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New Immigration Rules to Affect Farmers

Agricultural leaders say farmers aren't panicked yet by the Trump administration's new memos on immigration enforcement, but concerns are growing that illegal immigrants, who are the backbone of most farm labor in the country, could increasingly become targets of deportation. The tighter enforcement could have a major impact on farmers who rely heavily on undocumented labor, said Frank Gasperini, executive director of the National Council of Agricultural Employers.

Enhanced maple sap preheater program

EnSave, Inc. and Green Mountain Power are teaming up to offer an exciting new opportunity for Vermont maple sugaring operations in select parts of Vermont. We are offering a $9,000 incentive for the installation of enhanced maple sap preheaters to help maple syrup producers save on heating costs, upgrade their operations, and increase production. By installing an enhanced maple sap preheater you can: Reduce fuel usage by approximately 40%, Reduce evaporator runtime, Reduce boiling time, Reduce operational cost

Gene editing can complement traditional food-animal improvements

Gene editing—one of the newest and most promising tools of biotechnology—enables animal breeders to make beneficial genetic changes, without bringing along unwanted genetic changes.   And, following in the footsteps of traditional breeding, gene editing has tremendous potential to boost the sustainability of livestock production, while also enhancing food-animal health and welfare, argues UC Davis animal scientist Alison Van Eenennaam. 


Five Ways GMOs Benefit The Environment

Humans have been modifying crops for over ten thousand years.  Conventional methods (such as crossbreeding or treating plants with mutagens or radiation) involve large-scale and imprecise changes that are unknown. Using biotech solutions like genetic modification, researchers can make small, precise and extremely well-known changes to crops for the benefit of humans and the environment. GM crops are also much more well-tested than conventional crops to make sure they at least as safe.

Montana considers seed regulation bill

A bill that would prohibit cities and counties in Montana from regulating seeds has passed through a Senate committee.Senate Bill 155 would prohibit local governments from regulating "cultivation, harvesting, production, processing, registration, labeling, marketing, sale, storage, transportation, distribution, possession, notification of use, use and planting of agricultural seeds or vegetable seeds." The bill would not affect the zoning rights of local governments.  The Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation committee passed the bill on Feb. 14 by a 7-4 vote.

Brussels ‘will block’ GM food from Britain

Plans to grow genetically modified crops in Britain could result in the EU blocking imports of the produce after Brexit, according to a leaked report by European parliament officials. The internal paper, written to guide the parliament’s agriculture committee in its “scrutiny of Brexit”, says that British farmers seeking to sell produce to the remaining 27 member states could be hampered by multiple barriers on top of tariffs averaging 14 per cent.  The officials’ note reports that Britain is developing new rules to make GM crop cultivation easier after pulling out of the EU.

The Cost of a GMO-Free Market Basket of Food in the United States

We examine the consumer cost consequences of choosing GMO-free food over food that contains GMOs. Using text-mining algorithms applied to detailed product descriptions contained in a proprietary database of individual GMO and GMOfree foods at the retail level, we find that, when directly compared item by item, GMO-free food costs an average of 33% more than a comparable food item that is not GMO-free. When compared on a per-ounce basis, GMO-free foods cost an average of 73% more.

Partisan Divide in Congress Wider Than Ever on Environmental Issues, Group Says

League of Conservation Voters' voting scorecard shows record disparity on green issues, with GOP campaigns increasingly funded by fossil fuel company contributions. House Republicans cast pro-environmental votes just 5 percent of the time in 2016, while their Democratic colleagues tallied a 94 percent voting record, according to the League of Conservation Voters. That makes the 114th Congress the most politically polarized in the 46-year history of LCV's Scorecard, the new numbers released Thursday show.

Six states propose new electric vehicle fees

The Sierra Club says six states have proposed legislation this year that would add to the cost of owning an electric vehicle, worrying clean energy advocates who say owning emissions-free vehicles should be incentivized rather than taxed. States with new EV-fee bills include Indiana, South Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Montana. About 10 other states already have similar fees instituted.

Duke Energy ordered to defend restrictive solar policies in regulatory hearing

N.C. regulators will hold hearings May 31 on claims by solar developer O2 EMC that Duke Energy is violating state and federal law by failing to connect three of 02’s solar projects to the power grid. Charlotte-based Duke (NYSE: DUK) denies any wrongdoing. It had asked the N.C. Utilities Commission in December to dismiss the complaints O2 had filed in October. The commission says it will defer consideration of Duke’s dismissal motion until it hears evidence at the hearing.


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