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Scott Walker says crisis team needed to help state's crippled dairy industry

When larger and well-managed dairy operations in other parts of the country were threatening to steamroll Wisconsin’s sagging dairy industry about 30 years ago, it began making some radical changes recommended by a group of industry experts that made it more economically viable and ensured the state’s continued status as “America’s Dairyland.” With the state dairy industry at a crossroads once again, a new group of state experts will soon begin meeting and eventually make recommendations that the group’s leader is hoping will put the state dairy industry back on another strong track.

US high-tide flooding twice what it was 30 years ago

A new report finds that high-tide flooding is happening across the United States at twice the rate it was just 30 years ago and predicts records for such flooding will continue to be broken for decades as sea levels rise. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday that high-tide flooding, sometimes called sunny-day or "nuisance flooding," tied or set records last year in more than a quarter of the 98 places the agency monitors around the country. The report found Sabine Pass, Texas, had 23 days of high-tide flooding last year.

Lava Flow Takes Toll on Big Island Agriculture

More than 2,500 acres on Hawaii Island are in papaya production. The majority is in the Kapoho area, which is now being affected by lava from Kilauea volcano. The Conversation's Catherine Cruz spoke with Scott Enright, the Director of the State Department of Agriculture,about the potential losses of an industry that is tied to hundreds of jobs. But papayas are not the only agricultural product being affected. Beekeepers were among those who fled the Puna area during the first weeks of the lava flow. Hawaii Island is a major exporter of Queen Bees.

What Unites and Divides Urban, Suburban and Rural Communities

Amid widening gaps in politics and demographics, Americans in urban, suburban and rural areas share many aspects of community life. Large demographic shifts are reshaping America. The country is growing in numbers, it’s becoming more racially and ethnically diverse and the population is aging. But according to a new analysis by Pew Research Center, these trends are playing out differently across community types.

Preventing farm deaths from tractor rollovers is goal of state-funded grant programs

Rollovers kill almost 100 farmers a year, according to the National Safety Council, while even more people are permanently disabled from these incidents. Under Kulp’s proposal (AB 827), state funding would go to cost-share programs that help farmers purchase and install rollover protections. These types of structures (roll bars or roll cages), plus use of a seat belt, are 99 percent effective in preventing injury in the event of a tractor overturn. All tractors built since the mid-1980s have these structures, but about half of the tractors in use today were built before that time.

Even in prosperous times, rural Wisconsin economy faces an uphill climb

By many standards, Wisconsin’s overall economic condition has never been better. Its core unemployment rate is the nation’s eighth-lowest; it ranks fifth among the states in the percentage of adults who are part of the labor force; it ranks 11th in the per capita growth of its gross domestic product since 2010; and it ranks 19th among the states in the percentage growth of total business establishments in this decade. Those are statewide snapshots from a mix of sources, but there is really no such thing as a “statewide” economy.

3-D printers are the talk of the farm

These kinds of printers melt various kinds of filaments, including plastic, and build objects one thin layer at a time, using blueprints written in code that users either create themselves, or get from sharing services. The first farm use for the 3-D printer came from agriculture major Sarah Fallon, who figured out a way to make the nipples used for giving chickens water. (In addition to row crops, the school raises sheep, chickens, pigs and turkeys.) The chicken waterers cost pennies on the dollar compared to the ones the school had been buying.

Farm Bill: South vs. Midwest

The U.S. Senate is set to vote next week on its version of the Farm Bill. The legislation is pitting Midwestern lawmakers against Southern lawmakers over two competing subsidy programs that both say are essential to farmers in their regions.  The debate over the Farm Bill is always contentious. It usually pits Democrats against Republicans. But this issue has lawmakers from different regions battling each other. In the South, crops like rice and peanuts need a lot of water and fertilizer. Yields are comparatively steady but subject to steep fluctuations in world markets.

2 Western senators want to repeal Trump’s solar tariffs

Two U.S. senators from Western states joined the legislative fight Thursday to repeal President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported solar panels, saying the higher taxes on foreign producers are jeopardizing jobs in the U.S.Republican Dean Heller of Nevada and Democrat Martin Heinrich of New Mexico introduced a measure that calls for duties and tariffs for solar cells to revert to previous rates and to allow for companies affected by the tariffs hike to seek reimbursements.The senators contend that the higher tariffs are stifling investment in the domestic solar market.

Canada and EU produce plastic charter at G7

Ocean litter, recycling and more environmentally sustainable uses of plastics in general get significant attention in the Ocean Plastics Charter adopted June 9 by five of the G7 member nations.

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