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SARL Members and Alumni News

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.

Michigan legislation would improve protections for companion and family pets

WXYZ | Posted on December 5, 2017

he Michigan House of Representatives approved legislation to improve protections for companion and family pets. Under House Bill 4332, it would be a crime to knowingly torture or kill an animal with the intent to cause mental distress or exert control over a person.The legislation would create first, second and third-degree offenses depending on severity, while partnering with Bill 4333 to update sentencing guidelines of up to 10 years imprisonment.

12 states ask Supreme Court to block California egg law

CBS | Posted on December 5, 2017

A dozen states are banding together to ask the US Supreme Court to block a California law requiring any eggs sold there to come from hens that have space to stretch out in their cages. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said Monday that he plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of the states alleging California's law has cost consumers nationwide up to $350 million annually because of higher egg prices since it took effect in 2015. The lawsuit, provided to The Associated Press, argues California's requirements violate the U.S. Constitution's interstate commerce clause and are preempted by federal law.A federal appeals court panel rejected similar claims last year in a separate case brought by six states, ruling that they failed to show California's law would affect more than just individual farmers. The latest lawsuit seeks to address that by citing an economic analysis of the California law. It also asks the Supreme Court to take up the case directly instead of requiring that it first move through the lower courts.

Cybersecurity Quest Sends States to Vets, Students and Women

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on December 4, 2017

Cybersecurity is the most pressing issue for state information technology officials, as hackers and cybercriminals increasingly take aim at government networks, which contain information such as Social Security, bank account and credit card numbers of millions of people and businesses. But hiring and keeping qualified IT staffers, particularly cybersecurity experts, continues to be a serious problem for states, according to a recent survey of state chief information officers. Job candidates “don’t perceive state government as an attractive and challenging work environment,” the report found.State cyber salaries generally can’t match those in private industry and it’s often hard to move up the ladder in state government. And the disappearance of generous government retirement plans is making the jobs less appealing to cyber professionals. Gatewood recommended that states rethink those requirements and seek out nontraditional job candidates who have different types of backgrounds, such as gamers, code writers, and law enforcement and military officials.

Some puppies brought from Puerto Rico have Leptospirosis

NBC | Posted on December 4, 2017

A group of dogs rescued from Puerto Rico and brought to New Hampshire have fallen ill, and now state health officials have a warning for residents who may have contracted the bacterial infection. Two of the ten rescued dogs have died from the infection. The woman who rescued them tells NBC Boston that she’s doing everything she can to keep the rest of the puppies alive.

To Cut Drug Prices, Academy of Sciences Tells the Government to Negotiate With Manufacturers

The New York Times | Posted on December 2, 2017

The National Academy of Sciences called Thursday for sweeping changes in the pricing, sale and promotion of prescription drugs to make lifesaving treatments more affordable without discouraging the development of new medicines. The federal government should negotiate drug prices with manufacturers, the academy said, an idea pushed by Democrats for years, embraced by President Trump during the 2016 campaign, but opposed by congressional Republicans. The government, it said, should also deny tax deductions for drug advertising aimed at consumers and set annual limits on out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries.“Consumer access to effective and affordable medicines is an imperative for public health, social equity and economic development,” a panel of 17 experts said in a report issued by the academy. “However, this imperative is not being adequately served by the biopharmaceutical sector today.”

Washington State Dept. of Ag favors tagging every cow with radio ID

Capital Press | Posted on December 2, 2017

The Washington State Department of Agriculture may adopt rules requiring producers to tag every cow with radio-frequency identification, a level of electronic monitoring opposed by some ranchers. The department says the tags will help follow a cow from birth to slaughter, aiding animal-health officials to speedily respond to diseases and bringing the state in line with coming USDA standards.“These (the rules) are all intended to track an animal within hours rather than within days,” State Veterinarian Brian Joseph told the Senate Agriculture Committee Nov. 14. “It’s very important we be able to do that rapidly because the more rapidly we can do that, the less economic impact there is.”WSDA continues to work on its ability to trace animal diseases more than a dozen years after the first U.S. case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy appeared in Washington, The state currently records changes in livestock ownership, though the department says the system, partly based on self-reporting of sales, has gaps.WSDA reports that only 5 percent of the state’s beef cows now have radio-frequency identification. Although 80 percent of dairy cows are electronically tagged, they come from a minority, 40 percent, of the dairies.The department envisions that by no later than 2023 every ranch, dairy and farm with cattle will have a “premises identification number” and that every cow that leaves the premises will have a radio tag.

MN:Grants available to keep wolves away from livestock

Duluth News Tribune | Posted on November 30, 2017

Minnesota livestock producers have until Dec. 15 to apply for grant money to help prevent wolf attacks. The deadline was extended three weeks due to a late harvest that kept farmers in the fields longer than average, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture said.The Wolf-Livestock Conflict Prevention Grants are a new program funded by the 2017 Minnesota Legislature with $240,000 available over the next two years.