Even before the opioid crisis peaked here in 2016, Ohio was already spending about the same on opioid dependency statewide as it did kindergarten through high school education, according to a recently released study. The enormous price tag in 2015 of opioid dependency in the state was somewhere between $6.6 billion and $8.8 billion. During the same time, the state spent about $8.2 billion on public education, according to the study released by Ohio State University’s C. William Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy.Your Voice Ohio, a news collaborative, highlighted the study last week as the state’s behavioral health, addiction and rehabilitation workers are preparing to host the ninth annual opiate conference in Columbus next month. The two-day educational event is expected to draw 1,200 people.The study, “Taking Measure of Ohio’s Opioid Crisis,” aims to help policymakers make better decisions by evaluating the crisis. Among other things, the study zeroed in on the costs of opioid addiction across four categories: Health care and treatment, criminal justice, lost productivity among opioid abusers, and lost productivity following an overdose death.In 2015 — the most recent numbers used for this part of the study — those costs added up to between $500 and $999 for every person in Summit, Portage and Wayne counties, regardless of whether they used drugs themselves.The costs in Stark and Medina were lower, somewhere between $0 and $499 per person, the study said. But costs skyrocketed in the southwest part of Ohio, averaging more than $1,000 per capita in an area stretching from Dayton and Cincinnati east to Lawrence County, Ohio’s most southern county, which borders West Virginia.Because costs were so extraordinary in southwest Ohio, the study said “state efforts to reduce current and future opioid abuse should likely focus on this area of the state.”
New York State will invest $12 million to help build the College of Veterinary Medicine at LIU Post in Brookville as part of the state's $72 million investment to support three transformative, economic developments on Long Island, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced. The funds will go towards a $40 million project to create a College of Veterinary Medicine at Long Island University to help fill a void in that academic area. There are only 30 schools of veterinary medicine in the United States and just three in the northeast. None of these veterinary colleges are located in the New York metropolitan area.The college will be established in 2018 and classes will begin in September 2019.
A week and a half after the earth split open in Puna and the hazards of Kilauea began devouring and toxifying everything in their path, 67-year-old Garuda Johnson looked out his window. Seeing through the sulfur dioxide-laced haze of vog — which has measured quantities of SO2 as high as 10 parts per million (ppm) on Johnson’s personal monitor — is nearly impossible at distance. But at close range, he could see well enough to make out just how extensively volcanic emissions had ravaged his 20-acre Pahoa farm on Kamaili Road, just a few miles from the doorstep of Kilauea’s destruction.“The vegetables were dead, they died first,” said Johnson, owner and operator of Johnson Family Farms. “The vegetables just started turning white and they were just gone. All of them.”Tomatoes, lettuce, beets, radishes, more — all were wiped out. Next were most of Johnson’s 400 avocado trees, first their leaves and then their fruit. Tens of thousands of seedlings in the farm’s start room perished as well.His business in ruins and any hope of a profit this year squandered, Johnson, his family and roughly a dozen employees had no choice but to abandon the property, which is home to seven people. The only hope to which Johnson continues to cling, albeit tenuously, is that lava won’t slide down from the volcano to claim what’s left.“We lost where we lived,” Johnson said.
A nonprofit group called the McLemore Cove Preservation Society is suing the government of Walker County, Georgia, claiming that government officials are secretly “conspiring to install a large-scale chicken slaughterhouse” in the area. The group claims county officials are in talks with Pilgrim’s Pride and is offering the company tax incentives to open a plant there. Walker County is located directly south of Chattanooga, Tennessee.However, those talks have never been confirmed by county officials or by Pilgrim’s Pride. Further, Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield and local economic development director Robert Wardlaw said that the county has a practice of signing non-disclosure agreements when negotiating with pote
A group of dairy farmers and experts argued Wednesday that to save family farms from going out of business, the U.S. needs to adopt some form of supply management like Canada has.Farmers across the country have experienced a drop in earnings from their milk in recent years as rising milk production across the U.S. and other countries has flooded domestic and international markets. Increased milk production has resulted in a market oversupply. Northeast farmers have been struggling through their fourth year of low milk prices.In order to provide farmers with enough markets for their milk, Jim Goodman, president of the National Family Farm Coalition, and Ralph Dietrich, chairman of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario board, both said on Wednesday during a conference call that the U.S. should follow Canada’s example and implement methods to curb milk production.
Texas Tech University’s plans for a new veterinary college—the first new veterinary school in the U.S. in 40 years—took another step forward this week.The Amarillo City Council approved a 69-million dollar funding plan to ensure construction of the school in Amarillo. Work continues to line up state funding and private donations for the school, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2021.Texas Tech officials say the school is needed to address a critical shortage of farm animal veterinarians in rural areas.The new school will be the 31st veterinary school in the country.
Algae blooms for the past decade or more have invaded Ohio’s lakes and rivers, turning the waterways to a thick green color, killing fish — and in some case leaving the water toxic to humans. The state has spent billions of dollars on solutions to fix the water quality problem and put in place rules to decrease what some scientists say is the No. 1 culprit of the algae blooms — runoff from farm fields and land near waterways. A forthcoming bill in the Statehouse will propose more regulations to clean up Ohio’s waterways but Gov. John Kasich may not wait for the bill to get to his desk.Instead, Kasich is considering using the powers of his office to address concerns raised by an Ohio EPA study released in April, said Jim Lynch, Kasich’s communications director. The study revealed there has been “no clear decrease” in the amount of nutrients flowing from farmlands into Lake Erie and other state waters.“It’s been a high priority for the governor since he’s been in office,” Lynch said. “We keep looking for what more we can do and what we can do through executive action is our next step.” The “single biggest thing” that Ohioans can do to prevent algal blooms is to stop fertilizer runoff from getting into lakes in the first place, Kasich said. Not only do the water quality issues pose a problem for beach-goers but they are threatening an bi-national Great Lakes agreement struck in 2015.The governors of Ohio and Michigan and the premier of Ontario, Canada have all signed the Western Basin of Lake Erie Collaborative Agreement. It calls for substantial reductions in nutrients runoff into Lake Erie and its source watersheds, including a 40 percent reduction in phosphorous by 2025, according to a copy of the agreement.Ohio has invested $6 billion statewide to improve water quality since 2011, according to the Ohio EPA. Even with that investment though, Ohio, Michigan and Ontario are nowhere near reaching that 2025 goal, said Heidi Grismer, spokeswoman for the Ohio EPA.
Tyson Foods Inc. will receive $20 million in state economic funds to help the company build a new chicken complex in Humboldt, Tenn. Tennessee’s State Funding Board on approved the package. The package includes $14 million for water, sewer and electrical upgrades and $6 million for new construction
Tyson Fresh Meats will receive nearly $675,000 in Iowa state tax credits to help the company upgrade its pork plant in Perry, Iowa. The Tyson Foods subsidiary plans to construct a new chilling system to improve product quality and efficiencies at the Perry facility, the Iowa Economic Development Authority said in a post on its website. The $43.7 million project won’t add jobs there but will require additional training for existing employees.
he regulatory problems facing a controversial Oregon dairy have raised questions among lawmakers about avoiding “too big to fail” livestock operations in the future. Negative publicity has continued to mount for Lost Valley Farm of Boardman, Ore., which in 2018 has faced a $10,600 fine, a lawsuit filed by state farm regulators and financial troubles resulting in bankruptcy proceedings.The 7,300-acre farm is home to nearly 14,000 head of cattle.The Senate Interim Committee on Environment and Natural Resources summoned the state’s top agriculture and water regulators for a legislative hearing on May 21 to begin analyzing what went wrong.