Agricultural Outlook: Texas Crop Reports and Popular Types of Soil
Feb28

Agricultural Outlook: Texas Crop Reports and Popular Types of Soil

Texas leads the nation in the number of farms and ranches, with 248,800 farms and ranches covering 130.2 million acres. In total, statewide agricultural cash receipts average $20 billion annually. If you’re considering breaking into the Texas agricultural industry, whether you’re planning on starting a large farm or just running a small garden outside your home, you have to understand the importance of soil. There are 60 different soil types throughout Texas. Each kind of soil affects the foundation of homes, gardens, and farms in different ways. Here are some of the most common types of Texas soil: Vertisols — These are soils that have a large amount of expansive clay that leads to large cracks during dry periods of time. Vertisol can be found in Eastern and Southern Texas. Aridisols — This kind of soil is dry and inhospitable and supports all kinds of minerals within a garden. Aridisols can be found primarily in the desert and resides in the far western part of the state. Mollisols — This soil has plenty of nutrients and is fertile for vegetation and plant growth. Fields and slight hills across Texas have mollisol soil, which is also rich in calcium and magnesium. Entisols — This is new type of soil that has been developed due to leftover deposit from moisture flow. After major storms and landslides, entisol can be found — close to aridisols — across Texas, especially on the coasts. According to AgriLife Today, Dr. Larry Stein, a Texas AandM horticulturist announced recently that good chill hours and soil moisture index have set up for a great agricultural year in Texas, but spring freezes could be on their way. “It was an awesome chill-hour year,” Dr. Stein said. “We have 850-hour peach varieties with active buds starting to swell, and that is good news. The challenge will be avoiding a serious freeze through mid-March. Buds are breaking in some areas, and so we will just have to see what the weather does. Growers are on pins and needles and hoping it will be...

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Solar Community Projects Gaining Momentum Across United States
Feb28

Solar Community Projects Gaining Momentum Across United States

Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the sun that is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies including solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, molten salt power plants, solar architecture, and artificial photosynthesis. As far as renewable energy is concerned, solar is extremely crucial to this sector. Since solar is a sustainable form of energy, communities across the U.S. are actively searching for ways to boost their solar abilities and usage levels. In fact, as of 2016, more than 110 Community Solar Projects were operational in the U.S., with at least one project in more than half of U.S. states. Unfortunately, approximately 85% of U.S. residents aren’t able to own or rent a solar system due to physical restrictions or various other reasons. Community Solar offers communities the chance to enjoy all the benefits of solar without breaking any property laws. According to Solar Industry Magazine, a new Solar Community project is making its way to Seneca, New York. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Nexamp Inc. have announced the completion of a 2.6 MW community solar project in the Town of Seneca. 1 MW will be utilized to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in New York State Electric and Gas Corp.’s (NYSEG) utility territory. To put that in perspective, One thousand watt-hours equals 1 kilowatt-hour (kWh). Your utility bill usually shows what you are charged for the kilowatt-hours you use. Needless to say, this initiative will service many households. “As New York builds on its aggressive efforts to combat climate change under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, NYSERDA is proud to be advancing the Solar for All program to make sure our most underserved homeowners and renters have greater access to renewable energy sources like solar,” said Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA. “Nexamp and other Solar for All developers continue to make solar a reality for more New Yorkers.” Additionally, according to PA HomePage, a bill has been introduced that would enable Community Solar Projects across Pennsylvania. House Bill 531 has bipartisan support and will allow residents and commercial businesses to subscribe to a portion of an off-site solar project and receive credit on their electric bill for the power produced — similar to if solar panels were actually on the roof. “Not only will this bill protect our environment, but it will also spur on the state’s growing solar industry, through a newly opened market, by providing individuals with the investment opportunity to benefit from an extra revenue stream, while reducing both their energy cost and carbon footprint,” added Rep. Aaron...

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Can’t Take The Heat: How Your Old Tires Can Make Concrete Structures More Stable
Feb23

Can’t Take The Heat: How Your Old Tires Can Make Concrete Structures More Stable

With a market share of about 10%, the U.S. is the second largest construction market worldwide. One of our preferred building materials? Concrete. We live in a world of concrete. As the most used manmade material in the world, concrete plays a major role in our buildings, bridges, and even comprises nearly 30% of this nation’s interstate highways. Because we are so dependent on concrete to survive and thrive, it must be incredibly durable; although the material does get stronger as it ages, it has one fatal flaw: spalling. Weak Concrete Spalling occurs when moisture penetrates the concrete mixture. When concrete is cured, it hardens into a rocklike mass; if carbon dioxide in the air mixes with alkalis in the concrete, cracks can appear that allow water to enter. If not repaired, spalling can eventually cause the crumbling and destruction of a structure. Beyond structural damage, spalling exposes concrete to a very dangerous possibility. If water has gotten into the structure, it can actually cause the material to explode when exposed to high temperatures; as the moisture within boils and turns into steam, it can cause the concrete to break apart explosively. Ultimately, this supposedly fire-proof material becomes a literal ticking timebomb. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle To combat the likelihood of this occurrence (after all, fires are already deadly, they don’t need to be explosive as well), scientists have discovered that the addition of polypropylene fibers to concrete mixtures can prevent the volatile detonation. Polypropylene is a thermoplastic, meaning that it melts, rather than burns, when exposed to high temperatures. As the fibers melt in concrete, they create tiny passages that allow the powerful steam to escape, thus diffusing the situation. “Because the fibers are so small, they don’t affect the strength or the stiffness of the concrete,” said Shan-Shan Huang, lead author of a paper on the study published in Fire Technology. “Their only job is to melt when heat becomes intense. Concrete is a brittle material, so will break out relatively easily without having these fibers help to reduce the pressure within the concrete.” Unfortunately, polypropylene costs a lot of energy and resources to manufacture. In their attempt to find a more affordable and sustainable method of production, researchers discovered that the fiber cordage encased inside tire rubber could make an excellent replacement. Although they are still in the process of figuring out how to separate the fibers from the rubber, the future looks bright: if you’ve recently bought new tires, consider donating them to the...

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12 Trends Impacting The 2019 Digital Marketing Sector
Feb22

12 Trends Impacting The 2019 Digital Marketing Sector

Advertising has certainly come a long way over the last few centuries, decades, and years. Though it might not seem like major changes occur year after year, effectively shaking up the marketing sector as a whole, thanks to all these technological advancements over the years, the entire digital landscape can be revolutionized with a single emerging trend. We asked a few digital marketing industry professionals about what’s expected for 2019 and beyond — here are the notable digital marketing trends to keep an eye out for: Strong and Quality Content Although much has been said about the importance of quality in the SEO and digital sector, for the foreseeable future, content remains king — and quality content is what truly separates marketers and organizations from the rest of the pack. “2019 will be an important year in terms of quality pages. It will be a key factor when it comes to implementing the Google search quality guidelines,” said Bernat Guitart of AppFutura. “Terms like Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness will be key factors to increase our SERPs websites visibility. These factors are specially important if you are in the Health or Finance industry, but applicable to all other sectors.” “In 2019, the relentless march towards quality will continue; better businesses, better websites, and better rank will continue to converge,” added Ben Carter of Local Adworks. “Businesses that fail to appreciate that will not fail to understand the difficulty of building castles on sand. We expect the combined power of Social media marketing and review marketing to be the essential element of the holistic approach that is now required, voice search will present more longtail opportunities for all businesses and those looking to upset the status quo would do well to focus on it.” “To put it simply, the most effective SEO strategies (2019 onwards) will increasingly revolve around producing high-quality content and conducting sufficient media outreach,” said Sullivan Geneau of Jelly Marketing. “For content, websites must focus on understanding their audiences and user intent. Content must solve the reasons users came to your site in the first place and solve those problems more effectively than the competition. With quality content, media outreach becomes a piece of cake as everyone aches to link to valuable content. Solve users’ problems and users will come!” Google Map Listings National and international searches will likely gain more prominence as the years go by, but local search is still crucial to the industry as a whole. As Google continues to evolve, Google Map listings will become even more important for organizations to get noticed, both in the digital world and the real one, as well....

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Royal Baby Bump Causes Unprecedented Betting Frenzy Over Twin Rumors
Feb21

Royal Baby Bump Causes Unprecedented Betting Frenzy Over Twin Rumors

Ever since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they were expecting a child in October, rumors have swirled about nearly every facet of Meghan Markle’s pregnancy. The most prominent rumor? Many think the Duchess is pregnant with twins. This rumor has held so much weight that popular betting site Paddy Power had to stop taking bets after an “unprecedented amount” of bets were placed, slashing the odds from 5/1 from odds of 10/1 at the end of last year. According to Paddy Power, insider information could have been leaked, skewing the odds. The rumors began when Markle first showed off her royal baby bump in public. Even Prince Harry commented that it looks like the Duchess appears larger than normal for this time in her pregnancy. He’s been quoted saying “there’s a heavy baby in her” as recently as the Endeavour Fund Awards earlier this month. But that’s not all. Markle’s age also suggests that she is more likely to have twins. Markle will be 37 by the time she gives birth in late April. According to WebMD and other medical sources, the likelihood of having twins increases with age. This is primarily because of the hormonal changes that occur in women as they grow older. Your body is thought to produce more than 50 different types of hormones at any given time, but the levels of each type will change with age. In women, these hormonal changes can result in a greater chance of giving birth to fraternal twins. After all, it’s estimated that identical twin births will only occur in four out of every 1,000 live child births. Should the Duchess of Sussex give birth to twins, it is far more likely that she will be graced with fraternal twins than identical twins. Reports also claim that Markle’s height suggests that the Duchess has a better ability to carry twins in the first place. Standing at 5’7″ which is taller than the average woman, she has a better chance at carrying twins to a successful delivery than shorter counterparts. Unfortunately, the royal family has been hesitant to release any information to the public. Reports have it that the couple doesn’t even know the sex of the baby yet, hoping to keep it a surprise until the day of the birth. Of course, this set the media into yet another frenzy as countless people began suggesting possible baby names for the newest member of the royal family. But it’s a tradition that the royals keep matters similar to these under lock and key. Some of the most popular names among royal well-wishers include Alice, Victoria, James, and Albert. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until...

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