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American Farmland Trust releases new guide on Growing Local

American Farmland Trust | Posted on July 28, 2017 in Agriculture, Food News

Today American Farmland Trust and Growing Food Connections announced the publication of GROWING LOCAL: A Community Guide to Planning for Agriculture and Food Systems. The national guide showcases ways communities can strengthen their food systems through planning, policy and public investment. It includes the most comprehensive collection of local policies ever assembled to support local farms and ranches, improve access to healthy food, and develop needed distribution and infrastructure.

Senators push for end to Chinese poultry ban

Feedstuffs | Posted on July 28, 2017 in News

A bipartisan group of 37 senators, led by Sens. Thad Cochran (R., Miss.) and Mark Warner (D., Va.), wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue calling for the swift reopening of the Chinese market after U.S. exports of chicken and turkey were banned in 2015.  China instituted the ban in 2015 after the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a wild duck, and the ban continues to be enforced today, in contradiction to World Organization for Animal Health standards. ANd yet, China can ship poultry to U.S.?

New York meat plant to close despite grant money

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on July 27, 2017 in Agriculture News

Value-added and portion-controlled pork and veal products maker Delft Blue will close its pork processing plant in New York Mills, N.Y., just months after announcing it would expand its operation and add 22 jobs in exchange for a $330,000 government grant, according to local media reports. According to NewYorkUpstate.com, the expansion never happened, and now Delft Blue plans to close the plant and lay off its 83 employees, filing a notice under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act saying it will shut its plant in October.

SARL Members and Alumni News

Food Sovereignty

Maine Public | Posted on July 27, 2017

Maine has a new law that allows towns to regulate local food production without requiring state and federal rules.  We’ll learn what this means for Mainers and how it ties into the national food sovereignty movement. 

Reluctant States Raise Gas Taxes to Repair Roads

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on July 27, 2017

Motorists don’t like to pay more at the pump, and lawmakers worry that if they raise taxes on gasoline, they’ll be voted out of office. But states rely on those taxes to build and maintain roads and bridges. With revenue lagging, those structures have been falling into disrepair in many places. Despite the tough politics, 26 states have raised taxes on motor fuels in the past four years.

NJ Telemedicine Law Delayed By Concerns About Veterinarian Use

mHealth Intelligence | Posted on July 27, 2017

New Jersey’s new telemedicine regulations are being held up as state officials try to determine whether they pertain to veterinarians. Gov.

California milk quota proposal nears finish line

Capital Press | Posted on July 27, 2017

California dairy farmers are eager to abandon the state’s milk marketing order and join the federal marketing order system, hoping to increase the price they receive for their milk. They have, however, been adamant that loss of the state’s quota program would be a deal breaker.That program pays quota certificate holders $1.70 per hundredweight above the state blend price for the amount of milk covered by their certificate.

Overview of Texas Amendments to Use of Unmanned Aircraft Statute

Texas Agriculture Law Blog | Posted on July 26, 2017

The 85th Legislative Session brought an amendment to the law related to use of unmanned aircraft in Texas.  Importantly for agriculture, the amendment adds confined animal feeding operations (“CAFOs”) to the list of “critical infrastructure” facilities to which additional flight limitations apply for many drone operators.  The amendment will go into effect on September 1, 2017. This post will review, in detail, the current Use of Unmanned Aircraft statute and discuss the most recent amendment.

Agriculture News

American Farmland Trust releases new guide on Growing Local

American Farmland Trust | Posted on July 28, 2017

Today American Farmland Trust and Growing Food Connections announced the publication of GROWING LOCAL: A Community Guide to Planning for Agriculture and Food Systems. The national guide showcases ways communities can strengthen their food systems through planning, policy and public investment. It includes the most comprehensive collection of local policies ever assembled to support local farms and ranches, improve access to healthy food, and develop needed distribution and infrastructure.

New York meat plant to close despite grant money

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on July 27, 2017

Value-added and portion-controlled pork and veal products maker Delft Blue will close its pork processing plant in New York Mills, N.Y., just months after announcing it would expand its operation and add 22 jobs in exchange for a $330,000 government grant, according to local media reports. According to NewYorkUpstate.com, the expansion never happened, and now Delft Blue plans to close the plant and lay off its 83 employees, filing a notice under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act saying it will shut its plant in October.

Why the new organic egg welfare rule won’t raise prices

Watt Ag Net | Posted on July 27, 2017

A new final rule establishing stricter animal welfare standards for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program are being delayed until at least November 2017, but Mid-States Specialty Eggs and Eggs “R” Us Inc. argue the final rule – originally published in January 2017 – won’t hamper the organic egg business or send prices skyrocketing as some are predicting.

NJ Telemedicine Law Delayed By Concerns About Veterinarian Use

mHealth Intelligence | Posted on July 27, 2017

New Jersey’s new telemedicine regulations are being held up as state officials try to determine whether they pertain to veterinarians. Gov.

California milk quota proposal nears finish line

Capital Press | Posted on July 27, 2017

California dairy farmers are eager to abandon the state’s milk marketing order and join the federal marketing order system, hoping to increase the price they receive for their milk. They have, however, been adamant that loss of the state’s quota program would be a deal breaker.That program pays quota certificate holders $1.70 per hundredweight above the state blend price for the amount of milk covered by their certificate.

Federal News

EPA is asking a climate denier think tank for help recruiting its ‘red team’

Think Progress | Posted on July 27, 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency has asked the Heartland Institute, a D.C.-based rightwing think tank that denies the human causes of climate change, to help identify scientists to join the agency’s so-called red team-blue team effort to “debate” the science of climate change. The move is part of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s efforts to undercut established climate science within the agency.

ICE raids, rhetoric make America view farmworkers 'as criminals again

Times Union | Posted on July 26, 2017

Crackdowns by federal immigration agents have made communities more hostile towards minority farm workers, according to a new report. Farm owners, meanwhile, fear they'll soon be unable to fill labor-intensive farming jobs that  Americans no longer want.

US needs FMD vaccine bank to protect food

Watt Ag Net | Posted on July 26, 2017

Citing economic, food and national security concerns, a coalition of more than 100 agricultural organizations and allied industries groups urged Congress to include in the next Farm Bill language establishing and funding a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine bank. FMD is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, pigs and sheep; it is not a food safety or human health threat.

Funding for federal agricultural research facilities falls far short of needs

Ag Policy | Posted on July 26, 2017

In discussing the agricultural budget, it is easy to focus in on commodity support, nutrition, and environmental programs and ignore the cost of maintaining the agricultural research facilities that are at the heart of the work of the USDA.

Italy demands origin labels for pasta and rice

Reuters | Posted on July 26, 2017

All packets of pasta and rice sold in Italy will have to include labels of origin showing where the produce was grown, the government ruled on Thursday, in a move it said was aimed at protecting local farmers. The agriculture and industry ministers signed a decree ordering the new labeling policy, saying it would run in an experimental fashion for two years, and criticizing the European Union for not introducing the measure across the 28-nation bloc.

Rural News

Chris Hardie: We've come a long way in rural Wisconsin ... but we're not there yet

LaCrosse Tribune | Posted on July 27, 2017

Since then we had another time when phone service was out for more than 36 hours and internet service was out for two days. No explanation, just frustration.A few years ago legislation was passed in Wisconsin that gives phone companies an out if they no longer want to provide landline service. Yes, I understand in our cities and villages that landlines have gone the way of eight-track tapes.But in many parts of rural Wisconsin — particularly in the Driftless Region, where we have many bluffs and valleys — cell phones don’t work or are unreliable at best.

Reluctant States Raise Gas Taxes to Repair Roads

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on July 27, 2017

Motorists don’t like to pay more at the pump, and lawmakers worry that if they raise taxes on gasoline, they’ll be voted out of office. But states rely on those taxes to build and maintain roads and bridges. With revenue lagging, those structures have been falling into disrepair in many places. Despite the tough politics, 26 states have raised taxes on motor fuels in the past four years.

Meet the Rural Pennsylvania Town at the Forefront of Environmental Law

EcoWatch | Posted on July 27, 2017

In 2012, Grant Township became a target for fracking waste. Oil and gas producer Pennsylvania General Energy (PGE) applied for a permit to pump toxic chemicals used in drilling operations into an injection well beneath the community. Residents were alarmed. Injections can induce earthquakes, and wells can leak, contaminating water supplies. The chemicals used in fracking have been linked to cancer, infertility and birth defects.  "We live in an area that doesn't have public water. We all live off springs and private wells," said Judy Wanchism, 74-year-old native of Grant Township.

Overview of Texas Amendments to Use of Unmanned Aircraft Statute

Texas Agriculture Law Blog | Posted on July 26, 2017

The 85th Legislative Session brought an amendment to the law related to use of unmanned aircraft in Texas.  Importantly for agriculture, the amendment adds confined animal feeding operations (“CAFOs”) to the list of “critical infrastructure” facilities to which additional flight limitations apply for many drone operators.  The amendment will go into effect on September 1, 2017. This post will review, in detail, the current Use of Unmanned Aircraft statute and discuss the most recent amendment.

Maryland County Considers Ban on Wild Animals Used in Shows

US News and World Report | Posted on July 26, 2017

 The use of elephants, primates, snakes and other wild animals by businesses that profit from their exhibition could be banned in a Maryland county outside Washington, D.C.WTOP-FM reports the Montgomery County Council held the first hearing on Tuesday about a proposal to ban the use of animals in circuses or other business that "exhibit or financially benefit" from them. The bill wouldn't apply to agricultural fairs where livestock is displayed.Humane Society of the United States vice president Nicole Paquette says the bill would focus on prohibiting the use of wildlife in traveling shows.

Energy News

Meet the Rural Pennsylvania Town at the Forefront of Environmental Law

EcoWatch | Posted on July 27, 2017

In 2012, Grant Township became a target for fracking waste. Oil and gas producer Pennsylvania General Energy (PGE) applied for a permit to pump toxic chemicals used in drilling operations into an injection well beneath the community. Residents were alarmed. Injections can induce earthquakes, and wells can leak, contaminating water supplies. The chemicals used in fracking have been linked to cancer, infertility and birth defects.  "We live in an area that doesn't have public water. We all live off springs and private wells," said Judy Wanchism, 74-year-old native of Grant Township.

EPA is asking a climate denier think tank for help recruiting its ‘red team’

Think Progress | Posted on July 27, 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency has asked the Heartland Institute, a D.C.-based rightwing think tank that denies the human causes of climate change, to help identify scientists to join the agency’s so-called red team-blue team effort to “debate” the science of climate change. The move is part of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s efforts to undercut established climate science within the agency.

Like Exxon, Utilities Knew about Climate Change Risks Decades Ago

Inside Climate News | Posted on July 27, 2017

A study issue by an energy watchdog group offers important new insights into the fossil fuel industry's extensive early understanding of climate change and the risks it poses.  This time, it's the electric utility sector that's under the microscope.The detailed study, backed up by reams of archival documents, was issued by the Energy and Policy Institute, an environmental advocacy and research group that favors the use of clean energy over fossil fuels.Forty years ago, the documents show, industry officials told Congress that the looming problem of climate change might require the world to

Buried oil from Deepwater Horizon disaster still harming wetlands

The Times Picayune | Posted on July 26, 2017

Oil spilled seven years ago in the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico might no longer be visible, but it's still taking a toll on Louisiana's fragile wetlands. A new study by Louisiana State University indicates that crude oil from the 2010 BP oil spill has become lodged in wetland soils, where it remains almost as toxic as the day it flowed into the gulf.  "We found oil four to five centimeters down in the layers of marsh, which we expected to see," said John White, associate director of LSU's Coastal Studies Institute.

Michigan program finances first megawatt of solar, with ambitious goals ahead

Midwest Energy News | Posted on July 26, 2017

A clean energy financing program in Michigan reached a milestone last month when it helped homeowners and businesses install 1 megawatt of solar energy across the state. Michigan Saves — which was created by a $6.5 million Michigan Public Service Commission grant in 2009 — acts as a green bank by financing clean energy projects at homes and businesses.

Food News

American Farmland Trust releases new guide on Growing Local

American Farmland Trust | Posted on July 28, 2017

Today American Farmland Trust and Growing Food Connections announced the publication of GROWING LOCAL: A Community Guide to Planning for Agriculture and Food Systems. The national guide showcases ways communities can strengthen their food systems through planning, policy and public investment. It includes the most comprehensive collection of local policies ever assembled to support local farms and ranches, improve access to healthy food, and develop needed distribution and infrastructure.

Food Sovereignty

Maine Public | Posted on July 27, 2017

Maine has a new law that allows towns to regulate local food production without requiring state and federal rules.  We’ll learn what this means for Mainers and how it ties into the national food sovereignty movement. 

Why the new organic egg welfare rule won’t raise prices

Watt Ag Net | Posted on July 27, 2017

A new final rule establishing stricter animal welfare standards for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program are being delayed until at least November 2017, but Mid-States Specialty Eggs and Eggs “R” Us Inc. argue the final rule – originally published in January 2017 – won’t hamper the organic egg business or send prices skyrocketing as some are predicting.

Beware Of The 'Food Babe Fallacy' In Your Mac And Cheese

Forbes | Posted on July 26, 2017

Parents whose kids will only eat a finite list of foods now wonder whether a pantry favorite is off limits, thanks in part to last week’s New York Times story about a study that found “potentially harmful chemicals” in mac and cheese. The group behind the study is calling on Kraft Foods to lead the industry in eliminating phthalates from its products because they can disrupt the production of testosterone, which raises concerns about birth defects, and because they’ve been linked to neurological problems.

Italy demands origin labels for pasta and rice

Reuters | Posted on July 26, 2017

All packets of pasta and rice sold in Italy will have to include labels of origin showing where the produce was grown, the government ruled on Thursday, in a move it said was aimed at protecting local farmers. The agriculture and industry ministers signed a decree ordering the new labeling policy, saying it would run in an experimental fashion for two years, and criticizing the European Union for not introducing the measure across the 28-nation bloc.