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SARL Members and Alumni News

Cranberry growers eye ways to compete with Wisconsin, Quebec

The Herald News | Posted on June 15, 2016

 Faced with an influx of cranberries from Wisconsin and Quebec, agriculture officials have made a series of recommendations they hope will revitalize the 200-year-old Massachusetts cranberry industry and allow it to remain competitive.      In a report to lawmakers, the Massachusetts Cranberry Revitalization Task Force, created by the Legislature in 2015, identified possible areas of innovation in cranberry farming, such as making renewable energy options more viable for growers and doing more to conserve water. The report also highlights the need for funding for cranberry farmers to renovate their bogs to be able to grow "larger, higher-yield fruits" that have become a growing chunk of the cranberry market. "Cranberry growers in Massachusetts as a whole are not confronted by a single problem," the task force wrote in its report. "The external challenges, be they a lack of capital, production costs per barrel increasing while crop values decrease, less productive bogs and other issues, are onerous."

Massachusetts, which accounts for 31 percent of American cranberry acreage, trails only Wisconsin in terms of cranberry production in the United States. But in 2014, the task force said, Quebec eclipsed Massachusetts and produced about 500,000 more barrels of the tart fruit than the Bay State.


Iowa GOP lawmaker dumps party to protest Trump

Des Moines Register | Posted on June 8, 2016

State Sen. David Johnson, one of the senior members of the Iowa Senate, says he has suspended his Republican Party membership to protest "the racist remarks and judicial jihad" by presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. Johnson, 65, a resident of Ocheyedan in northwest Iowa who has served 18 years in the Iowa Legislature, said he changed his voter registration on Tuesday from Republican to "no party." He told The Des Moines Register he has not decided yet whether he will quit the Republican Caucus in the Iowa Senate.  "I will not stand silent if the party of Lincoln and the end of slavery buckles under the racial bias of a bigot," Johnson said, referring to Trump. His criticism was prompted by Trump's comments that federal Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, who is presiding over a lawsuit involving the now-closed Trump University, was biased because of his Mexican heritage. The judge was born in the United States.  "Mark me down as Never Trump," Johnson said. But Johnson also said he will never support Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic Party nominee for president.


New Montana law puts a unique spin on crowdfunding

Billings Gazette | Posted on June 7, 2016

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small financial contributions from a large number of people. The most well-known types of crowdfunding are internet-based and typically involve a donation instead of an investment. The Montana Legislature, however, enacted a unique kind of Montana-based crowdfunding law. Under the new law, the company must complete an application available on the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance website and pay a fee before soliciting investors. All investors in the crowdfunding project must be Montana residents. A maximum of $1 million can be raised (federal securities registration is required above this amount). Investors can invest a maximum of $10,000, however, accredited investors can invest more.

Businesses interested in crowdfunding must register with the Montana Secretary of State. All investment monies must be deposited into a Montana-accredited financial institution. The business must have a specific plan and purpose. All important information about the venture must be disclosed to the investor. Individuals who have been in trouble with the law or regulatory agencies may not raise money under this exemption.


Goule - New NAWG CEO plans to help wheat industry gear up for Farm Bill discussions

Capital Press | Posted on June 7, 2016

The new CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers wants to make sure farmers have a strong voice in writing the 2018 Farm Bill.  Chandler Goule will begin July 5 as the organization’s top executive in Washington, D.C. He is moving over from his previous job as senior vice president of programs at the National Farmers Union.  Goule said both organizations are grassroots, farmer-driven organizations.


The Maschhoffs, Hormel targeted in undercover video

Watt Ag Net | Posted on June 2, 2016

The Animal Legal Defense Fund(ALDF) has released a video that supposedly depicts scenes of animal abuse and neglect at a Nebraska pig breeding farm owned and operated by The Maschoffs.In the video, ALDF also identifies Hormel Foods, a pork company with which The Maschhoffs is a supplier.


Louisiana rep. Anders gets bill passed removing inspection exemptions for slaughter

Louisiana Legislature | Posted on May 19, 2016

HB 515 Engrossed 2016 Regular Session Anders Abstract: Removes the exemption from inspection applicable to the slaughter of animals. Present law provides that the requirement for the inspection of the slaughter of animals and the preparation of carcasses, parts thereof, meat and meat food products shall not apply when certain conditions are met. Proposed law modifies present law by removing the slaughter of animals from the exemption of inspection.


SENATOR JOHNSON URGES CONGRESS TO INTERVENE IN PROPOSED OSHA ANHYDROUS RULE

KTICradio | Posted on May 19, 2016

Senator Jerry Johnson, Chairman of the Agriculture Committee of the Legislature, announced that he has contacted members of Congress, including the Chair and Ranking Member of a key House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee, urging Congress to intervene to require OSHA to commence formal rulemaking before implementing a significant and very costly change affecting farmer cooperatives and other anhydrous fertilizer retailers, and their customers, farmers. Senator Johnson is also contacting his counterparts as legislative committee agricultural chairs in each of the 50 states legislatures through State Agriculture and Rural Leaders to encourage them to weigh in on this issue as well.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an enforcement memorandum notifying of its intention to begin enforcing a change in interpretation of the exemption of retail facilities handling anhydrous ammonia from the applicable Process Safety Management (PSM) standards (PSM of Highly Hazardous Chemicals – 29 CFR 1910.119) that are currently applicable only to anhydrous manufacturing and wholesale storage facilities. Under the change in interpretation, farmer cooperatives and other crop nutrient product retailers handling anhydrous ammonia fertilizers, would suddenly be subject to costly compliance costs which includes costs of staffing, recordkeeping, equipment replacement and other costs. A survey of its members by the Nebraska Cooperative Council found that compliance costs per coop could exceed $10 million apiece.


State environmental department rejects federal overreach into agricultural operations

North Carolina Dept of Environmental Quality | Posted on May 11, 2016

North Carolina environmental regulators are reversing the previous administration’s decision to bring poultry operations under federal regulation.  The state environmental department will protect the agriculture industry from federal overreach by requiring poultry operations to be permitted by the state rather than by federal requirements.

The court ruled that the federal EPA and special interest groups misinterpreted federal clean water regulations by calling for poultry operations to hold a federal permit. The EPA did not file an appeal, indicating that it agrees with the federal judge’s ruling. 

Gary Baise of OFW Law and Senator Brent Jackson were involved in this win for agriculture.


SARL member testifies: Dairy farmers need help with manure regulations

The Press | Posted on May 11, 2016

A bill pending in the state legislature aims to help dairy farmers meet expected cost increases for implementing new manure regulations.  The bill authorizes an income tax credit for Ohio livestock owners who make eligible investments in equipment and facilities for storing and handling manure as well as its application and transportation.

The credit is capped at 50 percent of the investments made between 2005 and Jan. 1, 2020. Livestock owners are to claim the credit over five years. Eligible investments are defined as those incurred to meet state law covering manure in the watershed of the western basin of Lake Erie and to meet U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations in other parts of the state.

Representative Brian Hill, R-Zanesville, said the passage of Senate Bill 1 in 2015 resulted in costly regulations for livestock producers. “The new regulations on small livestock producers are set to take effect in less than two years and will take effect for mid-sized producers in less than a year. This short timeframe immediately puts these farmers on-the-clock to create a plan to change


SARL Secretary - Ralph Eichler Becomes Manitoba’s Minister of Agriculture

Real Agriculture | Posted on May 4, 2016

A former cattle producer and owner of a livestock handling equipment business has been tapped to serve as minister of agriculture in the Manitoba’s new Progressive Conservative government.

Ralph Eichler, MLA for the riding of Lakeside in the south Interlake, was sworn in along with his colleagues in Premier Brian Pallister’s cabinet on Tuesday morning at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.  A purebred Simmental and commercial cattle producer, Eichler also owned and operated Prairie Farm and Ranch Supply. He was first elected in 2003 and served several stints as ag critic while in Opposition under Pallister and former PC leader Hugh McFadyen.

Minister Eichler also serves as Secretary of State Agriculture and Rural Leaders.


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