Skip to content Skip to navigation

School’s Closed. Forever.

What happens to a rural town after it loses its only school? Arena, Wis., is about to find out.  Arena Elementary is the second small rural elementary school in two years to close in the district, nearly 300 square miles of rolling pastures and dairy farms in southwestern Wisconsin. The one in the neighboring village of Lone Rock closed last spring. The district now has just one open public elementary school, in Spring Green, nine miles away.The same scene is playing out across rural America.

Why rural Americans are far less optimistic about their financial future

cross the country, Americans’ anxiety about their finances is worsening. And rural residents are far more pessimistic about their financial prospects. Only 36% of Americans living in rural counties — who don’t earn enough to pay for the lifestyle they want — believed that situation would improve in the future, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. Comparatively, nearly half of those living in urban and suburban areas who were in the same boat were optimistic about their financial futures.

‘BE’ label launch may cost more than feds yearly spend on food safety

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue meanwhile is rolling out the new rules for labeling genetically engineered foods. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) as adopted by Congress requires food manufacturers to label food for retail sales to include information about bioengineered (BE) food and food ingredients. According to a 114-page economic analysis, additional costs for the initial year of labeling is going to cost the food industry and ultimately consumers $600 million to $3.5 billion.

Cheese plant wants OK to dump 2M gallons of waste water into Big Sioux each day

A Hamlin County cheese manufacturer expanding its operations needs a permit from the South Dakota environmental office to dump millions of gallons of waste water per day into the Big Sioux River. But environmental buffs and officials with several water systems in the region say the move could put drinking water supplies downstream at risk.Wisconsin-based Agropur earlier this year began a substantial expansion to its facility in Lake Norden that would increase its ability to process milk by six million pounds per day.

Trump orders Perry to stop coal, nuclear retirements

President Trump directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to stop the closure of coal and nuclear plants, pushed offline by cheaper electricity from natural gas and renewables. The president told Perry to “prepare immediate steps” to stop the plants from retiring, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, adding that “impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid."

Texas couple won’t abide by state’s definition of a pickle

A Texas couple claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that burdensome state regulations have put them in a pickle because they’re prevented from supplementing their income by selling more of their produce at farmers’ markets. Jim and Anita McHaney argue in their lawsuit filed against the Texas Department of State Health Services that the so-called cottage food law only permits them to sell one pickled item: cucumbers.The law governs the sale of produce, pies and other goods at places like markets and fairs.

Employment training costs designed to reduce SNAP participation are vastly underestimated

While it is clear that the Senate will not include large cuts to SNAP in its version of the farm bill, we do think it is important to take a closer look at the language that fractured the bipartisanship that usually accompanies the farm bill. The changes to SNAP proposed by the legislation before the House would affect all able-bodied adults 18-59 years old who are not caring for a pre-school child.

Time Running Out for Agriculture ELD Exemption

While the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) 90-day electronic logging device (ELD) waiver for agriculture truckers expires June 18, one group has already been granted an extension until fall. When President Donald Trump signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill in March 2018, it also passed an extension on the ELD implementation for livestock haulers. The bill, passed on March 23, included a mandate for livestock and insect haulers to have an exemption through September 30, 2018.

HSUS Pays Twice What it Receives in Fundraising

We recently wrote about the bizarre tale of HSUS fundraiser Loop NYC, which appears to raise money by soliciting random strangers on the New York subway system. For anyone who’s ever been on the system, this has to be one of the dumbest strategies: People want to avoid other people on the New York subway, not give them their credit card info. One thing that caught our eye was the claim from the marketing firm that for every dollar a solicitor raised for HSUS, he received two.

Saratoga not giving up after State Supreme Court rules in favor of proposed dairy

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the owners of a proposed large-scale dairy near Wisconsin Rapids can farm 6,388 acres of related land despite a town zoning ordinance. The court, in a 5-2 decision, reversed an appeals court's 2017 ruling that building permits for the proposed 5,300-cow dairy did not allow the Wysocki Family of Companies to farm the adjacent land.

Pages

Subscribe to State Ag and Rural Leaders RSS