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Climate and Weather Disasters Cost U.S. a Record $306 Billion in 2017

Hurricane Harvey's extreme rainfall and the most devastating wildfire season on record contributed to $306 billion in damages from climate and weather disasters in the United States in 2017, shattering the previous record by more than $90 billion, according to a federal report released Monday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's recap of the nation's climate over the past year found that 2017 was the third-warmest on record. What's more, it was warmer than average in every state across the lower 48 and Alaska for the third consecutive year.

New Jersey set to ban animals in circuses

New Jersey could become the first state in the nation to essentially ban old-fashioned circuses, ones with wild animals. The state Assembly, in one of its last voting sessions scheduled for tomorrow, is slated to give final legislative passage to S-2508, a bill that would prohibit the use of elephants and other exotic animals in acts traveling to or around New Jersey.

Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef new President speaks at Ag Chairs Summit

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) has named OSI Group Chief Sustainability Officer and Senior Vice President Nicole Johnson-Hoffman as its new president. “GRSB brings together people from around the world, who represent all segments of the beef value chain, including individual producers, who ultimately agree there’s massive value in sharing knowledge, and who want to partner to drive exciting new levels of performance in areas impacting GRSB’s Principles and Criteria of Sustainable Beef," said Johnson-Hoffman.

Sneakers Made from Corn? Seat Cushions From Soybeans?

Robust demand for processed foods, animal feed and biofuels isn’t keeping up with a record glut of crops in the U.S. and around the world, after several years of bumper harvests and largely benevolent weather. To sell the surplus, farmers and trade groups are wooing new customers, from car makers to toy companies. In recent years, corn and soybeans have been added to the recipes for Ford Motor Co. seat cushions, IKEA mattresses, Danone SA’s yogurt cups and Procter & Gamble Co.’s Olay moisturizers. Adidas AG’s Reebok brand recently unveiled sneakers made with corn.

Billions From VW Settlement Boost Push to Clean Vehicles

South Carolina wants to replace aging school buses. Colorado plans to electrify Denver’s bus system. And Washington wants electric ferryboats for Puget Sound. As part of a 2016 federal court settlement after Volkswagen admitted programming its diesel vehicles to cheat on emissions tests, the automaker agreed to pay $2.8 billion to states to be used to reduce diesel pollution.

CDC has advised avoiding seven words in budget requests, including evidence-based and science-based

As social scientists who treasure the concept of academic freedom, we were taken aback when we heard that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “had banned seven words.” The seven words: entitlement, diversity, vulnerable, transgender, science-based, evidence-based, and fetus. Upon further examination, it turns out that it is not quite that simple. CDC personnel were not told that they could not use the words.

Michigan dairy farmer gets prison time for hiring undocumented immigrants

A Michigan dairy farmer is to spend a couple of years in federal prison and owes a six-figure fine for hiring undocumented immigrants. U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington on Thursday, Jan. 4, sentenced Denis Burke to two years in prison, followed by two years of supervised release. Ludington did not order Burke taken into custody on Thursday, but gave him time to self-report to the U.S. Marshals Services.The judge also ordered Burke to pay a fine of $187,500 and an assessment fee of $100.

9th Circuit Ruling on Idaho “Ag Gag” Statute

The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit issued a ruling on the constitutionality of Idaho’s Interference with Agricultural Production (commonly referred to as an “ag gag”) statute.  The Court affirmed in part the lower court decision holding a portion of the statute unconstitutional but upheld two specific statutory provisions.  This case is important as it is the first time a federal appellate court has found a constitutional right to record images on private property like a farm.  Animal rights groups are hailing this is a major victory, despite the fact that other provisio

AFB and NFU team up for clearing house on opioids

The opioid crisis has struck farm and ranch families much harder than the rest of rural America. Farm towns will overcome this epidemic through strong farmer-to-farmer support and the resilience of our communities.The nation's two largest farm organizations have teamed up to bring attention to the opioid epidemic in farm country and provide information and resources to help those struggling with opioid abuse.

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