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Only rural hospital in Massachusetts imperiling Medicare funds

Under nearly impenetrable hospital payment rules, Medicare must reimburse a state’s urban hospitals for employee wages at least as much as it reimburses its rural hospitals. As a result, Nantucket sets the floor for wage reimbursements at hospitals across the state. And because Nantucket’s wages are high, due to its remote island location and steep cost of living, that has created bonuses for many other Massachusetts hospitals in recent years.

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Population Shows Improvement

The 2016 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, which show another year of growth in the stock of the Chesapeake Bay crab population and bodes well for a better harvest this year. The survey indicates a bay-wide crab population of 553 million, a 35-percent increase over last year. This is the fourth highest level in two decades, and builds on last year’s 38-percent boost in abundance.

Storm clouds gathering over Kansas farms as income dips

Low crop and cattle prices have cut farm incomes and are starting to push down the value of ag land. That affects farmers' ability to repay loans and take out new ones, which could force foreclosures and forced sales.

It will almost certainly lead to more farm foreclosures and ownership consolidation across Kansas and the country. How much is impossible to know, because it is just starting to unfold.

 
 

Justice says two companies crucial to U.S. energy exploration have abandoned their planned merger

Two companies crucial to the business of U.S. energy exploration have abandoned their planned $34 billion merger, according to the Justice Department.

The department filed suit April 6 to block the merger of Halliburton and Baker Hughes. It claims the transaction would unlawfully eliminate significant competition in almost two dozen markets crucial to the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the United States.

Quaker Oats 100% natural claim questioned in lawsuit

The legal case focuses on chemicals used in the farming process.

PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats is facing a potential class-action lawsuit that alleges the food brand’s claims it is “100% Natural” are deceptive.

Artist Turns to Farming and Everyone Eats

Patrons at soup kitchens and food pantries probably don’t realize it, but depending on the day, they may be dining on some of the region’s most expensively produced fare—meat and vegetables from Dan Colen, a Hudson Valley farmer who donates his entire output to several local food banks.

Mr. Colen, a New York artist better known for his big-ticket paintings and sculptures, spent $215,000 last year operating his spread, putting out 10,000 pounds of meat, chicken and eggs, along with 14,500 pounds of fruit and vegetables.

Agricultural Commodities Egged On by China’s Futures Frenzy

The recent fevered commodities trading in China hasn’t been limited to iron ore. Investors have piled into futures for everything from wheat and cotton to eggs and asphalt.

As with industrial metals, analysts reckon much of the interest is coming from speculative investors who have been turned off to China’s stock markets by tighter rules over trading.

Cattle rustling increased with price of cattle

Cattle rustling has returned, but it has also changed; if the essential act has not, its context has. Today’s rustler has no hope of parlaying a few stolen cattle into a business. Rustling is no longer an aspirational crime, but a stopgap, a stay against desperation. A single head of cattle is not the seed of an empire; it’s a payday loan, a child support payment, or cash for pills.

Michigan corn producers turn down program amendments

Michigan's corn producers have voted down a proposed increase to the assessment they pay to support activities for the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan.

The proposed amendments would have increased the assessment rate on Michigan grown corn from one cent per bushel to one and one half cents per bushel; required seed corn to be included in the assessment process; and included revisions to the nominations process and grammatical updates.

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