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AgClips for December 21, 2017


Agclips for the week ending January 16, 2018

This Week's AgClips

Interior plans to move thousands of workers in the biggest reorganization in its history

The Washington Post | Posted on January 16, 2018 in Federal, Rural News

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke launched an unprecedented effort Wednesday to undertake the largest reorganization in the department’s 168-year history, moving to shift tens of thousands of workers to new locations and change the way the federal government manages more than 500 million acres of land and water across the country. The proposal would divide the United States into 13 regions and centralize authority for different parts of Interior within those boundaries.

Animal research helps pets, too

JAVMA | Posted on January 14, 2018 in Rural News

This past October, the Foundation for Biomedical Research launched its "Love Animals? Support Animal Research" campaign to educate the public about how animal research has improved the health and welfare of companion animals. Similar public outreach efforts have focused on the benefits to human health derived from animal research, such as development of vaccines for polio and hepatitis A and B. "Love Animals?

New Report Summarizes Cattle Death Loss

Ag Web | Posted on January 14, 2018 in Agriculture News

A new report from the USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) summarizes incidence and causes of death loss in U.S. cattle during 2015. The report, titled Death Loss in U.S. Cattle and Calves Due to Predator and Nonpredator Causes, 2015, shows respiratory disease remains the leading cause of death loss in cattle. Death loss due to predation has increased since the last report in 2010, but remains a relatively low percentage of the total. The report lists total death loss in 2015 at about 3.9 million head, down slightly from just under 4 million in 2010.

Lawsuit: Cal-Maine, Walmart used false claim on organic egg label

Watt Ag Net | Posted on January 14, 2018 in Agriculture News

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Walmart and Cal-Maine Foods, with the plaintiffs claiming the two companies misled consumers about the conditions in which hens that laid Walmart store brand Organic Marketside eggs were raised.

Trump declared an opioids emergency. Then nothing changed.

Politico | Posted on January 12, 2018 in Rural News

President Donald Trump in October promised to "liberate" Americans from the "scourge of addiction," officially declaring a 90-day public health emergency that would urgently mobilize the federal government to tackle the opioid epidemic. That declaration runs out on Jan. 23, and beyond drawing more attention to the crisis, virtually nothing of consequence has been done.Trump has not formally proposed any new resources or spending, typically the starting point for any emergency response.

Single payer could solve the rural hospital crisis

Jacobin | Posted on January 12, 2018 in Rural News

America’s rural hospitals are closing down at an alarming rate. According to the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program, there were seventy-two rural hospital closures between 2010 and 2016, close to double the number that shut down between 2005 and 2009. Hundreds more are teetering on the brink of closure. Consequently, rural America faces a serious health care delivery challenge, which is made all the more urgent by the fact that rural residents tend to be much sicker to begin with. They have higher rates of chronic conditions and greater psychological distress.

Grain glut leaves U.S. farmers facing losses from specialty corn

Reuters | Posted on January 12, 2018 in Agriculture News

U.S. farmers who sought to boost revenues by planting corn used to make tortillas may be forced to sell their crops at a loss to makers of ethanol or animal feed because of a glut of what typically is a human food-grade product. Oversupply of the most common grains such as corn and soybeans has spread to niche markets because so many farmers have switched to planting different strains of seed to diversify and bolster returns after four years of bumper crops cut farm income and pushed down prices for staple grains.White corn, which makes up roughly 1 percent of the 14.6 billion-bushel U.S.

House legislation to tighten borders proposes new expanded ag guest-worker program

The Progressive Farmer | Posted on January 12, 2018 in Agriculture News

An overhaul of agricultural guest-worker programs is a major component of a House plan to fix the immigration status of young people involved in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) that is entangled in the latest immigration battle on Capitol Hill.

More dairy heifers leaving U.S.

Progressive Dairy | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Agriculture News

With the U.S. dairy herd stubbornly near a two-decade high, cow numbers are frequently cited as a reason for excess milk production stretching processing capacity. While latest information from the USDA shows dairy cow slaughter is outpacing year-ago levels and stabilizing cow numbers, there’s also been renewed demand for dairy replacement heifers in foreign markets. November 2017 exports of U.S. dairy replacement heifers totaled 2,596 head, valued at $4.8 million, according to latest USDA Foreign Agricultural Service data. It marked the fifth month sales topped 2,500 head in 2017.

Mexico will leave NAFTA talks if Trump triggers process to withdraw

Reuters | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Agriculture News

Mexico will leave the NAFTA negotiating table if U.S. President Donald Trump decides to trigger a 6-month process to withdraw from the trade pact, three Mexican sources with knowledge of the talks told Reuters. Among the most divisive are plans to establish rules of origin for NAFTA goods that would set minimum levels of U.S. content for autos, a sunset clause that would terminate the trade deal if it is not renegotiated every five years, and ending the so-called Chapter 19 dispute mechanism.

Canada increasingly convinced Trump will pull out of NAFTA

Reuters | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Agriculture News

Canada is increasingly convinced that President Donald Trump will soon announce the United States intends to pull out of NAFTA, two government sources said on Wednesday, sending the Canadian and Mexican currencies lower and hurting stocks.

The Tax Overhaul and Your Farm

Ag Web | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Energy News

Farms can fully deduct all farm assets purchased between Sept. 28, 2017, and Dec.

Ag Economy Barometer drops

Purdue | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Agriculture News

The Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer drifted lower to a reading of 126 in December, the second month in a row that the barometer has declined. The Ag Economy Barometer is based on monthly survey responses provided by 400 agricultural producers from across the U.S. December’s barometer value was the lowest reading since March and the second-lowest reading of 2017.

Who's picking your food? A record number of foreign laborers

The Los Angeles Times | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Agriculture News

Growers and contractors here recruited 14,252 foreign guest workers last year, the most they have hired in the program’s modern history.California’s recruitment of foreign laborers, virtually all of them from Mexico, grew by 3,121 workers, a 28% increase from the previous year, and nearly three times the national growth rate, according to the data analysis.

Ikea sets sustainability goals for chicken; pork, beef are next

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Agriculture News

Ikea Food Services AB introduced the Better Chicken Program, which sets criteria for broiler chicken housing, breeds and antibiotics use for its chicken suppliers with an eye toward expanding to pork and beef suppliers by 2025.   Through the Better Chicken Program, Ikea Food aims to ensure broiler chickens are raised in accordance with criteria including space, lighting, enrichment and breeds with improved health outcomes. The program works toward responsible use of antibiotics and addresses environmental impacts such as deforestation and pollution from manure.

Rural Pennsylvania’s Working Poor

Rural Pennsylvania | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Rural News

For this analysis, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, using a modified definition from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, defined the rural working poor as: non-institutionalized individuals age 18 years old and older who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force during the preceding 12 months and whose household income was below the poverty level.The rural working poor make up about 5 percent of the total rural Pennsylvania workforce.

Research Examines Wildlife Tourism on PA Public Lands

Rural Pennsylvania | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Rural News

Pennsylvania residents and visitors sometimes use Pennsylvania State Game Lands for hiking, bird and wildlife watching, horseback riding, rock climbing, and mountain biking. While these secondary recreational uses are allowed, the main purposes of the State Game Lands (SGLs) are to manage habitat for wildlife and provide opportunities for lawful hunting and trapping.At times, the non-consumptive use of SGLs has been a point of contention since some view non-hunting users on game lands as privileged, or sometimes, unwelcome guests.

Ninth Circuit Upholds Major Components of Idaho "Ag-Gag" Law

Ag Web | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Agriculture, SARL Members and Alumni News

Last week, many news outlets ran with the “ag-gag gets gagged” headline in describing the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Wasden, which scrutinized a bevy of animal rights activists’ First Amendment claims against Idaho’s Interference with Agricultural Production law, colloquially/derisively known as an “ag gag” law.

Preserving Water Quality: Challenges and Opportunities for Technological and Policy Innovations

Choices magazine | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Agriculture News

The agricultural nutrient management problem is technologically, economically, politically, and institutionally complex. Nutrient flows from agricultural lands to water bodies are diffuse by nature, difficult to observe and measure at reasonable cost, and there is significant heterogeneity and weather induced stochasticity in the links between input use and polluting discharges. Policies for protecting water quality have therefore tended to focus on managing farming practices rather than environmental outcomes by encouraging the adoption of best management practices.

Agricultural fungicide attracts honey bees

Science Daily | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Agriculture News

When given the choice, honey bee foragers prefer to collect sugar syrup laced with the fungicide chlorothalonil over sugar syrup alone, researchers report.

Pesticide makers examining "freeze" on neonics in California

Agri-Pulse | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Agriculture News

Pesticide manufacturers and applicators are examining the impacts of a California decision to “freeze”  uses for neonicotinoids while the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation re-evaluates their effects on pollinators. DPR issued a notice last week saying that it would not approve new or expanded uses for products currently being re-evaluated. Products affected include four neonicotinoids – thiamethoxam (trade name: Cruiser), clothianidin (Poncho, Votivo), imidacloprid (Gaucho), and dinotefuran (Venom).

How gene editing can revolutionize feeding the world

Agri-Pulse | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Agriculture News

Change can be difficult, especially when it comes to adopting new ways of farming and producing food. But there are big innovations underway in labs and universities that analysts describe as "revolutionary," enabling the creation of new plants and animals in months rather than decades.

FCC uses bogus data to show big increases in broadband access

Daily Yonder | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Federal, Rural News

Across the country, the Federal Communications Commission wants millions of rural Americans to think they have broadband at home and the workplace – when they don’t. The self-reported claims of service are very convenient for large telecommunications companies, which might face more competition otherwise. At the end of the year, the Federal Communications Commission released data that it knows to be inaccurate, which will damage the lives and livelihoods of millions of our fellow citizens who live and work in rural America.

Slower Speeds, Less Access: the Public Agency Response to Rural Broadband

Daily Yonder | Posted on January 11, 2018 in News

Public entities like the Federal Communications Commission and state legislatures are supposed to look after the common good. Instead, their policies are making things tougher for small towns and rural areas anxious to improve their connectivity.Only 62 percent of rural Americans have broadband installed in their homes, according to the think tank New America, and those who do often pay exorbitant prices for sluggish speeds. There are similar statistics from low-income urban communities.

How much are students improving in your school district?

Daily Yonder | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Rural News

A new study that examines educational progress of millions of U.S. pupils over a five-year span finds that there are few patterns for predicting how geography or socio-economic status affect student improvement.Rural school districts don’t seem to do much better or worse than urban districts in raising student test scores over time. And both poor districts and rich districts have good and bad results.

2 more lawsuits filed against Big Ox, South Sioux City

Sioux City Journal | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Energy, Rural News

Two more homeowners have sued Big Ox Energy and South Sioux City over odors and gases from the renewable energy plant, bringing the total number of lawsuits filed to 14.Tyler and Saira Muff and Kathryn Hunt both filed suit Monday in Dakota County District Court. They claim, as have homeowners in the other lawsuits, that odors and gases from the Big Ox plant damaged their homes and "much of their personal property is useless and has been reduced to waste." They also say the odors and gases have caused health problems that began soon after the plant began operations in September 2016.

How a Coal Baron’s Wish List Became President Trump’s To-Do List

New York Times | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Energy News

President Trump’s first year in office has been a boon for the coal industry, with the Trump administration rolling back regulations on coal-fired power plants and withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate change agreement. Environmentalists have expressed alarm at the new direction, and have complained that Mr. Trump was following a blueprint from the coal industry. A confidential memo written by the head of the country’s largest coal mining company suggests they might not be wrong.The memo was written by Robert E.

USDA Asks What Regulations to Cut

DTN | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Federal News

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue served as a warm-up act Monday at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting, telling a crowd of roughly 4,500 people that USDA will soon outline the Trump administration's principles for the farm bill. Keeping with a theme of the Trump administration knocking down regulatory burdens, Perdue also called on farmers to tell USDA which regulations should be eliminated.

“Raw milk Moms” are targets of NJ enforcement action against food clubs

Food Safety News | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Rural, SARL Members and Alumni News

“Raw milk Moms” in New Jersey were targeted last month with “cease and desist” orders from the state’s Public Health and Food Protection Program. The targeted individuals and the broader raw milk community are resisting the enforcement action. New Jersey gave at least eight families five days to stop selling and distributing raw milk in the state. Raw milk makes its way into New Jersey from Pennsylvania. “Food clubs” set up “drop sites” in private homes to distribute the product.

Why Free College Tuition Is Spreading From Cities to States

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on January 11, 2018 in Rural, SARL Members and Alumni News

To churn out more workers with marketable skills, an increasing number of states are offering residents free tuition to community colleges and technical schools.The move also is a reaction to fast-rising tuition costs — increases that stem, in part, from states reducing their financial support of public colleges and universities. “Everybody’s got cheap dirt — but do you have skilled workers?” Winograd said.