To help get new farmers on the land, in 2017 the Minnesota Legislature passed the Beginning Farmer Incentive Credit that provides tax credits to the owners of farm assets who either rent or sell assets to a beginning farmer.The new program includes incentives for farmers who sell or rent assets to those who are not close relatives – not children, grandchildren, spouses or siblings.It includes a tax credit up to 5 percent of the sale of assets and up to 10 percent of the gross rental income.Those credits can reduce the risk for older farmers to sell or rent to beginning farmers, Wohlman said.A Beginning Farmer Management Credit is available for beginning farmers who enroll in an approved farm business management program, as well as scholarships for farm management classes.
Howard County pet owners could get bitten by fines depending on how they keep their dogs outside in excessive heat or cold. The County Council passed a bill Friday mandating that dogs must be protected from weather that could harm or kill them. It also requires proper shelters for dogs left unattended by owners for 30 minutes or more, specifying the size, type of bedding and access water at all times.
A national bond rating agency predicts Virginia’s hospitals and health systems will receive a boost to their bottom lines when the state expands its Medicaid program on Jan. 1.S&P Global Ratings said Monday that the impending expansion of health coverage for up to 400,000 uninsured Virginians will be “credit positive” for state hospitals by generally reducing the level of uncompensated and charity care they provide to people with no means to pay.
Something familiar happened in America in February: A gunman walked into a school, and shot and killed 17 students and staff in a horrific act of violence. But then something unfamiliar happened: State legislators — inspired by a movement led by the student survivors of that mass shooting in Parkland, Florida — started passing legislation to restrict gun access.This was a year of unparalleled success for the gun-control movement in the United States. States across the country, including 14 with Republican governors, enacted 50 new laws restricting access to guns, ranging from banning bump stocks to allowing authorities to temporarily disarm potentially violent people. State lawmakers still managed to expand gun access with at least 10 new laws in seven states. These measures — from allowing guns in K-12 schools to bolstering “stand your ground” laws — continued to carry weight in certain parts of the country, even as the gun-control movement steadily gained steam elsewhere.
Last month, Roberto de Jesús González spoke to state legislators in Santa Fe, New Mexico, about his experience being held for three months in the Otero County Processing Center. “(I was) a victim of the private prison system,” he said — treated like an animal, poorly fed and given little respect by the guards. “This business is based on human suffering,” he told lawmakers. “That was my experience.” He wasn’t alone. At the hearing, convened by the state’s Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee to consider better oversight of private detention facilities, a line of detainees formed behind de Jesús González to describe their own experiences with medical neglect, solitary confinement and spoiled food. All the while, they reminded legislators that they were either asylum seekers — meaning they hadn’t broken any laws and were seeking shelter from persecution or violence — or people who had been detained on civil charges. Leila, an asylum-seeker from Somalia, said she understood the government’s need for detention centers. But, she added, “There should be some fairness in the way they treat people.”
Food stamp recipients in New York will not see their ability to use their benefits at farmers’ markets interrupted this summer. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that the state and the Farmers Market Federation had reached agreement with Nova Dia Group, the mobile application vendor that was to close this summer, to continue processing farmers’ markets transactions that use food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.State officials and farmers markets learned in early July that Novo Dia Group, the company that had been processing food stamp purchases at markets, was closing July 31 – in the middle of a busy farmers’ market season. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had contracted with Novo Dia, the only USDA-authorized contractor of a cellular-based redemption system app for smartphones, to process SNAP transactions. USDA did hire a replacement company, but that company does not provide smartphone capabilities.Novo Dia’s software is used by 40 percent of farmers markets across the country, and all 500 markets in New York.New York State has hired Novo Dia to continue to process SNAP transactions, though the deal offers only a short-term solution, Cuomo.The solution could also provide solutions for other affected markets in the country, according to Cuomo and Novo Dia President Josh Wiles.
Urging the state water board to reject a proposal to redirect flows in three Central California rivers, a coalition of more than 50 agricultural, water and business organizations encouraged the board to renew efforts for voluntary agreements with affected water users. “This unified response from groups representing farmers, ranchers, and urban and rural residents alike demonstrates the impact the water board’s proposal would have, and the need for the board to explore alternative methods that would help fish without the severe human cost of its current approach,” California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson said. The State Water Resources Control Board is scheduled to vote on the proposal next month. It would commit much more water in the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers to “unimpaired flows” intended to benefit salmon and other fish.
Local municipalities are taking up the reins to combat global climate change as scientists around the world continue to sound alarm bells warning of the possibly irreversible effects of using greenhouse-gas emitting sources of energy.The Middleton City Council passed a resolution this month setting goalposts for utilizing renewable energy sources in 100 percent of energy consumption city-wide — for the city government’s operations but also for community residents and companies.Middleton’s plan is just one in the region either laid out or in the works.Dane County, which boasts 100 percent renewable electricity use for government functions, hopes to complete and roll out an expanded sustainability plan in the spring. In March 2017, the Madison City Council passed a resolution to develop a plan laying out goals for zero-carbon emissions energy use in city operations and methods to reach those goals.
Ohio regulators let FirstEnergy collect $168 million a year from ratepayers with virtually no strings attached for how it is spent.Ohio ratepayers have paid FirstEnergy’s utilities roughly a quarter of a billion dollars since January 2017 under a distribution modernization rider. The mandate for consumers to pay the rider is currently on appeal before the Supreme Court of Ohio. Meanwhile, FirstEnergy’s utilities have been collecting the $168 million per year, and regulators could renew the charge for another two years after 2019.“To date, FirstEnergy has stymied the efforts of the state-designated advocate of its consumers to discover information about its subsidy charges,” Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Bruce Weston and assistant counsel Zachary Woltz said in a July 13 brief.
There are few places better to see the effects of an intensifying drought than a hulking, 200-plus-acre complex just off of Interstate 44 in southwest Missouri. This is the Joplin Regional Stockyards, one of the biggest in the country, selling more than 430,000 head of cattle in 2017 alone. Usually, they’ll have 800 to 900 cows on the block at weekly Wednesday sales. On July 11, they had double that. “Everybody's a little short on hay, everyone's a little nervous,” co-owner Skyler Moore said. “We're getting into some water issues in certain areas. And the weather's real spotty.”About a quarter of the state started 2018 in a drought, and it’s only gotten worse from there. The Midwestern Regional Climate Center said Joplin has received 9.65 inches of rain since April — on track to be in the 10 driest periods of the last 100 years.