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USDA announces new conservation farmland transfer policy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a new policy designed to allow farmers to take land out of a conservation program early if it is to be transferred to the next generation of farmers.Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Lanon Baccam says beginning Jan. 9, the USDA will offer an early termination opportunity for certain Conservation Reserve Program contracts.

Ohio State researchers team up to fight algae blooms

Scientific research has always been more of an individual endeavor.  But during the past decade, research aimed at tackling real-world problems has become a team sport that pulls players from a spectrum of lab benches. At Ohio State University, one such interdisciplinary collaboration has spent five years trying to find a solution for the harmful algae blooms that annually plague lakes and rivers in the state’s western water basin. By uniting biologists with ecologists, political scientists and economists, the team did more than test a single hypothesis.

7 states will have higher gas taxes Jan. 1

Motorists in nine states will see changes in gas taxes at the pump on New Year’s Day, and more than a dozen states will examine adjustments in 2017. Pennsylvania has the largest gas tax in the country, at 50.4 cents per gallon, according to the Tax Foundation. The rate will rise 7.9 cents per gallon in the new year, based on a 2013 law. The other big increase is in Michigan, where the gas tax is 30.54 cents per gallon, according to the foundation. That rate will rise 7.3 cents per gallon, based on a 2015 law.

Don Williams

Senior Broadband Development Officer
US Dept of Commerce

Don Williams serves as a senior specialist for broadband development for the new BroadbandUSA program at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), U.S. Department of Commerce. He serves as a strategic advisor, supplying technical assistance to communities as they implement broadband deployment and adoption programs to advance economic development, education, health care and public safety. Read more about Don Williams

Adam Welchel

Director of Conservation Programs
The Nature Conservancy

Adam Whelchel’s 25-year year career in leadership positions has catalyzed partnerships with strategic direction while with government agencies, private firms, academic institutions and nonprofit groups in the United States, China, Southeast Asia, Caribbean and Africa. Dr. Whelchel is a dynamic communicator called upon to assist diverse groups from around the world with team building, strategic planning and community resilience. Read more about Adam Welchel

Rich Walsh

Corporate Vice President

Rich Walsh is corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for commercial law, litigation and regulatory law for Valero. Much of the work involves interfacing with key regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S. Read more about Rich Walsh

Tony Toups

Advantage Capital Partners

Anthony “Tony” Toups joined Advantage Capital in 2006. He is involved in the firm’s national expansion efforts and economic
development activities, working on the  implementation of public/private investment programs that foster access to capital. He is a frequent speaker on these topics and also provides legal advice and representation as corporate counsel.

  Read more about Tony Toups

Ann Swanson

Executive Director
Chesapeake Bay Commission

Ann Swanson has served as a leader in the Chesapeake Bay restoration for nearly 30 years, the last 26  as the executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission,  a tri-state legislative authority serving the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. It is the commission’s responsibility to sponsor legislation at the state level and to work with state legislators, members of the U.S. Read more about Ann Swanson

Diane Sullivan

Diane Sullivan has worked for many years advocating for affordable housing and addressing the rise of homelessness in  Massachusetts.  Sullivan was honored for her work, receiving the Nancy Nye Award by the Boston-based Women's Institute for Housing and Economic Development. Read more about Diane Sullivan


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