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The Economic Benefits of Local Food Dollars to Workers, Farms and Communities

Overall, the articles summarized here show that local food producers spend proportionately more on labor, other variable expenses (including hand tools, supplies, and farm shop power equipment; other unrecorded expenses; and vehicle registration fees) and utilities than do commodity producers; moreover, as scale of production increases, labor’s share of variable costs also increases. An implication of these findings is that local food production may create jobs as well as stimulate proportionately larger spillover impacts on the local economy than nonlocal production.

The Evolution of the Local Brand, Policy Initiatives and Role of Direct Markets in the Agriculture Portfolio

One trend worth noting for local foods is that growth in some subsectors appears to be maturing, particularly in direct-to-consumer outlets. Despite a 5.5% increase in the number of farms utilizing direct-to-consumer marketing outlets between 2007 and 2012 observed in the Census of Agriculture, there was no change in overall sales as intermediated markets became a more significant channel for those marketing local (Low et al., 2015).

Mapping stress in agriculture lending

Repayment rates for farm loans have declined every quarter since the second quarter of 2013, suggesting heightened stress in agricultural lending. If repayment rates continue to decline—and the outlook for the agricultural sector remains downbeat—agricultural banks could become less able to lend to creditworthy farm borrowers. Thus, declining repayment rates could lead to adverse outcomes for agricultural banks, farmers, and the rural economies they serve.

Why we stick to false beliefs: Feedback trumps hard evidence

Ever wonder why flat earthers, birthers, climate change and Holocaust deniers stick to their beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? New findings suggest that feedback, rather than hard evidence, boosts people's sense of certainty when learning new things or trying to tell right from wrong.Developmental psychologists have found that people's beliefs are more likely to be reinforced by the positive or negative reactions they receive in response to an opinion, task or interaction, than by logic, reasoning and scientific data.

What Are the Most-Googled Wildlife Photos in Your State?

Are people more captivated by deadly local snakes, carnivorous mammals or venomous spiders? It depends on where people live, according to new data from Google showing the top image searches for bugs and wild animals, state by state in the U.S.

Dairy farmers say denting supply management in NAFTA deal would be 'devastating'

Nearly 1,000 kilometres from Washington, where a team of top Canadian negotiators sit in 11th-hour NAFTA discussions, Peter Strebel works under a cloud of concern at the rural Quebec dairy farm his father founded in 1976. The Quebec milk producer is worried that rumblings that Canada may sacrifice part of the sacred cow of supply management as a concession in trade negotiations with the United States would “punish” the dairy industry, open the floodgates to American milk products and prompt thousands of farm closures north of the border.

New Iowa Law Makes Keeping Farm Together Easier

No family wants to end up in court arguing over how inherited farmland will be divided. It's even more discouraging when one owner wants to keep the land, but the court orders all the owners to sell. Iowa just passed a law in 2018 that allows a way to equalize the property without a sale. The result: Person(s) wanting to sell can get cash out, while owner(s) preferring to keep the family farm are not forced to sell.

FDA expands Third-Party Certification program

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) established the Accredited Third-Party Certification Program, which is a voluntary program that allows “accreditation bodies” to apply for recognition by FDA. Recognized accreditation bodies have the authority to accredit third-party “certification bodies,” otherwise known as third-party auditors. In turn, the certification bodies (1) conduct consultative and/or regulatory food safety audits and (2) issue certifications to eligible entities that produce food for humans and animals.

From Hawaii to Vermont, States Tackle Efficiency Standards

With the Trump administration slowing progress on energy-saving efficiency standards for appliances, equipment, and electronics that save Americans billions of dollars, states are stepping in to try to fill the gap. So far this year, five states have introduced efficiency standards bills and one—Vermont—passed the bill into law. Vermont joins California as a leadership state with a comprehensive suite of state-level energy efficiency standards.

Illinois community solar garden sprouts sun-tracking “smartflower”

One of the first community solar systems in Illinois won’t be a run-of-the-mill array of PV panels. The Renaissance Collaborative (TRC), an affordable housing complex on Chicago’s South Side, is the site of a dense new solar array that will fan out in the shape of a flower to maximize generation.Known as a “smartflower,” the system is designed to open in the morning and generate power as it mechanically tracks the sun throughout the day. The compact design makes it ideal for a dense city neighborhood, in this case, in a vegetable garden behind TRC’s building.

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