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WOTUS: Where Are We Now?

Texas Agriculture Law Blog | Posted on August 17, 2017 in Agriculture, Federal News

In February 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order which required the EPA and COE to “rescind or revise” the 2015 Rule.  The Order said that the agencies should “consider interpreting” the term consistent with Justice Scalia’s opinion in Rapanos. In June, the EPA announced it would be taking the first step to rescind the 2015 Rule and to re-codify the definition of WOTUS prior to the passage of the 2015 rule.Where Are We Now?

FDA Clarifies Sanitary Transportation Rule Waiver for Retail Food Establishments

The Coastal Bend Chronicle | Posted on August 17, 2017 in Agriculture, Federal, Food News

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued guidance to clarify that a waiver to the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food final rule (Sanitary Transportation rule) covers retail food establishments that sell food for humans, including those that sell both human and animal food, but does not apply to establishments that only sell food for animals.

4 Reasons Manufacturing Jobs Are Returning to the USA

The Agurban | Posted on August 17, 2017 in Rural News

Manufacturing jobs are (still) being reshored to the US. Here are the main drivers behind this trend. 1. Automotive and Electronics Industry Growth, 2. Increased Labor Cost, 3. Logistical Challenges, 4. Lack of Skilled Workers

SARL Members and Alumni News

Photovoice for Agricultural Resilience: Farmers educate decision-makers through photos.

Snohomosh Conservation District  | Posted on August 17, 2017

Seven farms took part in the Photovoice Project hosted by the Snohomish Conservation District and The Nature Conservancy. Through a series of four workshops, participants responded to two questions - "Why is agriculture important to our community?" and "What are the major challenges facing agriculture?" - through photos and discussion. Farmers each selected three of their photos, including captions, that are now part of this exhibition.

Judge: New Arizona law regulating citizen initiatives can take effect, for now

Arizona Central | Posted on August 15, 2017

A new state law making it tougher for residents to put issues on the ballot will take effect Wednesday, a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge has ruled.  But "it's certainly a possibility" the ruling will be appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court, said attorney Roopali Desai, who represents those challenging the law.

High-tech ideas to fix opioid crisis compete for Ohio grants

Columbus Dispatch | Posted on August 15, 2017

 A call by Republican Gov. John Kasich for scientific breakthroughs to help solve the opioid crisis is drawing interest from dozens of groups with ideas including remote controlled medication dispensers, monitoring devices for addicts, mobile apps and pain-relieving massage gloves.The state has received project ideas from 44 hospitals, universities and various medical device, software and pharmaceutical developers that plan to apply for up to $12 million in competitive research-and-development grants.

SARL member wins special state Senate election to succeed lieutenant governor (also a SARL member)

News-Leader | Posted on August 15, 2017

Rep. Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo, ensured future GOP control a southwest Missouri Senate seat by defeating Democrat Al Skalicky in a special election Tuesday to succeed Lt. Gov. Mike Parson. Crawford had been elected four times to the Missouri House.

Outdoor Recreation Now the Largest Sector of Montana’s Economy

Wild Montana | Posted on August 9, 2017

Governor Bullock's Office of Outdoor Recreation now makes more sense than ever, as does taking good care of our public lands.

Agriculture News

WOTUS: Where Are We Now?

Texas Agriculture Law Blog | Posted on August 17, 2017

In February 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order which required the EPA and COE to “rescind or revise” the 2015 Rule.  The Order said that the agencies should “consider interpreting” the term consistent with Justice Scalia’s opinion in Rapanos. In June, the EPA announced it would be taking the first step to rescind the 2015 Rule and to re-codify the definition of WOTUS prior to the passage of the 2015 rule.Where Are We Now?

FDA Clarifies Sanitary Transportation Rule Waiver for Retail Food Establishments

The Coastal Bend Chronicle | Posted on August 17, 2017

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued guidance to clarify that a waiver to the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food final rule (Sanitary Transportation rule) covers retail food establishments that sell food for humans, including those that sell both human and animal food, but does not apply to establishments that only sell food for animals.

FDA eases restrictions on ultra-filtered milk for cheese-making

Wisconsin State Farmer | Posted on August 17, 2017

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says ultra-filtered cow’s milk can now be used to make all types of natural cheeses, a move that Wisconsin cheese-makers have sought for nearly 20 years.

Examining Farm Sector and Farm Household Income

USDA | Posted on August 17, 2017

 Farm sector net cash income is expected to decline 35 percent between 2013 and 2016, following several years of record highs—though it will remain near its recent 10-year average. Starting in the late 1990s, the median household income for farm households has exceeded the median income of all U.S. households; in 2015, farm households had a median total household income of $76,735, a third gre ater than that of all U.S. households but less than that of U.S. households with a self-employed head.

Would water monitoring changes make Iowa lakes, rivers less safe?

Des Moines Register | Posted on August 17, 2017

Iowa wants to make changes to its water-quality monitoring rules that would remove 44 lakes and rivers from the federal impaired waters list. It's a move some environmental groups say could endanger public health.The Iowa Department of Natural Resources proposes switching to an average value method that uses multiple water samples to measure E. coli bacteria instead of single samples that catch spikes in bacteria. 

Federal News

WOTUS: Where Are We Now?

Texas Agriculture Law Blog | Posted on August 17, 2017

In February 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order which required the EPA and COE to “rescind or revise” the 2015 Rule.  The Order said that the agencies should “consider interpreting” the term consistent with Justice Scalia’s opinion in Rapanos. In June, the EPA announced it would be taking the first step to rescind the 2015 Rule and to re-codify the definition of WOTUS prior to the passage of the 2015 rule.Where Are We Now?

FDA Clarifies Sanitary Transportation Rule Waiver for Retail Food Establishments

The Coastal Bend Chronicle | Posted on August 17, 2017

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued guidance to clarify that a waiver to the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food final rule (Sanitary Transportation rule) covers retail food establishments that sell food for humans, including those that sell both human and animal food, but does not apply to establishments that only sell food for animals.

2018 Farm Bill: What shiny object will be used to distract this time?

Ag Policy | Posted on August 17, 2017

During these last 30-plus years, farmers and major farm and commodity organizations, abetted by agribusiness, have gone after one shiny new thing (policy) after another, often that border on entrepreneurial rent seeking, while playing the sympathy card of public support for family farmers and the agrarian ideal.

FDA eases restrictions on ultra-filtered milk for cheese-making

Wisconsin State Farmer | Posted on August 17, 2017

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says ultra-filtered cow’s milk can now be used to make all types of natural cheeses, a move that Wisconsin cheese-makers have sought for nearly 20 years.

Opinion: FDA overreach on FSMA Produce Safety needs to be addressed

Agri-Pulse | Posted on August 17, 2017

The Food and Drug Administration will soon be micromanaging a wide range of farming-related activities for many farms.

Rural News

4 Reasons Manufacturing Jobs Are Returning to the USA

The Agurban | Posted on August 17, 2017

Manufacturing jobs are (still) being reshored to the US. Here are the main drivers behind this trend. 1. Automotive and Electronics Industry Growth, 2. Increased Labor Cost, 3. Logistical Challenges, 4. Lack of Skilled Workers

Anti-Zoo HSUS Exec Infiltrates Zoo Community

Humane Watch  | Posted on August 17, 2017

We wrote recently about Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle speaking at next month’s annual meeting of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. But Pacelle’s invitation by executive director Dan Ashe has created significant concern among AZA members. Pacelle is on record saying he envisions a future without pets—”I don’t want to see another cat or dog born.” He and his followers are also no friends of those who keep animals in “prisons.” Also troubling for the AZA is its tin ear regarding other invited speakers.

A summary of the Animal Rights Conference 2017

Tri State Livestock News | Posted on August 17, 2017

The Animal Agriculture Alliance released a report today detailing observations from the Animal Rights National Conference, held August 3-6 in Alexandria, Virginia. The event was hosted by the Farm Animal Rights Movement and sponsored by Compassion Over Killing, Mercy for Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and The Humane League, along with other animal rights activist groups. Activists in attendance were encouraged to be as extreme as necessary to advance their goals. "Breaking the law can often be a good thing to do," said Zach Groff, Animal Liberation Collective.

Urban floods intensifying, countryside drying up

Science Daily | Posted on August 17, 2017

Drier soils and reduced water flow in rural areas -- but more intense rainfall that overwhelms infrastructure and causes flooding and stormwater overflow in urban centers. That's the finding of an exhaustive study of the world's river systems, based on data collected from more than 43,000 rainfall stations and 5,300 river monitoring sites across 160 countries.

Grain-free pet foods are no healthier, vets say.

The Washington Post | Posted on August 17, 2017

These grain-free, all-meat and raw-food diets are inspired by the meals eaten by wild relatives of our fidos and felixes. But are these diets really better for our pets? Veterinarians and pet nutrition researchers say probably not.According to clinical veterinary nutritionists at Tufts University, grain-free foods were one of the fastest-growing sectors of the pet food market in 2016. “All I ever hear is, oh, on a good diet, it’s grain free,” said Dena Lock, a veterinarian in Texas. The majority of her pet patients are overweight. “Grain-free is marketing.

Energy News

Biomass-Based Biodiesel Prices--How Much Does Policy Matter?

Farm Doc Daily | Posted on August 17, 2017

Our analysis suggests that the imposition of an antidumping duty that restricts biomass-based diesel (BBD) imports from Argentina and Indonesia would add about $0.15 per gallon to the average price of BBD in 2018. In addition, an EPA remedy to the court ruling invalidating the interpretation of "inadequate domestic supply" that increased BBD demand by 500 million gallons in 2018 would also add $0.15 to the equilibrium price of BBD. The price impact of each of these policy alternatives is relatively small at about four percent, with a combined impact of about 8.5 percent.

Did This Billionaire Game Ethanol Markets for a $50 Million Windfall?

The Motley Fool | Posted on August 17, 2017

It hasn't exactly been a secret that billionaire investor Carl Icahn holds contempt for renewable fuels. His companies, CVR Energy and CVR Refining, have often blamed government rules for eating into profits. Fuel blenders are required to submit to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency special compliance credits, called renewable identification numbers, or RINs, to show that mandated volumes of renewable fuels are being blended into the nation's gasoline supply.

Report: Climate Change Is Already Hurting the U.S.

Time | Posted on August 15, 2017

A draft report produced by 13 federal agencies concludes that the United States is already feeling the negative impacts of climate change, with a stark increase in the frequency of heat waves, heavy rains and other extreme weather over the last four decades. The preliminary report summarizes the current state of the science for the upcoming National Climate Assessment. Trump and his Cabinet have expressed public doubts that the warming is being primarily driven by man-made carbon pollution and will have serious consequences for Americans.

New Jersey-Size 'Dead Zone' Is Largest Ever in Gulf of Mexico

National Geographic | Posted on August 15, 2017

A record-breaking, New Jersey-sized dead zone was measured by scientists in the Gulf of Mexico this week—a sign that water quality in U.S. waterways is worse than expected.The Gulf of Mexico hypoxic or low-oxygen zone, also called a dead zone, is an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and other marine life.

CA: Cap-and-trade extension included fire fee repeal

Capital Press | Posted on August 10, 2017

The bill to extend California’s cap-and-trade program through 2030, which was signed recently by Gov. Jerry Brown, included the repeal of a controversial fee charged to rural landowners for fire protection.

Food News

FDA Clarifies Sanitary Transportation Rule Waiver for Retail Food Establishments

The Coastal Bend Chronicle | Posted on August 17, 2017

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued guidance to clarify that a waiver to the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food final rule (Sanitary Transportation rule) covers retail food establishments that sell food for humans, including those that sell both human and animal food, but does not apply to establishments that only sell food for animals.

FDA eases restrictions on ultra-filtered milk for cheese-making

Wisconsin State Farmer | Posted on August 17, 2017

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says ultra-filtered cow’s milk can now be used to make all types of natural cheeses, a move that Wisconsin cheese-makers have sought for nearly 20 years.

Opinion: FDA overreach on FSMA Produce Safety needs to be addressed

Agri-Pulse | Posted on August 17, 2017

The Food and Drug Administration will soon be micromanaging a wide range of farming-related activities for many farms.

Fear on the farm: what will America eat when Trump throws out migrant labor?

Pacific Standard | Posted on August 17, 2017

 "A lot of people in this country think of immigrants based on what they hear on television or read in the news or Internet," Wood says. "We want people to know that, every day, they eat or drink something an immigrant helps produce: wine, or a glass of milk, or cheese, or the hotel bed they sleep in."In 2013, Wood's family hired Pedro, a short, mustachioed man of 47 with a thick head of black hair. He has been in the U.S. for 13 years, leaving behind a large family in Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico coast, where he raised cows.

Can we feed the world with farmed fish?

NPR | Posted on August 17, 2017

For years, scientists and activists have sounded the alarm that humans' appetite for seafood is outpacing what fishermen can sustainably catch. But new research suggests there is space on the open ocean for farming essentially all the seafood humans can eat.