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SARL Members and Alumni News

Iowa Nutrients Lawsuit Filed, Again

Progressive Farmer | Posted on April 4, 2019

Confined animal feeding operations and other farming operations in the Raccoon River watershed in west-central Iowa would be required to implement numerical nutrient runoff standards, the state would have to implement a plan to restore the watershed, and CAFO construction or expansion would be halted if a lawsuit filed in a district court in Polk County this week is successful. The lawsuit was filed by environmental groups Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Food and Water Watch. Nutrients runoff in Iowa has been the center of heated debate and legal action for the past decade. Most recently, a similar lawsuit filed by Des Moines Water Works was thrown out by a federal court.

Toledo Votes Yes On Lake Erie Bill Of Rights

WVXU | Posted on April 4, 2019

In a special election Tuesday, voters in Toledo said yes to a ballot measure that amends the city charter to include a Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR). With about 8.9 percent turnout of eligible voters, the ordinance was approved by just over 61 percent. According to the unofficial vote count from the Lucas County Board of Elections, over 16,200 ballots were cast. The vote is a victory for Toledoans for Safe Water, a grassroots organization that, for months, collected signatures, campaigned, and fought in the Ohio Supreme Court to get the issue on Tuesday’s special election ballot. The group worked together with a  Pennsylvania nonprofit, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), to draft the language for LEBOR.

Veterinary Colleges 2 + 2 Program adds up

AVMA | Posted on April 4, 2019

Josh Link, a Pennsylvania native, found his home in Alaska's veterinary community. Link will be one of the first to graduate from a 2+2 program that connects the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences in May. He plans to return to Fairbanks as a general practitioner. "I joke that one of my professors gave me a sled dog and that was the bait, and I took it," Link said. "There is a culture up there that is really unique, and the veterinary community is right at the center of it." Prospective veterinary students from states that lack an AVMA Council on Education–accredited veterinary college can still pursue a veterinary career by applying to a 2+2 program, which allows them to complete the first two years of a four-year veterinary curriculum at a campus separate from a veterinary college. In theory, these programs enable states without a veterinary college to increase the number of veterinarians in the state, and they seem to be doing just that. Most of the programs haven't been around long enough to determine definitively whether they have made a dent in veterinarian shortages. However, academic leaders and veterinary students are positive about the opportunities these programs can bring to a community or state.

Washington beef groups back brand bill, but dairy industry says 'no'

Capital Press | Posted on April 4, 2019

Most Washington dairy farmers don’t brand cows and aren’t in the mood to pay more to support a brand program, an industry representative told lawmakers, complicating a last-ditch push to save the program aimed at marketing cattle and deterring rustlers. Other cattle groups endorsed a plan to raise fees to fund inspections by the state Department of Agriculture of cattle changing owners. Washington State Dairy Federation policy director Jay Gordon said recent meetings with members revealed strong opposition.“We got our ears bent pretty hard,” he said. The steepest hike would be for inspecting unbranded cows, and the proposal comes as dairies struggle with a prolonged slump in milk prices.“The timing is poor. Our guys are really grumpy right now,” he said.The agriculture department inspects cattle to certify ownership. Last raised in 2006, the fees do not cover the cost of putting inspectors in the field, and the mismatch between costs and revenue over the past two years is approaching $1 million, according to the department.

Bill to fund Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program passes committee

Capital Press | Posted on April 4, 2019

Oregon lawmakers advanced a bill Tuesday to fund a new program that would provide state grants for projects to protect and conserve farmland. The House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use voted 5-0 to send House Bill 2729 to the Legislature’s Joint Ways and Means Committee, which is responsible for determining the state’s budget.HB 2729 calls for appropriating nearly $10 million from the general fund over the next biennium to subsidize the Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program, created in 2017 as a voluntary grant program to help farmers and ranchers with easements, succession planning and conservation strategies to ensure working land remains in production.

Massachusetts advances bill to offset loss of federal funding for family planning

AP News | Posted on April 1, 2019

The Massachusetts House overwhelmingly approved $8 million Wednesday to offset the potential loss of federal funding to women’s reproductive health organizations under a new Trump administration rule. Twenty Republicans joined the vast majority of House Democrats in voting 140-14 to send the bill to the Senate, where approval is likely on Thursday. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has also voiced his support for providing state money to close any gap in funding in the family planning program known as Title X.

Maryland House OKs bill to create a prescription drug price board for government employees

Baltimore Sun | Posted on April 1, 2019

The Maryland House of Delegates approved Wednesday a bill that would create a state board to set limits on how much state and local governments pay for medicines for their employees and retirees. The bill was approved largely along party lines on a 98-40 vote, moving the measure to the state Senate for consideration.

Debate over what is considered milk and how to label it heats up

WAFB | Posted on March 28, 2019

If you walk through the dairy aisle, there’s quite the variety: two percent, whole milk, almond, and soy milk. Those last two are now in question as the battle over what is considered “milk” is heating up.Louisiana State Senator Francis Thompson, D-Delhi, has introduced a bill that would remove the term “milk” from anything that is not dairy. For farmers like Mike Brian, it could help sagging profits.Sen. Thompson believes Senate Bill 39, which he authored, is a possible solution."What we're trying to do is make sure people know that almond milk is not cow’s milk,” Thompson said.He says by labeling these milk alternatives as such, it will help consumers understand what they’re buying.

Bluetick coonhound signed into law as Tennessee's official state dog

Knox News | Posted on March 28, 2019

It's official. The bluetick coonhound is Tennessee's state dog — as if that was a debatable subject.Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill into law officially making the beloved University of Tennessee mascot a state symbol. The bipartisan bill, which was introduced by Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, in early February, sailed through the House and Senate with unanimous votes.

States fear EPA crackdown on pesticide rules

Politico | Posted on March 28, 2019

States fear the EPA is preparing to override state-level pesticide regulations aimed at curbing crop damage and environmental fallout, after the agency quietly announced last week it’s considering a new way to handle state requests to impose stricter pesticide rules or training requirements.States can seek additional restrictions from the EPA for various reasons, such as accounting for local pests or environmental concerns. But the EPA noted that some requests it gets are to “narrow the federal label.” Rose Kachadoorian, president of the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials, told POLITICO she doesn’t see what problem the agency is trying to address, adding that she believes the existing system is working well.“A lot of these states want to ensure the continued availability of a technology,” she said, stressing that making adjustments would limit states’ rights. “By having the ability to have increased training, cut-off dates and other restrictions, it’s actually enabling states to use that technology and they want to be able to use it.”