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Yakima hotel transforms into farmworker housing

Capital Press | Posted on November 18, 2018 in Agriculture News

A large Yakima hotel has been mostly converted into farmworker housing and owners foresee it meeting more need as use of foreign guestworkers continues to grow.

U.S. Crop Giants are Doing More Brazil Deals Thanks to Trade War

Bloomberg | Posted on November 18, 2018 in Agriculture News

 Cargill, ADM agree to ship soybeans from South America.  Soy stockpiles in U.S. forecast to rise as exports decrease.Some of the most iconic names in U.S. agriculture just agreed to do more business with China. But it’s coming at the expense of American farmers as the companies agree to ship more soybeans from Brazil amid Donald Trump’s trade war with Beijing.Cargill Inc., the biggest privately-held U.S. company, as well as its century-old rivals Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.

Renewables can challenge existing coal plants on price

Utility Dive | Posted on November 18, 2018 in Energy News

Average costs for wind and solar energy can undercut existing coal generation even without subsidies, according to analysis from the research firm Lazard.The latest version of Lazard's levelized cost of energy (LCOE) analysis finds that U.S. onshore wind energy costs average between $26/MWh and $56/MWh without subsidies, while utility-scale solar averages between $36/MWh and $44/MWh. That challenges the average cost for existing U.S. coal plants, which Lazard pegs between $27/MWh and $45/MWh.

SARL Members and Alumni News

Medical marijuana backers threaten to sue over LDS Church involvement in compromise bill to replace Prop 2

Salt Lake Tribune | Posted on November 17, 2018

Medical marijuana advocates say they are exploring legal action challenging the Legislature’s move to replace Proposition 2 “at the behest” of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Although Utah voters this month approved the medical cannabis initiative by about 52 percent-48 percent, lawmakers are expected to meet in a December special session to overwrite the measure with a marijuana proposal acceptable to Prop 2 opponents, including the church.

Nevada marijuana tax collections top $8M in August, set record

Las Vegas Sun | Posted on November 17, 2018

New Nevada tax data shows marijuana revenues are continuing to grow and top records in the state. The Nevada Department of Taxation said Wednesday that marijuana tax revenues at the retail and wholesale levels generated $8.1 million in August.That's a record and $3.2 million higher than the same month in 2017.The previous record was $7.9 million in July.

State Rep. Triston Cole from Mancelona Named Next Majority Floor Leader in Michigan House

9 and 10 News | Posted on November 15, 2018

State Rep. Triston Cole was selected to be to the majority floor leader in the state House of Representatives.

Thanks to all who ran for office

Montana Associated Technology Roundtables | Posted on November 15, 2018

I thank everyone who took the incredible leap of faith to run for elected office in the face of this turbulent political environment. After one of the most negative elections cycles I have ever seen, I can only propose that most voters want to hear what you stand for, not why your opponent is scum. I am amazed and gratified that truly dedicated people who actually want to be public servants and represent the interests of their constituents, not their own selfish interests, still run and face the relentless attacks and misrepresentations on who they are and what they believe.

Lawsuit: Ohio wind setbacks were adopted in violation of state constitution

Energy News Network | Posted on November 15, 2018

A lawsuit filed this week over Ohio’s wind turbine setbacks centers on whether landowners, developers and others had a chance to be heard before the stricter terms were adopted as part of an eleventh-hour budget bill amendment in 2014.House Bill 483’s property line setbacks became part of a massive 2014 budget bill less than 24 hours before its passage by the Ohio Senate.Barely 10 minutes of discussion on the provisions took place on the Senate floor.That “tucked away” issue forms the basis for the plaintiffs’ constitutional challenge now.

Agriculture News

Yakima hotel transforms into farmworker housing

Capital Press | Posted on November 18, 2018

A large Yakima hotel has been mostly converted into farmworker housing and owners foresee it meeting more need as use of foreign guestworkers continues to grow.

U.S. Crop Giants are Doing More Brazil Deals Thanks to Trade War

Bloomberg | Posted on November 18, 2018

 Cargill, ADM agree to ship soybeans from South America.  Soy stockpiles in U.S. forecast to rise as exports decrease.Some of the most iconic names in U.S. agriculture just agreed to do more business with China. But it’s coming at the expense of American farmers as the companies agree to ship more soybeans from Brazil amid Donald Trump’s trade war with Beijing.Cargill Inc., the biggest privately-held U.S. company, as well as its century-old rivals Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.

Nevada marijuana tax collections top $8M in August, set record

Las Vegas Sun | Posted on November 17, 2018

New Nevada tax data shows marijuana revenues are continuing to grow and top records in the state. The Nevada Department of Taxation said Wednesday that marijuana tax revenues at the retail and wholesale levels generated $8.1 million in August.That's a record and $3.2 million higher than the same month in 2017.The previous record was $7.9 million in July.

Check deer for chronic wasting disease, don't consume contaminated venison

Knox News | Posted on November 17, 2018

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is asking deer hunters to have their kills checked professionally for chronic wasting disease (CWD). CWD is a contagious and a fatal neurological disorder that affects members of the deer family known scientifically as cervids. The state said import restrictions have been designed to protect these native herds, which include white-tailed deer and elk in Tennessee. "It’s possible that every deer you kill will have to be taken first to a mandatory check-station for sample collection.

Natural Climate Solutions Could Cancel Out a Fifth of U.S. Emissions

Inside Climate News | Posted on November 17, 2018

Low-tech, time-tested forest, farm and land management techniques are effective, cheap and carry benefits well beyond tackling climate change.Conserving and restoring American forest, farm and natural lands could cut a substantial chunk of the country's emissions, helping meet greenhouse gas reduction goals without relying on undeveloped technologies, a new report finds.A team of 38 researchers spent more than two years looking at "natural climate solutions"—a range of strategies that includes planting trees in cities, preventing the conversion of natural grassland to farmland and shifting

Federal News

U.S. House passes bill to drop legal protections for gray wolves

Capital Press | Posted on November 17, 2018

The Republican-controlled House passed a bill to drop legal protections for gray wolves across the lower 48 states, reopening a lengthy battle over the predator species. Long despised by farmers and ranchers, wolves were shot, trapped and poisoned out of existence in most of the U.S. by the mid-20th century.

US appeals court rules against Trump on DACA immigration program

CNBC | Posted on November 15, 2018

A U.S. appeals court in California ruled that President Donald Trump's administration must continue DACA, a program that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants.The ruling represented another legal defeat for Trump over DACA.DACA offers protections to roughly 700,000 young adults, mostly Hispanics, who entered the country as children.

Lawsuit against USDA takes aim at animal welfare label claims

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on November 15, 2018

The Animal Welfare Institute has sued USDA for failing to mandate third-party audits of food label claims such as “humane” and “sustainable.” The animal activist group, in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, accuses USDA of an unreasonable delay in responding to the organization’s 2014 petition for rulemaking. The petition asked the agency to require independent certification of animal raising claims including “animal compassionate” and “raised with care.”

One of Trump’s Top EPA Officials Was Just Indicted on State Ethics Charges

Mother Jones | Posted on November 15, 2018

A senior Environmental Protection Agency administrator responsible for nine southeastern states has been indicted by an Alabama grand jury on charges he conspired to violate ethics laws, reportedly in connection with a messy bribery scandal that has links to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and has roiled local politics. The Alabama Ethics Commission announced that a grand jury had indicted Onis “Trey” Glenn, the EPA official, and Willie Scott Phillips, his former business partner, on a variety of state ethics charges.

Vietnam becomes 7trh county to ratify trans-Pacific trade agreement

Reuters | Posted on November 14, 2018

Vietnam’s lawmaking body, the National Assembly, unanimously ratified a landmark 11-country deal that will slash tariffs across much of the Asia-Pacific.One of the region’s fastest growing economies, its status cemented by strong exports and robust foreign investment, the Southeast Asian nation is believed to be among the largest beneficiaries of the trade deal.The ratification makes Vietnam the seventh country to have passed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the National Assembly said in a statement.

Rural News

Australian Senate calls for stronger pet food regulation

Pet Food Industry | Posted on November 18, 2018

The Senate action follows more than 100 cases of megaesophagus in dogs correlated with a specific pet food.

 

California’s apocalyptic fires are a side effect of modern life

High Country News | Posted on November 17, 2018

The ‘new normal’ of a year-round wildfire season is a problem of our own making.Violent wildfires like the ones we’re witnessing today are of our own making. They’re the accidental yet catastrophic side effects of the way we live our lives; witness Redding, California, where the rim of a flat tire scraped the asphalt on a highway, causing the sparks that started the Carr Fire. They’re the result of people moving into fire-prone areas, along with forestry practices that suppress natural fires and human-caused global warming. Speaking to the media, Gov.

Reckoning with History: How the once-radical Endangered Species Act was weakened

High Country News | Posted on November 17, 2018

In his classic book, A Sand County Almanac, conservationist Aldo Leopold wrote of ecological communities, “A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these ‘resources,’ but it does affirm their right to continued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state.” Congress essentially agreed with Leopold when it passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, with only 12 dissenting votes in the House and none in the Senate.Today, private landowners and industry in the West are calling for Congress and the president’s

Earwax reveals how humans have changed whales’ lives

National Geographic | Posted on November 17, 2018

Luckily, museum curators around the world have had the good sense to hold onto massive plugs of earwax pulled from dead whales over the centuries.Thanks to those plugs, scientists have now discovered a record, hidden in earwax, of how human activities have stressed out whales over the past century and a half. Stephen Trumble, a comparative physiologist at Baylor University, and his colleagues published the findings this month in Nature Communications.It turns out we’re incredibly stress-inducing—from whaling to war to climate change, our actions have been affecting

USDA Invests to Improve Rural Health Care for Nearly 2 Million Rural Americans

USDA | Posted on November 17, 2018

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $501 million in 60 projects to help improve health care infrastructure (PDF, 170 KB) and services in rural communities nationwide. “Creating strong and healthy communities is foundational to increasing prosperity in rural America,” Hazlett said.

Energy News

Renewables can challenge existing coal plants on price

Utility Dive | Posted on November 18, 2018

Average costs for wind and solar energy can undercut existing coal generation even without subsidies, according to analysis from the research firm Lazard.The latest version of Lazard's levelized cost of energy (LCOE) analysis finds that U.S. onshore wind energy costs average between $26/MWh and $56/MWh without subsidies, while utility-scale solar averages between $36/MWh and $44/MWh. That challenges the average cost for existing U.S. coal plants, which Lazard pegs between $27/MWh and $45/MWh.

California PUC chair says state won't let PG&E go bankrupt

Utility Dive | Posted on November 18, 2018

California's head utility regulator said Thursday he does not want utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to go bankrupt over escalating costs related to California's record wildfire season, sending shares soaring in after-hours trading.

Probe launched against PF & E after fires

Utility Dive | Posted on November 18, 2018

The California Public Utilities Commissions (CPUC) said Monday it has launched investigations into the regulatory compliance of electric facilities owned by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) related to three deadly fires.

Clean energy platforms win at the state level as 7 governor seats shift blue

Utility Drive | Posted on November 18, 2018

Several Democratic candidates ran their campaigns on clean energy in stark contrast to their opponents, which observers say may have helped win them the election.Seven governor's races flipped blue: Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico and Nevada.

Green Plains shuts plant, faces ethanol downturn

Reuters | Posted on November 17, 2018

Green Plains Inc, the nation’s fourth-largest ethanol producer, has permanently shuttered a Virginia production plant and cut output at several other facilities as it tries to navigate a supply glut that has pummeled biofuel profits. Green Plains announced that it was closing a plant in the town of Hopewell that had capacity to produce 60 million gallons annually. Thirty-one jobs will be cut, it said in a news release.

Food News

Petco drops pet foods, treats with artificial ingredients

Pet Food Industry | Posted on November 18, 2018

Petco announced it will not sell dog or cat food and treats containing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives by May 2019.

Schwan’s Sold to South Korean Company

KSAL | Posted on November 17, 2018

Schwan’s Company, a leading U.S. food business, announced Thursday it has reached an agreement to sell a majority stake of the company to CJ CheilJedang (CJCJ), of Seoul, South Korea.Schwan’s Company began in 1952 as a one-man-and-a-truck home-delivery business operating in rural Minnesota. Today, Schwan’s is a leading U.S. food manufacturer and marketer with approximately 12,000 employees and trusted brands like Schwan’s® fine foods, Red Baron®, Freschetta® and Tony’s® pizza, Edwards® and Mrs.

Cost of Thanksgiving Day dinner drops by 75 cents

Bismarck Tribune | Posted on November 17, 2018

American Farm Bureau Federation’s 32nd annual price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.12, a 75-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.87.

Sucking your baby's pacifier to clean it may prevent allergies

Science Daily | Posted on November 17, 2018

New research suggests a link between parental sucking on a pacifier and a lower allergic response among young children.

Dietary fat is good? Dietary fat is bad? Coming to consensus

Science Daily | Posted on November 17, 2018

Which is better, a low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet or a high-fat/low-carbohydrate diet -- or is it the type of fat that matters? In a new paper, researchers with diverse expertise and perspectives on the issues laid out the case for each position and came to a consensus and a future research agenda.The researchers agreed that no specific fat to carbohydrate ratio is best for everyone, and that an overall high-quality diet that is low in sugar and refined grains will help most people maintain a healthy weight and low chronic disease risk.