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Missouri Attorney General defends states’ sovereign, economic interests

California imposes its poultry cage rules on states hoping to sell to California consumers. In requesting the U.S. Supreme Court to accept its complaint in the California cage size case, Missouri’s Attorney General states, “Unless this Court acts, California will continue to impose new agricultural regulations on other states in violation of federal law and those States’ sovereign, quasi-sovereign, and economic interests…”.

Rural Poverty & Well-being

ERS research in this topic area focuses on the economic, social, spatial, temporal, and demographic factors that affect the poverty status of rural residents. Sections in this topic include the following: Poverty over time, including a historical look at metro/nonmetro poverty rates and deep poverty. The geography of poverty, including analysis of poverty in a regional context, maps of the incidence/severity of poverty, and the geographic persistence of poverty over decades. The demographics of poverty, including the breakdown of rural/urban poverty by race, family structure, and age.

Tackling cage-free layer housing air quality challenges

Giving laying hens access to a litter area for dustbathing, scratching and foraging helps minimize aggressive behavior, but it can result in dust and ammonia problems. Dust, which can serve as a carrier of microorganisms and endotoxins, is a significant health risk for both farm workers and the birds as fine particulate matter can enter into the respiratory system. Ammonia, likewise, can cause respiratory tract irritation or damage. Recent studies have shown that cage-free housing results in six to nine times higher dust in the house environment than cage systems with manure belts.

Perry: Emergency order for coal, nukes is 'exactly what has to happen'

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry told a House committee hearing on Thursday his agency is likely to take some action to keep retiring coal and nuclear plants online, though he stopped short from committing to a particular policy.  When a House member called on Perry to "use whatever legal power you have" to save at-risk generators, Perry said that is "exactly what has to happen." Allowing the plants to retire could threaten national security, the DOE head said. Perry's comments come two weeks after utility FirstEnergy asked DOE to invoke emergency cost supports for coal and nuclear plants in

Do engagements, natural environments help broiler welfare?

Conventional thinking surrounding animal welfare suggests creating an environment more similar to the nature leads to happier birds and better performance. But are the environmental enrichments and changes currently used in the broiler industry really helping?  hepard said he was optimistic about the use of engagements at Wayne Farms. Ninety percent of what the company does in the name of animal welfare – including the engagements – comes back in the form of profits. The other 10 percent, he said, is done because it’s the right thing for the bird.

HSUS Abandons Arizona Campaign

HSUS’s front group, Arizonans for Wildlife, quietly put out a statement that it is suspending its campaign this year to place a measure on the ballot in Arizona to ban hunting of predators such as mountain lions. The measure likely would have faced significant opposition from professional wildlife biologists. Hunting is an important tool for managing wildlife populations, and HSUS doesn’t offer any realistic alternative to managed hunting.

Ohio EPA addressing river nutrients

With the expectation that new water quality rules are coming to Ohio’s large rivers, the Ohio EPA is holding informational meetings to discuss the indicators of polluted rivers, and potential targets for nutrient loading. In March, the Ohio EPA released a draft report of the state’s latest list of impaired water bodies, which included the western basin of the open waters of Lake Erie. The state has battled water quality concerns over the past decade related to harmful algal blooms in the lake, and nutrient overloading in its rivers.

Farm bill changes expand legal entities and family eligibility for commodity programs

While most of the focus on the House farm bill is on changes to nutrition programs, a new kerfuffle has cropped up over changes to farm programs that would benefit LLCs, S corporations and farmers who want to enroll cousins, nieces and nephews for commodity payments. The changes, if they become law, would expand the eligibility of pass-through entities for farm-program payments to include limited-liability corporations and S-corps, as a way to avoid adjusted gross income caps for commodity payments.

Even if Trump wants to rejoin TPP, that ship may have sailed

One week into his term, President Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which had been intended to help the U.S. and allies rein in China’s push for economic dominance. The U.S. withdrawal amounted to a unilateral gift to China. Now, 15 months later, in the midst of a bilateral trade face-off with China, President Trump announced during a meeting with farm-state agricultural interests that the U.S. may “rejoin” TPP and asked his advisers to prepare options.U.S. markets surged in response to the good news that the U.S.

Farm bill? Rural America doesn’t have the time.

The farm bill was the missing topic during a 45-minute session recently with farmers in southwestern Missouri, recalls Sen. Roy Blunt. “The farm bill never came up.” Instead, growers talked about threats to farm exports, over-regulation and the need for rural broadband. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says low commodity prices, the slump in farm income, attacks on corn ethanol and, most of all, anxiety about a possible trade war are the top concerns in farm country. There is no additional money for major changes in grain and soybean subsidies in the farm bill.

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