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SARL Members and Alumni News

Nebraska's Livestock Friendly designation working

Cattle Network | Posted on September 1, 2016

To achieve the livestock-friendly designation, counties voluntarily apply to the NDA, which evaluates applications to determine if the county is taking measures to support livestock development, such as through its zoning regulations pertaining to livestock. The first counties applied to enter the program in 2005, and currently 37 of Nebraska’s 93 counties have achieved the designation. With the program in place for more than a decade, a group of researchers from the University of Nebraska and Oklahoma State University conducted a study to evaluate how the growth or decline of livestock operations in those counties compares with other Nebraska counties not participating in the program. Their report, titled “An economic analysis of the Nebraska Livestock Friendly County Program ” is published in the in Online Journal of Rural Research & Policy.

The researchers studied 21 counties that achieved the LFCP designation between 2002 and 2012, using data from the 2002, 2007 and 2012 censuses to track trends in farm numbers. According to the report, the number of cattle operations in counties with the livestock friendly designation grew by 12 percent between 2007 and 2012, compared to an 8 percent increase in counties without the designation. Of the 21 counties studied, 16 saw a net increase in cattle-farm numbers during that period.  As for hog farms, the number declined across Nebraska during the study period, but the decline was less severe in LFCP counties. According to the report, from 2007 to 2012, there was a 15.6 percent decline in the number of hog farms in LFCP-participating counties. In contrast, non-participating counties saw a decline of 62 percent.

AVMA chooses Donlin as Executive VP

Veterinary Practice News | Posted on August 17, 2016

The head of the AVMA Professional Liability Insurance Trust (AVMA PLIT) has been hired as the day-to-day leader of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Janet Donlin, DVM, CAE, will replace Ron DeHaven, DVM, MBA, as executive vice president and CEO of the 88,000-member organization Sept. 12. Dr. DeHaven is retiring after nine years in the post.  The decision came days after the AVMA House of Delegates amended a bylaw so the position of executive vice president or assistant executive vice president may be filled someday by a non-veterinarian. The change was proposed by the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association with the intent of opening the door to the most qualified candidates available.

Rep Lauwers and Roberts attend signing of Farmland Preservation upgrade

Michigan Farm Bureau | Posted on August 17, 2016

Designed to help ensure timelier processing of Michigan farmers' applications and tax credit payments through the Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program (PA-116), the legislation saw overwhelming support earlier this year in both the state House of Representatives (109-0) and Senate (36-1).  Sponsored by Dist. 81 Rep. Dan Lauwers and Dist. 65 Rep. Brett Roberts, House Bills 5189, 5190, 5191 enhance government accountability and reduce the time it takes to complete PA-116 contract changes.  "These bills were crafted as a result of many farmers not receiving their 2014 tax credit payments from the Department of Treasury," said MFB Legislative Counsel Rebecca Park. "Combined with program staff cuts at the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, this was becoming a problem for farmers with land enrolled in PA-116.  "The problem was significant enough that we feared it could have deterred potential enrollees from preserving their land through the program."  Specific provisions include:  Hold Treasury accountable for timely payments by requiring them to apply interest on late refunds if certain provisions are met.  Ensure the appropriate funds are allocated to MDARD for program administration, equal to the recapture tax revenue collected by Treasury.  Allow e-filing regardless of the number of land agreements.

Trump assembles A-team on ag policy

Politico | Posted on August 17, 2016

Donald Trump on Tuesday unveiled a list of agricultural advisers brimming with Republican heavy hitters, including Govs. Sam Brownback and Terry Branstad and several top farm-state lawmakers in a move that seemed aimed at quelling criticisms he is relying on a mostly third-string team.  The New York City real estate mogul’s rural and agriculture advisory committee — comprising 65 people — is a Who’s Who of farm policy, with five members of Congress, including the chairmen of the House and Senate agriculture committees, 10 current and former farm-state governors and two former GOP presidential nomination rivals, former Govs. Rick Perry and Jim Gilmore. “They pretty much cover what I would consider to be the sweep of agriculture and rural issues we’re all working on,” said Dale Moore, executive director of public policy for the American Farm Bureau, the agriculture industry’s largest lobbying group, which does not endorse candidates. “There’s a lot of horse power here that can provide good, solid advice and counsel.”



Right to Farm stays on November ballot, state high court rules

Tulsa World | Posted on August 11, 2016

A state question seeking to enshrine the rights of farmers and ranchers in the state constitution will stay on the ballot, according to an opinion released Monday by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.  Lawmakers put State Question 777 — dubbed “Right to Farm” by supporters and “Right to Harm” by critics — on the Nov. 8 ballot.SQ 777 would add a section to the Oklahoma Constitution that would create a constitutional right to engage in farming and ranching. It would protect the use of agricultural technology, livestock procedures and ranching practices. If approved by voters, it would make it more difficult to pass laws regulating the agriculture industry.

Appeal filed to keep Oklahoma right to farm measure off ballot

Capital Press | Posted on July 14, 2016

Attorneys for opponents of Oklahoma’s so-called “Right to Farm” ballot initiative have filed an appeal to try to keep the measure off the statewide ballot in November.  Attorney Heather Hintz tells The Oklahoman that an accelerated appeal was filed in hopes that the state Supreme Court will take up the case before an August deadline for the Oklahoma Election Board to print the November ballot. Nonprofit organization Save The Illinois River Inc., state Rep. Jason Dunnington and two private citizens filed a lawsuit in March challenging State Question 777, the “Right to Farm and Ranch Amendment.” They say the measure, which would prevent lawmakers from passing legislation to regulate agriculture, is unconstitutional.

Federal judge dismisses challenge to Wyoming trespassing law

Bristol Heral Courier | Posted on July 11, 2016

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from groups that challenged Wyoming laws prohibiting trespassing on private lands to collect data.  Groups including the Western Watersheds Project, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Press Photographers Association sued Wyoming last year. The groups claimed state laws prohibiting trespassing to collect data were unconstitutional. The groups said the laws, which allowed both civil penalties and criminal prosecution, would block people from informing government regulators about such things as violations of water quality rules and illegal treatment of animals.U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl of Casper dismissed the groups' lawsuit Wednesday, ruling there's no constitutional right to trespass on private lands.

"The ends, no matter how critical or important to a public concern, do not justify the means, violating private property rights," Skavdahl wrote.Skavdahl last winter expressed concerns about earlier versions of the laws, which the Wyoming Legislature had passed early last year. The earlier versions sought to prohibit collection of data on "open lands," a term Skavdahl said could be stretched to cover more than just private property.In response to Skavdahl's criticism, the Wyoming Legislature earlier this year revised the laws to specify they only applied to trespassing to collect data on private lands.Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead on Thursday said he was pleased with Skavdahl's dismissal of the groups' lawsuit."There has been a lot of misinformation about the intent of this law," Mead said. "The judge's ruling affirms that the issue at the heart of the matter is preserving private property rights — a fundamental right in our country."

Oklahoma will vote on right to farm this November

Beef | Posted on June 30, 2016

This November, Oklahoma voters will have a chance to decide on the fate of the state’s agricultural industry. State Question 777 would add a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution relating to farming and ranching. Essentially, SQ 777 would guarantee the right to engage in specific farming and ranching practices.  The “Right to Farm,” measure would add a new section to create state constitutional rights protecting the following farm and ranch management practices including: • The right to make use of agricultural technology, • The right to make use of livestock procedures, and • The right to make use of ranching practices.

Bayer, Dupont join ag-tech investment boom to ease grain pain

Reuters | Posted on June 24, 2016

Dupont and Bayer AG have teamed up to invest in a new fund that will back agricultural technology startups, becoming the latest companies to pile into the multibillion-dollar industry as farm profits shrink. The two chemical and seed companies along with venture capital firm Finistere Ventures and two others have launched a $15 million accelerator fund, called Radicle, that will back early-stage agricultural-tech companies. Of the $15 million, $6 million has been initially committed but the fund did not identify which companies would receive the monies. While small in size, it marks the second time DuPont's investment arm has taken a stake in the ag-tech arena since launching in 2003, according to fund officials.

Sad won't run for re-election after five terms in NH House

Sentinel Source | Posted on June 22, 2016

It began on a whim: a challenge from a friend to branch out into politics and run for office. It blossomed into a decade-long career of fighting for local farmers, statewide education funding and mental health provisions for prisoners.  Now Tara A. Sad, of Cheshire House District 1, is readying her exit from New Hampshire politics. The Democratic representative from Walpole won’t run for re-election to the statehouse. For Sad, political enthusiasm has never been in short supply. Over five terms in the House, she built a career characterized by strong support for local agriculture initiatives and a steady opposition to suburbanization of New Hampshire farmland. That passion paid off, vaulting Sad to the chairmanship of the House Environment and Agriculture Committee in 2011 and later its ranking member. It helped her establish a rapport across the aisle as a willing negotiator with principles, and it endeared her to her constituents along the Connecticut River, delivering her five elections with comfortable voting margins.