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SARL Members and Alumni News

Colorado Lawmakers Introduce Blockchain Agriculture Bill

ETH News | Posted on March 20, 2019

On Friday, March 15, lawmakers from the state of Colorado introduced a bipartisan bill calling for the study of how blockchain technology might be applied to the state's agricultural industry. House Bill 1247 is championed in the house by representatives Donald Valdez and Mark Catlin, with state senators Kerry Donovan and Don Coram also sponsoring. The bill calls for the state's commissioner of agriculture to develop an advisory group to study possible use cases for blockchain technology in agricultural operations.

Georgia legislators pass oyster farming bill

Savannah Now | Posted on March 20, 2019

Georgia lawmakers on Monday passed legislation to create an oyster farming industry in the state despite opposition from fishermen and environmentalists who consider it too restrictive. With a vote of 35-19 in the senate, H.B. 501, which passed the house last week, now goes to the desk of Gov. Brian Kemp.

Wyoming Department of Agriculture begins work on industrial hemp program

The Fence Post | Posted on March 20, 2019

The Wyoming Department of Agriculture is beginning the process of regulating industrial hemp in Wyoming following the passage of HB171/HEA No. 0110 and Gov. Mark Gordon's signature.

Iowa Officials Question Corps Communication as River Destruction Increases

DTN | Posted on March 20, 2019

Exasperated local officials told Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday about lost farms and businesses due to flooding, ongoing river breaches, the need for higher levees and their concern about a lack of information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Flooding over the weekend in the Missouri River Basin quickly became more destructive than flooding the region faced in the spring and summer of 2011. Levees that held back the river eight years ago collapsed and were undermined by heavy water coming from multiple rivers. Levee breaches and topping continue down into northwest Missouri, as well.Carol Vinton, chairwoman of the Mills County Board of Supervisors, told Reynolds on Monday she was frustrated there wasn't more forewarning about the possible risks of such flooding in early March. Just over a week ago, most of the region was facing freezing temperatures and standing snow that quickly turned into a flood risk.

Iowa's new 'ag gag' law sparks travel boycott, possible legal challenge

Des Moines Register | Posted on March 20, 2019

A national animal rights group will ask millions of its supporters to boycott vacationing in Iowa to protest the state's new "ag gag" law. "People who care about animal rights, who don't want abusers protected, won't be visiting Iowa," said David Matulewicz-Crowley, legal advocacy counsel for Mercy For Animals.Animal welfare groups say the law prevents exposure of abuses, such as slamming piglets into concrete floors and confining animals in small cages.Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a new "ag gag" law Thursday that makes it a crime for journalists and advocacy groups to go undercover at meatpacking plants, livestock facilities and other ag operations to investigate working conditions, animal welfare, food safety and other concerns.Lawmakers said the bill is needed to help protect pig, cattle and other livestock operations from biosecurity threats.

Canada hiring more meat-sniffing dogs amid African Swine Fever outbreak

ipolitics | Posted on March 20, 2019

The Canadian government is investing up to $31 million to increase the number of meat-sniffing dogs in its employ as Canada’s pork industry remain on edge about a global outbreak of a deadly pork virus called African Swine Fever.

California officials focus on forest management after fires

Capital Press | Posted on March 20, 2019

After successive years of devastating wildfires, California's fire agency announced a plan Tuesday that would dramatically increase the removal of dead trees and other forest management efforts with the help of the National Guard. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection released a list of 35 priority fuel-reduction projects it wants to start immediately across the state over roughly 90,000 acres. That's double the acreage the agency aimed to cover in the current fiscal year, CalFire Deputy Chief Scott McLean said.The agency is also seeking National Guard assistance to coordinate the work. McLean said it was the first time he could recall turning to the National Guard for help with clearing trees and vegetation."It just goes to show you how committed everybody is," he said

Ohio Governor announces $900 million H2Ohio water quality program

Farm and Dairy | Posted on March 19, 2019

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine outlined a H2Ohio water quality initiative. He is introducing the initiative as part of his proposed budget for the 2020-2021 biennium. “We cannot continue to lurch from water crisis to water crisis. I am proposing an H2Ohio initiative that would allow us to invest in targeted, long-term solutions to ensure safe and clean water across the state of Ohio,” said DeWine. DeWine said his proposal would create a special H2Ohio Fund that would be used to protect Ohio’s water quality over 10 years and could amount to approximately $900 million.

Pa. reaches settlement on abandoned wells

Farm and Dairy | Posted on March 19, 2019

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced a settlement with Diversified Gas & Oil Corp. and Diversified Oil & Gas, (collectively referred to as Diversified) and Alliance Petroleum Co LLC (Alliance) over well-plugging violations in 23 Pennsylvania counties. “This agreement is a win for the commonwealth because it ensures that over 1,400 oil and gas wells are properly maintained or plugged and that these operators, not Pennsylvania citizens, bear the full cost of operating or plugging them,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.Diversified and Alliance have agreed to a $7 million surety bond for the wells covered by this settlement, plus an additional $20,000 to $30,000 bond for each abandoned or non-producing oil and gas well acquired in the future.

Legislators oppose farmworker labor bill

Hornell Evening Tribune | Posted on March 19, 2019

New York Senator Tom O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano are calling on the state’s Democratic legislative leaders to hold statewide public hearings on legislation that they believe could drive many family farms in New York State out of business and decimate local farm economies. The controversial legislation is known as the “Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act.” “First, the profound consequences of this legislation to one of New York State’s economic and cultural cornerstones demands, at the very least, a series of statewide public hearings. We urge you to schedule hearings across every agricultural region of New York State.  It is critical that you receive firsthand testimony that we believe will dispel the falsehoods and myths underlying the purported justification for the ‘Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act.’”