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Animal rights group steals chickens from farm to 'free' them

The Coloradoan | Posted on September 19, 2017 in Agriculture News

When four people asked to hold some chickens at a Colorado farm this week, an 8-year-old girl readily agreed to assist. She's proud of the birds she helps raise, and she loves to teach people about them. Sunday's event at the farm was no different, her mother said. The little girl had no idea the adults would tuck three of the birds under their arms and walk off the farm, where a group of some 40 animal rights activists wearing matching T-shirts waited."I'm really rattled and unnerved," said Kristin Ramey, who owns Long Shadow Farm in Berthoud, Colo., with her husband, Larry.

Consumers Speak Out Against Triscuit’s Non-GMO Label

Biotech-now | Posted on September 19, 2017 in Food News

A recent article in Forbes highlighted the consumer response to Triscuit’s Non-GMO label, after the cracker brand announced its new Non-GMO Project label last month. Hundreds of consumers commented, criticizing the brand for pandering to “ignorance and fear.” “Another cynical business trying to cash in on fear and scientific illiteracy surrounding a technology that could do a lot of good,” writes one critic. “So long and thanks for all the crackers.” The comment mirrors several that point out that “GMO” technology is a tool, not an end product that can be boxed and sold.

USDA organics chief steps down

Capital Press | Posted on September 19, 2017 in Federal News

Miles McEvoy, USDA deputy administrator of the National Organic Program, is stepping down after eight years at the helm to return to his home in Olympia, Wash.

SARL Members and Alumni News

Massachusetts Bill Would Penalize People For ‘Fake’ Service Dogs

Boston CBS  | Posted on September 19, 2017

Advocates for service dogs for the disabled were at the State House Tuesday, lobbying for a bill that would penalize those who say their animals are service dogs when they’re not. Kaitlyn Steinke of Falmouth and her dog Jones were among those in favor of what’s been called the fake service dog bill. The bill’s sponsor, Republican State Rep. Kim Ferguson of Holden, says misrepresenting dogs as service animals is a growing problem. A dozen other states have laws on the books making “fake service dogs” a crime.The measure has wide support in the House.

Ohio legislator pushes bill to build more wind turbines closer to properties

Columbus Dispatch | Posted on September 19, 2017

Against the backdrop of wind-farm construction in Hardin County, state Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, sought to build support for his proposal that would allow more wind turbines to be built in upcoming projects. “I think we can make this happen,” he said during the event Thursday. “The groundswell of support is increasing as we speak.”Senate Bill 188 would partially undo changes that lawmakers made in 2013 addressing where turbines can be built.

Ag committee chairs push Idaho farm commission leaders to talk about challenges

Capital Press | Posted on September 19, 2017

The chairs of the Idaho Legislature’s House and Senate ag committees are encouraging the directors of the state’s commodity commissions to do a better job talking about the issues and challenges their industries face when speaking to lawmakers. Some of the presentations are more on the “here’s what we did last year” side and not enough on the “here are the issues our industry is struggling with” side, said Sen.

Illinois utilities begin to design community solar programs under new energy law

Midwest Energy News | Posted on September 14, 2017

Illinois utilities and regulators are putting into motion plans for community solar programs under the state’s Future Energy Jobs Act that passed last year. In filings with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) last month, ComEd outlined proposed terms and conditions for “Community Supply,” also referred to as community solar.

Colorado Development fund to benefit rural counties

Biz West  | Posted on September 14, 2017

Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade and the Colorado Venture Capital Authority will allocate $9 million, and perhaps as much as $3 million more, to a rural economic development investment fund.   The agencies created the new fund to benefit innovation in rural areas that might not have access to other funding sources. Industries that could benefit include value-added agriculture, advanced manufacturing,  health and wellness, tourism and outdoor recreation, energy and natural resources, clean tech, technology and information.

Agriculture News

Animal rights group steals chickens from farm to 'free' them

The Coloradoan | Posted on September 19, 2017

When four people asked to hold some chickens at a Colorado farm this week, an 8-year-old girl readily agreed to assist. She's proud of the birds she helps raise, and she loves to teach people about them. Sunday's event at the farm was no different, her mother said. The little girl had no idea the adults would tuck three of the birds under their arms and walk off the farm, where a group of some 40 animal rights activists wearing matching T-shirts waited."I'm really rattled and unnerved," said Kristin Ramey, who owns Long Shadow Farm in Berthoud, Colo., with her husband, Larry.

Ag committee chairs push Idaho farm commission leaders to talk about challenges

Capital Press | Posted on September 19, 2017

The chairs of the Idaho Legislature’s House and Senate ag committees are encouraging the directors of the state’s commodity commissions to do a better job talking about the issues and challenges their industries face when speaking to lawmakers. Some of the presentations are more on the “here’s what we did last year” side and not enough on the “here are the issues our industry is struggling with” side, said Sen.

Rollover protection offered for farm tractors

LaCrosse Tribune | Posted on September 19, 2017

The Wisconsin Rollover Protective Structure rebate program has been funded for a sixth consecutive year, enabling Wisconsin farmers to retrofit rollbars onto their tractors at a reduced cost. The program is run by the National Farm Medicine Center at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute with financial support from the Auction of Champions. A ROPS is an operator compartment structure (usually cab or rollbar) intended to protect farmers from injuries caused by overturns or rollovers. More than half the tractors in Wisconsin do not have ROPS protection.

IRMA: Manatee dairy farm losing thousands of gallons of milk each day

Bay News 9 | Posted on September 19, 2017

At a Manatee County dairy farm, the toll from Irma is causing about $30,000 to go down the drain each day. Workers say they're throwing away thousands of gallons of milk. "The milk that is produced now, there's just no stores open. All of our milk usually goes south of us," said Jerry Dakin. In the 16 years he has owned the business, he has never seen so much milk go to waste. Stores aren't taking it because the milk needs to be refrigerated.Even though the farm can't sell most of its milk, the cows need to continue pumping for their health.

Lawmakers jump on community's anti-Tyson bandwagon

Kansas City Business Journal | Posted on September 19, 2017

The four-person legislative delegation representing the Tonganoxie area didn't have to brood long about a proposed $320 million Tyson Foods Inc. poultry complex before coming out against it Friday evening. Surrounded by a Chieftain Park town hall crowd roughly half the size of Tonganoxie's 5,500 population, the lawmakers initially pledged to remain neutral on the proposal until more facts were known.

Federal News

USDA organics chief steps down

Capital Press | Posted on September 19, 2017

Miles McEvoy, USDA deputy administrator of the National Organic Program, is stepping down after eight years at the helm to return to his home in Olympia, Wash.

Bogus ‘organic’ foods reach the U.S. because of lax enforcement at ports, inspectors say

The Washington Post | Posted on September 19, 2017

Bogus “organic” products may be reaching the United States because of lax enforcement at U.S. ports, according to a new audit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General, a finding that helps explain previous reports that millions of pounds of fraudulent “organic” corn and soybeans had reached American ports. The USDA lacks procedures to check that a shipment meets organic standards, the report found.The USDA “was unable to provide reasonable assurance that … required documents were reviewed at U.S.

Lawsuit challenges USDA organic livestock standards delay

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on September 14, 2017

The Organic Trade Association has filed a lawsuit demanding that USDA officials “keep up with the industry and the consumer in setting organic standards,” the group said in a statement. The suit alleges that USDA violated the Organic Foods Production Act and illegally delayed the effective date of the final livestock standards that were developed by the industry in accordance with processes established by Congress.

Amid raging wildfires, fire management practices criticized

Capital Press | Posted on September 14, 2017

Intense wildfires plaguing much of the West have rekindled controversy over logging restrictions and fire management practices that critics say have created explosive fire seasons. U.S. Sen.

FSMA:What You Need to Know About the FDA Regulation - Small Entity Compliance Guide

FDA | Posted on September 14, 2017

he FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA) directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the food regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to better protect public health by, among other things, adopting a modern, preventive, and risk-based approach to food safety.

Rural News

US West's wildfires spark calls to thin tree-choked forests

ABC News | Posted on September 14, 2017

Wildfires that are blackening the American West in one of the nation's worst fire seasons have ignited calls, including from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, to thin forests that have become so choked with trees that they are at "powder keg levels." The destruction has exposed old frictions between environmentalists and those who want to see logging accelerated, and it's triggered a push to reassess how lands should be managed to prevent severe wildfires.Zinke's directive Tuesday for department managers and superintendents to aggressively prevent wildfires was welcomed by Ed Waldron, fire man

Colorado Development fund to benefit rural counties

Biz West  | Posted on September 14, 2017

Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade and the Colorado Venture Capital Authority will allocate $9 million, and perhaps as much as $3 million more, to a rural economic development investment fund.   The agencies created the new fund to benefit innovation in rural areas that might not have access to other funding sources. Industries that could benefit include value-added agriculture, advanced manufacturing,  health and wellness, tourism and outdoor recreation, energy and natural resources, clean tech, technology and information.

Opioid Epidemic Continues to Ravage the Midwest

Roll Call | Posted on September 14, 2017

Despite action by Congress to address the opioid addiction epidemic, hard-hit areas of the country like this one in the Midwest are finding it difficult to keep up with the fallout from the unfolding situation.In July, here in Wisconsin’s Jackson County, for instance, 34 children who were taken out of their homes, many a result of a parent’s opioid addiction, remained in foster care. Those placements resulted in a $35,000 cost for the county that month.While down from a year high of 40 in January, the epidemic has presented serious cost concerns for the local health department.

Population loss now widespread in Eastern U

Daily Yonder | Posted on September 14, 2017

The number of people living in rural continues to slide, according to the latest population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau. People have left rural America in decades past. The big difference now is that the number of births in rural areas isn't keeping pace with the number of deaths. The population in rural America (nonmetropolitan counties) has declined for a record-breaking sixth straight year.Population growth rates in rural counties have been significantly lower than in urban (metro) counties since the mid-1990s, and the gap widened considerably in recent years.

Amid raging wildfires, fire management practices criticized

Capital Press | Posted on September 14, 2017

Intense wildfires plaguing much of the West have rekindled controversy over logging restrictions and fire management practices that critics say have created explosive fire seasons. U.S. Sen.

Energy News

Ohio legislator pushes bill to build more wind turbines closer to properties

Columbus Dispatch | Posted on September 19, 2017

Against the backdrop of wind-farm construction in Hardin County, state Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, sought to build support for his proposal that would allow more wind turbines to be built in upcoming projects. “I think we can make this happen,” he said during the event Thursday. “The groundswell of support is increasing as we speak.”Senate Bill 188 would partially undo changes that lawmakers made in 2013 addressing where turbines can be built.

Illinois utilities begin to design community solar programs under new energy law

Midwest Energy News | Posted on September 14, 2017

Illinois utilities and regulators are putting into motion plans for community solar programs under the state’s Future Energy Jobs Act that passed last year. In filings with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) last month, ComEd outlined proposed terms and conditions for “Community Supply,” also referred to as community solar.

New Indiana law limits amount energy companies pay for solar energy, increases demand

Indiana Public Media | Posted on September 14, 2017

n a news release, officials from SIREN announced that six weeks into a second phase of solar panel installations, they were already oversubscribed.

M&Ms’s New Ad Is Selling Renewable Energy And Wind Power

Fast Company | Posted on September 14, 2017

Last year, Mars, the world’s biggest chocolate maker and the corporate home to brands like M&Ms, Twix, and Snickers, pledged $1 billion to fight climate change through investments in renewable energy, sustainable food sourcing, and more. Beyond the two wind farms it currently operates in Scotland and Texas, the company also promised to add wind and solar farms to another nine countries by 2018 and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 27% by 2025, and 67% by 2050. Now, a couple of the company’s most popular mascots are getting in on it.

Anheuser-Busch signs wind farm power deal as part of global renewable energy goal

St Louis Post Dispatch | Posted on September 14, 2017

Anheuser-Busch InBev has signed a deal to buy power produced by an Oklahoma wind farm as part of its global goal to have 100 percent of its purchased electricity come from renewable sources by 2025. A-B, its U.S. subsidiary based in St. Louis, announced a power purchase agreement with Italian renewable energy company Enel Green Power for a portion of the energy produced at Enel Green Power's Thunder Ranch wind farm located in Garfield, Kay and Noble counties in Oklahoma.Enel Green Power has been growing its footprint across the U.S.

Food News

Consumers Speak Out Against Triscuit’s Non-GMO Label

Biotech-now | Posted on September 19, 2017

A recent article in Forbes highlighted the consumer response to Triscuit’s Non-GMO label, after the cracker brand announced its new Non-GMO Project label last month. Hundreds of consumers commented, criticizing the brand for pandering to “ignorance and fear.” “Another cynical business trying to cash in on fear and scientific illiteracy surrounding a technology that could do a lot of good,” writes one critic. “So long and thanks for all the crackers.” The comment mirrors several that point out that “GMO” technology is a tool, not an end product that can be boxed and sold.

“Why the hell am I paying more for this?” Major egg operation houses “USDA Organic” hens at three per square foot

The Washington Post | Posted on September 19, 2017

Of all the cartons of organic eggs sold in the United States, more than 1 in 10 originates from a complex here that houses more than 1.6 million hens. They’re sold under the Eggland’s Best label.“The entire process is organic,” Greg Herbruck, president of Herbruck's Poultry Ranch says in a promotional video. The USDA allows Herbruck's and other large operations to sell their eggs as organic because officials have interpreted the word “outdoors” in such a way that farms that confine their hens to barns but add “porches” are deemed eligible for the valuable “USDA Organic” label.

Bogus ‘organic’ foods reach the U.S. because of lax enforcement at ports, inspectors say

The Washington Post | Posted on September 19, 2017

Bogus “organic” products may be reaching the United States because of lax enforcement at U.S. ports, according to a new audit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General, a finding that helps explain previous reports that millions of pounds of fraudulent “organic” corn and soybeans had reached American ports. The USDA lacks procedures to check that a shipment meets organic standards, the report found.The USDA “was unable to provide reasonable assurance that … required documents were reviewed at U.S.

Poll reveals what Americans don't know about food: a lot

Daily Yonder | Posted on September 14, 2017

More than one-third of Americans do not know that foods with no genetically modified ingredients contain genes, according to the new nationally representative Food Literacy and Engagement Poll we recently conducted at Michigan State University. For the record, all foods contain genes, and so do all people.  The majority of respondents who answered this question incorrectly were young and affluent, and also more likely than their peers to describe themselves as having a higher-than-average understanding of the global food system. The full survey revealed that much of the U.S.

Milk producers’ group goes after ‘deceptive’ non-GMO labeling

edairynews | Posted on September 14, 2017

The National Milk Producers Federation’s “Peel Back the Label” campaign aims to combat “deceptive food labeling” from dairy brands like Dean Foods and Dannon — which have touted Non-GMO Project certification. NMPF President Jim Mulhern told Food Navigator that non-GMO sourcing methods are not more sustainable and that there are no safety benefits or nutritional differences from cows given conventional feed.