See Diane Sullivan speaking against the Massacusetts Ballot Initiative that will make it illegla to sell eggs and meat products from confined animals.
A heavy burden – the potential future of the state’s dairy industry – now rests on the shoulders of the New Hampshire Legislature. The Milk Producers Emergency Relief Fund Board met for the second time in as many weeks Tuesday and recommended that legislators approve a $3.6 million one-time payment to the state’s dairy farmers in response to this year’s drought. The recommendation, one of three included in the board’s annual report, will be passed along to Gov. Maggie Hassan and House Speaker Shawn Jasper on Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley serves on the relief fund board, and already has the report. The board hopes the Legislature can address the issue, perhaps in a special session, before Dec. 7. That’s when newly elected legislators are sworn in. “Drought is a significant problem,” said Rep. Bob Haefner, the board’s chairman, Tuesday. “We don’t have enough feed at a lot of the farms to get through the winter.”
Dan Zumbach lost 50 acres of corn when the Cedar River flooded. Yet he considers himself lucky. Most of his 160 acres would have been lost if not for family, friends and neighbors who gathered Saturday with combines, grain carts and semitrailer trucks to harvest a field near Palo. They worked from noon until 11 p.m. before the rising waters forced them to quit. Iowa's widespread thunderstorms and torrential rains have done more than flood Iowa's cities and towns. They have also slowed much of the state's corn and soybean harvest. Officials are trying to assess how many acres have been impacted by flooding, but it's likely to be thousands, they say.
How states compare on taxpayer-funded reimbursements for lawmakers' lodging and food away from home — a payment typically provided on top of lawmakers' annual salaries. They vary from no per diem at all for states like Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Ohio to $249 per day for Alaska. Some are based on length of session, Arizona is $35 a day for the first 120 days and $10 a day thereafter, some are an annual payment - Michigan $10,800 a year.
Surely, the silly season in campaign politics is upon us when Minnesota state Sen. Matt Schmit’s standing as a rural leader is called into question. Unfortunately, a Brainerd-area legislator did that last week — and the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. In this day and age, it seems the very least we can expect from our elected leaders is a modicum of integrity. Certainly the Gazelka letter violated that and many other standards. Through those efforts and in many other areas, Sen. Schmit has been a champion for rural Minnesota in his first term in office. He worked closely with rural legislators — including those from the Brainerd area — and many others from both sides of the aisle to create Minnesota’s nation-leading “Border-to-Border Broadband” competitive grant fund, which already has extended connectivity to more than 12,000 Minnesota homes and businesses in hard-to-serve areas of the state.
To achieve the livestock-friendly designation, counties voluntarily apply to the NDA, which evaluates applications to determine if the county is taking measures to support livestock development, such as through its zoning regulations pertaining to livestock. The first counties applied to enter the program in 2005, and currently 37 of Nebraska’s 93 counties have achieved the designation. With the program in place for more than a decade, a group of researchers from the University of Nebraska and Oklahoma State University conducted a study to evaluate how the growth or decline of livestock operations in those counties compares with other Nebraska counties not participating in the program. Their report, titled “An economic analysis of the Nebraska Livestock Friendly County Program ” is published in the in Online Journal of Rural Research & Policy.
The researchers studied 21 counties that achieved the LFCP designation between 2002 and 2012, using data from the 2002, 2007 and 2012 censuses to track trends in farm numbers. According to the report, the number of cattle operations in counties with the livestock friendly designation grew by 12 percent between 2007 and 2012, compared to an 8 percent increase in counties without the designation. Of the 21 counties studied, 16 saw a net increase in cattle-farm numbers during that period. As for hog farms, the number declined across Nebraska during the study period, but the decline was less severe in LFCP counties. According to the report, from 2007 to 2012, there was a 15.6 percent decline in the number of hog farms in LFCP-participating counties. In contrast, non-participating counties saw a decline of 62 percent.
The head of the AVMA Professional Liability Insurance Trust (AVMA PLIT) has been hired as the day-to-day leader of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Janet Donlin, DVM, CAE, will replace Ron DeHaven, DVM, MBA, as executive vice president and CEO of the 88,000-member organization Sept. 12. Dr. DeHaven is retiring after nine years in the post. The decision came days after the AVMA House of Delegates amended a bylaw so the position of executive vice president or assistant executive vice president may be filled someday by a non-veterinarian. The change was proposed by the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association with the intent of opening the door to the most qualified candidates available.
Designed to help ensure timelier processing of Michigan farmers' applications and tax credit payments through the Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program (PA-116), the legislation saw overwhelming support earlier this year in both the state House of Representatives (109-0) and Senate (36-1). Sponsored by Dist. 81 Rep. Dan Lauwers and Dist. 65 Rep. Brett Roberts, House Bills 5189, 5190, 5191 enhance government accountability and reduce the time it takes to complete PA-116 contract changes. "These bills were crafted as a result of many farmers not receiving their 2014 tax credit payments from the Department of Treasury," said MFB Legislative Counsel Rebecca Park. "Combined with program staff cuts at the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, this was becoming a problem for farmers with land enrolled in PA-116. "The problem was significant enough that we feared it could have deterred potential enrollees from preserving their land through the program." Specific provisions include: Hold Treasury accountable for timely payments by requiring them to apply interest on late refunds if certain provisions are met. Ensure the appropriate funds are allocated to MDARD for program administration, equal to the recapture tax revenue collected by Treasury. Allow e-filing regardless of the number of land agreements.
Donald Trump on Tuesday unveiled a list of agricultural advisers brimming with Republican heavy hitters, including Govs. Sam Brownback and Terry Branstad and several top farm-state lawmakers in a move that seemed aimed at quelling criticisms he is relying on a mostly third-string team. The New York City real estate mogul’s rural and agriculture advisory committee — comprising 65 people — is a Who’s Who of farm policy, with five members of Congress, including the chairmen of the House and Senate agriculture committees, 10 current and former farm-state governors and two former GOP presidential nomination rivals, former Govs. Rick Perry and Jim Gilmore. “They pretty much cover what I would consider to be the sweep of agriculture and rural issues we’re all working on,” said Dale Moore, executive director of public policy for the American Farm Bureau, the agriculture industry’s largest lobbying group, which does not endorse candidates. “There’s a lot of horse power here that can provide good, solid advice and counsel.”
A state question seeking to enshrine the rights of farmers and ranchers in the state constitution will stay on the ballot, according to an opinion released Monday by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Lawmakers put State Question 777 — dubbed “Right to Farm” by supporters and “Right to Harm” by critics — on the Nov. 8 ballot.SQ 777 would add a section to the Oklahoma Constitution that would create a constitutional right to engage in farming and ranching. It would protect the use of agricultural technology, livestock procedures and ranching practices. If approved by voters, it would make it more difficult to pass laws regulating the agriculture industry.