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Monsanto donates Middleton plant research facility to UW-Madison

A $10 million commercial biotech plant laboratory in Middleton, Wisconsin, first opened in 1982 with the help of University of Wisconsin–Madison scientists, will soon become part of UW–Madison following a donation from Monsanto Co. The facility, a labyrinth of greenhouses and laboratories where some of plant biotechnology’s first critical steps were taken, was officially donated to UW–Madison’s University Research Park by Monsanto last month (December 2016) to become the hub of the new Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center (WCIC).

An English Sheep Farmer’s View of Rural America

Less than 3 percent of people in modern industrial economies are farmers. But around the world, I am not alone: The United Nations estimates that more than two billion people are farmers, most of them small farmers; that’s about one in three people on the planet. My farm’s lack of profitability perhaps shouldn’t be of any great concern to anyone else. I’m a grown-up, and I chose to live this way. I chose it because my ancestors all did this, and because I love it, however doomed it might seem to others.

After Court Setbacks, Lawmakers Push for New Voting Restrictions

In some states, such as Texas and Arkansas, lawmakers are responding to court rulings that struck down or scaled back earlier attempts to restrict voting. Bills in other states would make changes to early voting and registration deadlines.  Proponents of the legislation say the proposed limitations, such as requiring a photo ID and eliminating Election Day registration, are necessary to restore public confidence in the electoral system. They say the measures protect the integrity of the ballot box by confirming voters’ identities and whether they are qualified to vote.

Oklahoma:Professionals sought for rural areas

Two state House bills intended to attract doctors and workers to sparsely populated areas of Oklahoma were endorsed in committees recently.  House Bill 2301 by Speaker Charles McCall (R-Atoka), would authorize a tax exemption on the first $25,000 of annual income earned by any “qualifying doctor” who moves to a rural area of Oklahoma.

Rural America broadens our economic, intellectual, cultural diversity

Rural people and issues generally receive little attention from the urban-centric media and policy elites. Yet, rural America makes unique contributions to the nation’s character and culture, as well as provides most of its food, raw materials, drinking water and clean air. The recent presidential election also reminds us that, though rural America may be ignored, it continues to influence the nation’s future.“Rural America” is a deceptively simple term for a remarkably diverse collection of places. It includes nearly 72 percent of the land area of the United States and 46 million people.

When private pain becomes a community problem

Overall, the response to the epidemic in the West has been a “whack-a-mole approach,” Susan Kingston, coordinator for the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the Center for Opioid Safety Education in Seattle, told me. “We’re trying to make any change we can. Big solutions are happening, but they are slow and need a lot of money and political commitment.” In September 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established $11 million in grants for Colorado, among 10 other states, to expand rehabilitation services for those with opioid addiction disorders.

Deadly U.S. heroin overdoses quadrupled in five years: study

The number of deadly heroin overdoses in the United States more than quadrupled from 2010 to 2015, a federal agency said on Friday, as the price of the drug dropped and its potency increased. There were 12,989 overdose deaths involving heroin in 2015, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, compared with 3,036 such fatalities five years earlier. In 2010, heroin was involved in 8 percent of U.S. drug overdose deaths, a study by the Atlanta-based center said. By 2015, that proportion had jumped to 25 percent.

This century is broken

For every one American man aged 25 to 55 looking for work, there are three who have dropped out of the labor force. If Americans were working at the same rates they were when this century started, over 10 million more people would have jobs. As Eberstadt puts it, “The plain fact is that 21st-century America has witnessed a dreadful collapse of work.” That means there’s an army of Americans semi-attached to their communities, who struggle to contribute, to realize their capacities and find their dignity.

Our Miserable 21st Century

From work to income to health to social mobility, the year 2000 marked the beginning of what has become a distressing era for the United States.  From peak to trough, the collapse in work rates for U.S. adults between 2008 and 2010 was roughly twice the amplitude of what had previously been the country’s worst postwar recession, back in the early 1980s. In that previous steep recession, it took America five years to re-attain the adult work rates recorded at the start of 1980. This time, the U.S.

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