New film looks at rural American landmarks, and why they’re disappearing. According to filmmaker Kelly Rundle, few things symbolize the country’s nostalgia for its rural roots more than historic barns. That’s why the new documentary he’s making with his wife, Tammy, Barn Raisers, explores the importance of these humble structures, and raises concern about their rapid disappearance from the landscape.
Do you know the bugs that share your home? No? Well, pull up a chair and get acquainted. Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Colorado Boulder just completed a census of creepy crawlies from hundreds of households across the country and found that creatures from more than 600 genera of arthropods live alongside us in our homes.
The company building a controversial oil pipeline north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation failed to immediately notify regulators after finding four stone cairns and other artifacts during construction in Morton County as tensions grew among pipeline opponents, documents show. Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, waited at least 10 days to notify the North Dakota Public Service Commission about an unanticipated discovery in mid-October, a potential violation of the state permit for construction. The company formally notified regulators Oct. 27, making the report a public record for the first time, the same day hundreds of law officers evicted protesters blocking the pipeline’s route on private land, leading to 141 arrests.
In a theoretical world, one place is as good as another for producing goods. But agriculture is where you find it, and for good reason. That’s just one of the factors that makes the ag market behave differently from the widget market. It’s also why some form of risk-mitigation through government farm programs are a good idea, say two ag-policy analysts. Rural and urban residents have seen this happen time and time again. A building that originally may have been built for a general mercantile store has often housed a restaurant, insurance agency, hardware store, and clothing store over a century of use. It may be torn down so the community can have a mini-park. Meanwhile the insurance agency may have built a new building more suited to its changing needs. The same is not true for agriculture, particularly crop agriculture. Crop farmers tend to use all of their acres all of the time. Total planted acres remain remarkable stable over time. Farmers may change the mix of crops they grow, but they are unwilling to allow acres go unused. They typically will plant cropland to something. In response to several years of higher crop prices, farmers are relatively quick to convert some of their pasture land to cropland as we saw during the last decade. The shift in the other direction does happen, but historically the change has been exceedingly slow. When a farmer goes bankrupt or otherwise leaves the industry, the land does not. It is sold to another farmer and remains in production, often with higher yields. Unlike the building that can be used by businesses in different economic sectors, when land on the edge of town is converted to a subdivision or paved over for a shopping mall or small industrial plant, the change is virtually permanent.
Every time you look up it seems as though the Humane Society of the United States is spending money –except on pet shelters. With Election Day fast approaching, let’s take a look at some of the ballot initiatives that has HSUS reaching for its checkbook or media rolodex. One of the initiatives HSUS is pumping money into is Question 777 in Oklahoma. This amendment would make any law “restricting or regulating” the farming industry in the state more vulnerable to lawsuits, which would likely result in fewer government regulations over the industry. This amendment gives farmers a fighting chance and HSUS a headache as it allows farmers to defend themselves against unjust laws. The initiative HSUS is most concerned with is Question 3 in Massachusetts. This initiative would ban the sale of eggs, veal or pork produced in what HSUS claims is an inhumane fashion—about 85 to 90 percent of eggs and pork produced today. Colorado Amendment 71 would make it more difficult for initiative petitioners like HSUS to qualify a constitutional amendment for the ballot without allowing citizens from all over the state to have a say in which measures are placed on the ballot.
AUdio - An advocacy group critical of the Humane Society of the United States claims HSUS has laid off 55 staffers to cope with a $20 million shortfall. The Center for Consumer Freedom says the problems show the public is turning against the organization. HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle, without confirming details of the cutback, acknowledged in an email to Agri-Pulse that HSUS is restructuring to focus on strategic priorities and eliminating several dozen positions. Pacelle says HSUS is expanding in several areas, including farm animal protection. Pacelle says he expects HSUS to be back in the black next year.
Federal wildlife managers have begun building an enclosure across several acres of the National Key Deer Refuge in Big Pine Key. If the number of deer battling an outbreak of New World screwworm climbs too high, they will begin fencing healthy deer to save the herd
A court decision on Oct. 24 was a win for species threatened by climate change. The case centered on National Marine Fisheries Service findings that estimate a Pacific bearded seal subspecies will lose so much sea ice habitat, they will become endangered by 2095. In 2012, the seals had been federally listed as threatened based on climate change predictions, but a lawsuit brought by oil and gas companies, indigenous tribes and the state of Alaska challenged the classification. The courts at the time ruled in the dissenters’ favor, saying that the listing was “arbitrary and capricious.” The latest ruling in the appeals court overturns those findings, reinstating protection.
Wildlife Services has long rankled wildlife advocates; in 2014, the federal agency killed 2.7 million animals — golden eagles, barn owls, black-tailed prairie dogs, mountain lions and wolves as well as invasive species. The agency researches but rarely uses nonlethal alternatives, and reform has been stalled in part because half of its budget, under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is funded by contracts with state and county municipalities, ranchers and businesses. In October, a federal court approved a settlement between the Santa Fe-based nonprofit WildEarth Guardians and Wildlife Services in Nevada, stating that the agency can no longer rely on its 22-year-old, nationwide baseline assessment and must perform a new analysis of how native wildlife removal cumulatively impacts the environment in Nevada. Wildlife Services agreed to update other state analyses that rely on the old assessment, and will halt work in Nevada’s wilderness and wilderness study areas until the new one is finished.
In recent years, researchers have documented the changing demographics of rural areas, with a specific focus on changes in racial-ethnic composition and immigration patterns,1 particularly the increased migration of Hispanics to rural places.2 In spite of this attention to the changing demographics of rural America, surprisingly little is known about how rural immigrants compare to both their urban peers and native-born counterparts. In this brief we use American Community Survey (ACS) five-year estimates to document demographic and economic characteristics of the immigrant and native-born populations in the United States by metropolitan status. We focus on a wide range of demographic and economic indicators that relate to immigrants’ ability to assimilate and thrive in rural America. Our analysis finds that rural immigrants are different than their rural native-born and urban immigrant counterparts on a host of demographic characteristics, including age, education, and family structure. Rural immigrants also differ from urban immigrants with regard to when they arrived in the United States and where from. In terms of economic characteristics, rural immigrants have relatively low family income and high poverty rates, even among those currently working and those who work full time.