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Rural Mainstreet Economy Weakens in July: High Share of Crop Farmers with 2016 Negative Cash Flow

Survey Results at a Glance: • For an 11th straight month, the Rural Mainstreet Index fell below growth neutral. • Farmland prices remained below growth neutral for the 32nd straight month. • Bank CEOs reported a 6 percent decline in farmland prices over the past year. Bankers expect cash expenses will exceed cash revenues for one in five crop farmers in the region. • Bank CEOs expect farm loan defaults to grow by 5.4 percent over the next year.

A Republican lawmaker seeks solar momentum for South Carolina

One of the roundtable attendees was state Sen Chauncey "Greg" Gregory, who has sponsored significant legislation in the state to support solar power. A few years ago, Gregory visited his sister in Portland, Oregon, and saw solar panels on hundreds of rooftops. “It seemed ridiculous to me that a state that is cloudy 8 months a year had so much solar energy,” he says, “while South Carolina had so little.” He decided to try and change that. The state’s sunny neighbors - Georgia and North Carolina were making big strides in solar.

Sun burn: Solar tax credits scorch state budgets

Solar power can burn a hole in a state’s budget, but a well-designed plan can bring benefits. Demand for residential or rooftop solar power, spurred in part by state incentives, is growing rapidly. But if incentives are not well-designed, they can overwhelm a state’s budget. Regulators and utility officials in several states have been surprised – not always in a positive way – by the effects of their solar power policies. Louisiana is one of the more recent, and more dramatic, examples.

Biomass Power Slumps as EPA, Industry Spar on Science

The industry that burns wood to produce electricity is floundering nationwide because of low power prices, and some lawmakers from heavily forested states are pushing to provide it with an extraordinary market advantage.

US CO2 Emissions From Natural Gas Will Top Coal in 2016

A steady drumbeat of new natural-gas plants have replaced coal as the dominant source of electricity generation in the U.S.  At the beginning of 2016, America’s coal production fell to its lowest level in 30 years.  But the increasingly heavy reliance on natural gas has exacted a toll. The energy-associated carbon dioxide emissions from natural gas are expected to top the CO2 emissions from coal for the first time more than 40 years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

California Senate proposes new plan to spend cap-and-trade money

With two weeks left in the legislative session, Senate leader Kevin de León is making a new effort to unsnarl a two year budget gridlock over money generated from the state's cap-and-trade program. The $1.2-billion spending plan would include money for cleaner cars, energy efficient upgrades and urban parks.

First-of-its kind project would replace Lee County wind turbines

The Mendota Hills wind farm could be the first in the nation to decommission its entire fleet of turbines and replace a portion of them with upgraded models. Dallas-based Leeward Renewable Energy, which owns the wind farm, has requested a special-use permit from the Lee County Board to remove its 63 turbines in the southeast region of the county and build between 33 and 35 new structures.

Should you worry about food animals causing drug resistance in people? No. Should you worry about raw milk? Definitely.

a recently released report once more finds no conclusive evidence of a link between the use of antibiotics in food animals and the emergence of drug-resistant Campylobacter.  The article began, “As controversy continues…” but in truth, “controversy” surrounding disease resistance caused by antibiotic use in food animals primarily exists because of misinformation and misinterpretation of research. Here is what the report actually stated.

FDA policy changes may turn veterinarians into beekeepers

They may be neither fish nor fowl, but as far as the United States government is concerned, honeybees are livestock.  Which means as of the first of the year, beekeepers — including the roughly 1,200 in Maine — will no longer have access to certain over-the-counter antibiotics used to treat the condition known as European foulbrood, and are going to need prescriptions for the drug from a licensed veterinarian.

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