Test your Rangers knowledge by seeing how many of these five questions you can answer correctly.[wp-simple-survey-82]YTo4OntzOjk6IndpZGdldF9pZCI7czoyMDoid3lzaWphLW5sLTEzNTI0NjE4NjkiO3M6NToibGlzdHMiO2E6MTp7aTowO3M6MToiMyI7fXM6MTA6Imxpc3RzX25hbWUiO2E6MTp7aTozO3M6MjI6Ildlc3QgTG9uZG9uIFNwb3J0IGxpc3QiO31zOjEyOiJhdXRvcmVnaXN0ZXIiO3M6MTc6Im5vdF9hdXRvX3JlZ2lzdGVyIjtzOjEyOiJsYWJlbHN3aXRoaW4iO3M6MTM6ImxhYmVsc193aXRoaW4iO3M6Njoic3VibWl0IjtzOjMzOiJTdWJzY3JpYmUgdG8gb3VyIGRhaWx5IG5ld3NsZXR0ZXIiO3M6Nzoic3VjY2VzcyI7czoyODM6IlRoYW5rIHlvdSEgUGxlYXNlIGNoZWNrIHlvdXIgaW5ib3ggaW4gb3JkZXIgdG8gY29uZmlybSB5b3VyIHN1YnNjcmlwdGlvbi4gSWYgeW91IGRvbid0IHNlZSBhbiBlLW1haWwgZnJvbSB1cywgY2hlY2sgeW91ciBzcGFtIGZvbGRlci4gSWYgeW91IHN0aWxsIGhhdmVuJ3QgcmVjZWl2ZWQgYSBjb25maXJtYXRpb24gbWVzc2FnZSwgcGxlYXNlIGUtbWFpbCBmZWVkYmFja0B3ZXN0bG9uZG9uc3BvcnQuY29tIGFuZCB0ZWxsIHVzIHlvdSB3aXNoIHRvIHN1YnNjcmliZSB0byBvdXIgbmV3c2xldHRlci4iO3M6MTI6ImN1c3RvbWZpZWxkcyI7YToxOntzOjU6ImVtYWlsIjthOjE6e3M6NToibGFiZWwiO3M6NToiRW1haWwiO319fQ== Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
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An M-Pesa agent in the Bunda region of Kenya. It is estimated that a third of the country’s US$44-billion annual economic output now flows through the innovative mobile money transfer service . (Image: Emil Sjöblom, Flickr)• Jarle HetlandMedia officerInternational Trade Centre+41 22 [email protected] GonzálezSub-Saharan Africa is a rare bright spot in a still-sluggish world economy, with the International Monetary Fund projecting 6% output growth this year. A decade of expansion has been driven by peace, better economic governance, investment and high commodity prices. But make no mistake: it has not just been about resources. Some of the best performing countries are not rich in natural resources, such as Rwanda, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. Services such as retail and communications, together with agribusiness and manufacturing and exports, have driven growth more than is generally recognised. Business incubators and accelerators are spawning technology start-ups from Accra to Dar es Salaam.That said, Africa faces daunting challenges. The extractive sector propels growth in several countries but does not directly create many stable jobs. By 2050, the continent’s labour force will be bigger than that of China or India. Creating jobs for hundreds of millions of labour market entrants will mean the difference between a demographic dividend and a social time bomb. Africans don’t just need more jobs; they need better jobs. Prosperity hinges on getting people out of subsistence agriculture and marginal self-employment into more productive activities.Growth without diversification, technological improvement, and increased productivity is easily reversed: all it takes is a dip in commodity prices. This is where trade and small to medium enterprises, or SMEs, fit in. Trade demands competitiveness. Exporting firms are more productive, and pay higher wages than their domestically focused counterparts, especially in places like sub-Saharan Africa. If firms manage to thrive in world markets, they tend to increase their productivity even more.Turning mobile phones into banksJust take a look at the success story that is M-Pesa .The impending launch in Europe of this mobile money transfer service, which has transformed the way banking and business are done in East Africa, is more than a feel-good story about technology pioneered in one of the world’s poorest regions being imported to one of its richest.M-Pesa is a powerful example of the gains to be had when the development community works together creatively to empower people and businesses in developing countries. From a modest pilot project focused on microfinance repayments, M-Pesa – “pesa” means “money” in Kiswahili – has grown to the point that an estimated one-third of Kenya’s $44-billion annual economic output now flows through it. M-Pesa has turned mobile phones into both offices and banks.Responsive governments committed to improving the broader trade facilitation and business environment can help companies of all sizes by improving infrastructure: roads, transportation, ports, information and communication technology, and electricity. For enterprises to capitalise on opportunities to grow, they need access to finance. This can be difficult for SMEs that are too big for microfinance institutions but too small to interest commercial lenders.Meeting export markets’ health and quality standards, together with the dizzying array of private voluntary standards, is especially tough for smaller firms, although the rewards for compliance can be considerable. The recent World Trade Organisation agreement on trade facilitation should cut customs-related red tape which weighs heavily on SMEs, making it easier and cheaper to bring goods across borders.Internationalising small businessThe International Trade Centre works to internationalise SMEs in developing countries. Some of our work is with governments to improve policies and to strengthen their institutions in trade and export development. The rest of our work is with the private sector: creating free intelligence tools to help them learn about conditions in potential markets; assisting them to connect to value chains; helping with product branding; and tackling non-tariff measures.In our experience, modest, targeted interventions can yield substantial rewards. Facilitating contact (and contracts) between Southeast Asia and Western and Central Africa yielded over $150-million in deals for cashews, rice, and cotton in the space of a few years. Bringing experts from Bangladesh spinning mills to the Tanzania to train cotton farmers and gin operators on how to reduce contamination, led to higher prices for the farmers and better raw material for the mills. Connecting women in rural Burkina Faso to a rising star in Italian fashion meant more sales than ever for their traditional prints which helped Stella Jean’s high-end customers do some good while being fashionable.Watch: Stella Jean’s “ethical fashion” using prints from Burkina Faso:Governments, African business, foreign investors, and civil society groups have an opportunity to pool their ingenuity and their resources to find innovative new ways to strengthen the African private sector and help SMEs access capital and markets.The broader development community can support the private sector to improve productivity and generate jobs which can free people from unemployment or the drudgery of subsistence labour. Prioritising the private sector will require some development policy experimentation.Small risks, huge payoffsInternational investors, representatives of international and regional organisations, and African leaders from government and civil society, who attended the World Economic Forum on Africa in Abuja, Nigeria last month are seeking to translate the region’s economic promise and youthful demographics into employment opportunities and poverty reduction.A key subject at the Abuja summit was the bottlenecks that prevent existing and yet-to-be-founded firms in African countries from exporting value-added goods and services, and think about how best to encourage investment and hiring in modern, tradable sectors.The policy makers and policy takers at the Abuja meeting could take a lesson from M-Pesa’s success where small risks can have huge payoffs. They can think about how they can work together to help the continent’s biggest job creator: its immense ecosystem of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Empowering the African private sector to tap into value chains would bolster prospects for growth and job creation.Arancha González is the executive director of the International Trade Centre, Geneva. This article originally appeared on the World Economic Forum Blog.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Ohio Pork Council is taking a new look at an old elementary school staple — field trips.There is certainly no shortage of school students interested in taking a field trip to a modern livestock farm but logistics, costs and biosecurity issues make this important educational tool and valuable agricultural outreach effort increasingly impractical. To address this challenge, the Ohio Pork Council has harnessed technology to develop a unique opportunity for teachers and students to participate in a live video-chat with farmers. Using Google Hangouts video chat technology, hog farmers can take students inside their barns and showcase the inner workings of modern production facilities and a variety of aspects of raising pigs from pregnancy through birth to market weight.“We’ve established a way to open up our hog barns in the state of Ohio and make a connection with folks who may not be able to get out to farms to see where their food comes from. Elementary school classrooms are able to connect live with a farmer virtually and see what goes on in his or her hog farm,” said Quinton Keeran, with the Ohio Pork Council. “We are now kicking off this year’s field trips and are hoping to expand this as far as we can. The program was very well received last year. We are planning to add more farmers and we want to broaden beyond elementary schools. We are going to open this up to high school classes, specifically FFA and vo-ag classes. We are also considering opening this opportunity to the general public.”Each virtual tour can be shaped by the teacher in the classroom to address the curriculum that is currently being covered.“This program is unique because we have worked with educators to specifically tailor our messaging to points in curriculum that teachers will be working on,” Keeran said. “We have had several teachers using this in different areas of the curriculum. Some teachers have used this for science, social studies, and economics. The teacher can take this experience and tailor it to the curriculum they are working on.”While the hog farmers are quite adept talking about their farms, there is some important training needed to get them up to speed on the technology required for the effort.“Our farmers are very good at what they do, but they may not always be carrying an I-pad and headphones. We had to work with some of the individual farmers that decided to be a part of this to train them on the technology to be able to really provide a nice positive experience for the students that participate in this live video chat,” Keeran said. “Right now we have three farmers participating. We have done some simulations and test runs of these Google Hangouts to try and figure out what equipment works best in their barns. We’ve provided them with some wireless capability to really be able to enhance the experience.”Farm Credit of Mid-America has been an important supporter of the project with the Ohio Pork Council.“We are very excited about the opportunity we have been given to enhance the virtual field trip program through support from Farm Credit Mid-America that will continue to grow that project and reach more classrooms within the state of Ohio,” Keeran said.One of the farmers participating in the virtual field trips is Neil Rhonemus who farms in Highland and Clinton counties and raises contract hogs for the Heimerl family.“We have two wean-to-finish barns. We get the pigs when they are 21 days old and 12 pounds and we take them to finish weight. They are all gilts,” Rhonemus said. “They are marketed by the Pig Improvement Company. We have shipped pigs all over the U.S. and Mexico and to China. We only have 60 acres of crops so we depend on our neighbors to use the manure from our barns.”One of the farmers participating in the virtual field trips is Neil Rhonemus who farms in Highland and Clinton counties and raises contract hogs.Rhonemus welcomes the opportunity to share his farm with students around Ohio.“Less than 2% of our population farms and less than 1% actually takes care of livestock. We need to get our story across to the general public so they know what we are doing before somebody makes it up for us,” he said. “So far I have talked to second and third graders and I am going to be talking to some FFA students — I expect a whole different set of questions from them. I explain that pork is meat we get from a hog. It is necessary for us to respect our animals and treat them humanely and, if we eat meat, it is also necessary that we raise animals. I was asked once where the baby pigs come from and I said, ‘They come on a trailer’ which is true. That is how I get them. You have to expect those kinds of questions will come up. Handling the questions from the kids is fun because you never know what to expect when they start talking. You really have to be on your toes. It has been a really good experience for me and I am looking forward to doing more.”He has found that the students are really interested in what is happening on the farm.“I’m never surprised about the lack of knowledge about what we do that is out there. I have been surprised about their curiosity, though. These students really want to know about what we do and they want to learn. It is awesome to be involved in,” he said. “One of our teachers was a neighbor not too far from one of our facilities and she initiated some really good questions. I really look forward to those questions from the adults as well. It is really cool and it is exciting to be involved with something like this.”Rhonemus said that there was a learning curve with the technology involved and the process is not as simple as just turning on an I-pad.“It wasn’t too bad really once we got the equipment working and got a feel for how things flow. I have an I-pad with headphones to cancel out the noise so I can hear and I have a portable receiver for our Internet,” he said. “Once we are connected we take a tour of the building to show them what is going on then I can field questions from the students. We have a moderator involved so there is a technician involved to handle the equipment. This is a coordinated effort from several people. “The effort, though, is viewed as worthwhile for everyone involved. The teachers have expressed appreciation for the chance to add a unique teaching tool in the classrooms and the students gain valuable insight into how their food is produced straight from the source that best knows the real answers to their questions — the farmer.The students always enjoy seeing baby pigs.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Loretta Sorensen Progressive Farmer Contributing EditorMost consider conservation practices to be a long-view payoff. Chris Hitzeman sees them as avenues to profitability.The South Dakota farmer uses soil-quality and soil-health programs as the foundation for his self-guided pheasant-hunting business.When Hitzeman purchased his 700-acre Charles Mix County farm in the early 2000s, he brought along two decades of corporate experience and the analytical skills of owning his own Minneapolis-based software business.He intended to move away from hunting pheasants on public land and develop his own private hunting location. Most of his land is made up of riparian areas, trees, sloughs and grasslands recently enrolled in public and private conservation, and habitat programs, creating ideal pheasant- or deer-hunting settings.Early in the process of identifying and evaluating his farm’s resources, Hitzeman recognized an opportunity to establish a “fair chase” pheasant-hunting business involving his land and a network of surrounding farms.What he’s developed during the past 16 years is U-Guide South Dakota Pheasant Hunting, a seven-week hunting experience that draws hunters from across the nation (www.uguidesdpheasants.com).“What I’ve learned is that hunters want that ‘typical’ South Dakota pheasant-hunting experience, where both birds and hunting locations are plentiful,” Hitzeman said. “I could see that, in order to bring hunters to my locations, I had to support production of as many naturally produced pheasants as possible.”Pheasants live out their lives within a home range of about a square mile (640 acres), requiring all habitat components (nesting cover, brood habitat, winter cover and food plots) to be in close proximity. Ideally, a minimum of 30 to 60 acres (about 5 to 10%) of this range should be nesting cover. Larger blocks of cover are preferable to narrow linear strips.Hitzeman’s challenge was to augment the need for habitat, food and shelter in an economical, sustainable manner that also contributed to the health of his farm’s ecosystem.“To begin with, I considered how productive each portion of land would be in terms of hunting, grain crops, seed crops, livestock, wind development, etc.,” Hitzeman said. “This is an age-old real estate principle, to find the highest and best use for every portion of land.”He understood production on every acre wasn’t an option, and long-term profitability would suffer if he didn’t build and maintain soil health. As a result, Hitzeman considered how conservation programs and practices fit with his pheasant-hunting business model.BUILD IT“Soil is our primary asset,” he said. “If we take care of it, it will take care of us. We can build resiliency by implementing soil-health principles but will destroy our land and ourselves if all we do is take from it.”He recognized that the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and some Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs provide the necessary elements pheasants need to thrive.“In general, CRP acres give pheasants nesting habitat, meet some feeding needs and provide winter shelter,” Hitzeman said. “Around 2014, after completing a prescribed burn on some CRP acres, I realized I could reseed those acres with specific grass and native flowers designed to feed and support a large pheasant population.”With the help of his Soil Conservation District, NRCS and Pheasants Forever, Hitzeman identified grasses designed to provide high-standing winter and low-standing nesting and brooding cover for pheasants. Prescribed burns and herbicide application help suppress invasive grasses and noxious weeds.Pheasant chicks that hatch in June grow and mature rapidly through July and August, requiring massive quantities of insects. Hitzeman’s forage mix includes blooming plants, which naturally draw insects during those months. The flowering plants also provide habitat critical to the survival of pollinators.BIRD FEEDEight varieties of grass and eight native prairie flowers now flourish in the area — including white clover, Canadian milk vetch, alfalfa, Maximilian sunflower, black-eyed Susan, goldenrod, pale purple coneflower, red clover, purple prairie clover, big bluestem, little bluestem and switchgrass. Seeding rates vary on the different land segments.Hitzeman has also established 25 food plots across marginal land to help provide food and year-round shelter for pheasants, deer, songbirds and birds of prey. Grains in the food plots include corn and millet interseeded with hairy vetch and a variety of other cover-crop species, which serve as both an additional food source while contributing to soil microbiome activity.Spraying a low rate of glyphosate over the plots, also known as chemical mowing, helps set back cover crops until corn plants are established. Plot crop rotation also helps manage weeds.Additional conservation projects include planting 45,000 trees in 17 shelterbelts that are surrounded by 30-foot alfalfa/clover firebreaks. The shelterbelts are comprised of silver maples selected for their tall windbreak characteristics, plum bushes as a wildlife food supply and shelter, and eastern red cedars because of the effective winter shelter pheasants find around this tree species.A portion of Hitzeman’s acreage is enrolled in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) permanent wetland easement. Restored wetlands provide water for wildlife and seasonal habitat for ducks, and preserve cattails where pheasants seek winter shelter.FAIR GAMEHitzeman’s self-guided, fair-chase hunting business won’t work just anywhere. However, the conservation practices woven into developing and managing his “pheasant farming” could provide many farmers with a skeleton plan to help diversify income and improve per-acre profit while building soil health and supporting the farm ecosystem.On his cropland acres, Hitzeman rotates winter wheat, corn and soybeans. Strip-harvested wheat, with cover crops sown into the stubble, leaves ample stubble — a winter shelter for pheasants. Any waste grain from cash crops is used by pheasants and provides desirable hunting conditions for pheasant hunters. Cash crops are cultivated with no-till practices, netting some $125 per acre.In refining how to integrate his conservation practices with his pheasant-hunting business, Hitzeman assesses his options and maximizes conservation benefits.Jim Ristau, South Dakota Corn director of sustainability, applauds the willingness to maximize soil quality and wildlife habitat rather than aiming for maximum crop production.“We need diverse landscape in our rural areas,” Ristau said. “The strategy Chris adopted addresses all five soil-health principles—maintaining soil armor, minimizing soil disturbance, maintaining plant diversity, keeping a live plant root in the ground and integrating livestock [wildlife] — which means it’s a healthy strategy for any of the landowners he works with.”Matt Morlock, South Dakota Pheasants Forever assistant director, said the state leads in pheasant harvest with some 1,000,000 roosters harvested annually. He sees efforts to bolster pheasant and other native wildlife (deer) populations as economic boosts for the state.Approximately 700 roosters (averaging $100 gross revenue per bird) are bagged on his land each year. About 40% of Hitzeman’s income is generated from his hunting business. Another 40% comes from farm program payments and the rest from cropland cash rent.“I believe the key exercise in identifying an alternative business model on the farm is to start by looking outside traditional markets like grain and livestock,” Hitzeman said. “Most of us think of farming as growing crops or raising crops. We need to expand our thinking and see ourselves as conservation farmers, pheasant farmers, precision conservationists and soil farmers.”(ES/AG)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.
TORONTO – A coalition of Ontario student groups, colleges and universities wants the province to significantly boost services for young people struggling with mental health issues as they pursue post-secondary education, with what’s being described as a collaborative “whole community” approach.The group is also calling for a mandatory curriculum that would teach children and teens psychological resiliency, starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school.In a report released Thursday entitled “In It Together: Taking Action on Student Mental Health,” four organizations representing Ontario’s 45 colleges and universities and more than 220,000 students say providing mental health support is one of the most pressing challenges on campuses today.But the report by the College Student Alliance, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), Colleges Ontario and the Council of Ontario Universities says it’s a challenge that post-secondary institutions can’t meet on their own.“We’re not — and can’t be, I don’t think — primary care providers, but we’re seeing students who clearly have those kinds of needs and we really think that needs to be addressed with the whole mental health community,” said Linda Franklin, president and CEO of Colleges Ontario, which represents 24 public institutions across the province.Both colleges and universities do provide mental health services for students, said Franklin, but increasing demand and a huge gap in government funding means post-secondary institutions can’t always meet the needs of those suffering from a range of psychological issues — from anxiety and depression to more serious illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.A recent assessment by the financial advisory firm Deloitte Canada shows Ontario’s colleges are spending about $165 million more for on-campus mental health services than they receive from the province, with the bulk of that money coming from operating budgets, she said.While Ontario’s 21 universities have not done a similar assessment, that funding gap is likely much higher as full-time enrolment is almost double that of the colleges.“That can’t continue,” said Franklin. “So we are asking the government to come to the table, in part to say what’s the magnitude of this challenge we’re all facing together and how do we start funding it appropriately so our students know they can rely on the supports they need when they need them.“We think there is really a need to look at what supports are out there in the community, so that colleges and universities can rely on the network of community mental health providers, so that when they recommend that a student see somebody, there’s actually somebody to see and they’re not facing a big wait time to see them.”Other recommendations in the report include:—Updating Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy to recognize post-secondary students as a distinct group, based on research showing that 75 per cent of mental health disorders first appear among those 18 to 24.—Creating close working relationships between post-secondary institutions and local health-care and community agencies to develop and implement a plan to help students with mental health concerns.—Free mental health care for students, on and off campus, through increased services not currently funded by OHIP.—Implementing “resiliency” teaching programs that begin in kindergarten to better prepare students for post-secondary education.Curriculum-based psychological preparation is essential, suggests the report, citing last year’s National College Health Assessment survey of college and university students, which found that 46 per cent of students said they felt so depressed, it was difficult to function; 65 per cent reported overwhelming anxiety; and 14 per cent said they had seriously considered suicide.Such feelings are all too familiar to Ariana Chasse, a second-year fine arts student at St. Lawrence College in her hometown of Brockville, Ont., who found herself struggling with the overwhelming pressures of school, involvement in student government and family obligations.For years, she had alternated between depression and what she thought of as mania, a psychological see-saw that fit the profile of bipolar disorder, which she believed she suffered like her mother.“I started getting really depressed again,” Chasse, 24, said Wednesday. “I was showing up to school wearing the same outfit several days in a row.“I started talking like I wasn’t going to be around much longer, which was really scary,” she said, acknowledging that she was likely suicidal.But because Chasse was vice-president of the college’s student council, she felt she couldn’t seek out on-campus services, given the stigma around mental illness.“I ended up talking mostly to peers,” including one who urged her to see her family doctor, who referred her to a community therapist.“Now that I have been connected with somebody in the community, they have been doing a phenomenal job,” Chasse said, adding that a psychiatrist she was subsequently referred to told her she was not bipolar, but dealing with anxiety and borderline personality disorder — both of which she is addressing through weekly sessions with her therapist.Still, she is on a waiting list for group therapy, which she says may not come through for several months to a year.“I’d really like to see a better system put in place for peer-to-peer support because there are only so many so counsellors and they’re the Number 1 resource,” she said.“But until you can get to them, who do you talk to in the meantime?” Chasse asked, adding that she has seen a number of her fellow students with mental health issues “fall through the cracks.”OUSA president Andrew Clubine, a recent University of Waterloo graduate, said increasing reports of mental health issues and the difficulty for many students to access services is what prompted his organization to come together with the other three groups to seek collaborative solutions with the Ontario government and the province’s mental health system.“We’re hoping it will kick-start a conversation that has been welling up over the last few years,” he said from Waterloo, Ont.“How can we find the most effective and efficient ways of making sure students can receive the support they need? Answering that is going to require breaking down some of the silos we’ve created with on-campus and off-campus service provision.”-Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.