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USDA Launches Interactive Map of Opioid Epidemic Resources

USDA | Posted on June 20, 2018 in Rural News

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today unveiled a new interactive feature on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) rural opioid misuse webpage. Now webpage visitors can use an interactive map to learn about, access or replicate actions rural leaders are taking in small towns across the country to address the opioid epidemic through prevention, treatment and recovery opportunities. The interactive map can be viewed at www.usda.gov/topics/opioids/resources-map.

N.C. hog nuisance bill moves to governor’s desk

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 20, 2018 in Agriculture, SARL Members and Alumni News

A controversial measure that would make it more difficult to sue hog producers for allegedly being a nuisance and dragging down neighbors’ property rights has been finalized by the state’s lawmakers, according to media reports. Versions of the bill, Farm Act Senate Bill 711, were approved by the state’s Senate and House earlier this week. On Thursday the Senate approved the House’s proposed changes. The final version of the bill moves to the desk of Gov. Roy Cooper, who could sign it, veto it, or allow it to become state law without his signature.

China announces equal penalties to retaliate for U.S. tariffs

Capital Press | Posted on June 20, 2018 in Federal News

A $50 billion list of possible U.S. trade targets announced in April included soybeans, light aircraft, orange juice, whiskey and beef. China’s government responded quickly to U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariff hike on Chinese goods by announcing Friday it will immediately impose penalties of “equal strength” on U.S. products. The Commerce Ministry said it also was scrapping deals to buy more American farm goods and other exports as part of efforts to defuse a sprawling dispute over its trade surplus and technology policy.

SARL Members and Alumni News

N.C. hog nuisance bill moves to governor’s desk

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 20, 2018

A controversial measure that would make it more difficult to sue hog producers for allegedly being a nuisance and dragging down neighbors’ property rights has been finalized by the state’s lawmakers, according to media reports. Versions of the bill, Farm Act Senate Bill 711, were approved by the state’s Senate and House earlier this week. On Thursday the Senate approved the House’s proposed changes. The final version of the bill moves to the desk of Gov. Roy Cooper, who could sign it, veto it, or allow it to become state law without his signature.

Florida lawmakers wrongly diverted money meant for conservation, judge rules

Orlando Sentinel | Posted on June 20, 2018

State lawmakers failed to comply with a voter-approved constitutional amendment to buy and preserve environmentally sensitive lands, a judge ruled. Leon Circuit Judge Charles Dodson sided with environmental groups in the lawsuit centered on whether lawmakers defied the 2014 Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative by improperly diverting portions of the money to such expenses as staffing. Legislative leaders have repeatedly disputed such allegations as they continued to make such budget allocations. Attorney David Guest — representing the Florida Wildlife Federation, the St.

Climate change has fish moving faster than regulations can keep up

Science Daily | Posted on June 20, 2018

The world's system for allocating fish stocks is being outpaced by the movement of fish species in response to climate change, according to a study undertaken by an international team of marine ecologists, fisheries and social scientists, and lawyers.

Michigan now has nation's toughest rules for lead in drinking water

Detroit Free Press | Posted on June 20, 2018

Michigan  began enforcing the nation's strictest rules for lead in drinking water, a plan that eventually will result in replacing all 500,000 lead service pipes statewide in the wake of the contamination of Flint's supply.The lead and copper rules will drop the "action level" for lead from 15 parts per billion, the federal limit, to 12 in 2025. Underground lead service lines connecting water mains to houses and other buildings will be replaced by 2040, unless a utility can show regulators it will take longer under a broader plan to repair and replace its water infrastructure.

Many Recommend Teaching Mental Health in Schools. Now Two States Will Require It.

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on June 20, 2018

Amid sharply rising rates of teen suicide and adolescent mental illness, two states have enacted laws that for the first time require public schools to include mental health education in their basic curriculum.Most states require health education in all public schools, and state laws have been enacted in many states to require health teachers to include lessons on tobacco, drugs and alcohol, cancer detection and safe sex.Two states are going further: New York’s new law adds mental health instruction to the list in kindergarten through 12th grade; Virginia requires it in ninth and 10th grade

Agriculture News

N.C. hog nuisance bill moves to governor’s desk

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 20, 2018

A controversial measure that would make it more difficult to sue hog producers for allegedly being a nuisance and dragging down neighbors’ property rights has been finalized by the state’s lawmakers, according to media reports. Versions of the bill, Farm Act Senate Bill 711, were approved by the state’s Senate and House earlier this week. On Thursday the Senate approved the House’s proposed changes. The final version of the bill moves to the desk of Gov. Roy Cooper, who could sign it, veto it, or allow it to become state law without his signature.

Humboldt man charged with felony after 250 dead cows, some stacked 10-ft-high, discovered on ranch

San Francisco Chronicle | Posted on June 20, 2018

Authorities leveled multiple felony and misdemeanor charges on a Humboldt County man after investigators discovered hundreds of dead livestock on his ranch. Raymond Christie was charged with 35 counts, including seven misdemeanor charges and 28 counts for placing dead animal carcasses within 150 feet of state waters, according to a letter from Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming. Local, state and federal officials had discovered up to 300 deceased cows, some stacked in 10-foot-high piles or heaped in and near waterways, on four properties owned by Christie.

Natalie Portman documentary "Eating Animals" explores rise of so-called factory farming

CBS | Posted on June 20, 2018

cademy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman has graced the silver screen for the majority of her life, entertaining audiences at the age of 12 in her first film "Léon: The Professional" and continuing to make her mark on Hollywood through "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace," "Black Swan" and "Jackie." Portman is also a longtime animal rights and environmental activist.  Her new documentary explores the rise of so-called factory farming in America and some of the potential alternatives to meat.

Dairy farms struggle even as Walmart milk plant opens

Ft Wayne Business Weekly | Posted on June 20, 2018

Recent years have not been easy for the dairy industry, and Indiana’s milk producers welcome any help they will see from the processing plant Walmart just opened in Fort Wayne. More than 100 farmers across much of the country, including at least 25 in Indiana, were notified earlier this year that due to an oversupply of milk, their contracts with Dean Foods would not be renewed. They had until May 31 to find a new market for their milk. In Indiana, “they were scattered throughout the state,” said Doug Leman, executive director for Indiana Dairy Producers.

ASA: Trump’s $50 Billion Tariff announcement harsh reality for soybean growers

KMA Land | Posted on June 20, 2018

Weeks of speculation have ended with new anxiety for growers of America’s leading agricultural export: President Trump announced today he is indeed levying 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese products under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. This decision not only inflames trade tensions between the two countries, but also means U.S. soybean growers, who shipped roughly $14 billion in soybeans last year to China – their number one export market – stand to quickly feel the impact of retaliatory tariffs. The American Soybean Association (ASA), on behalf of all U.S.

Federal News

China announces equal penalties to retaliate for U.S. tariffs

Capital Press | Posted on June 20, 2018

A $50 billion list of possible U.S. trade targets announced in April included soybeans, light aircraft, orange juice, whiskey and beef. China’s government responded quickly to U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariff hike on Chinese goods by announcing Friday it will immediately impose penalties of “equal strength” on U.S. products. The Commerce Ministry said it also was scrapping deals to buy more American farm goods and other exports as part of efforts to defuse a sprawling dispute over its trade surplus and technology policy.

The FDA regulates food. USDA regulates meat. So who gets to regulate lab-grown meat?

The New Food Economy | Posted on June 20, 2018

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its intent to regulate lab-grown meat—a declaration that provides some clues about how the federal government will treat a new technology that upends some notions about food and agriculture. In some ways, it’s unremarkable that lab-grown meat would fall under FDA’s purview. It’s the federal agency that’s already in charge of ensuring the safety of most foods, from Hot Pockets to baby carrots and coconut water. What is surprising, though, is FDA’s signaling that it wants domain over a meat product.

Chief ag negotiator expects $20 billion in trade retaliation

KCRG | Posted on June 20, 2018

The Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative Gregg Doud was also at the World Pork Expo, he says there will be consequences before a deal is struck. "There is, or will be, retaliation against U.S. agricultural exports because of what we're doing in other areas unrelated to agriculture. That retaliation is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood, depending on how you slice it and dice it, over $20 billion of our $140 billion in ag exports."

Progress and Potential Hurdles for the 2018 Farm Bill

Farm Doc Daily | Posted on June 20, 2018

The odds for a farm bill in 2018 have improved considerably. On Wednesday the Senate Ag Committee moved its version of a farm bill with a strong bipartisan vote (20 to 1). House leadership is attempting to resolve the immigration issue that contributed to the House Ag Committee's farm bill defeat on the floor. This may pave the way for a House vote reconsidering the farm bill, but success remains uncertain.

FDA’s advice to footnote ‘added sugars’ gets tart replies

Capital Press | Posted on June 18, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration has been flooded this month with sour comments about its plan to require honey, maple syrup and cranberry products to include “added sugars” on nutrition labels.Remarks from New England maple syrup makers have been particularly bitter. They say they don’t “add” sugar to their naturally sugary product. “The only thing the producers do is evaporate water from the sap of this liquid gold,” one commented.The FDA counters that consumers should know how much “added sugar” maple syrup adds to pancakes.

Rural News

USDA Launches Interactive Map of Opioid Epidemic Resources

USDA | Posted on June 20, 2018

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today unveiled a new interactive feature on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) rural opioid misuse webpage. Now webpage visitors can use an interactive map to learn about, access or replicate actions rural leaders are taking in small towns across the country to address the opioid epidemic through prevention, treatment and recovery opportunities. The interactive map can be viewed at www.usda.gov/topics/opioids/resources-map.

Florida lawmakers wrongly diverted money meant for conservation, judge rules

Orlando Sentinel | Posted on June 20, 2018

State lawmakers failed to comply with a voter-approved constitutional amendment to buy and preserve environmentally sensitive lands, a judge ruled. Leon Circuit Judge Charles Dodson sided with environmental groups in the lawsuit centered on whether lawmakers defied the 2014 Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative by improperly diverting portions of the money to such expenses as staffing. Legislative leaders have repeatedly disputed such allegations as they continued to make such budget allocations. Attorney David Guest — representing the Florida Wildlife Federation, the St.

Nearly 41,000 homes in Louisiana could be at risk of chronic flooding by 2045

The Acadiana Advocate | Posted on June 20, 2018

By 2045, nearly 41,000 homes in Louisiana could be at risk of chronic disruptive flooding caused by sea level rise.   The report says nearly 99,000 people could be affected by floods that would happen 26 times a year or more. The value of the homes affected by the flooding is pegged at nearly $4.3 billion, contributing $36 million in property taxes. Louisiana faces an additional problem: the number of poor people who live in homes at risk of flooding.

As Rural Towns Lose Population, They Can Learn To 'Shrink Smart'

NPR | Posted on June 20, 2018

Population loss like Sheffield's is happening in small towns across the U.S. "The big picture for all rural communities that don't have a connection to a growing metro area is that they are going to get smaller over time," says Kimberly Zarecor, associate professor of architecture at Iowa State University. Zarecor argues that towns like Sheffield shouldn't spend money trying to lure new residents to shore up their population numbers. She says instead, they should focus on making life better for the residents they still have.

Michigan now has nation's toughest rules for lead in drinking water

Detroit Free Press | Posted on June 20, 2018

Michigan  began enforcing the nation's strictest rules for lead in drinking water, a plan that eventually will result in replacing all 500,000 lead service pipes statewide in the wake of the contamination of Flint's supply.The lead and copper rules will drop the "action level" for lead from 15 parts per billion, the federal limit, to 12 in 2025. Underground lead service lines connecting water mains to houses and other buildings will be replaced by 2040, unless a utility can show regulators it will take longer under a broader plan to repair and replace its water infrastructure.

Energy News

Trump, Oil of Less Concern Than Climate Change for Top Companies

Bloomberg | Posted on June 13, 2018

The world’s biggest companies are increasingly worried about climate change. The terms “climate” and “weather” combined were among the most frequently discussed topics among executives of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies, beating “Trump,” “the dollar,” “oil” and “recession” according to analysis of 10 years of earnings call transcripts by S&P Global Ratings. “The effect of climate risk and severe weather events on corporate earnings is meaningful,” S&P said in the joint report with Hamilton, Bermuda-based Resilience Economics Ltd.

Trump orders Perry to stop coal, nuclear retirements

Utility Dive | Posted on June 13, 2018

President Trump directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to stop the closure of coal and nuclear plants, pushed offline by cheaper electricity from natural gas and renewables. The president told Perry to “prepare immediate steps” to stop the plants from retiring, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, adding that “impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid."

Exelon CEO: No grid emergency to justify DOE coal, nuke bailout

Utility Dive | Posted on June 13, 2018

The CEO of the largest nuclear generator in the U.S. says the retirement of coal and nuclear plants does not constitute a grid emergency that warrants urgent intervention from the federal government, as President Donald Trump directed last week. Exelon CEO Chris Crane said the case for a grid emergency is difficult to make in the PJM Interconnection, the site of many potential retirements, when its reserve margin remains so high — 22% in its latest capacity auction. The company has not advocated for emergency action to save plants from retirement, he said.

For a small Colorado utility, 100% renewable energy is old news

Energy News | Posted on June 12, 2018

Aspen Electric, the municipal utility serving the resort town of the same name, achieved 100 percent renewables in 2015, and it didn’t break the bank to do so. Residential rates for Aspen’s customers rank among the lowest in Colorado, while meeting a 100 percent renewable energy goal set by Aspen’s city council 13 years earlier. And this month, upgrades to a Nebraska wind farm, of which Aspen Electric is a major customer, will push the utility’s costs even lower – dropping about 15 percent annually, or $475,000.

Tests show toxic heavy metals near Wisconsin sand mine spill

ABC News | Posted on June 12, 2018

Wisconsin officials found elevated levels of toxic heavy metals near a frack sand mine spill that sent millions of gallons of sludge into a tributary, carrying it downstream into the Mississippi River.

Food News

Salmonella outbreak in 31 states is linked to Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal, CDC says

CNN | Posted on June 20, 2018

A salmonella outbreak that has caused illness in 73 people across 31 states is linked to Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.Just before the agency announced the outbreak,the Kellogg Co. announced a recall of 15.3-ounce and 23-ounce packages of the cereal with a "best if used by" date from June 14, 2018, through June 14, 2019, according to a statement.Twenty-four of the sick patients have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported, according to the CDC.

The FDA regulates food. USDA regulates meat. So who gets to regulate lab-grown meat?

The New Food Economy | Posted on June 20, 2018

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its intent to regulate lab-grown meat—a declaration that provides some clues about how the federal government will treat a new technology that upends some notions about food and agriculture. In some ways, it’s unremarkable that lab-grown meat would fall under FDA’s purview. It’s the federal agency that’s already in charge of ensuring the safety of most foods, from Hot Pockets to baby carrots and coconut water. What is surprising, though, is FDA’s signaling that it wants domain over a meat product.

FDA’s advice to footnote ‘added sugars’ gets tart replies

Capital Press | Posted on June 18, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration has been flooded this month with sour comments about its plan to require honey, maple syrup and cranberry products to include “added sugars” on nutrition labels.Remarks from New England maple syrup makers have been particularly bitter. They say they don’t “add” sugar to their naturally sugary product. “The only thing the producers do is evaporate water from the sap of this liquid gold,” one commented.The FDA counters that consumers should know how much “added sugar” maple syrup adds to pancakes.

FDA plans meeting on meat from cultured cells

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 18, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a July 12 meeting to discuss issues around the production and regulation of foods created from culturing animal cells. The meeting comes as more companies seek ways to develop “meat” and other foods without conventional farming practices, and as even traditional meat processors invest more in such companies. The trend has launched a debate about what can be defined as meat, how “cultured” products can be marketed and how they will be regulated.

‘BE’ label launch may cost more than feds yearly spend on food safety

Food Safety News | Posted on June 13, 2018

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue meanwhile is rolling out the new rules for labeling genetically engineered foods. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) as adopted by Congress requires food manufacturers to label food for retail sales to include information about bioengineered (BE) food and food ingredients. According to a 114-page economic analysis, additional costs for the initial year of labeling is going to cost the food industry and ultimately consumers $600 million to $3.5 billion.