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Ohio State researchers team up to fight algae blooms

Columbus Dispatch | Posted onJanuary 3, 2017 in Agriculture News

Scientific research has always been more of an individual endeavor.  But during the past decade, research aimed at tackling real-world problems has become a team sport that pulls players from a spectrum of lab benches. At Ohio State University, one such interdisciplinary collaboration has spent five years trying to find a solution for the harmful algae blooms that annually plague lakes and rivers in the state’s western water basin. By uniting biologists with ecologists, political scientists and economists, the team did more than test a single hypothesis.


7 states will have higher gas taxes Jan. 1

USA Today | Posted onJanuary 3, 2017 in Energy News

Motorists in nine states will see changes in gas taxes at the pump on New Year’s Day, and more than a dozen states will examine adjustments in 2017. Pennsylvania has the largest gas tax in the country, at 50.4 cents per gallon, according to the Tax Foundation. The rate will rise 7.9 cents per gallon in the new year, based on a 2013 law. The other big increase is in Michigan, where the gas tax is 30.54 cents per gallon, according to the foundation. That rate will rise 7.3 cents per gallon, based on a 2015 law.


White House wants to use data to kick out invasive species

next.gov | Posted onDecember 31, 2016 in Federal News

The White House wants researchers to focus on curbing the impact invasive plants, animals and insects have on the U.S. environment and economy. Earlier this month, with just a few weeks until his term ends, President Barack Obama signed an executive order committing to prevent the “economic, plant, animal, ecological and human health impacts that invasive species cause.” For instance, a population of zebra mussels were accidentally introduced into the Great Lakes and the infestation then spread into Mississippi River, the Arkansas River and Lake Champlain.


New Michigan law helps protect pets from animal abusers

Detroit Free Press | Posted onDecember 31, 2016 in Rural News

A package of bills intended to keep pets away from known animal abusers was signed into law Wednesday by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.  The bills passed the Legislature with strong bipartisan support in December. The bills allow Michigan animal shelters to conduct a criminal background check using the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) and determine whether someone has a criminal history of animal abuse before allowing adoption of an animal.


California report backs governor’s plan for giant water tunnels

Capital Press | Posted onDecember 31, 2016 in Agriculture News

Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two giant tunnels to send Northern California water southward moved a step closer Thursday to final state and federal decisions, with the state’s release of a 90,000-page environmental review supporting the $15.7 billion project.  Brown’s administration is pushing for final federal and state approval of the 35-mile-long, 40-foot-wide tunnels, touted to ensure more reliable water deliveries to city and farm water agencies in Central and Southern California.


WTO favors US, New Zealand in Indonesia ag trade fight

Watt Ag Net | Posted onDecember 29, 2016 in Federal News

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled in favor of the United States and New Zealand in the two countries’ dispute with Indonesia concerning trade restrictions on agricultural products from the U.S. and New Zealand. The WTO on December 22 revealed its findings in the dispute. Indonesia has 60 days to either accept the ruling or appeal it. WTO ruled in favor of all 18 of the complaints the U.S. issued against Indonesia, revealing that the restrictions were inconsistent with WTO fair trade rules. The restrictions involved U.S.


Women earn nearly half the doctorates in ag sciences, but gaining limited stature

University of Florida | Posted onDecember 29, 2016 in Agriculture News

Despite earning 44 percent of the doctorates in agricultural sciences, women hold just 23 percent of the tenure-track faculty positions at U.S. land-grant institutions, according to a new study led by a research team at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.  Although the 23 percent is nearly double the 12 percent reported in 2005, females hold very few administrative positions in agricultural academia, the study shows.


Make a resolution to educate our non-farm cousins about how we produce their food

Michigan State University Extension | Posted onDecember 29, 2016 in Agriculture News

As farmers, you can become a resource for your friends and relatives. People are more likely to trust those they know, and in particular, those who are involved in an area that they want to learn something about. Your cousins and friends may look to you as part of their tribe and a resource for facts about food production. There are a number of reasons why individuals may have concerns or questions about food production.


Farmer turned lawyer helps make Iowa wind power go

Des Moines Register | Posted onDecember 29, 2016 in Energy News

Before many of the approximately 3,700 turbines dotting Iowa's fields and prairies went up, Des Moines real estate attorney Kathleen Law drafted those documents, sometimes working the phones to answer questions from farmers about the effects wind farms might have on their crops and livestock.  She works behind the scenes on behalf of wind-energy developers. But some credit the Iowa native who grew up on a family farm south of Lohrville with playing a significant role in the development of around 40 percent of Iowa’s overall wind capacity — more than 6,300 megawatts.


Iowa produced record ethanol output in 2016

Des Moines Register | Posted onDecember 29, 2016 in Energy News

Iowa's 43 ethanol plants produced a record 4.1 billion gallons of ethanol in 2016, according to a state trade group. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association credits increases in gasoline demand, E10 blending and ethanol export opportunities for the slight uptick in production over 2015's 4 billion gallons.


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