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SARL Members and Alumni News

Washington state legislators introduce bill to provide help to suicidal farmers

The New Food Economy | Posted on February 1, 2018

House Bill (H.B.) 2671, which he introduced last week. Its aim? To improve “the behavioral health of people in the agricultural industry.”If Wilcox’s bill is passed, which seems a good possibility given its strong bipartisan support, it will establish a task force to study the factors that lead to high rates of suicide and substance abuse, and then establish free resources aimed at increasing mental health support services and suicide prevention outreach.But who exactly will these services be for?As the bill is written now, the task force will convene representatives from the healthcare industry and various agricultural associations. But what about a representative for migrant workers or other vulnerable populations?There’s no specific language in the bill pertaining to those populations. But it does promise a free resource that must meet the following requirements: be publicly available online or via phone call; provide community-based training resources in suicide risk recognition and referral skills; and contain marketing guidelines to promote behavioral health in the agricultural industry.

Missouri Senate bill preempts regulation of working animals

Missouri Senate | Posted on February 1, 2018

SB 918 - Under this act, the General Assembly preempts the control and regulation of working animals to the exclusion of any order, ordinance, policy, or regulation by any political subdivision. For purposes of this act, "working animal" means the use of any animal for the purpose of performing a specific duty or function in business, commerce, or service, including but not limited to, animals in entertainment.

Farmers, local and statewide, criticize “farm-killing” state Senate pesticide bill

KGMI | Posted on February 1, 2018

 A bill in the state Senate that would impose more restrictions on farmers’ application of pesticides drew harsh criticism from major commodity commissions and small organic farmers alike, including farmers in Whatcom County. The bill would require, among other things, that farmers tell the Department of Health four business days in advance of plans to use pesticides.Capital Press reports local berry farmer Rob Dhaliwal argued Thursday a delay like that in addressing a bug or disease outbreak would devastate crops since many of these outbreaks can get out of hand in much less time.The Department of Agriculture and Labor and Industries already regulate the use of pesticides.

Colorado COOL measure rejected

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on February 1, 2018

Colorado legislators this week rejected a bill proposing the “Product of the USA” label be reserved in the state’s grocery stores only for beef derived exclusively from animals born, raised and slaughtered in the United States. The Colorado General Assembly’s House Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources heard testimony from cattle ranchers and consumers stating that multinational meatpackers and retailers were deceptively applying “Product of the USA” labels on foreign beef sold in Colorado grocery stores, according to a news release by R-CALF.

How do communities succeed at attracting young adults

University of Wisconsin | Posted on February 1, 2018

Stoecker and colleagues concluded that communities must be seen in the context of their regional centers; in particular, proximity to a city or an interstate highway was critical. “We found that people are looking for a nearby employment center that includes high-end, professional employment. They look for amenities in these regional centers: entertainment, movies, art, theater, high-end restaurants, and spectator sports.” Another factor is shopping, not just big box stores, but a range that allows a resident to get everything they need at the city. For these reasons, Stoecker says, “it’s not surprising that these communities are all close to a city, or an interstate, or both.”

Vermont offers producer growers food safety improvement grants

Vermont Food and Market Agency | Posted on February 1, 2018

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) is pleased to offer a two-roud grant opportunity to improve on-farm produce safety. Approximately $74,000 in funding will be available in each round. This grant is to assist Vermont produce growers to make improvements that help prevent or reduce known produce safety risks on their farms. Applicants must grow, harvest, pack, or hold “covered produce” as defined by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR), and have average annual produce sales of greater than $25,000 over the past three years.* Successful projects will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible applicants until all funds in the round have been allocated. 

NH bill targets owners of trespassing chickens

Fosters | Posted on February 1, 2018

The New Hampshire Legislature is considering a bill that would make trespassing fowl a violation, not for the chicken, but for its owners. Under the proposal, anyone who knowingly, recklessly or negligently allows their domestic fowl to enter someone else’s property without permission can be convicted of a violation if the birds damage crops or property The law already makes such trespassing illegal when it comes to sheep, goats, cows, horses or pigs, and the bill’s sponsor says fowl shouldn’t be exempt.While a constituent’s frustration with a neighbor’s ducks spurred the legislation, Loudon Republican Rep. Michael Moffett told a House Committee on Tuesday he also has heard from a man who claims his neighbor has used chickens as a “form of harassment and provocation.”“It does come down to property rights, which is important,” Moffett said. “People, wherever you live, should be free from having your property invaded or encroached upon by animals or birds from neighboring property who are not being taken care of.

Walker Proposes $50M In Rural Economic Development

Wisconsin Public Radio | Posted on January 30, 2018

Gov. Scott Walker is proposing a new $50 million annual investment in rural economic development projects. On Wednesday, Walker outlined plans to re-purpose a former dairy grant program into a new "Family Farm Fund."The initiative would include low-interest loans for dairy businesses, more money for state marketing efforts, and a new college scholarship program for students to take agriculture classes at state colleges.Walker announced the proposal hours before he was to deliver his State of the State address. He said the new money would primarily be used to stimulate private investment, improve productivity and fill open jobs in rural parts of the state.

Proposal would tie Oregon wolf compensation to population

Capital Press | Posted on January 29, 2018

Oregon House Bill 4106 would directly correlate the amount of compensation ranchers receive for wolf attacks on livestock with the overall wolf population statewide. House Bill 4106 requires the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife to prepare a report each biennium detailing the change in wolf population over the preceding two years. Legislators would then allocate money from the general fund to the Department of Agriculture’s Wolf Depredation Compensation and Financial Assistance Grant Program based on the change.The bill is spearheaded by Rep. Greg Barreto, R-Cove, who represents northeast Oregon where the majority of wolves live, including Wallowa County. Co-sponsors include Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena, Rep. Brad Witt, D-Clatskanie, and Sen. Herman Baertschiger Jr., R-Grants Pass.

Cuomo to internet providers: Observe 'net neutrality' or no NY state contracts | Posted on January 29, 2018

New York state will require internet providers to observe net neutrality or risk losing eligibility for state contracts under an executive order issued Wednesday by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The new policy aims to protect consumers by using the state's lucrative information technology contracts as leverage over internet companies. It's similar to one enacted through executive order Monday by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana and comes as states consider how to respond after the Federal Communications Commission last month repealed its own net neutrality policy.Attorneys general for 21 states and the District of Columbia also have sued to block the repeal of the federal policy, which had banned companies from interfering with web traffic or speeds to favor certain sites or apps. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, is leading the lawsuit.