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‘Struggling to tread water’: Dairy farmers are caught in an economic system with no winning formula

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Posted on May 23, 2019 in Agriculture News

A worldwide surplus of milk has driven down the price farmers receive to the point where many have lost money for months, or even several years, at a time. Nearly 3,000 U.S. dairy farms folded in 2018, about a 6.5% decline, according to U.S.

Small group of America’s big farms gets bulk of Trump bailout

Financial Times | Posted on May 23, 2019 in Agriculture News

A tenth of US farm operators have received more than half the money from a federal bailout designed to offset the costs of the Trump administration’s trade battles, data show. Some use legal loopholes to collect multiples of a $125,000 cap on payments. The government had doled out $8.5bn ahead of last Friday’s application deadline for farmers, the US department of agriculture said. The White House launched the Market Facilitation Program in September after China, Mexico and other countries fought back against US tariffs by raising duties on American farm goods, depressing their price.

Maryland 50% renewable by 2030, but republican governor wants more

electrek | Posted on May 23, 2019 in Energy, SARL Members and Alumni News

Maryland’s bill mandating 50% renewable energy by 2030 is set to become law on Friday. The bill will do so without the signature of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Why won’t Hogan sign the bill? It’s probably not what you think. Like a number of critics, Maryland’s GOP governor doesn’t believe the bill does enough to combat climate change, and it gives no guarantees of Maryland jobs.

SARL Members and Alumni News

Maryland 50% renewable by 2030, but republican governor wants more

electrek | Posted on May 23, 2019

Maryland’s bill mandating 50% renewable energy by 2030 is set to become law on Friday. The bill will do so without the signature of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Why won’t Hogan sign the bill? It’s probably not what you think. Like a number of critics, Maryland’s GOP governor doesn’t believe the bill does enough to combat climate change, and it gives no guarantees of Maryland jobs.

Rural and urban economies can improve with cooperation

Wisconsin State Journal | Posted on May 23, 2019

Data revealed Thursday at MadREP’s “State of the Madison Region Economy” event highlighted significant challenges facing the seven counties outside Dane while also breaking down research reports on the region’s target economic sectors: agriculture, food and beverage; advanced manufacturing; health care; information communications technology; and bioscience.“Our rural areas are significantly under-performing compared to Dane County,” said MadREP President Paul Jadin, who presented the region’s next five-year economic development strategy.There are many reasons for that, not the least of whic

Opportunity Zones Skip Over Hard-Hit Rural Places

Nonprofit Quarterly  | Posted on May 23, 2019

Shelterforce is right on the money in their article, “Pushing Opportunity Zones to Fulfill Their Promise.” The piece urges urban leaders across the country to set guiding principles to make sure this new tax incentive, called the “most significant community development program to pass in a generation,” leads to equitable development and not displacement of low-income residents and people of color.

Colorado to reward companies for hiring remote workers in state’s far-flung areas

Denver Post | Posted on May 23, 2019

Companies have relocated thousand of jobs to Colorado since the Great Recession, many drawn by the state’s job growth incentive tax credit program (JGITC), which provides a state tax credit based on payroll taxes paid. But most of those positions have landed in metro Denver or now and then in nearby cities like Fort Collins or Colorado Springs. That Front Range concentration has frustrated economic development officials to no end. The Hickenlooper administration rolled out even more targeted and generous incentive programs to convince employers to go rural.

Oregon Legislature approves environmental 'rollback' bill

Capital Press | Posted on May 23, 2019

Critics and proponents agree that recently passed legislation intended to shield Oregon from federal “rollbacks” of environmental regulations is meant to send a message. While supporters claim House Bill 2250 signifies the state government’s stand against weakening protections for air, soil and water at the federal level, opponents argue it amounts to an expensive but empty political stunt.The bill was approved by the Senate 16-12 on May 14 after passing the House two months earlier. It’s all but assured of being signed into law by Gov.

Agriculture News

‘Struggling to tread water’: Dairy farmers are caught in an economic system with no winning formula

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Posted on May 23, 2019

A worldwide surplus of milk has driven down the price farmers receive to the point where many have lost money for months, or even several years, at a time. Nearly 3,000 U.S. dairy farms folded in 2018, about a 6.5% decline, according to U.S.

Small group of America’s big farms gets bulk of Trump bailout

Financial Times | Posted on May 23, 2019

A tenth of US farm operators have received more than half the money from a federal bailout designed to offset the costs of the Trump administration’s trade battles, data show. Some use legal loopholes to collect multiples of a $125,000 cap on payments. The government had doled out $8.5bn ahead of last Friday’s application deadline for farmers, the US department of agriculture said. The White House launched the Market Facilitation Program in September after China, Mexico and other countries fought back against US tariffs by raising duties on American farm goods, depressing their price.

Over 200 Farm, Food and Rural Groups Support Agribusiness Merger Moratorium Bills

Tri State Livestock News | Posted on May 23, 2019

A broad-based coalition of 219 farm, food, rural, faith and consumer advocacy organizations delivered a letter to Congress endorsing food and agribusiness merger moratorium bills introduced by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Jon Tester (D-MT) and Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI). The Food and Agribusiness Merger Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act of 2019 would initiate a moratorium on large agriculture, food and beverage manufacturing and grocery retail mergers to allow time to assess the impact corporate consolidation has on farmers, workers, consumers and communities.

Egg farmers, animal welfare groups clash in Sonoma County

Peninsula Press | Posted on May 23, 2019

But ever since a May 2018 demonstration by Direct Action Everywhere, or DxE, an animal welfare group founded less than 50 miles away in Berkeley, California, Weber is concerned about his safety as he moves through his daily routine. A parked car sits at the edge of the farm.  A drone flies overhead. Weber wonders if he and his brother are being watched, if DxE is preparing for an ambush. The protest began on a Spring day in 2018. Around 500 demonstrators led by DxE protested outside Weber’s farm.

Almond exports drop after more than a year of Chinese tariff hikes

Sacramento Business Journal  | Posted on May 23, 2019

California tree nut growers were already feeling the effects of the U.S.-China trade war — and that was before a new round of tariffs was announced last week.

Federal News

USDA farms out economists whose work challenges Trump policies

Politico | Posted on May 23, 2019

The Agriculture Department is moving nearly all its researchers into the economic effects of climate change, trade policy and food stamps – subjects of controversial Trump administration initiatives – outside of Washington, part of what employees claim is a political crackdown on economists whose assessments have raised questions about the president’s policies.

USDA researchers quit in droves as Trump administration plans relocation

The Washington Post | Posted on May 23, 2019

A plan to move Agriculture Department researchers out of Washington has thrown two small but influential science agencies into upheaval. Federal employees at the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) have quit in unusually large numbers since August, when Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced he would relocate the offices.

Farmers eagerly await Trump’s trade aid plan but concern grows that it may disappoint

 | Posted on May 23, 2019

American farmers are eagerly awaiting the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest trade aid plan, but there are concerns that producers of corn and wheat could lose out with the package that could top $15 billion. “Details on the new trade mitigation program will be forthcoming shortly, but we want to be clear that the program is being designed to avoid skewing planting decisions one way or another,” USDA said.

Japan lifts restrictions on U.S. beef

Capital Press | Posted on May 23, 2019

USDA announced on Friday U.S. beef will now have full access to Japanese markets for the first time in more than 15 years. The U.S. and Japan have agreed on new terms and conditions that eliminate Japan’s restrictions on U.S. beef that have been in place since December 2003, USDA stated.Those restrictions followed the detection of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in a Washington state dairy cow.At that time, Japan immediately banned U.S. beef and beef products, and U.S.

Interior Department policy let political appointees review FOIA requests

Roll Call  | Posted on May 23, 2019

So-called awareness review process could expose department to legal action.

Rural News

Immigrant families forgoing food, housing in fear of Trump's visa plan

Newsweek | Posted on May 23, 2019

Immigrants in the United States and their families are forgoing essential welfare benefits like public housing, food stamps and Medicare over fear of persecution, a new study has found. One in seven immigrants avoided public benefit programs in 2018 out of concern they would risk their future green card status, the Urban Institute found.Last week, President Donald Trump proposed changing the nation’s legal immigration system to limit green cards given to migrants who rely on welfare benefits or who are not financially independent.

Rural and urban economies can improve with cooperation

Wisconsin State Journal | Posted on May 23, 2019

Data revealed Thursday at MadREP’s “State of the Madison Region Economy” event highlighted significant challenges facing the seven counties outside Dane while also breaking down research reports on the region’s target economic sectors: agriculture, food and beverage; advanced manufacturing; health care; information communications technology; and bioscience.“Our rural areas are significantly under-performing compared to Dane County,” said MadREP President Paul Jadin, who presented the region’s next five-year economic development strategy.There are many reasons for that, not the least of whic

School Meals Expansion story

AP News | Posted on May 23, 2019

In a story May 16 about school meals programs in Oregon, The Associated Press reported erroneously the number of public school students in Oregon. There are about 580,000 students, not 400,000. A corrected version of the story is below:Oregon OKs largest expansion of federal free lunch program. Oregon is spending $40 million to dramatically expand the federal free breakfast and lunch program, ensuring that more than 60 percent of its 58,000 public school students will be included, the only statewide effort in the country

Opportunity Zones Skip Over Hard-Hit Rural Places

Nonprofit Quarterly  | Posted on May 23, 2019

Shelterforce is right on the money in their article, “Pushing Opportunity Zones to Fulfill Their Promise.” The piece urges urban leaders across the country to set guiding principles to make sure this new tax incentive, called the “most significant community development program to pass in a generation,” leads to equitable development and not displacement of low-income residents and people of color.

Colorado to reward companies for hiring remote workers in state’s far-flung areas

Denver Post | Posted on May 23, 2019

Companies have relocated thousand of jobs to Colorado since the Great Recession, many drawn by the state’s job growth incentive tax credit program (JGITC), which provides a state tax credit based on payroll taxes paid. But most of those positions have landed in metro Denver or now and then in nearby cities like Fort Collins or Colorado Springs. That Front Range concentration has frustrated economic development officials to no end. The Hickenlooper administration rolled out even more targeted and generous incentive programs to convince employers to go rural.

Energy News

Maryland 50% renewable by 2030, but republican governor wants more

electrek | Posted on May 23, 2019

Maryland’s bill mandating 50% renewable energy by 2030 is set to become law on Friday. The bill will do so without the signature of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Why won’t Hogan sign the bill? It’s probably not what you think. Like a number of critics, Maryland’s GOP governor doesn’t believe the bill does enough to combat climate change, and it gives no guarantees of Maryland jobs.

Ohio House Republicans overhaul ‘clean-energy’ bill to focus on nuclear, coal subsidies

Cleveland.com | Posted on May 23, 2019

Ohio House Republicans on Wednesday dramatically transformed a controversial “clean-energy” subsidy bill, turning it into a bailout plan for both nuclear and coal power plants owned by Ohio companies. The changes to House Bill 6, made by the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, would also end Ohio’s much-disputed renewable-energy and energy-efficiency mandates for utilities after this year, which cost residential electricity users an average of about $4.60 per month.

Indiana utilities are in midst of identity crisis as customers take power into own hands

Indy Star | Posted on May 23, 2019

The changes came slowly, then seemingly all at once. Next door, your neighbor installed solar panels. You started seeing more and more electric vehicles. When you drove north on I-65, you hit a patch of farmland dotted with large windmills.

Renewable Fuel Standard Saves Consumers 22 Cents on Every Gallon of Gas

Hoosier Ag Today  | Posted on May 23, 2019

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has lowered gas prices by an average of 22 cents per gallon in recent years and saved the typical American household $250 annually, according to a study published by economist and energy policy expert Dr. Philip K.

Trump EPA did not await court ruling to loosen biofuel rules for refiners - documents

Reuters | Posted on May 23, 2019

The Trump administration made it easier for oil refineries to get waivers from the nation’s biofuel law at least four months before a 2017 court decision it often cites to justify the move to the corn lobby, and the move was motivated by a desire to save the oil industry money. The timing and motivation for the Environmental Protection Agency’s policy change, revealed through court documents and an interview with a former top agency official, have not been previously reported.

Food News

Atlanta creates first food forest in Georgia, largest in U.S.

Atlanta Journal Constitution | Posted on May 23, 2019

Atlanta residents will have greater access to fresh food thanks to a public “food forest.”City Council, on a unanimous vote, approved the transformation of 7.1 acres of property near the Lakewood Fairgrounds and Browns Mill Golf Course into a public park and garden. The food forest is the first in Georgia and the largest in the United States.The Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill has been in the works since November 2016 when the city accepted an $86,150 grant from the U.S. Forest Service Community Forest and Open Space Program.

School Meals Expansion story

AP News | Posted on May 23, 2019

In a story May 16 about school meals programs in Oregon, The Associated Press reported erroneously the number of public school students in Oregon. There are about 580,000 students, not 400,000. A corrected version of the story is below:Oregon OKs largest expansion of federal free lunch program. Oregon is spending $40 million to dramatically expand the federal free breakfast and lunch program, ensuring that more than 60 percent of its 58,000 public school students will be included, the only statewide effort in the country

These Missouri Poultry Producers Include Dispatches From The Farm In Every Egg Carton

KBIA | Posted on May 23, 2019

One of Campo Lindo’s most defining qualities is a personal note included in every carton of eggs that leaves the farm. Carol writes those notes every two week; she began doing it when the farm started selling its eggs through grocery stores. “I just missed the communication that I had with our customers,” Carol says. “So I was like, ‘Well, I'll just start putting a little note, at least it's one-way communication,' but what's turned out really cool is a lot of times people take the time, they'll send a little email or phone call.

National Pork Board Uncovers What Diners Crave and Why

PR Newswire | Posted on May 23, 2019

The National Pork Board released its latest findings from the comprehensive Insight to Action research, this time examining trends in consumer behavior related to dining out.

CBD entering food and drink at an 'astounding pace,' report says

Food Dive | Posted on May 23, 2019

A new Rabobank report found that CBD has been entering food and beverage products — beer, coffee, cocktails, jelly beans and others — at an "astounding pace." However, the substance remains illegal in foods and beverages on a national level, and it may not be approved for several more years barring congressional action, according to the report.Meanwhile, the market appears poised for more CBD-infused products, and Rabobank said the demand is likely to continue.