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SARL Members and Alumni News

Rhode Island lawmakers hatch a plan to give caged chickens more room

AP | Posted on June 28, 2018

A Rhode Island bill about chickens that has ruffled lawmakers’ feathers in recent years is headed to the governor. The General Assembly is transmitting hundreds of bills passed late in the legislative session in batches. The bill to give caged chickens more freedom to spread their wings is on its way.

California to vote on new farm animal confinement laws

Watt Ag Net | Posted on June 28, 2018

Petitioners gain enough signatures to place law that would require all eggs. pork and beefr produced and sold in California to be from cage-free systems. Californians will vote this fall on whether to strengthen the state’s laws governing how farm animals are confined and raised.The proposed measure that qualified for the November ballot late Friday builds on a previous voter-approved initiative and a separate state law.In 2008, Californians passed Proposition 2. It required egg-laying hens, pregnant pigs and calves raised for veal to be placed in cages big enough for them to lie down, stand up, turn around freely and fully extend their limbs.Two years later, the Legislature passed a law that bans the sale in California of shelled eggs from hens raised in violation of those standards — even eggs that come from out-of-state.Both efforts, which took effect in 2015, have so far survived legal challenges, though the latest federal lawsuit is still pending.Now, animal rights advocates led by the Humane Society are back with a new initiative.It would increase the minimum space requirements in which those animals could be confined. And it would expand the ban on sales to pork, veal and liquid eggs — including products grown outside California.

Gov. Walker announces $700,000 in grants to support entrepreneurship in dairy industry

Wisconsin State Farmer | Posted on June 28, 2018

Governor Scott Walker today visited the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Great Lake Cheese to award $700,000 state grants to support and promote entrepreneurship within the state’s $43 billion dairy industry. The grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will enable CDR to continue to provide companies with grants of up to $20,000 to support the commercialization of unique dairy technologies and products. Launched in 2013, the Tech Transfer, University, Research and Business Opportunity (TURBO) Program has helped 11 companies purchase equipment needed for new products or processes. To date, this program has helped create or retain 29 jobs in rural communities. “The TURBO program has a proven track record of success in a legacy industry that employs nearly 80,000 people statewide,” said Governor Walker. “We must continue to invest in programs like this to ensure that dairy-related businesses can continue to compete in an ever-changing environment.”

A rural city's aggressive push for more housing

Oregon Business | Posted on June 28, 2018

In rural Oregon, a lack of new and good quality housing hampers economic development in communities that are desperate for investment.   The lack of new housing means rural communities miss out on valuable property taxes that could be used to provide many of the amenities enjoyed by urban residents.   In the small eastern Oregon city of John Day, government officials have a plan to reverse this trend by offering generous financial incentives for new home construction and remodels. John Day, pop. 1,674, currently has 170 acres of underdeveloped land that has almost no tax value. Only three site-built houses have been constructed in the past decade.      To attract developers, the city is offering to pay builders system development charges of $7,400, as well as a 7% cash rebate on new home construction. Property owners that remodel their homes can get a 15% cash rebate based on the increase in the property’s assessed value.For the city to recover its investment, houses have to be located in the urban renewal area encompassing 20% of land scattered throughout the city. The area includes every buildable lot that is zoned residential and approved for development.

Waste permit revoked for controversial Oregon dairy

Capital Press | Posted on June 28, 2018

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Quality have revoked the waste management permit for Lost Valley Farm. The revocation comes just 15 months after the facility first received its permit from the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Quality, which jointly manage the state’s confined animal feeding operation, or CAFO, program. Lost Valley now has 60 days to shut down, move all its animals and clean all waste systems.

California to see ballot initiative for cage free pigs and chickens

The Sacramento Bee | Posted on June 28, 2018

he ballot measure builds on the passage of Proposition 2 — a 2008 initiative that prohibited California farmers from housing pregnant pigs, calves raised for veal and egg-laying hens in cages or crates that don't allow them to turn around freely. The new initiative offers greater specificity by setting explicit standards for animal confinement. By 2022, egg-laying hens would need to be placed in cage-free housing. Breeding pigs and calves raised for veal would also be required to have at least 24 and 43 square feet of floor space, respectively. The Humane Society of the United States is the primary backer of the initiative. 

Why Breed-specific Legislation Is not the Answer

AVMA | Posted on June 28, 2018

Breed-specific legislation (BSL) targets specific breeds of dogs that are wrongly thought to all be dangerous – most frequently "pit bull types" – and places stricter regulations on these dogs or even makes ownership of them illegal. Several cities, towns and states across the United States and Canada have adopted breed-specific measures in an attempt to prevent dog bites in their communities. However, while BSL may look good on the surface, it is not a reliable or effective solution for dog bite prevention. Breed-specific laws can be difficult to enforce, especially when a dog's breed can't easily be determined or if it is of mixed breed. Breed-specific legislation is discriminatory against responsible owners and their dogs. Breed bans do not address the social issue of irresponsible pet ownership. It is not possible to calculate a bite rate for a breed or to compare rates between breeds because the data reported is often unreliable. Animal control and legislative approaches to protecting a community from dangerous dogs should not be based on breed, but instead on promoting responsible pet ownership and developing methods to rapidly identify and respond to owners whose dogs present an actual risk.

Washington spreads money for clean manure projects

Capital Press | Posted on June 26, 2018

Five projects to purify manure at Washington dairies have received public funding, including one that involves engineer Peter Janicki, who told state lawmakers last year that removing all contaminants from livestock waste was possible and could even be profitable.

Iowa nitrogen pollution in the water is getting worse, despite hundreds of millions of dollars in spending, study shows

Des Moines Register | Posted on June 25, 2018

Nitrogen pollution flowing out of Iowa to the Gulf of Mexico has grown by close to 50 percent over nearly two decades, a new report shows, despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent to stem nutrients entering the state's waterways.A University of Iowa study shows the state's contribution to the Gulf dead zone spiked 47 percent to 618 million pounds in 2016, based on five-year running annual averages."Just based on water quality data, I think we can say we’ve not made much progress over the past 20 years in terms of nitrogen," said Chris Jones, a research engineer at the UI's IIHR–Hydroscience & Engineering.Environmentalists say the study raises new questions about the effectiveness of Iowa's approach to improving water quality and its reliance on voluntary ag compliance."We've been pouring state and federal money into cutting nutrient pollution for decades, and this highlights the fact that the voluntary approach is not working," said Jennifer Terry, executive director of the Iowa Environmental Council.

Kentucky's pension reform law struck down by judge as unconstitutional

Louisville Courier Journal | Posted on June 21, 2018

 Franklin Circuit Court judge struck down Kentucky’s pension reform law on Wednesday, saying the rapid manner in which it was passed was unconstitutional. Judge Phillip Shepherd said the process, which took six hours after the pension language was substituted into an unrelated sewer bill on March 29, violated safeguards to ensure "legislators and the public" can know the content of bills under consideration. Democrats and advocates for teachers and public employees hailed the decision.