse the farm land of the pesticides and other chemical from the soil, takes around three years and all the farming equipment also has to be transitioned from non-organic to organic. With the latest trend in organic farming, AMP is proud to be participating in the manufacturing of these organic-friendly farming equipment. Want to know more, please contact us at or for personalized service, contact us at (407) 299-1592.

                           1., April 13, 2016

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

How Crispr could change the GMO debate with genetically engineered/tailored foods

Lets start with explaining what a GMO is so that one can understand the difference between "Genetically Modified Organisms" and the Crispr Technology that does more of a type of Genetic "Tailoring".

Since there really is not an "official" definition of a GMO because GMO's cover a broad spectrum but if you look up GMO in the dictionary in the area of Culture than you would get this explanation.

"The abbreviation for genetically modified organism. A GMO is an organism whose genome has been altered by the techniques of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not normally found there.
Note : A high percentage of food crops, such as corn and soybeans, are genetically modified." (
So short explanation "Scientists change these genes by cutting out genes or adding genes to a DNA sequence" [so essentially a gene can be taken "from one species of plant and put that gene into a plant of a different species].( Plants made by using this lab technique are called ‘transgenic’ (trans- means across and-genic means related to genes)."

Whether one is Pro-GMO or Con GMO, everyone needs to understand that we have all been eating Genetically Modified Food for years. The corn we buy in the stores now, yes even the organic corn has been seriously modified since Columbus and Menendez came to America. 

"Plants and animals become ‘genetically modified’ in nature too. Whenever animals or plants reproduce sexually, the DNA of the parents are combined. Therefore every plant and animal is genetically unique from its parents. Mutations in the DNA sequence occur naturally when cells divide and sometimes these mutations get passed onto offspring. These mutations can create sequences that never before existed in that species."(
Even in the wild we have hybrid species, this happens during pollination where the DNA of two separate plants or organisms grow together and create a very different outcome that the original two. For instance every time you buy a "Seedless" anything, it has been Genetically Modified, it is a hybrid; did you know that a Grapefruit is a cross between orange and pomelo ( 

Molinaro has pointed out to us that one "could argue that almost all the plants we eat are GMOs. Although the DNA of most types of bananas, tomatoes, and corn were not altered in a lab, their DNA has been highly modified for more than 10,000 years through selective breeding by humans. Humans chose to grow plants they discovered in the wild that had mutations that made the plants tastier or more colorful. Over many generations of breeding these mutant plants, our modern farmed plants look and taste nothing like their wild ancestors."( 

So back to original intent of this article, Technology Reviews, David Talbot tells us genetically tailored aka "gene-editing method is providing a precise way to modify crops in hopes of making them yield more food and resist drought and disease more effectively. Research in the past year has shown that the resulting plants have no traces of foreign DNA, [unlike their GMO counter parts]"making
One small piece of RNA, CRISPR-Cas9
gives us infinite possibility.
it possible that they will not fall under existing regulations governing genetically modified organisms and will sidestep many of the consumer concerns over these GMOs.
" (Talbot)  This new technology is "CRISPR-Cas9" [and it is] "is pushing GMOs to the side and marching straight for the food system’s main stage."(Bennet) The article also tells us "Three months ago, USDA gave a green light to CRISPR-Cas9 mushrooms, gene-edited to delay browning by tossing out a bit of the DNA sequence. No regulation; no policing; no labels. “CRISPR-Cas9 is certainly one of the most exciting technologies for biotech in the past few decades,” says Rachel Haurwitz, CEO of Caribou Biosciences," Carribou is part of the forefront of  the commercial CRISPR-Cas9 applications. “It can be used across so many organisms and sites, and all sorts of research.” (Bennet)

"Most genome editing techniques work by designing proteins to act as molecular scissors to snip DNA at particular targets. A change in the target means a whole new protein must be designed to serve as the scissors. However, CRISPR’s protein is Cas9 and can be used repeatedly. Cas9 only needs a piece of RNA to guide it to the exact target in the genome." (Bennet)  

The long and short of it all in laymen's terms, this process is not very unlike the pollination and hybridization that occurs in the wild. 

The human benefits are innumerable as well, Cnn's Thom Patterson points out that the Crispr "theoretically,[...][may be able to show benefits that [...] could be nothing short of mind-blowing, including:
• Slowing the aging process and lengthening lives.
• Bringing back extinct species, like the woolly mammoth.
• Feeding the world by tweaking genes in farm crops so they'll grow in more places."(Patterson)

Patterson goes on to tell us this is unlike anything else we have ever seen, "Imagine taking specific genes out of your body to reduce your chances of becoming obese or getting diseases like cancer or Alzheimer's. A medical breakthrough like that would be historic. It would spare millions from pain and suffering. It would save society hundreds of billions of dollars in health care costs every year." (Patterson)

Subscribe to Us  and don't miss our next post where we will discuss  about the Crispr technology which is a "gene-editing technique" and how it could help us as humans biologically, not just in the food we eat. "gmo," in The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Source location: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. Available: Accessed: March 7, 2017.

Molinaro,Jeremiah."What's a GMO?." ASU - Ask A Biologist. 30 Mar 2015. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 7 Mar 2017.

Bennet, Chris. “Crispr will shape the future of food.” Ag Web, Farm Journal", 13 July 2016, Accessed 9 Mar. 2017.

Talbot, David. "CRISPR offers an easy, exact way to alter genes to create traits such as disease resistance and drought tolerance. Accessed 9 Mar. 2017.

Patterson, Thom. "Unproven medical technique could save countless lives, billions of dollars" Cnn. 30 Oct 2015. ""  Accessed 9 Mar. 2017.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Genetically Tailored Plants - The Non GMO

With the advent of Gentetically Tailored Food instead go GMO's research shows that there is a newer novel approach "genetic engineering improves existing varieties by eliminating undesirable features and activating dormant traits. It transforms plants with native expression cassettes to fine-tune the activity and/or tissue specificity of target genes. Any intragenic modification of traits could, at least in theory,also be accomplished by traditional breeding and trans-genic modification. However, the new approach is unique in avoiding the transfer of unknown or foreign DNA. By consequently eliminating various potential risk factors,this method represents a relatively safe approach to crop improvement. Therefore, we argue that intragenic crops should be cleared through the regulatory process in a timely and cost-effective manner" (

Image Courtesy of
To help educate people about the many methods that are used to generate new traits in plants, 
Biology Fortified has created an infographic on six different crop modification techniques,
with examples of crops generated with each method
"Conventional plant breeding represents the principleapproach to crop improvement. It employs methods suchas introgression breeding, induced mutagenesis andsomatic hybridization to modify randomly genomes and,as a result, create genetic variation (Figure 1a). Phenotypicassessments of segregating progenies can then identify thecommercially important new traits that can be used toimprove farm efficiency and enhance yield. However,today’s crops are still a work-in-progress, and not allimprovements can be delivered by breeding alone. Onenew method creates desired traits by isolating specificgenetic elements from the crop, rearranging them in vitro,and inserting this ‘intragenic’ DNA back into the plant.This alternative approach to genetic engineering producescrops that, mimicking traditionally bred varieties, mightbe easier to commercialize than transgenic plants (seeGlossary).Issues associated with traditional plant breedingSeveral key issues limit the potential of traditionalmethods in plant breeding to enhance quality and yieldfurther. One drawback is based on the fact that geneticvariation is induced at the DNA level but only screened forphenotypically. As a result, new cultivars not only containtraits that the breeder was looking for but also displayundesirable characteristics not considered during theselection process. Indeed, today’s crops synthesize a multi-tude of natural pesticidal compounds and also oftenexpress dozens of allergen-encoding genes [1,2]. Althougha few of the most important allergens were successfullyremoved through mutagenesis [3], the transfer of undesir-able traits from existing to new varieties is generallyviewed as inevitable." (
At the risk of oversimplifying this new technology, here is the link to the original article.

Subscribe to Us  and don't miss our next post where we will discuss more about how "Gentetically Tailored Food" can steer us away from the GMO's of today to a ground up design approach. With the new Crispr technology which is a "gene-editing technique" we can totally change the GMO debate as we know it.

Science Direct, Trends in Plant Science, Vol 12 Issue 9, Pages 397–403 Sep 2007. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Technology Changing the Future of Agriculture - Sensors

"Farming may be an ancient industry but the latest progress in agricultural
science and technology could change how the world eats" (Staff Blog, IOE)
Image Courtesy of 

Technological advancements in the agriculture industry are mind boggling; to think that we have come a long way from the way from 8000 BC and how crops were "sowed, tended and reaped...The people of Jericho are the first known to have lived mainly from the cultivation of crops" (Gascoigne). tells us that,
"Agriculture is a vibrant sector and plays a major role in the economy of the United States. Fortunately, as our culture has grown more technologically advanced, so have our agricultural technologies. So what changes can we expect to see in the agriculture sector in the future? Although we can only speculate, many people believe that farming production will incorporate the latest technology. In fact, a large number of commercial farms are already employing the latest technologies in their production, packaging, storing and distributing processes" (SLN Staff )
With the advent of Sensors, Gentetically Tailored Food and Automation & Mechanical Engineering the industry is expanding and Fabian at tells us, " Harvests will have to expand in order to feed a growing world population over the next decades. To achieve the goal without expanding cultivated areas at the expense of the environment, agricultural economists largely agree that farmers will have to turn to intensive cultivation and more productive plants" (Schmidt).

Picture of a Sensor Blitzer,
Courtesy of 

Dr. Franz-Ferdinand Gröblinghoff  a Professor at the University of Applied Scieneces in the UK has designed a system that houses two types of reflection sensors. With the data collected it is fed into a software that is specifically designed to allow them to access the data rapidly.  Then later Gröblinghoff measures the data against the original data that was analyzed by a wheat harvester. "The amount of grain is weighed by a sensor on the harvester," he says. "That's also how we get information about moisture and other factors" (Schmidt).

Below are several types of sensors listed on

Soil Sensors: These sensors would enable understanding of current air, water, and soil conditions of a farm in real time.

Livestock biometrics:  Collars with GPS, RFID and biometrics can identify and relay vital information about the livestock automatically in real time.

Crop sensors: These will send data to the application equipment before fertilizer application about the field conditions and the correct amount of fertilizers needed. Drones will be used to identify crop health before prescribing remedy (Schmidt).

Certain types of Sensors do different things, for instance a Gamma Ray Sensor provides this type of information, "Goldbach's colleague Dr. Stefan Pätzold uses a gamma-ray-sensor to look into the soil. The sensor recognizes natural radioactivity that is emitted by isotopes like potassium 40. "We can say a lot about the distribution of these elements in the soil by using the gamma-spectrometer," Pätzold says. The data [is] then used in conventional soil analyses to gather information about the level of clay or sand in the soil"(Schmidt).  This type of information is very important winemakers and could help them recognize even the most minuet heterogeneitie's, The hints of flavors that you get in wines comes from the soil and area it is grown in. Therefore a variety of wines need a variety of soils. In addition to this some vines won't grown in certain types of soil" (En.Haberler.Com).

The "old fashioned" way of cultivating could actually in the near future be replaced with sensors, these sensors could and probably would or will eliminate human error. A prominent researcher Heiner Goldbach who has his Doctorate in Agricultural Plant Science and has contributed and collaborated with others in the field to publish over 72 Journals that have mostly focused on the biological and technical aspects of the agriculture industry, Goldbach says.  "A cultivator gets tired"..."After two hours on the field, in the heat, he's more likely to make mistakes. And the cultivators themselves are aware that the later the day, the higher the danger for them to use unfit grains or accidentally discard good ones" (Schmidt).

Subscribe to Us  and don't miss our next post where we will discuss "Gentetically Tailored Food" that will steer us away from the GMO's of today to a ground up design approach.

Staff Blog, Blogger Ecolonomony. “3 Technology that Could Change the Future of Agriculture.” Ecolonomics, Blogger, 6 Aug. 2015, Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

Schmidt, Fabian, Db, cb.  “Agricultural sensors: improving crop farming to help us feed the world.”, Agricultural sensors: improving crop farming to help us feed the world, 29 Sept. 2014, Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

Gascoigne, Bamber. “HISTORY OTHE CULTIVATION OF PLANTS HistoryWorld. From 2001, ongoing.  Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.
SNL, Staff. “Future of Agriculture and Farming in the United States.” 
Livestock Nutrition,

Sustainable Livestock Nutrition, 19 Mar. 2014, Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

Monday, January 23, 2017

How the bee population affects agriculture as we know it

"Beekeepers across the United States lost 44 percent of their honey bee colonies during the year spanning April 2015 to April 2016, according to the latest preliminary results of an annual nationwide survey. Rates of both winter loss and summer loss—and consequently, total annual losses—worsened compared with last year. This marks the second consecutive survey year that summer loss rates rivaled winter loss rates. [...] The researchers note that many factors are
Bee with a Varroa mite
contributing to colony losses. A clear culprit is the varroa mite, a lethal parasite that can easily spread between colonies. Pesticides and malnutrition caused by changing land use patterns are also likely taking a toll, especially among commercial beekeepers."

In a report published in 2009 by , and might I add according to them only by them there is no record of any other news sources picking up this report and republishing it. Several Blogs, Articles and Book's have republished many quotes from this report but as far as I can tell it hasn't been republished in its entirety anywhere. The final paragraph of the Discussion in this report goes as follows;

"This is the first descriptive epizootiological survey of honey bee colonies that provides evidence that the condition known as CCD is consistent with a contagious condition or reflective of common risk factors within apiaries Of the 61 variables quantified (including adult bee physiology, pathogen loads, and pesticide levels), no single factor was found with enough consistency to suggest one causal agent. Bees in CCD colonies had higher pathogen loads and were co-infected with more pathogens than control populations, suggesting either greater pathogen exposure or reduced defenses in CCD bees. Levels of the miticide coumaphos were higher in control populations than CCD-affected populations. Potentially important areas for future hypothesis-driven research, including the possible legacy effect of mite parasitism and role of honey bee resistance to pesticides, are highlighted.1"

Even though the CCD states that they cannot pinpoint one thing that suggests a higher risk than others, it is evident that the neonicotinoids do have a substantial effect on the bee population and the UK has gone as far as to ban them for the next two years, so we will see what happens. 

The Makers of the neonicotinoids, not naming names, claim that their product is safe if used correctly and diminishes quickly. However gives us another take on this. 

In a recent article citing The University of Bern Journal they tell us that, ""Insecticides are designed to kill insect pests. Bees, and many other important pollinators, are also insects that will be killed by insecticides if exposure levels are high enough," Raine said....What's being debated is the extent to which field levels of exposure have impacts on pollinators, he said....."It varies enormously depending on many factors, including the type of insecticide, how it is applied and which pollinator species you consider. Current evidence suggests that bumblebees and solitary bees are more severely affected by neonicotinoids than honeybees."

Yale author, Elizabeth Grossman states in her article from 2013 that "But because the insecticide stays with the plant as it grows, it raises questions about the potential for bees to be exposed through nectar, pollen, or leaf surface moisture, where a growing number of studies are finding evidence of neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are known to be toxic to bees, earthworms, and other terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, as was noted in documents submitted to the EPA when they were registered...'The motivation for producing neonicotinoids was reduced human toxicity, but the environmental and ecosystem impacts were not considered in enough detail to predict what’s going on,'3 says Frazier of Penn State. 

This article was written for information purposes only and it truly intrigues you I encourage you to go down the "rabbit hole" and make your own decision. Since this is a public forum I do not want to take one side or the other, but I do intend to go even further down "the rabbit hole". 


Friday, January 20, 2017

Another Scientific Breakthrough: Artificial Plant Breeding

Artificial Selection is a form of selection in which humans actively choose which traits should be passed onto offspring. Humans have used selective breeding long before Darwin's Postulates and the discovery of genetics. Farmers chose cattle with beneficial traits such as larger size or producing more milk, and made them breed; and although they may have known nothing about genes, they knew that the beneficial traits could be heritable. The farmers selected for certain traits in their cattle and probably noticed that the offspring were becoming more and more productive with each generation. Scientists study these traits and spend a lot of time calculating how heritable these traits can be. The more these traits are expressed in the offspring (i.e. size, milk production, etc), the more heritable these traits are said to be. Hunting is also a form of artificial selection, with the genes that humans "want" (i.e. - the biggest buck with the most points, the largest fish, etc.) being removed from the gene pool, allowing the less "wanted" genes to pass on to the next generation by increasing their odds of mating when compared to the hunted specimens. (qtd.[1]

Though farmers had known for centuries that crossbreeding of animals and plants could favor certain desirable traits, Mendel's pea plant experiments conducted between 1856 and 1863 established many of the rules of heredity, now referred to as the laws of Mendelian inheritance.[2]

Gregor Mendel is usually considered to be the founder of modern genetics. Though farmers had known for centuries that crossbreeding of animals and plants could favor certain desirable traits, Mendel's pea plant experiments conducted between 1856 and 1863 established many of the rules of heredity.[2]

An Augustinian monk living in what is now the Czech Republic, Mendel had access to an experimental garden in which he could breed “true” lines of pea plants and patiently wait for them to crossbreed in specified combinations. He worked with seven characteristics of pea plants: plant height, pod shape and color, seed shape and color, and flower position and color. Using the
Mendel used Pea Plants in some
of his first experiments
example of seed color, his results showed that when a yellow pea and a green pea were bred together their offspring plant was always yellow. However, in the next generation of plants, the green peas reappeared at a ratio of 1:3.

To explain this phenomenon, Mendel coined the terms “recessive” and “dominant” in reference to certain traits. (In the preceding example, green peas are recessive and yellow peas are dominant.) He published his work in 1866, demonstrating the actions of invisible “factors”—what we now call genes —in providing for visible traits in predictable ways.[2]

Mendel never enjoyed recognition in his lifetime. In fact, it was more than three decades later, in 1900, that three scientists doing agricultural research discovered his 1866 paper. Erich Tschermak, Hugo de Vries, and Carl Correns independently verified several of Mendel's experimental findings, and the "age of genetics" was born. In the next several decades, scientists would learn more about genes and the special substance called DNA that carried each living thing's specific traits.[2]