There’s something happening in Alaska’s small agriculture industry. It’s little noticed by most, but there are signs. Farmers are selling all they produce. Many think they can sell more.“If farmers sell out, they’ll grow more,” state agriculture director Arthur Keyes said. That trickles through the economy, creating jobs.Several signs are positive: Grocery retailers like Safeway buy local produce during the summer and mount special promotions of Alaskan-grown vegetables, which prove popular.The company is expanding its purchases of Alaskan-grown products, including new products made with Alaska barley flour now being featured in several stores in the state, according to ReinoBellio, Safeway’s general manager for Alaska.New ways of marketing are developing, too. Farmer’s Markets that feature locally grown products are widely popular, and there are now about 40 statewide.There’s also growth of niche food suppliers for local foods. Several small operators work out of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to supply customers in Anchorage with deliveries of fresh, local vegetables, poultry and eggs.
With Dow-DuPont's $150 billion merger closing Thursday, the newly combined business's first spin-off could be the agribusiness formed by Johnston-based seed giant Pioneer and Indianapolis' Dow AgroSciences, experts say. "It makes sense, from my view, that agriculture" could be the focus of the first company formed, said Seth Goldstein, an analyst at Morningstar in Chicago. Here's why: Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont, which initially proposed creating three independent, publicly traded spin-offs — agribusiness, material science and specialty products — are facing intense investor pressure to create more, smaller companies. "There’s less debate about what would fall into ag and what doesn’t," said Matt Arnold, an analyst at Edward Jones in St. Louis. "For the most part, that should be pretty straightforward." Dow and DuPont have yet to say which company will first leave the nest. Investors are pushing for as many as six companies. In 2016, Iowa economic development leaders reached a deal with Dow-DuPont that will help cement its 2,600 employee workforce in the state. Most of those jobs are located in Johnston. Altogether, the company will receive $17 million in incentives, including $14 million in state tax credits and a $2 million forgivable loan.
Kozmon is among the animal lovers who pushed for a new law to provide state oversight of nonprofit pet adoption groups. It cracks down on everything from shoddy health and record-keeping to unscrupulous pet dealers rebranding themselves as nonprofit “rescues” and peddling puppies from the same puppy mills adopters seek to avoid. The law, signed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo this month, puts nonprofit shelters and rescues under the same state Agriculture and Markets regulations that cover licensed pet dealers and municipal shelters.“You have up to 500 nonprofit entities under no regulation whatsoever,” said Bill Ketzer, a regional official with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.The new law requires the organizations to register with the agriculture agency, follow state documentation and vaccination requirements and disclose the number of animals transported annually. It also gives the agency the authority to craft additional regulations.
Sununu, a Republican, joined officials from the Humane Society and the Wolfeboro Police Department on Thursday to sign an executive order expanding the duties of the 13-year-old Commission on the Humane Treatment of Animals. Sitting on a table in front of him was an eight-week-old puppy, born to one of Fay's dogs that had been surrendered to an animal shelter shortly before the other dogs were seized. Sununu said he looks forward to working with the panel to strengthen animal cruelty laws."We're not just re-establishing it ... we're putting a little more oomph into it," he said of the commission."Whether it's dogs or cats or bears, we do have a responsibility," Sununu said. "It's part of who we are in the state of New Hampshire. It's part of our culture."
Colorado and Maine recently enacted laws that allow or require veterinarians to check the prescription histories of pet owners as well as their pets. And Alaska, Connecticut and Virginia have imposed new limits on the amount of opioids a vet can prescribe. Veterinarians typically do not dispense such widely abused drugs as Vicodin, OxyContin or Percocet, but they do dispense Tramadol, a painkiller; ketamine, an anesthetic, and hydrocodone, an opiate used to treat coughing in dogs – controlled substances that humans abuse.But even as some states push for veterinarians to assess the records of human clients, many veterinarians maintain they’re unqualified to do so. And while a handful of states now require vets to check the prescription histories of pet owners, about two-thirds of the states explicitly prohibit it.
Jessica Rubin’s turn to approach the judge came between drunken-driving cases and a series of procedural appearances best measured in seconds. She unspooled an account of how the police found eight pit bulls kept in filthy conditions with scars that looked like they came from staged fights. She read from a police report of the scene where an officer wrote that “words cannot describe the stench.” Professor Rubin, who teaches law at the University of Connecticut, had come to the Superior Court here to argue against returning two of the dogs, including one that was pregnant, to a man who claimed to own them. Instead, she said, the dogs needed to be released from animal control to rescue groups.“That’s what the advocate would recommend to the court,” Professor Rubin told the judge. “Every day that passes continues the suffering of these dogs and makes it more unlikely they can have a normal life.”Last year, Connecticut enacted a law that, according to legal experts, made it the first state to allow judges to appoint lawyers and law students as advocates for dogs and cats in cases of cruelty, abuse and neglect. The case in Manchester was one of several that Professor Rubin and her students had been assigned to, bringing them to court regularly, almost always flanked by unofficial advocates from Desmond’s Army, the assembly of activists named for the dog whose death in 2012 inspired the law.A rising movement in the criminal justice system has placed an emphasis on giving more of a voice to and adding support for crime victims. Across the country, judges routinely appoint advocates in cases involving children and the infirm.
As a result of the efficiencies and cost savings under his administration, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller today has directed agency staff at the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) to find cuts in fees administered by his office. “I’ve been able to achieve some cost savings and managed our budget well, so just like a business, we’re passing that along to our ag producers and taxpayers by way of fee reductions,” said Commissioner Miller. “Our primary mission at the Texas Department of Agriculture is to ensure that our ag producers and the ag industry are successful and thriving. As we know, when Texas agriculture succeeds, all of Texas succeeds.”
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will deploy $4.7 million for its Food and Agriculture Investment Program, which it operated as a pilot project in the current fiscal year. Officials believe the program will become a mainstay in Michigan’s economic development toolbox because it helps fill funding gaps for agribusiness expansion projects that do not meet the requirements for traditional performance-based grants from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. For projects to qualify for performance-based grants under the MEDC, companies must create more than 25 or 50 jobs, depending on if the company is located in a rural or urban environment. But even with large expansion projects, agribusinesses typically do not generate the required volume of jobs, sources said.Additionally, the MEDC incentives must go to retain companies in the state, which isn’t normally a concern for agribusinesses.
Tracking legal weed from the fields and greenhouses where it’s grown to the shops where it’s sold is their main protective measure so far.
With recreational marijuana use just months away from being legal in California, Los Angeles has appointed a so-called cannabis czar tasked with regulating the local pot industry.