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  • Vigorous Weeds and Lethargic Regulations: A Wicked Problem for Farmers | Farm Doc Daily

    There is a troubling discrepancy between the large number of harmful invasive plant species and the number of invasive plant species that are actually regulated.[1] At the federal level, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection service (APHIS) includes 112 plant species on the Federal Noxious Weed List.Scientific estimates, however, put the actual number of introduced invasive species at around 5,000. It is estimated that annual costs attributed to invasive plant species in the U.S. approach $25 billion.

    At the state level, Illinois has two weed laws that attempt to regulate the spread of invasive weeds species within the state's ecosystems; the Illinois Noxious Weed Law, overseen by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and the Illinois Exotic Weed Act, which is a conservation act enforced by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. While both statutes attempt to control invasive weed species in the state, the Acts can be differentiated by how the legislature defined noxious and exotic. The Noxious Weed Act defines noxious weeds as "any plant which is determined by the be injurious to public health, crops, livestock, land or other property." Under the Noxious Weed Act, any weed found on the list must be controlled and eradicated at the cost of the landowner, with a clear focus on protecting agricultural productivity.

    Post date: Tue, 06/28/2016 - 14:03
  • Free Trade is Dead | Washington Monthly

    Regardless of who wins the presidential election in November, the 2016 campaign has already dramatically undermined a major pillar of post–World War II American economic and foreign policy—free trade. How did we get to this point? The answer is twofold. For seventy years, leaders of both parties have pursued trade deals less to strengthen the American economy than to achieve geostrategic aims, from rewarding political-military allies to fostering development of emerging markets. And they’ve been encouraged in this pursuit by generations of economists who have argued that trade deals, no matter how one-sidedly generous to other nations, are also good for the American economy—which raises the second point. Globalization has changed conditions so dramatically that this orthodoxy is no longer true, if it ever was. With the public now in full rebellion and presidential candidates leading, or at least adjusting to, that revolt, change to our trade stance is coming. What we really need, however, and haven’t seen from any candidate, is a comprehensive strategy that can both strengthen the American economy and meet our geopolitical needs.

    Post date: Tue, 06/28/2016 - 14:00
  • Bayer CEO Takes Risk in Bid for Monsanto |

    Bayer AG’s $62 billion offer for Monsanto Co., which would be the largest corporate takeover ever by a German company, is also Chief Executive Werner Baumann’s risky power play after a 28-year ascent.

    Post date: Tue, 06/28/2016 - 13:58
  • TransCanada formally seeks NAFTA damages in Keystone XL rejection | Reuters

    TransCanada Corp is formally requesting arbitration over U.S. President Barack Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, seeking $15 billion in damages.  TransCanada submitted a notice for an arbitration claim in January and had then tried to negotiate with the U.S. government to "reach an amicable settlement," the company said in files posted on the pipeline's website.

    Post date: Tue, 06/28/2016 - 13:56
  • Rhode Island: Renewable energy gets a boost in Assembly session | Providence Journal

     As the General Assembly session wound down this month, the discussion around state energy issues focused on two controversial proposals.  The first — legislation aimed at blocking a plan for a large fossil fuel-burning power plant in Burrillville — was killed by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, but only after it won broad support in the House of Representatives.  The second — a provision inserted into the House budget bill that would have shifted some interconnection costs for renewable energy projects from private developers to electric ratepayers — was removed after a group of legislators alleged that it was aimed only at benefiting one politically connected wind power company.

    Post date: Tue, 06/28/2016 - 13:55

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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.