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SARL Members and Alumni News

Georgia oyster bill headed to senate vote over industry objections

Savannah Now | Posted on March 19, 2019

Charlie Phillips, whose well-tended clam beds account for what he estimates is about 90 percent of the aquaculture in Georgia, would love to see the state allow oyster farming, too. But he’s adamant the current legislation making its way through the General Assembly will do more harm than good. “It’s just overly restrictive and there’s no guarantee they’re going to do any of it,” Phillips said. “Were afraid it’s going to be so restrictive it is going to be a token oyster industry and not nearly as vibrant as what it could be.”Despite objections from Phillips and other oystermen, some of whom testified against the bill, H.B. 501 sped through the state senate Natural Resources and Rules committees last week and is expected to be voted on by the full senate as early as today.

As workload grows for Iowa's pesticide inspectors, Ag Secretary says not to expect staff increases

Des Moines Register | Posted on March 19, 2019

Iowa will not add investigators to handle an increased number of pesticide drift complaints, favoring instead more efficient ways to handle complaint inspections, the state’s chief agriculture officer said. “I’ve got to manage the department of ag within my budget,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said during IowaWatch’s weekly radio program that aired this weekend.“It’s true, we’ve not seen a budget increase in the pesticide bureau, and I don’t expect to see a dramatic increase in the pesticide budget. So, what we do is look at how to manage the workload with the crew that we have.”

Bills in ND Legislature would move power to Ag Department

Bismarck Tribune | Posted on March 19, 2019

Proposals to move the Agricultural Products Utilization Committee and authority over grain buyers to the North Dakota Agriculture Department remain alive in the North Dakota Legislature.The Legislature already rejected proposals that would have moved the state Milk Marketing Board and the North Dakota Trade Office to the Ag Department. Those agencies will stay with the state auditor’s office and the Department of Commerce, respectively.North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said he’s pleased the Milk Marketing Board will stay where it is, as more of a stand-alone entity. However, said he’s disappointed that the Trade Office will not become part of his agency and is hopeful that bills putting the Agricultural Products Utilization Committee and grain inspection under his purview will pass.

NE Farm Bureau launches disaster relief fund

Nebraska Farm Bureau | Posted on March 19, 2019

The Nebraska Farm Bureau has launched relief efforts to aid Nebraska farmers, ranchers, and rural communities suffering from the natural disasters that have impacted the state. The relief efforts include the establishment of a disaster relief fund and launch of an online agriculture disaster exchange portal to connect those in need with those who can help. “Nebraska is a special place with special people. Many of our friends and neighbors across the state are suffering. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost or are missing loved ones, and to all those who have been impacted by the recent blizzard and massive flooding events,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “We want to do what we can to help. We believe our relief fund and information exchange can be of assistance.”Money donated to the Disaster Relief Fund will be targeted to aid Nebraska farmers, ranchers, and rural communities affected by recent storms and flooding. Priority will be given to efforts to restore health and safety in rural communities and to farm and ranch households that have been damaged or displaced by the natural disaster.

Oregon House approves environmental 'rollback' bill

Capital Press | Posted on March 18, 2019

A proposal aimed at monitoring and preventing “rollbacks” of environmental protections under the Trump administration passed the Oregon House 39-20 on March 14. Under House Bill 2250, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Health Authority would have to regularly check whether federal regulations have been rendered “significantly less protective” since the end of the Obama administration.The DEQ and OHA would then have to recommend or take actions to ensure that Oregon’s environmental standards are at least as protective as federal standards before the Trump administration took office.

Georgia:Protect your right to farm

Georgia Farm Bureau | Posted on March 18, 2019

It is critical that all Farm Bureau members contact your legislators to encourage passage of House Bill 545. This important Right-to-Farm (RTF) legislation faces strong opposition and will be in Senate Committee next week, so please take action today! HB 545 seeks to strengthen legal protections for farming and forestry operations from nuisance lawsuits. This legislation is in response to the recent court rulings in North Carolina that have disrupted the financial viability and existence of their agricultural operations. We do not want this to happen in Georgia!

Georgia:Nuisance Bill in Legislature Will Harm Property Owners, Agriculture Community

All on Georgia | Posted on March 18, 2019

A measure that has already passed the Georgia House of Representatives would be tremendously detrimental to private property owners and those in the agriculture community if it clears the state senate as well. The bill has pitted agricultural and conservation groups against each other as the state legislature has worked to further protect a number of bigger agriculture companies.House Bill 545, sponsored by House Agriculture Chairman Tom McCall, seeks to prohibit nuisance claims after one year of the establishment of an an agricultural facility, agricultural support facility,  or any operation at an agricultural support facility. The bill, which targets nuisance claims exclusively in the agriculture community, provides an exception to that 1-year timeline in the event that a facility expands, changes ownership, or changes purpose only to the extent that said change or growth requires approval by a state agency or authorization by a local zoning board.  An agricultural operation can be something as simple as a roadside market or honeybee farm to something more complex like the application of pesticides or the manufacturing of feed for poultry, livestock or forestry products.

Bill allowing hemp legalization in Idaho now on its way to House floor

Idaho Statesman | Posted on March 17, 2019

More than one month after the bill was introduced, the House Agricultural Affairs Committee on Thursday finally voted on whether to advance a bill legalizing hemp in Idaho. The committee’s recommendation? Approval.With just two of committee’s 15 members voting no, the bill now heads to the House floor for consideration.

Minnesota Senate approves Mike Goggin's 'Save our Farms' bill

Winona Daily News | Posted on March 17, 2019

The Minnesota Senate has approved expanding a zero-interest disaster loan program for farmers, just in time for producers whose buildings have been damaged by heavy snow this winter.The “Save our Farms” bill, authored by state Sen. Mike Goggin, R-Red Wing, whose district includes parts of Winona County, passed the Senate unanimously Thursday. It broadens eligibility for the Disaster Loan Recovery Program run by the state’s Rural Finance Authority. The proposal was one of many that were included in a massive budget bill vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton last year.A similar farm aid bill awaits a vote on the House floor.

Bill bites down on fake service animals

Great Falls Tribune | Posted on March 14, 2019

A state panel heard a bill Monday that sets definitions for service animals, and sets penalties for some people who are stretching the rules in order to bring their pets into stores and restaurants. House Bill 439’s sponsor, Rep. Denley Loge, R-St. Regis, said a lot of people are bending the rules. HB 439 defines a "service animal" as a dog or miniature horse trained to aid a disabled person.The bill also allows the business owner to ask questions of a person who brings in a service animal, requires the animal be under the handler's control and allows complaints of a misrepresented service animal to be filed with the commission for human rights.