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After the Flood

Larry Winkelmann has never seen flooding like he has seen this spring. The 68-year-old cow/calf producer from Burton, Texas, located halfway between Houston and Austin, saw about 400 acres of his grassland under water earlier this month. Flooding has been an issue in the region for several months now. Corrie Bowen, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Wharton County, said heavy rains in mid-April caused the Colorado and San Bernard Rivers in his county to flow out of their banks.

USDA Announces Telemedicine Funding to Address Opioid Epidemic in Appalachia

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced five Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant awards to help provide treatment for the growing opioid epidemic in rural central Appalachia. Vilsack made the announcement as he hosted a town hall in Abingdon to address the opioid crisis in rural America, the first in a series. In January, President Obama tasked Secretary Vilsack, who is chair of the White House Rural Council, with leading a federal interagency effort focused on rural opioid use.

Prestage chooses Iowa site for new pork plant

Prestage Foods of Iowa LLC named Wright County for its new, state-of-the-art pork processing facility. Construction is set to begin in the fall of 2016, pending finalization of county and state approvals, with completion and first shift operations beginning in mid-2018. Initially operating one shift, the plant will employ more than 900 people with a total capital investment of more than $240 million.

Agreement: Monarch Butterfly to Get Endangered Species Act Protection Decision by 2019

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide by June 2019 whether to protect Monarch butterflies under the Endangered Species Act, per a court settlement reached with conservation groups.The settlement is the result of a federal complaint filed by the Center for Food Safety, Center for Biological Diversity and other groups, which have petitioned the agency to protect Monarch butterflies.

Wanting to kill wild pigs itself, Missouri bans public hog hunting

The Missouri Department of Conservation banned the hunting of feral hogs on the 1,000 or so conservation areas in the state.  Hunters actually make it more difficult for the state to kill feral hogs, the conservation department says.  The state tries to lure groups of hogs to a trapping area with cracked corn. Pigs see a free meal and private hunters see a ready-made hunting grounds.

Prisons, Policing at Forefront of State Criminal Justice Action

Faced with overcrowded prisons and evidence that lengthy sentences don’t deter crime, more states opted this year to revamp sentencing laws and send some people convicted of lesser, nonviolent crimes to local jails, if they’re locked up at all. In an about-face after a half-century of criminal justice policies that favored long-term incarceration, Alaska, Kansas and Maryland this year joined at least 25 other states in reducing sentences or keeping some offenders out of prison.

Rate of insured improves, expecially in rural areas

States that expanded Medicaid saw a significant increase in the percentage of residents who have health insurance, according to a new report from Health and Human Resources. The growth was especially strong in rural areas.  States that did not expand Medicaid also saw an increase in the percentage of residents with insurance, but the gains were not as large.

In Nashville, what should rural look like?

Is the best representation of rural character to mandate fields remain fields as outlined in Nashville Next, or should we foster development that reflects the intent of preserving a rural look and feel?  The owners of Fontanel are challenging a decision by the Metro Planning Commission that prevents them from building a conference hotel on 30 acres next to their existing property.


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