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Cargill selling US ag-retail business to Agrium

Cargill Inc. has agreed to sell its 18 ag-retail outlets in the U.S. to Calgary-based Agrium Inc., the largest retail seller of crop inputs in North America. The outlets, located in Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Indiana and Michigan, have annual revenues of over $150 million. 

The True Cost of Rural Hospital Closures

After 66 years in business, my hometown hospital recently closed its doors to patients. Gone is the emergency room, skilled nursing facility, lab, radiology, and physical therapy services — as well as 67 full-time jobs.  Meanwhile, in the past six years. 72 rural hospitals in the U.S. have closed, including nine already in 2016.  One in three rural hospitals is at risk of closing, and according to the National Rural Health Association’s Journal of Rural Health, closure rates have increased 600 percent in the put five years.

Broadband Access: We are all in the middle of somewhere

Fast Internet access is the critical element in building healthier rural economies that create opportunity and improve quality of life. Here are some ways to get your community focused on the need for speed. Lack of Leadership is a deal breaker. Transitioning to the digital age implies change, and many rural communities are not thrilled about change. It is critical to have at least one trusted local champion. The local champion or champions should introduce the concept and work with the community to drive the efforts.

Agriculture community also affected by oil and gas slowdown

The 2013 floods in Weld County caused significant damage to Sylvester’s property. If it weren’t for the oil and gas wells on his land — and the monthly checks he receives from the leases — Sylvester said his family never would have been able to make the necessary repairs to keep their house livable.  Farmers and ranchers often use oil and gas royalties as fallback money when things go wrong, like during natural disasters or when commodity prices fall.

No TPP trade deal? Some Japanese farmers say all the better for them

Rice farmerTerada isn’t following the U.S. presidential election too closely. But there’s one issue that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton seem to agree on — that the U.S. should not ratify the Trans Pacific Partnership trade pact — and that’s music to his ears.  “We Japanese farmers can’t compete with the Americans. It costs us almost three times as much to produce rice,” he said on Thursday, watching one of his eight workers sowing seedlings in a wet paddy here in Shizuoka prefecture, a two-hour train ride southwest of Tokyo.

Maryland dairy farmer fought the Justice Department — and (finally) won

Four years after federal agents showed up at his Frederick, Md., farmhouse and told him that they had seized the money in his bank account, dairy farmer Randy Sowers has gotten it all back.  The victory followed political pressure from Congress and legal pressure from the libertarian Institute for Justice on the government to roll back prosecution of the crime of structuring bank deposits to avoid Internal Revenue Service reporting requirements.

Washington warns pot growers about unapproved pesticides in products

The Washington State Department of Agriculture Thursday identified 15 products thought to be commonly used in marijuana cultivation that contain undisclosed pesticides.  WSDA issued a notice telling growers to immediately stop using the products. Processors were told to notify retailers about the possible use of unapproved pesticides and for retailers to post the notice for their customers to see.  “There has been a lot of concern by both consumers and retailers regarding pesticide use in marijuana production,” WSDA spokesman Hector Castro said.

Appeal to delay $50M settlement to Northeast dairy farmers

An appeal of a financial settlement to be paid by a national dairy marketing cooperative to thousands of Northeast dairy farmers could delay the payments for at least a year. Earlier this month, a federal judge in Vermont approved a $50 million settlement to be paid by Dairy Farmers of America to about 8,860 farms to settle a lawsuit that accused the marketing group of trying to drive down milk prices. A lawyer representing one group of plaintiffs in the case says a small group of farmers are unhappy with the settlement terms and have appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Farmers, Fisherman have highest suicide rates

Farmers, lumberjacks and fishermen have the highest suicide rate in the U.S., while librarians and educators have the lowest, according to a large study that found enormous differences across occupations. The study didn't explore the reasons behind the differences, but researchers found the highest suicide rates in manual laborers who work in isolation and face unsteady employment. High rates were also seen in carpenters, miners, electricians and people who work in construction. Mechanics were close behind.


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