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SARL Members and Alumni News

Consumers may not recognize costs, consequences of demand for ‘clean’ food

Iowa State University | Posted on November 14, 2017

 Eating “clean” is all about avoiding foods with additives, preservatives or other chemicals on the label. Considering the numerous studies linking certain foods with health ailments, clean eating makes sense, right? While it may seem well intentioned, Ruth MacDonald and Ruth Litchfield, professors of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University, warn of the consequences in terms of food waste, safety and cost. Clean food advocates suggest avoiding foods with ingredients you cannot pronounce. MacDonald says several food manufacturers, restaurants and grocery stores have responded by removing additives to fit the definition of clean.  The ISU professors say just because an ingredient or additive has an unfamiliar name does not automatically make it bad for you. The decision to remove additives appears to be driven more by market demand than consideration of the benefits these additives provide and the potential food safety risk, they said. Removing nitrates from deli meats and hot dogs is just one example.


Oklahoma state beef checkoff referendum fails

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

A proposal to institute a state checkoff fund for Oklahoma’s beef producers was defeated. The vote was 2,506 against, 1,998 for. The campaign to institute the fee was controversial. Oklahoma members of the Organization for Competitive Markets and R-CALF USA had asked the state's Supreme Court to prohibit the department from certifying the Oklahoma beef checkoff program referendum. With the referendum defeated, the lawsuit will have to be withdrawn.


Massachusetts Governor supports Administration Supports Urban Agriculture Projects Across State

Mass.gov | Posted on November 14, 2017

 The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $343,079 in grants for eight urban agriculture projects across the state. The funding continues the Administration’s support for an emerging urban agriculture sector and a commitment to ensure city residents have access to fresh food. The announcement was made by Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux during an event at UMass Lowell.


Massachusetts Governor Supports Agricultural Buy Local Organizations

Mass.gov | Posted on November 14, 2017

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $297,000 in grants to the Commonwealth’s regional Buy Local agricultural organizations for projects that will enhance efforts in western, central, northeastern and southeastern Massachusetts. These organizations work to generate consumer awareness and demand for locally grown food products while improving logistical access to these important food sources.


‘Ponce’s Law’ bill allows animal abusers to be barred from having pets

The Daytona Beach News Journal | Posted on November 14, 2017

A bill called “Ponce’s Law” would put more bite into Florida’s animal cruelty cases by allowing judges to prohibit people convicted of abusing animals from owning pets and giving prosecutors more leverage in the cases, said state Rep. Tom Leek, who introduced the bill. The bill is named in honor of Ponce, a Labrador retriever puppy found beaten to death in the Ponce Inlet backyard of Travis Archer earlier this year. The bill is a positive note to an otherwise grim event, said Leek, an Ormond Beach Republican.


Wisconsin passes AB 353 on Cooperatives

Wisconsin State Farmer | Posted on November 9, 2017

Cooperative Network applauds the bipartisan support delivered yesterday in both the Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate in the approval of Assembly Bill 353. The leadership of Representative Gary Tauchen (R – Bonduel) and Senator Patrick Testin (R – Stevens Point) was crucial in the success of this legislation. Also known as the Cooperative Statute Modernization Bill, this legislation was drafted with the goal of providing the state statute that governs cooperatives, Chapter 185, with its first update in over 30 years.“By voting in favor of this bill, our legislators have shown that they believe members of cooperatives and their elected boards should be trusted to make the right decisions for the future of their cooperatives,” says John Manske, Cooperative Network’s Senior Government Affairs Director.The legislation was designed to provide member cooperatives with the freedom and flexibility to best serve their member-owners by allowing for outside director perspectives on a minority basis, an opportunity to consider patronage-based voting for the one cooperative holding company in the state and updates on the process for notification of unclaimed capital, among other provisions.


California accepting proposals for Healthy Soils Program

Lake County News | Posted on November 9, 2017

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation, or OEFI, in coordination with the agency’s Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel, is now accepting new proposals for soil carbon sequestration management practices for inclusion in its Healthy Soils Program, or HSP. As part of program development, CDFA identified specific soil management practices eligible for initial funding through the HSP. Some of these practices include no or reduced tillage, planting cover crops and compost application. 


Forest Bonds may provide a way to support fire prevention

Daily Yonder | Posted on November 9, 2017

Managing public forests in ways that prevent wildfires could save millions of dollars in future fire-emergency costs. But restoring forests is expensive, and limited public budgets emphasize short-term disaster spending rather than long-term management. A private firm is testing a new model that they say could fill the short-term budgetary needs to get forest restoration practices up and running.“The value of forest restoration oftentimes exceeds the cost,” said Leigh Madeira, one of Blue Forest Conservation’s founders. “But that doesn’t mean that the beneficiaries have the capital to pay for needed restoration projects.”Blue Forest says they’ve come up with a way for communities to use that future increased value or cost savings of forests to pay for restoration activities today.Blue Forest’s funding model is to collect private capital through a “forest resilience bond,” based on the money the forest owner is likely to make later, either through the reduced chance of forest fires or through additional earnings from forest products like lumber. Blue Forest then helps to coordinate forest restoration activities with business partners on the ground, often small, local enterprises who do the actual restoration work. The beneficiary of the restoration, whether a federal agency like the Forest Service or a publicly-owned water utility company, then pays for the services on a long-term contracted rate.


Illinois House, Senate energy panels discuss Dynegy 'bailout' request

The News Gazette | Posted on November 9, 2017

Opponents referred to a package of bills to benefit Texas-based energy company Dynegy Inc. as a "multimillion-dollar state of Illinois bailout" and urged Illinois lawmakers to act cautiously on the proposals. Meeting jointly Tuesday, the Senate and House energy committees took no votes on the bills drafted to benefit Dynegy, which operates eight coal-fired power plants in central and southern Illinois. The company has warned lawmakers that under downstate Illinois' current electricity-distribution system, it may have to close at least four of its power plants by 2021 and possibly sooner."These closures would cause the loss of almost 550 well-paying union jobs and threaten approximately 4,000 indirect jobs," Dynegy said in a statement.The appeal from Dynegy is similar to one advanced successfully last year by Exelon Corp., which got state help to continue the operation of two downstate nuclear plants, including one at Clinton.But some of the groups that supported Exelon's plan now oppose Dynegy's. In fact, nearly all of the testimony, including from the attorney general's office, consumer groups and others, was in opposition.


‘Ponce’s Law’ bill allows animal abusers to be barred from having pets

Daytona Beach New Journal | Posted on November 9, 2017

A bill called “Ponce’s Law” would put more bite into Florida’s animal cruelty cases by allowing judges to prohibit people convicted of abusing animals from owning pets and giving prosecutors more leverage in the cases, said state Rep. Tom Leek, who introduced the bill. The bill is named in honor of Ponce, a Labrador retriever puppy found beaten to death in the Ponce Inlet backyard of Travis Archer earlier this year. The bill is a positive note to an otherwise grim event, said Leek, an Ormond Beach Republican.


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