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Rural News

Texas Loses Fight to Keep Syrian Refugees Out

Texas Tribune | Posted on June 17, 2016

Texas on Thursday lost its fight against the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state, ending a monthslong battle during which refugees from the war-torn country continued to arrive.  Dealing the final blow to Gov. Abbott's effort to keep Syrian refugees out of the state, a federal judge dismissed Texas’ lawsuit against the federal government and a refugee resettlement agency over the resettlement of the refugees. In an order dated Wednesday and released Thursday, Dallas-based U.S. District Judge David Godbey said the state did not have grounds to sue the federal government over in the case and failed to provide a “plausible claim” that a refugee resettlement nonprofit breached its contract.

New England governors say fighting stigma key to opioid battle

Central Maine | Posted on June 17, 2016

ll six New England governors attending the conference said fighting the social stigma associated with addiction is the key to battling the opioid crisis raging across the region, claiming thousands of lives.

The governors pointed to a series of steps needed to fight the epidemic, from increasing education in schools about the addictive nature of opioids to limiting first-time prescriptions for opiate painkillers and ratcheting up law enforcement efforts targeting heroin.   They said critical to all the approaches is removing the stigma around addiction and getting people into treatment.

Minneapolis Governor vetos tax relief bill

CBS | Posted on June 17, 2016

Governor Mark Dayton today made good on a promise to veto a major tax relief bill because it included a 101-million dollar error. The veto set off a flurry of fingerpointing, and new calls for a special session. The tax bill came out of a rushed and chaotic end to the legislative session. It included a one-word mistake that cut by $101 million a fund that pays for the new Vikings stadium. After the veto came a blunt rebuke from the governor.  “My message to legislators today: Come back and finish your work,” Dayton said.

Great Recession Changed U.S. Migration Patterns

Univsersity of New Hampshire | Posted on June 16, 2016

The economic shocks of the housing-market crisis and Great Recession were associated with striking changes in net migration patterns in both rural and urban America, with rural farming communities experiencing different migration trends than other rural areas, according to new research funded by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station. Ken Johnson, a demographer and professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire, and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin, found: As the economic situation deteriorated, fewer Americans migrated. Counties with histories of net migration losses or minimal migration gains prior to the recession had smaller losses or actually gained migrants during the recession. In contrast, counties with histories of significant migration gain prior to the recession experienced smaller net gains, or lost migrants during the recession. “Overall migration rates slowed to record lows during the Great Recession. We suspect that the recession ‘froze people in place’ with houses they couldn’t sell, retirement plans that lost value, and a precarious labor market that offered little incentive to relocate,” said Johnson, who also is a senior demographer at the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy.

The researchers found clear geographic variation in the patterns of migration change before, during, and after the recession. Just before the Great Recession, migration patterns across the nation were consistent with those of the past several decades. Net migration gains were greatest in large areas of the West and Southeast, in suburban counties of many large metropolitan areas, and the recreational areas of New England, the Upper Great Lakes and the Mountain West. In contrast, migration losses were greatest in rural areas of the Great Plains and the Corn Belt, in much of the industrial belt of the Great Lakes and East, as well as in the Mississippi Delta and the urban cores of large metropolitan areas in the East and Midwest. Most counties with migration losses prior to the recession actually showed migration gains during and after the recession. The patterns are most distinct in the Northern Great Plains, where the impact of the energy boom on migration in the Dakotas is clearly reflected. In areas that gained migrants prior to the recession, migration losses during the recession also are clear. Migration losses were evident in most traditionally fast-growing areas in the West and South.

Delaware rolls out health care reform

Delawareonline | Posted on June 16, 2016

Delaware is plagued with numerous health care issues. There are shortages of psychiatrists and dentists, and the general health of the state's population is less than stellar, ranking 32nd in the nation, according to the United Health Foundation. But one of the most urgent problems, experts say, is the cost to the state for providing care. Doctors, hospital officials, insurance companies, patient advocates and policy analysts are now working to change Delaware's costly and very sickly path. Part of the effort includes revamping how physicians get paid for diagnosing and treating patients, increasing behavioral health resources, recruiting more medical professionals and creating 10 "healthy neighborhoods" to support health outreach already being done in the community.

Monique, the hen who is sailing around the world

BBC | Posted on June 16, 2016

Two years at sea have fostered a close relationship between the two fellow sailors as they cross the globe, through warm weather and cold.  One is a 24-year-old male. The other is a hen. Guirec Soudee - the 24-year-old - is the one who does most of the hard work on board the boat. Monique is the hen, who spends most of her time admiring the view from the deck, and laying the occasional egg.  Guirec had planned to bring along a pet for company, but a hen wasn't originally on the cards. "I thought about a cat, but decided it would be too much effort to look after it," he says. "The hen was an ideal choice. It doesn't need that much looking after and I'm able to get eggs at sea. People told me it wouldn't work, that the hen would be too stressed and wouldn't lay eggs.

State reports animal plague and tularemia in NM

Las Cruces Sun News | Posted on June 16, 2016

Health officials say there have been 10 cases of plague and 19 cases of tularemia in dogs and cats in New Mexico so far this year.  Recent rabbit deaths from tularemia also have been confirmed in the Santa Fe and Eldorado areas of Santa Fe County.

Five Years of Population Loss in Rural and Small-Town America May Be Ending

USDA - Amber Waves | Posted on June 16, 2016

The population in U.S. nonmetropolitan (nonmetro) counties stood at 46.2 million in July 2015—14 percent of U.S. residents spread across 72 percent of the Nation's land area. Nonmetro population declined by just 4,000 from July 2014 to July 2015 after 4 years of population losses averaging 33,000 yearly, according to the latest county population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2014-15 improvement in nonmetro population change coincides with rural economic recovery and suggests that this first-ever period of overall population decline (from 2010 to 2015) may be ending.

Rural Mainstreet Economy Remains Weak for May

Creighton University Economic Outlook | Posted on June 16, 2016

Job Losses for First Time in Five Years. Survey Results at a Glance: • For a ninth straight month, the Rural Mainstreet Index fell below growth neutral. • Almost one-third of bank CEOs see slow or negative rural growth as the biggest economic threat to their bank over the next five years. • Approximately nine of ten bankers see low agriculture commodity prices as the greatest challenge to the rural economy for 2016. Farmland prices remained below growth neutral for the 30th straight month. • From their peak levels in 2011, agricultural commodity prices are down by 17 percent, and grain prices are off by 49 percent.

Forgotten Farms Video Trailer

You Tube | Posted on June 15, 2016

New England’s dairy farmers remain the backbone of the region's agriculture but fight for survival in an age of baby greens and artisan cheese.
Forgotten Farms examines class divisions and cultural divides in New England's farm and food communities. In some circles, farm-to-table restaurants, farmer's markets and CSAs are booming and the new farmers are celebrated. But there is another farmer who is left out of the local food celebration.  New England has lost over 10,000 conventional dairy farms in the past 50 years; 2000 farms remain. Collectively, they tend 1.2 million acres of farmland and produce almost all of the milk consumed in New England. In our enthusiasm for the new food movement, many of us have forgotten that 75 years ago these farmers were at the center of a thriving local food economy. Through conversations with dairy farmers and policy experts, we reconsider the role of these fascinating but forgotten farmers. Climate change will demand that more of our food is grown closer to where we live. Forgotten Farms gives us a glimpse into the past and a vision of an expanded local agriculture for all of New England’s population. A truly sustainable local food system for everyone will rely on all of our farmers.