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SARL Members and Alumni News

Coping with fire loss, looking for solutions

Capital Press | Posted on December 7, 2017

The owner of one small ranch in Washington state is trying to educate firefighters on the value of rangeland and change policy that allows them to disregard it.Like many ranchers throughout the West, Molly Linville is trying to recover from a horrific fire season, but she’s also is trying to change how firefighters view rangeland and a state wildfire policy that allows them to let it burn.“Firefighters look out here and they don’t see anything. It’s wasteland in their minds. I thought they didn’t care. I said I lost everything and I got blank looks. What I’ve learned is they literally don’t understand the value of rangeland,” says Linville, 42, who operates the 6,000-acre KV Ranch, mostly by herself while her husband works overseas.

AVMA leads broad coalition supporting Public Service Loan Forgiveness

AVMA | Posted on December 7, 2017

More than 110 national and state animal health organizations have joined forces with the AVMA to urge Congress to preserve an important program that provides debt relief to veterinarians and others working in the nonprofit and public sectors. This broad animal health coalition, representing nearly all major veterinary groups, is mobilizing in response to efforts by some lawmakers to reduce or eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.Led by the AVMA, and with key support from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), the coalition sent a letter Monday to the chairpersons and ranking members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce. 

Partisan Climate Opinion Maps 2016

Yale program on climate change | Posted on December 7, 2017

Public opinion estimates by political party are produced using a statistical model based on national survey data gathered between 2008 and 2016 by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication. The model combines survey data with voter registration statistics at the state and district level. Note that party registration data is available for 32 states; party registration is imputed in the remaining states, as indicated.

Supreme Court rejects Dow's $455m appeal against Bayer

Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review | Posted on December 7, 2017

The US Supreme Court has refused to rule on a patent dispute between agricultural companies Dow AgroSciences and Bayer CropScience. Yesterday, December 4, the court denied Dow’s petition for certiorari, leaving a decision made by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in March untouched.Dow had asked the Supreme Court to review the decision, which affirmed a $455 million award in damages for Bayer for Dow’s infringement of patents related to genetically engineered soybeans.

AVMA November 2017 State Legislative Update

AVMA | Posted on December 7, 2017

In Massachusetts, a bill has been put forth to allow veterinarians to dispense compounded medication from a pharmacy under certain conditions. This bill would also allow a veterinarian to compound medication, for individual patients within a VCPR, as long as the veterinarian does not compound from bulk supplies, does not duplicate proprietary products, does not wholesale cliniccompounded medications, and does not compound federally controlled substances for dispensing. Mississippi has proposed a regulation that continues to exempt veterinary dispensing from the state’s prescription monitoring program; however, prescriptions written by a veterinarian and filled by a pharmacy must be reported by the pharmacy.

Washington State Department of Agriculture puts hemp on hiatus due to money shortage

Capital Press | Posted on December 5, 2017

Washington’s hemp program, not yet a year old, has stopped issuing licenses because of a budget deficit. Restarting the program for a second growing season may depend on whether state lawmakers are willing to invest $287,000 into nurturing a hemp industry that faces high regulatory costs.“Without the additional appropriations, we would need to shut down the program,” state Department of Agriculture spokesman Hector Castro said. “Without the funding, it’s not a sustainable program.”The program’s costs are largely driven by the fact that hemp, according to federal law, is a federally controlled substance and can be legally grown and processed only under state supervision. Oversight varies from state to state. Washington chose a high level of control, intended to build a sturdy hemp industry not vulnerable to federal intervention.The cost of closely regulating hemp, however, has far surpassed the fees collected from growers and processors. While some other states, including Oregon, have registered hundreds of hemp businesses, Washington has issued only seven licenses, collecting $8,139 in fees and spending $146,000 in oversight. The licenses must be renewed annually.

Michigan State University hosts Beginning Farmer Webinar Series

Michigan State University | Posted on December 5, 2017

Michigan residents interested in engaging in new agricultural enterprises sometimes lack knowledge, experience and technical support to get started. MSU Extension educators and specialists receive numerous inquiries seeking basic, startup information for beginning farmers. Since 2012, they have filled this need through the Beginning Farmer Webinar Series. New farm businesses provide jobs, income and increased economic activity and social stability with increased food security to communities. Providing basic, practical information to people interested in, or already engaging in, new farm enterprises helps these small businesses develop sound production and marketing plans. These informative webinars are intended to help you get started. Feel free to contact the presenters for more information. The Beginning Farmer Webinar Series provides an information boost to new farm businesses. A new series will begin Jan. 17, 2018.

Missouri sets strict internal policies for sale, use of dicamba

High Plains Journal | Posted on December 5, 2017

MFA will launch an intensive scouting protocol this spring to track soybean growth and provide timely information to applicators about crop progress. A network of “sentinel plots” will be established, representing the average planting dates and maturity ranges of soybeans in different regions of MFA’s service territory. These plots will be scouted every Monday and reports sent to all MFA employees on Tuesday mornings with notes about maturity and potential cutoff dates for spraying dicamba. Applicators will be alerted when the majority of soybeans in their area have reached the reproductive stage, when dicamba injury can do the most harm to non-target plants.While Missouri has mandated that the cutoff date will be June 1 for 10 counties in the Bootheel and July 15 statewide, MFA’s policies are based on plant maturity rather than calendar dates, Weirich explained. However, he stressed, no dicamba applications will be made after government-mandated deadlines.“Once soybeans hit the R1 growth stage, we’re done spraying dicamba due to the inherent risk of off-target movement,” he said. “We feel like it’s important to base our decisions on actual growth stages, and R1 is at the beginning of flowering. If we wait until too late in the season, we’re afraid that we will put too many soybeans in our territory at risk.”Dicamba is a selective herbicide that controls broadleaf weeds. Plants with dicamba-tolerant traits can be sprayed with these herbicides to control weeds without damaging the crop. The technology helps growers control weeds that have developed resistance to other herbicides.When dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton were approved for use in 2016 by the federal government, no dicamba herbicides were approved for the new crop system. For the 2017 season, new dicamba formulations were authorized for use with dicamba-tolerant crops, including Monsanto’s XtendiMax, BASF’s Engenia and DuPont’s FeXapan.As part of its new guidelines, MFA Incorporated will not custom apply or sell over the counter any old formulation of straight dicamba products such as Banvel, Clarity and Detonate. This does not include blended products such as Range Star, DiFlexx and Status.

Commission seeks fracturing ban in watershed supplying NYC

Chron | Posted on December 5, 2017

A commission that oversees water quality for the watershed that supplies Philadelphia and half of New York City with drinking water took another step Thursday toward permanently banning natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, despite industry opposition. The Delaware River Basin Commission's newly published draft regulations would enact a formal ban on fracking, as well as put additional restrictions to make it harder, if not impossible, for the industry to dispose wastewater within the watershed or use water from the river and its tributaries for fracking outside the basin.

As N.J.'s black bear population thrives, it's the hunt that's endangered

The Philadelphia Inquirer | Posted on December 5, 2017

As New Jersey’s black bears fatten on fallen beechnuts, on Monday hunters will get one more crack at “harvesting” the state’s largest land animal before it hunkers down for the winter. It’s possible this could be the last such hunt for a while and the first of several potential environmentally related policy reversals the Garden State could face in the coming years as Democrat Phil Murphy replaces Gov. Christie. Murphy is pledging to institute a moratorium on the hunt.In the first round, 243 bears were killed — a big decrease from 2016 when 562 bears were killed in the same time period. The second segment, from Dec. 4 through 9, will be limited to firearms. the state aims to cull a certain ratio of bears each year, amounting to about 30 percent of tagged bears. That reduces the potential for human contact, while still sustaining a reproducible population.In past years, the state had trouble reaching that 30 percent level. So, in 2016, it made two separate black bear hunting segments.