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SARL Members and Alumni News

Conflicted Interests: State lawmakers often blur the line between the public's business and their own

Public Integrity | Posted on December 12, 2017

Investigation found many examples of legislators supporting bills that benefited their employers, their companies or even their own wallets. State lawmakers around the country have introduced and supported policies that directly and indirectly help their own businesses, their employers and sometimes their personal finances, according to an analysis of disclosure forms and legislative votes by the Center for Public Integrityand The Associated Press.The news organizations found numerous examples in which lawmakers’ votes had the effect of promoting their private interests. Even then, the votes did not necessarily represent a conflict of interest as defined by the state. That’s because legislatures set their own rules for when lawmakers should recuse themselves. In some states, lawmakers are required to vote despite any ethical dilemmas.Many lawmakers defend even the votes that benefit their businesses or industries, saying they bring important expertise to the debate.

Bayer launches new website to promote transparency

Feedstuffs | Posted on December 12, 2017

ayer recently announced that it has launched a new website that focuses on transparency by enabling access to scientific data needed for the evaluation of plant protection products. In launching the website,, Bayer said it is taking a leadership role in driving transparency while safeguarding the company’s confidential product composition and manufacturing process data.

California extends vote on dairy quota program

Capital Press | Posted on December 7, 2017

The department has sent out 1,054 ballots, and only 400 had been returned before the deadline was extended from Dec. 4 to Dec. 22. At least 51 percent of eligible producers must vote to advance a stand-alone quota program if California joins the federal milk marketing order system.

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.