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Recent AgClips

Food stamp benefits are already too low in 99 percent of U.S. counties

The Washington Post | Posted onMarch 1, 2018 in Federal, Food News

Researchers found that in 99 percent of counties those meals regularly cost more than even the maximum benefit disbursed by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In Manhattan, for instance — home to nearly a quarter-million food-stamp recipients — SNAP allows $1.86 per meal, while the average meal costs $3.96. The reports add to a growing body of evidence that SNAP benefits may already be too small to fully prevent hunger and related health risks.

Soledad farm labor contractor fined $168K for 'inhumane' housing conditions

The Californian | Posted onMarch 1, 2018 in Agriculture News

A Soledad farm labor contractor has been fined $168,082 in penalties for housing employees in unsanitary and dangerous conditions following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The penalized company, Future Ag Management Inc., a farm labor contractor, provided illegal and substandard housing to 22 employees during the lettuce and cauliflower harvests in Monterey County last summer, according to the press release by the U.S. Department of Labor. The penalizations will resolve Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act violations.

Carbon tax calls for refashioning rural Washington

Capital Press | Posted onMarch 1, 2018 in SARL Members and Alumni News

A carbon tax bill in the Washington Senate seeks to shelter farmers from higher fuel costs and calls for investing in rural economies with electric vehicles, public transit and a faster internet to encourage telecommuting. Farm groups and rural Republican legislators, however, have not warmed to the bill.

U.S. judge halts California plan to require glyphosate warnings

Reuters | Posted onMarch 1, 2018 in Agriculture News

A federal judge has temporarily blocked California’s plans to require cancer warnings on products containing the popular weed killer glyphosate, in a win for manufacturer Monsanto Co. U.S. District Judge William Shubb said the warnings would be misleading because glyphosate is not known to cause cancer, according to court documents filed on Monday in California. He still allowed the state to keep glyphosate on a list of cancer-causing products.

Amid rise in craft brewing, legislators mull changes to laws on self-distribution, barrel caps

CSG Midwest | Posted onMarch 1, 2018 in Food, SARL Members and Alumni News

With the popularity of craft beer on the rise, state legislators across the nation have been re-examining their laws to allow for greater growth in the industry, from statutory changes that help increase production to the removal of restrictions on self-distribution. That trend has continued in 2018, with South Dakota and Kansas among the states exploring proposals to assist craft brewers.

Recently signed Iowa law will pour more dollars into farm-based water quality projects

CSG Midwest | Posted onMarch 1, 2018 in Agriculture, SARL Members and Alumni News

Over the next 12 years, Iowa will commit an additional $282 million to water quality, the result of legislation passed early in 2018 after years of unsuccessful legislative initiatives in past sessions. Even with SF 512 now law, Rep. John Wills says, it still is only “the beginning of the conversation [on water quality], not the end” in Iowa. The measure was passed along a party-line vote, with opponents expressing concern that the bill does not do enough to hold accountable those who receive dollars from the state — either through the benchmark goals or the ongoing testing of waterways.

2018 State of the State addresses: Nine speeches, nine ideas from governors

CSG Midwest | Posted onMarch 1, 2018 in SARL Members and Alumni News

The annual State of the State addresses that kick off legislative sessions typically include myriad proposals for new laws and government initiatives, and this year was no different. Here is a brief look around the region at nine ideas — one from each of the nine speeches from January. 

Spring is running 20 days early

The Washington Post | Posted onMarch 1, 2018 in Agriculture News

A longer growing season sounds great, especially given the dire warnings of food shortages resulting from climate change. Hang on, though, because a longer growing season is not always a good thing. The longer growing season is inherently related to food shortages. Really. We can see it happening even now. “Plant productivity has not increased” alongside the number of growing season days, according to the National Climate Assessment. There are a number of reasons for this.  Freeze damage caused by late-season frosts. This is straightforward.

A corporate takeover of legal weed looms in California

High Country News | Posted onMarch 1, 2018 in Agriculture News

Many small farmers in California worry about this new world of legal pot. They’ve been the backbone of the industry through the drug-war years of heavy enforcement and heavy penalties, and they know all too well what it’s like to live as outlaws. They now fear that big agriculture will take over the industry that some of them pioneered and worked in for generations. Under Proposition 64, also called the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, after Jan. 1, 2023, there will be no state cap in California on the size or production amount of marijuana farms.

As milk prices decline, worries about dairy farmer suicides rise

| Posted onMarch 1, 2018 in Agriculture News

As the nation's dairy farmers struggle through their fourth year of depressed milk prices, concerns are rising that many are becoming depressed themselves. The outlook for the next year is so bleak, it's heightening worries — especially in the Northeast — about farmer suicides.  Agri-Mark Inc., a dairy cooperative with about 1,000 members, saw three farmers take their own lives in the past three years. The most recent was last month.