A Hamlin County cheese manufacturer expanding its operations needs a permit from the South Dakota environmental office to dump millions of gallons of waste water per day into the Big Sioux River. But environmental buffs and officials with several water systems in the region say the move could put drinking water supplies downstream at risk.Wisconsin-based Agropur earlier this year began a substantial expansion to its facility in Lake Norden that would increase its ability to process milk by six million pounds per day. In conjunction with the expansion, the waste water treatment facility on the Agropur campus is also being upgraded to keep up, but the plans still call for discharging up to two million gallons of waste water a day into the nearby Big Sioux River watershed.
A Texas couple claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that burdensome state regulations have put them in a pickle because they’re prevented from supplementing their income by selling more of their produce at farmers’ markets. Jim and Anita McHaney argue in their lawsuit filed against the Texas Department of State Health Services that the so-called cottage food law only permits them to sell one pickled item: cucumbers.The law governs the sale of produce, pies and other goods at places like markets and fairs. It also requires that sales don’t exceed $50,000 a year.The McHaneys say “value-added products” such as pickled okra, beets or carrots generate more revenue in their retirement and are important to help sustain their Berry Ridge Farm in Hearne, in Robertson County, according to one of their attorneys, Nate Bilhartz.Pickling also allows them to reduce the amount of aging produce that’s tossed to a neighbor’s cows for feed, Bilhartz said. If the state loosened its regulations, then the couple could take the produce that doesn’t sell at market, pickle it and sell it at a value-added price — generating added revenue to cover farm costs, he said.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the owners of a proposed large-scale dairy near Wisconsin Rapids can farm 6,388 acres of related land despite a town zoning ordinance. The court, in a 5-2 decision, reversed an appeals court's 2017 ruling that building permits for the proposed 5,300-cow dairy did not allow the Wysocki Family of Companies to farm the adjacent land.
A U.S. Interior Department appropriations bill, just passed out of committee, includes an amendment from Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., that defunds transporting grizzly bears into the North Cascades, delists gray wolves and increases transparency of grazing permit monitoring.
Experts say the dizzying evolution of Oregon’s marijuana industry may well be a cautionary tale for California.
Andrea Cabral had a long and successful career in Massachusetts law enforcement, serving stints as a county prosecutor and sheriff before getting appointed as the state’s top public safety official in 2012. So you could be forgiven for not predicting this: she now runs a pot company.
Bipartisan bills have been submitted in the state House and Senate that aim to address two major socioeconomic issues facing rural community hospitals.House Bill 998 would direct the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to make recommendations by Oct. 1 for establishing incentives to expand medical education in rural counties.That would include assisting rural hospitals with gaining Medicare approval to become a teaching hospital, as well as incentivize medical residents and students to serve those rural areas after graduation.
A federal appeals court has ruled that a lawsuit by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other groups challenging North Carolina’s “ag-gag” law can proceed. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reverses a district court judgment that had dismissed the lawsuit. PETA, the Center for Food Safety, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Farm Sanctuary, Food & Water Watch, and the Government Accountability Project are suing to overturn the state law criminalizing undercover investigations at agricultural facilities.
There have been several court decisions lately across the country related to states’ Right to Farm statutes. These cases provide good examples of the types of claims that can arise against a farm operation and also illustrate the differences between each state’s Right to Farm Act.
After you head northeast on Ranch Road 652 from tiny Orla, it’s easy to miss the precise moment you leave Texas and cross into New Mexico. The sign just says “Lea County Line,” and with 254 counties in Texas, you’d be forgiven for not knowing there isn’t one named Lea. But the folks who are selling water over it know exactly where the line is. That’s because on the Texas side, where the “rule of capture” rules groundwater policy, people basically can pump water from beneath their land to their heart’s content. But on the New Mexico side, the state has imposed tight regulations on both surface and groundwater that restrict supply. Here’s the rub — or the opportunity, depending on your perspective: With an oil fracking boom driving demand for freshwater on both sides of the state line in these parts, Texas landowners are helping to fill the void with water from the Lone Star State — including from at least one county in which Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a drought. Now a top New Mexico politician is crying foul, saying that unregulated pumping from wells next to the state line is depleting the shared aquifers that supply water to southern New Mexico.