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Politics and elections: rural voters - not issues - get attention

A recent internal federal investigation reminded us of why elections are important — and how damaging it is that discussion of issues affecting rural America is nearly missing from this presidential campaign. The Office of Inspector General of the federal Health and Human Services Department released two reports criticizing the care provided in 28 hospitals directly operated by the federal Indian Health Service.

IEEFA Update: The Many Hurdles Facing the U.S. Coal-Fired Power Fleet

Why has U.S. coal production declined so enormously in recent years? Because the coal-fired power industry is producing less of the country’s electricity than ever. As recently as 10 years ago, coal-fired power plants provided half of U.S. power needs. Today that number is closer to 30 percent—and falling. Coal is not likely to fade entirely from the scene any time soon, but its share of the U.S. energy mix stands to drop to less than 20 percent in the not very distant future.

Utilities squeezed as corporations seek renewable energy elsewhere

As large corporations increasingly demand 100 percent renewable energy, many utilities are left in a bind: Add to their already excess capacity, or they can risk losing new customers to lower-priced third-party agreements. “We have to figure out how to thread the needle with utilities,” said Letha Tawney who, as the director for utility innovation at the World Resources Institute, spends many of her waking and working hours trying to guide utilities into a new energy paradigm.

Millennials are pet food’s future, boomers spending now

The future of the powerhouse pet food market lies with millennials. Consider this comment by David Lummis, lead pet market analyst for Packaged Facts, in a column for Pet Product News: “Much as computers have always been there for them, millennials know only a world where treating pets like fully entitled family members is normal, if not expected … and expensive.” Indeed. Pets being part of the family is as familiar and ingrained for millennials – something they seldom think about, if ever – as are mobile phones, social media and the air they breathe.

USDA Announces nearly $1 million to Strengthen Markets for U.S. Agricultural Products

The U. S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today awarded nearly $1 million in grants through the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) to strengthen and explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products. The FSMIP grant program, administered by AMS, includes $982,437 in matching grants to 12 projects in 10 states.  FSMIP provides matching funds to state departments of agriculture, state agricultural experiment stations, and other appropriate state agencies to assist in exploring new market opportunities for U.S.

Balancing Farms, Tourist Sites Poses Local Challenge

The rise of the farm-to-fork movement has been accompanied by the growing popularity of agritourism, as more landowners open their ranches to people who want to experience the bucolic views of the countryside. But the proliferation of event centers, wedding venues and bed-and-breakfast inns on agricultural land has also increased tensions between those landowners and surrounding farms that see their normal activities impacted by nearby events.

America’s Dairy Farmers Dump 43 Million Gallons of Excess Milk

More than 43 million gallons’ worth of milk have ended up in fields, manure lagoons or animal feed, or have been lost on truck routes or discarded at plants, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That is enough milk to fill 66 Olympic swimming pools, and the most wasted in at least 16 years’ worth of data. Desperate producers are working to find new uses for the excess, like getting more milk into school lunches, and in revamped tacos and Egg McMuffins.

2 more Hoosiers plead guilty to RIN, tax credit fraud

The owners of an Indiana biofuel producer pleaded guilty to conspiracy, fraud and false statements for participating in a scheme that generated more than $60 million in fraudulent tax credits and U.S. EPA renewable fuels credits, or RINs, at Triton Energy LLC, a company that purported to produce and sell biofuel for use as transportation fuel.  Fred Witmer, 46, and Gary Jury, 58, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Magistrate Judge Susan Collins of the Northern District of Indiana, announced Assistant Attorney General John C.

PA:State cultivates farm labor at Dover high school

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding talks about the looming shortage of agriculture workers and his push to the next generation to consider jobs in agriculture.Brett Sholtis.

Calling food healthy doesn't really mean anything

At the end of September, the agency announced that it would begin the process of redefining its official meaning of healthy, and would take into consideration public opinion. However, nutritional and medical experts as well as public health policy specialists say that the real root of the problem may actually be the word itself.

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