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  • Rural Manufacturing Survival and Its Role in the Rural Economy | USDA

    The manufacturing sector’s share of employment and earnings in rural (nonmetro) areas began to exceed its share in urban (metro) areas in the 1980s, when import competition forced domestic manufacturers to lower costs. Wages, property taxes, and land prices are generally lower in rural areas. And despite the sector’s declining employment since the 1950s, manufacturing jobs still represented 14 percent of rural private nonfarm jobs in 2015 (compared to 7 percent for urban). As a share, manufacturing earnings are even more important to rural America. Manufacturing earnings represented 21 percent of rural private nonfarm earnings in 2015 (compared to 11 percent for urban). Manufacturing provides a higher share of total jobs and total earnings in rural America than other sectors commonly associated with rural places: production agriculture and mining. In rural America in 2015, manufacturing jobs totaled 2.5 million, while farm jobs stood at 1.4 million and mining jobs (including oil and gas extraction) stood at 0.5 million. Rural earnings in 2015 included $158.1 million from manufacturing, $45.4 million from farming, and $37.3 million from mining. Still, employment in “service” industries dwarfs manufacturing employment in rural America, at least at a national level. Indeed, manufacturing’s relative rural importance is due, in part, to the rural service sector not growing as quickly as the urban service sector. As demand for services grows, economic restructuring is altering job opportunities in rural areas. Producer services jobs (e.g., information, finance, insurance, real estate) numbered 3.7 million in rural America in 2015, while jobs in consumer services (e.g., healthcare, entertainment, food service) numbered 6.2 million, over a quarter of all rural jobs. By comparison, rural manufacturing employment was only a little larger than that of healthcare and social assistance, a component of consumer services. These rural totals mask variation across different areas; in some rural areas, manufacturing employment is dwarfed by farm employment or has become relatively less important as mining employment has grown. Rural manufacturing is no longer the driver of job growth that it once was: 71 percent of U.S. counties experienced a decline in manufacturing employment between 2001 and 2015. Counties with the largest relative declines were concentrated in the Eastern United States, the traditional hub of U.S. manufacturing.

    Post date: Fri, 10/20/2017 - 07:33
  • Audit finds shortcomings in USDA foreign meat oversight | Capital Press

    An internal USDA audit has found shortcomings in the agency’s system for ensuring foreign meat and egg inspections are equivalent to those in the U.S. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspections Service is charged with ensuring meat and egg products imported into the U.S. are subject to equivalent protections against food safety hazards.Auditors from USDA’s Office of Inspector General said the agency has a “robust system” for scrutinizing countries that apply to export meat and eggs to the U.S. but found fault with its ongoing monitoring of trading partners once they’ve qualified.The audit said that “without more robust controls” for determining the equivalence of foreign inspections, the FSIS program is “vulnerable to weaknesses that increase the risk of adulterated or unsafe meat, poultry, or egg products being imported into the United States.”In response to the audit, FSIS said it was making improvements to enact many of the audit’s recommendations, though the agency disagreed with some of the characterizations in the report.The report claimed FSIS didn’t consistently follow its own policy for auditing countries based on performance assessments, for example.

    Post date: Fri, 10/20/2017 - 07:32
  • FDA Announces Two Public Meetings on Agricultural Biotechnology Education and Outreach | FDA

    he U.S Food and Drug Administration is announcing public meetings to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, and San Francisco, California, regarding its Agricultural Biotechnology Education and Outreach Initiative. Congress appropriated $3 million to fund this initiative, which calls upon the FDA to work with USDA to provide education and outreach to the public on agricultural biotechnology and food and animal feed ingredients derived from biotechnology. The purpose of the public meetings is to provide the public with an opportunity to share information, experiences, and suggestions to help inform the development of this education and outreach initiative.Charlotte, North Carolina, Tuesday, November 7, 2017, from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm EST. San Francisco, California, Tuesday, November 14, 2017, from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm PST

    Post date: Fri, 10/20/2017 - 07:31
  • GMO Innovation Contest | GMO answers

    If you could use biotechnology to solve any food problem around the world, what would it be and why?  SUbmit your 30 second video for a chance to win! As part of this year’s Get to Know GMOs Month in October, GMO Answers is challenging you to show us the importance of GMOs and biotechnology in addressing global food challenges.Submit a 15-30 second video answering the question If you could use biotechnology to solve any food problem around the world, what would it be and why?Use #GMOInnovationContest when uploading your video to Instagram, YouTube or Vimeo. *Remember to make your profile public!Videos will be judged based on content, creativity and ability to present biotech as a crucial part of our planet’s health, safety and future. Submissions accepted from now through Oct. 23.

    Post date: Fri, 10/20/2017 - 07:28
  • Biodefense Panel finds animal agriculture increasingly threatened | Biodefense Study

     The increasing rate of emerging and reemerging animal diseases, along with threats and attempts by those with nefarious intent to attack food and agriculture, point to the need to reduce the biological risk to America’s food and agricultural sector. That is the finding of a new report out today from the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense: Defense of Animal Agriculture. This is the first in a series of special focus reports. It includes the Panel’s evaluation of threats to animal agriculture, central to the health and well-being of the population and the security of one of the largest sectors of the U.S. economy. “Every year, we discover new threats to the Nation that could severely impact our animal agriculture,” said Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader and Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense Panel Member. “Whether these threats arise here at home or abroad, we need to ensure that both domestic and international agrodefense efforts occur in concert. Governmental and non-governmental stakeholders also need to work together to eliminate vulnerabilities and reduce potential consequences that would affect our animals, lives, and economy. Implementing the proposals contained in this new report will prevent illness, death, and economic disaster.”

    Post date: Fri, 10/20/2017 - 07:26

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Farmland Taxes Under Discussion in the Midwest Again

23 January, 2017

Senator Jean Leising knows it’s going to be another tough year for beef and hog producers, and 2016’s record national yields for corn and soybeans indicate that farm profitability will decline for the third straight year.  She is convinced that “the drop in net farm income again this year makes the changes Indiana made to the farmland taxation calculation in 2016 even more important.”  


Are corporations taking over America’s food supply?

15 March, 2016

Family farms.  The foundation of America’s food security.  According to the USDA, 97 percent of farms are family farms, and they grow 90 percent of the food produced. But national policies to keep food affordable (American’s spend less than 7 percent of their paycheck for food) and the boom and bust cycles of farming have resulted in larger, more concentrated farming practices.