U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Prepares For World Cup

All eyes will be on the U.S. team, which won the cup in 1991 and 1999 and is ranked second in the world. NPR’s Rachel Martin talks to team member Megan Rapinoe, a midfielder for the Seattle Reign.



The Women’s World Cup begins in Canada in a few weeks. All eyes will be on the U.S. team, which won the tournament twice in 1991 and in 1999. The team is ranked as the second best in the world according to FIFA. Megan Rapinoe is a midfielder for the Seattle Reign and is part of the U.S. national team. This will be her second World Cup. Megan joins us on the line from California. Hey, Megan, welcome to the show.


MARTIN: So what’s going on with the team at this point? I mean, do you start to taper down your practice tempo?

RAPINOE: Yes. Definitely. At least we’d hope so. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, but they’re like, trust us, we’re tapering. And I’m like, I’m so tired.

MARTIN: (Laughter). This is not a taper.

RAPINOE: Yeah. No, we are starting to kind of taper down. This is sort of our last kind of, like, you know, major preparation camp. We have a game at the end of this camp, and then we have one more game in New York. So this is kind of our last thing, and then we’ll really be properly tapering off after that.

MARTIN: So I know you’ve talked a lot about this because it’s been a big headline in the sports world. Some of our listeners might not have heard about this, though. There is a controversy surrounding this World Cup over the playing field, over the turf because this is going to be the first international tournament played entirely on artificial turf. You and others have been really critical about this. Why? How is that going to affect the games do you think?

RAPINOE: I just think that it’s – and I don’t really think this can be argued with. I just think it’s a second-rate surface. And if FIFA is really serious about arguing that it wasn’t a second-rate surface, well, then they would put other major championships or other major games around the world – not just men’s games, but women’s game as well – I think they would put those all on turf.

MARTIN: Does it say anything about the status of the women’s sport? I mean, do you think this would be happening to the Men’s World Cup?

RAPINOE: Well, no, it would never happen to the Men’s World Cup. I think – I don’t know if it says to the status of the women’s game because I think we’ve come a long way. And I think a lot of people really respect it, and it’s such a high level. But I think it says a lot about what FIFA thinks about the women’s game.

MARTIN: Let’s talk about the tournament, the games, the teams you’re going to face. Who are you most worried about?

RAPINOE: You know, I think within our group, I think Nigeria’s going to be a really interesting team to watch. They’ve done really well at the last couple youth championships. France has played extremely well all year. They gave us a hell of a game back in February. So I think that they are still there just with a lot more experience under their belt.

MARTIN: And lastly, can I just have you describe the U.S. game? You know, every team has kind of a style or adjectives people use to describe the game that the team plays. How is the U.S. women’s team described? What’s your game like?

RAPINOE: I think traditionally, we’ve always been very fit and fast and physical, and we have that sort of physical element that we can just outlast teams. And we have that grit and that mentality that we’re never going to quit. But I think that we’ve added a lot of flare and creativity. And I don’t think we get enough credit for how technical we are across-the-board.

MARTIN: Megan Rapinoe. She’ll be competing with the U.S. national team at the Women’s World Cup next month in Canada. Megan, good luck.

RAPINOE: Thank you very much. And thank you for having me on.

Listen to the original story on NPR here.

Minnesota Crop Improvement Association Announces New President/CEO

(May 20, 2015) — Paul Adams, Chair, Minnesota Crop Improvement Association (MCIA) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Fawad Shahas the new President/CEO of the association effective June 1, 2015. Dr. Shah will take over as President/CEO upon the retirement of Ben Lang, who has served as the association’s President/CEO since June 1, 2008.

Dr. Shah received a Bachelor and a Master of Science from the University of Ag, Pakistan in 1989 and 1991, respectively. He received a PhD in Seed Technology – Agronomy in 1997 and obtained a Masters in Business Administration in 2001 from Mississippi State University. Most recently, Dr. Shah served as the Director of the Seed Regulatory and Testing Division at the United States Department of Agriculture. Previously in his career, he served as Grain and Seed Administrator for the Commodity Inspection Division at Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA); as Seed Program Manager, WSDA; and various other positions.

His experience working with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) program, Federal Seed Act enforcement, seed and variety testing, seed certification, phytosanitary inspections, and regulatory services as well as fiscal, strategic and operational leadership will benefit MCIA as the organization continues to fulfill its mission of serving the needs of its clients.

For over 100 years MCIA has provided programs and services for an ever-changing agricultural world. These include seed certification and quality assurance services, organic certification, foundation seed services, and customized programs for seed and IP grains. MCIA operates from facilities on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus.

Read the original article on Seed Today here.

Abby Wambach says FIFA’s stubbornness led it to turn down free offers to install grass in World Cup stadiums

In 2014 FIFA, the international governing body of soccer announced they would use artificial turf during the 2015 Woman’s World Cup. Scotts immediately recognized this decision tarnished not only the purity of soccer, but all outdoor activities and brings player safety into question. As a result of FIFA’s decision Scotts joined forces with Abby Wambach, 2012 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year and outspoken advocate of real grass fields to launch #KeepItReal.

Women’s World Cup players are some of the best athletes in the world, playing the biggest soccer tournament in the world, so why shouldn’t they play on the best surface in the world? The #KeepItReal campaign leverages social media, specifically Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, creating a public space for soccer fans and outdoor enthusiasts across the world to share and learn about the benefits of real grass surfaces.

Despite its alarming negative health and environmental consequences there are too many artificial turf surfaces are in place for athletic fields and playgrounds across North America. Athletes from the soccer community and beyond, both male and female have pledged their disagreement with competitive soccer being played on artificial versus natural grass surfaces. Scotts might not be able to alter FIFA’s decision, but we can take a stand for what’s right in the future – soccer, along with all recreational activities, should be enjoyed on real grass, not an imitation.

While the Women’s World Cup being played on artificial turf is only one example, it is indicative of a larger trend that is concerning. We cannot allow the usage of artificial turf to escalate and become the norm for athletic fields and playgrounds. The added benefit of this campaign is that the more people who share the #KeepItReal hashtag on social media, the more natural green spaces the company will refurbish for youth soccer across America.

Scotts has partnered with several known athletic and social media influencers to drive the conversation around #KeepItReal.  Here are some examples of the tweets that you’ll see from the @ScottsLawnCare and our #KeeptItReal supporters:

#KeepItReal is making a real impact. We are well under way in achieving our six field refurbishments; fields have been identified in priority markets and aligned with influencers.

Join us in this fight! Show your support of this initiative by tagging @ScottsLawnCare on Twitter or@ScottsLawn on Instagram using the hashtag #KeepItReal. Remember, the more #KeepItReal shares on Twitter and Instagram, the more youth natural green spaces Scott’s will refurbish.

Meet Abby Wambach and hear how she plays the game of soccer. She’s a champion and her game is real. And that’s what she wants for the fields she plays on.

Watch the YouTube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wq4xIuVUilw


Anti-GMO measure goes down


Measure 2-89 supporters, from left, Vernon Huffman, Stephanie Hampton, Martha Perkins, Bret Diamond and George Hutchinson look over the early election results at the Old World Deli on Tuesday night. Voters soundly rejected the proposal to ban GMOs in Benton County.

After a hard-fought campaign marked by contentious public forums, dueling yard signs and vitriolic letters to the editor, Benton County voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure to ban genetically modified organisms on Tuesday.

Measure 2-89, also known as the Benton County Local Food System Ordinance, was getting less than a third of the vote in unofficial returns Tuesday night, with 16,556 no votes to 6,270 yes votes.

Monroe-area farmer Debbie Crocker, who emerged as the face of the opposition during the run-up to the election, was at the Old Spaghetti Factory in downtown Corvallis with about 20 other Measure 2-89 opponents when the first election returns were announced.

“I guess the voters read it and understood it was a poorly written measure,” she said in a phone interview.

Crocker, whose family grows genetically modified sugarbeets and a number of other crops on about 2,000 acres in south Benton County, expressed relief that the election was over, but she added that she expected the issue to be back on the ballot at some point.

“It’s probably something that will come up again,” she said. “There’s a lot of people who have a lot of passion about it.”

A few blocks to the south at the Old World Deli, more than a dozen 2-89 supporters were expressing their disappointment at the defeat but vowing to try again.

“We went down pretty big,” acknowledged Stephanie Hampton, a spokeswoman for Benton Food Freedom, the political action committee promoting the ballot measure.

But she also said the campaign had scored a victory by starting a “community conversation” about the importance of safeguarding the local food system and vowed that the group would put a new and improved version of its anti-GMO ordinance on the ballot as early as next year.

“We will be rewriting it because we think our local food system is an important thing,” she said. “Now that the conversation has been started and people are aware of the issues, we can go forward from here.”

Measure 2-89 sought to outlaw the cultivation of genetically modified organisms in Benton County and would have required all GMO crops to be harvested, removed or destroyed within 90 days of passage. It also aimed to establish rights for “natural communities” such as soil and plants and would have limited the use of patented seed lines by barring the enforcement of patent rights on seeds.

Supporters argued the ordinance was needed to protect organic crops from contamination by GMOs and to defend the local food system against domination by large agribusiness and chemical corporations.

Detractors countered that M2-89 would create financial hardship for conventional farmers who want to grow GMOs, such as the Roundup Ready sugarbeets produced in the area, as well as those who choose to plant patented seeds. They also pointed to language in the measure they said would have shut down non-food-related research involving genetic engineering at Oregon State University and local biotech companies.

Supporters of 2-89 insisted it was never their intent to prohibit laboratory research, and Hampton said Tuesday the revised measure would include “clarifying language” to that effect.

The measure was also dogged by questions regarding its legality. If approved by voters, it would have directly contravened a 2013 state law that bars local jurisdictions from regulating agricultural production. The authors of 2-89 tried to get around that statute by asserting a fundamental local right to self-governance.

A similar tactic has been used in nearly 200 local jurisdictions in 10 states to enact ordinances aimed at protecting citizens from a variety of corporate activities ranging from fracking to factory farming, but the “community rights” approach has not yet been definitively upheld in court.

Benton Food Freedom, the pro-Measure 2-89 political action committee, was heavily outspent by the measure’s opponents.

As of Tuesday morning, campaign finance records filed with the state showed Benton Food Freedom had spent $22,758.87 during the campaign, compared to $131,897.96 by Benton County Citizens Opposed to Measure 2-89.

The “no on 2-89” forces also had support from two more broad-based political action committees, FirstVote PAC and the Oregon Farm Bureau PAC. Both registered in opposition to the Benton County ballot measure and reported spending a combined $45,050 this election cycle, though it wasn’t immediately clear how much of that money went to fight the Benton County measure.

Read the original article on the Corvallis Gazette-Times here.

NEWS RELEASE: One of the Best Fields for New College Graduates? Agriculture.

One of the Best Fields for New College Graduates? Agriculture.

Nearly 60,000 High-Skilled Agriculture Job Openings Expected Annually in U.S., Yet Only 35,000 Graduates Available to Fill Them

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new report showing tremendous demand for recent college graduates with a degree in agricultural programs with an estimated 57,900 high-skilled job openings annually in the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment fields in the United States. According to an employment outlook report released today by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Purdue University, there is an average of 35,400 new U.S. graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher in agriculture related fields, 22,500 short of the jobs available annually.

“There is incredible opportunity for highly-skilled jobs in agriculture,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Those receiving degrees in agricultural fields can expect to have ample career opportunities. Not only will those who study agriculture be likely to get well-paying jobs upon graduation, they will also have the satisfaction of working in a field that addresses some of the world’s most pressing challenges. These jobs will only become more important as we continue to develop solutions to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050.”

The report projects almost half of the job opportunities will be in management and business. Another 27 percent will be in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas. Jobs in food and biomaterials production will make up 15 percent, and 12 percent of the openings will be in education, communication, and governmental services. The report also shows that women make up more than half of the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment higher education graduates in the United States.

Other highlights of the reportThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website. include:

  • While most employers prefer to hire graduates of food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment programs, graduates from these programs only fill about 60 percent of the expected annual openings. Even as enrollments in these programs increase and the job market becomes somewhat more competitive, good employment opportunities for the next five years are expected.
  • Growth in job opportunities will be uneven. Employers in some areas will struggle to find enough graduates to fill jobs. In a few areas, employers will find an oversupply of job seekers.
  • Expect to see a strong employment market for e-commerce managers and marketing agents, ecosystem managers, agricultural science and business educators, crop advisors, and pest control specialists.
  • Job opportunities in STEM areas are expected to grow. Expect the strongest job market for plant scientists, food scientists, sustainable biomaterials specialists, water resources scientists and engineers, precision agriculture specialists, and veterinarians.

The report, Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in Food, Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources, and the Environment, United States, 2015–2020This is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website., is the eighth in a series of five-year projections initiated by USDA in 1980. The report was produced by Purdue University with grant support from NIFA.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

Read the original news release on the USDA website here.