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Farmers post record crop for soybeans, peanuts, canola, hops

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers have harvested record crops for soybeans, peanuts, canola, rapeseed and hops. The agency released its annual crop production report Friday summarizing the 2017 crop year.It shows that peanut production jumped 30 percent to 7.2 billion pounds. Production of hops, a main ingredient in beer, grew 20 percent as Idaho's production surpassed Oregon's for the first time.

Ga. Will Need To Ease Regulations, Provide Cash To Expand Rural Broadband

Georgia lawmakers said they want to expand access to the Internet. Internet service providers have said with the repeal of net neutrality, they’re more inclined to invest in rural areas, but it’s not clear companies will invest without public dollars. Georgia lawmakers have prioritized expanding internet access through the Rural Development Council, said state Rep. Ed Setzler.

Michigan landowners’ long-shot lawsuit has high stakes for wind industry

An unlikely legal win by neighbors of a Michigan wind farm would have the potential to chill wind energy development in the state, legal experts say. A group of landowners filed suit in state court in August alleging a wind project near Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula is causing adverse health effects.

New England congressional delegations submit bill to ban offshore drilling

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives from New England has introduced a bill to prohibit oil and gas drilling off the New England coast. The New England Coastline Protection Act would prohibit oil and gas extraction activities off New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.It’s a response to the Trump administration’s planto open nearly all U.S. coastlines to offshore oil and gas drilling.

New Approach to Curb Chronic Wasting Disease

Montana is wrestling with the best way to manage Chronic Wasting Disease among deer, elk and moose.  One wildlife specialist maintains preserving predators is the answer. Under its current plan, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has set up survey hunts of deer to determine where hotbeds of CWD are located. The state's second survey hunt in north central Montana began last weekend, and lasts through Feb. 15.

Sustainability on Michigan farms

In this six part series, we are discovering what sustainability on Michigan farms means, looking at examples of how farms are demonstrating that sustainability and how exploring how MSU Extension is working with producers to become even more sustainable. This sixth article’s sustainability topic addresses the “enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole” portion. If there is anything that is as hard to get an agreement upon as the definition of sustainability, it would be the definition of quality of life.

Prairie dog endangered-species plan eases rules under Trump

Wildlife managers under the Trump administration are moving to loosen endangered-species protections for Utah prairie dogs, flipping the script in a long-running conflict over federal policies in a town where residents say they’re overrun by the creatures.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan would allow prairie dogs to be killed or removed from private property more often, relaxing regulations designed to protect the species.

US Supreme Court Won't Hear Prairie Dog Protections Lawsuit

The U.S. Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from Utah property owners challenging endangered-species protections for prairie dogs, but the plaintiffs say the case has nevertheless made a mark as the Trump administration moves to loosen the rules.The lawsuit was a key driver of the new federal plan that would make it easier to remove or kill prairie dogs when they interfere with development of homes and business, lawyers for the residents of the southwestern city of Cedar City said Monday.

Nearly all members of National Park Service advisory panel resign in frustration

More than three-quarters of the members of a federally chartered board advising the National Park Service have quit out of frustration that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had refused to meet with them or convene a single meeting last year. The resignation of 10 out of 12 National Park System Advisory Board members leaves the federal government without a functioning body to designate national historic or natural landmarks. It also underscores the extent to which federal advisory bodies have become marginalized under the Trump administration.

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