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Trump tariffs mar US, Mexico, Canada unity message

Agri-Pulse | Posted on February 21, 2019 in Federal News

The top U.S., Canadian and Mexican agriculture officials came together today to espouse the benefits of trilateral cooperation and a newly renegotiated North American trade pact, but the unity was marred by the Trump administration’s refusal to lift its steel and aluminum tariffs. U.S.

Legislation adds up costs of Idaho's new hemp program

Capital Press | Posted on February 21, 2019 in Agriculture, SARL Members and Alumni News

An Idaho House bill that would legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity in accordance with a new federal law now includes estimates of how much it will cost. A fiscal note included with House Bill 122, discussed in a hearing Feb.

Defenders of raw milk focusing on liberty more than health

Edairy News | Posted on February 21, 2019 in Food, SARL Members and Alumni News

The Tennessee Senate Commerce and Labor Committee has yet to schedule a hearing on the Briggs bill, but what lawmakers are hearing is that Senate Bill (SB) 15 pits community health against civil liberties.Briggs, is a Republican, a cardiac surgeon and a retired U.S. Army Colonel. He represents Knoxville in the Tennessee Senate, told Ohio television station WTOL Channel 11 that the controversy his bill has caused is like “kicking a hornet’s nest.” Raw milk dairy farmers are fighting for their loophole, saying civil liberties are at stake for both producers and consumers of raw milk.

SARL Members and Alumni News

Legislation adds up costs of Idaho's new hemp program

Capital Press | Posted on February 21, 2019

An Idaho House bill that would legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity in accordance with a new federal law now includes estimates of how much it will cost. A fiscal note included with House Bill 122, discussed in a hearing Feb.

Defenders of raw milk focusing on liberty more than health

Edairy News | Posted on February 21, 2019

The Tennessee Senate Commerce and Labor Committee has yet to schedule a hearing on the Briggs bill, but what lawmakers are hearing is that Senate Bill (SB) 15 pits community health against civil liberties.Briggs, is a Republican, a cardiac surgeon and a retired U.S. Army Colonel. He represents Knoxville in the Tennessee Senate, told Ohio television station WTOL Channel 11 that the controversy his bill has caused is like “kicking a hornet’s nest.” Raw milk dairy farmers are fighting for their loophole, saying civil liberties are at stake for both producers and consumers of raw milk.

MnDOT: State should have 194k more electric vehicles in a decade

Minneapolis Public Radio | Posted on February 21, 2019

Minnesota transit officials have a bold new goal for electric vehicles in the state: electrify 20 percent of all cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks in a decade.An effort to tackle climate change and move away from fossil fuels, the Minnesota Department of Transportation's proposal, released last week, calls for a 3,200 percent increase in the amount of electric vehicles by 2030.The electric vehicle target comes a month after a new state report shows that personal vehicles are among the largest greenhouse gas sources in Minnesota — emitting 23.3 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2016.

Go for the vacation, stay for the worker subsidy

Daily Yonder | Posted on February 21, 2019

Vermont is offering $10,000 to workers who move with their remote job to the state. It’s part of larger efforts in Northern New England to attract more young people.  When measured by median age, the three Northern New England states (Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine) are the three oldest in the country.

Oklahoma agriculture board approves poultry farm proposals

The News Tribune | Posted on February 21, 2019

The Oklahoma Board of Agriculture on Tuesday approved proposals for new or expanding poultry operations requiring them to be a certain distance away from homes and schools, but some eastern Oklahoma residents say the plan doesn't go far enough. The board voted 3-2 for the rules that include "setback" requirements that operations with fewer than 150,000 birds be at least 500 feet from homes and larger operations be at least 1,000 feet away.

Agriculture News

Legislation adds up costs of Idaho's new hemp program

Capital Press | Posted on February 21, 2019

An Idaho House bill that would legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity in accordance with a new federal law now includes estimates of how much it will cost. A fiscal note included with House Bill 122, discussed in a hearing Feb.

How much longer can the average dairy farmer endure their financial crisis?

Edairy News | Posted on February 21, 2019

Pennsylvania dairy farmers are being short-changed at least $550 million dollars each year, and New York dairy farmers are facing a $650 million dollar shortfall, which should make everyone anxious to do something to correct these criminal prices that dairy farmers are facing everyday. Our figures indicate that the total underpayments to all the US dairy farmers each year are approximately $12 billion. But wait, it gets much worse. Using a multiplier of five, the total loss to our rural economy across the US is approximately $60 billion per year.

Trade war risks irreparably damaging U.S. dairy

Progressive Dairyman | Posted on February 21, 2019

Mexico imports nearly a quarter of the U.S. dairy industry’s exports annually. It’s a critical $1.4 billion marketplace. And it’s one that President Trump continues to risk damaging permanently – and unnecessarily. Locked in a trade war since May, Mexican leaders are setting aside American business connections that took decades to build as our neighbors to the south find new sources of cheese, butter and other products.This should have changed in November when Trump declared success with his newly rechristened U.S.-Canada-Mexico Trade Agreement replacing NAFTA.

Land O'Lakes Launches Software Platform To Help Farmers Boost Sustainability

Forbes | Posted on February 21, 2019

More Americans than ever say they want sustainable food. According to a 2018 survey conducted by the International Food Information Council, 59% of American consumers said they care about whether their food is grown sustainably. But much like “GMO” or “natural,” sustainability can be a murky term with no clear definition. Now, two stalwarts of the ‘Big Food’ landscape are working to clear up that murkiness with a “Turbo-Tax style” software platform aimed at getting farmers to grow their crops more sustainably.

Oklahoma agriculture board approves poultry farm proposals

The News Tribune | Posted on February 21, 2019

The Oklahoma Board of Agriculture on Tuesday approved proposals for new or expanding poultry operations requiring them to be a certain distance away from homes and schools, but some eastern Oklahoma residents say the plan doesn't go far enough. The board voted 3-2 for the rules that include "setback" requirements that operations with fewer than 150,000 birds be at least 500 feet from homes and larger operations be at least 1,000 feet away.

Federal News

Trump tariffs mar US, Mexico, Canada unity message

Agri-Pulse | Posted on February 21, 2019

The top U.S., Canadian and Mexican agriculture officials came together today to espouse the benefits of trilateral cooperation and a newly renegotiated North American trade pact, but the unity was marred by the Trump administration’s refusal to lift its steel and aluminum tariffs. U.S.

House Opens Inquiry Into Proposed U.S. Nuclear Venture in Saudi Arabia

The New York Times | Posted on February 21, 2019

Top Trump administration officials have pushed to build nuclear power plants throughout Saudi Arabia over the vigorous objections of White House lawyers who question the legality of the plan and the ethics of a venture that could enrich Trump allies, according to a new report by House Democrats. The report is the most detailed portrait to date of how senior White House figures — including Michael T.

Forest Service still facing sexual misconduct problem

Federal News Network | Posted on February 21, 2019

The U.S. Forest Service is still struggling to manage sexual misconduct challenges at the agency. The Agriculture Department’s inspector general said the Forest Service isn’t quickly acting on sexual misconduct and assault allegations and is not identifying applicants who have a history of sexual harassment. Three House committee chairmen said they want a special briefing from the IG and the Forest Service on the recent findings. They’re asking the IG to review USDA’s process for handling sexual assault and misconduct allegations. 

New Farm Bill Makes Way for Plant Biostimulants

Growing Produce | Posted on February 19, 2019

The recently signed Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka, the farm bill)broke new ground on several fronts for growers and industry stakeholders.

EPA published rule redefining WOTUS

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on February 19, 2019

The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a proposed rule defining the scope of waters regulated under the federal Clean Water Act, opening a public comment period through April 15.

Rural News

Wall Street, Seeking Big Tax Breaks, Sets Sights on Distressed Main Streets

The New York Times | Posted on February 21, 2019

Distressed America is Wall Street’s hottest new investment vehicle. Hedge funds, investment banks and money managers are trying to raise tens of billions of dollars this year for so-called opportunity funds, a creation of President Trump’s 2017 tax package meant to steer money to poor areas by offering potentially large tax breaks.Little noticed at first, the provision has unleashed a flurry of investment activity by wealthy families, some of Wall Street’s biggest investors and other investors who want to put money into projects ostensibly meant to help struggling Americans.

Why your hospital bill is too high or too low

Daily Yonder | Posted on February 21, 2019

Medical billing systems drive up the cost of commercial health insurance. One way to ease that strain is to get more low-income people on Medicaid. Hospitals have to collect as much as it costs them to take care of their patients. That is hard for small hospitals, most of which are rural.

Go for the vacation, stay for the worker subsidy

Daily Yonder | Posted on February 21, 2019

Vermont is offering $10,000 to workers who move with their remote job to the state. It’s part of larger efforts in Northern New England to attract more young people.  When measured by median age, the three Northern New England states (Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine) are the three oldest in the country.

Land Use Planning Tools to Reduce Wildfire Risk

Daily Yonder | Posted on February 21, 2019

Timber management on federal lands can be justified for valid reasons — protecting watersheds, conserving wildlife habitat, promoting overall forest health —  but it rarely helps communities confront looming wildfire disasters. The best solutions: better land use planning and improved building designs. The President issued an executive order last month that instructs federal land managers to treat 8.45 million acres of land and cut 4.4 billion board feet of timber.

Arkansas battles over municipal broadband

Daily Yonder | Posted on February 21, 2019

Will Arkansas become the first state to rescind its ban on local-government ownership of internet service providers? With the issue before the state Legislature, citizen input could have an impact on the decision. The real legislation, SB 150, unanimously passed out state Senate committee on February 7. But then the full state Senate hijacked the bill and put compromising restrictions in the wording.

Energy News

House Opens Inquiry Into Proposed U.S. Nuclear Venture in Saudi Arabia

The New York Times | Posted on February 21, 2019

Top Trump administration officials have pushed to build nuclear power plants throughout Saudi Arabia over the vigorous objections of White House lawyers who question the legality of the plan and the ethics of a venture that could enrich Trump allies, according to a new report by House Democrats. The report is the most detailed portrait to date of how senior White House figures — including Michael T.

US Dept. of Transportation cancels nearly $1 billion grant for California's high-speed rail project

CNN | Posted on February 21, 2019

The US Department of Transportation announced Tuesday it is canceling $929 million in grant funds for California's high-speed rail system, escalating the Trump administration's efforts to regain all the federal money for the canceled rail project.If built, the high-speed rail system would have run from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

MnDOT: State should have 194k more electric vehicles in a decade

Minneapolis Public Radio | Posted on February 21, 2019

Minnesota transit officials have a bold new goal for electric vehicles in the state: electrify 20 percent of all cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks in a decade.An effort to tackle climate change and move away from fossil fuels, the Minnesota Department of Transportation's proposal, released last week, calls for a 3,200 percent increase in the amount of electric vehicles by 2030.The electric vehicle target comes a month after a new state report shows that personal vehicles are among the largest greenhouse gas sources in Minnesota — emitting 23.3 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2016.

Puerto Rico solar customers score a win in fight over ‘abusive’ contracts

Energy News Network | Posted on February 21, 2019

The 436 consumers who filed a complaint with the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (NEPR) against Sunnova Energy Corporation, a residential solar panel leasing company, were right. The NEPR recognized in a report the web of problems the complainants faced: the equipment did not provide the service or savings promised to consumers. They had put their signature on a tablet for an alleged credit check, but the company used the signature to stamp it on a contract that they had not been shown.

Hawaii ‘Postcard From the Future’ for Renewables

Bloomberg | Posted on February 21, 2019

Near Honolulu, researchers are testing how to generate electricity from the energy in ocean waves. And Hawaii’s largest electric utility is among the first to widely use advanced “smart” inverters to help manage the flow of electricity from rooftop solar panels into the power grid.

Food News

Defenders of raw milk focusing on liberty more than health

Edairy News | Posted on February 21, 2019

The Tennessee Senate Commerce and Labor Committee has yet to schedule a hearing on the Briggs bill, but what lawmakers are hearing is that Senate Bill (SB) 15 pits community health against civil liberties.Briggs, is a Republican, a cardiac surgeon and a retired U.S. Army Colonel. He represents Knoxville in the Tennessee Senate, told Ohio television station WTOL Channel 11 that the controversy his bill has caused is like “kicking a hornet’s nest.” Raw milk dairy farmers are fighting for their loophole, saying civil liberties are at stake for both producers and consumers of raw milk.

Examining Food Loss and Food Waste in the United States

Choices Magazine | Posted on February 21, 2019

Food that is lost before it reaches the consumer, and food that is wasted by consumers, has been estimated to account for as much as 40% of the total food produced in the United States (Buzby, Wells, and Hyman, 2014; Hall et al., 2009). This represents losses of important resources—including water, chemical inputs, and labor—as well as unused nutrients for consumers. Stakeholders along the supply chain are increasingly interested in developing improved approaches to measuring food waste, understanding its determinants, and devising strategies to ultimately reduce it.

Neanderthals' main food source was definitely meat

Science Daily | Posted on February 21, 2019

Researchers describe two late Neanderthals with exceptionally high nitrogen isotope ratios, which would traditionally be interpreted as the signature of freshwater fish consumption. By studying the isotope ratios of single amino acids, they however demonstrated that instead of fish, the adult Neanderthal had a diet relying on large herbivore mammals and that the other Neanderthal was a breastfeeding baby whose mother was also a carnivore.

Cultured lab meat may make climate change worse

BBC | Posted on February 20, 2019

Researchers are looking for alternatives to traditional meat because farming animals is helping to drive up global temperatures. However, meat grown in the lab may make matters worse in some circumstances.