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Reckoning with History: How the once-radical Endangered Species Act was weakened

In his classic book, A Sand County Almanac, conservationist Aldo Leopold wrote of ecological communities, “A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these ‘resources,’ but it does affirm their right to continued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state.” Congress essentially agreed with Leopold when it passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, with only 12 dissenting votes in the House and none in the Senate.Today, private landowners and industry in the West are calling for Congress and the president’s

Earwax reveals how humans have changed whales’ lives

Luckily, museum curators around the world have had the good sense to hold onto massive plugs of earwax pulled from dead whales over the centuries.Thanks to those plugs, scientists have now discovered a record, hidden in earwax, of how human activities have stressed out whales over the past century and a half. Stephen Trumble, a comparative physiologist at Baylor University, and his colleagues published the findings this month in Nature Communications.It turns out we’re incredibly stress-inducing—from whaling to war to climate change, our actions have been affecting

Green Plains shuts plant, faces ethanol downturn

Green Plains Inc, the nation’s fourth-largest ethanol producer, has permanently shuttered a Virginia production plant and cut output at several other facilities as it tries to navigate a supply glut that has pummeled biofuel profits. Green Plains announced that it was closing a plant in the town of Hopewell that had capacity to produce 60 million gallons annually. Thirty-one jobs will be cut, it said in a news release.

USDA Invests to Improve Rural Health Care for Nearly 2 Million Rural Americans

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $501 million in 60 projects to help improve health care infrastructure (PDF, 170 KB) and services in rural communities nationwide. “Creating strong and healthy communities is foundational to increasing prosperity in rural America,” Hazlett said.

Check deer for chronic wasting disease, don't consume contaminated venison

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is asking deer hunters to have their kills checked professionally for chronic wasting disease (CWD). CWD is a contagious and a fatal neurological disorder that affects members of the deer family known scientifically as cervids. The state said import restrictions have been designed to protect these native herds, which include white-tailed deer and elk in Tennessee. "It’s possible that every deer you kill will have to be taken first to a mandatory check-station for sample collection.

U.S. House passes bill to drop legal protections for gray wolves

The Republican-controlled House passed a bill to drop legal protections for gray wolves across the lower 48 states, reopening a lengthy battle over the predator species. Long despised by farmers and ranchers, wolves were shot, trapped and poisoned out of existence in most of the U.S. by the mid-20th century.

Schwan’s Sold to South Korean Company

Schwan’s Company, a leading U.S. food business, announced Thursday it has reached an agreement to sell a majority stake of the company to CJ CheilJedang (CJCJ), of Seoul, South Korea.Schwan’s Company began in 1952 as a one-man-and-a-truck home-delivery business operating in rural Minnesota. Today, Schwan’s is a leading U.S. food manufacturer and marketer with approximately 12,000 employees and trusted brands like Schwan’s® fine foods, Red Baron®, Freschetta® and Tony’s® pizza, Edwards® and Mrs.

Cost of Thanksgiving Day dinner drops by 75 cents

American Farm Bureau Federation’s 32nd annual price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.12, a 75-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.87.

Turning human excrement into biofuel

team of researchers from Israel’s Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) has demonstrated, for the first time, a technique for converting human excrement into hydrochar—a safe, renewable biomass fuel that resembles charcoal—as well as a nutrient-rich fertilizer.

Natural Climate Solutions Could Cancel Out a Fifth of U.S. Emissions

Low-tech, time-tested forest, farm and land management techniques are effective, cheap and carry benefits well beyond tackling climate change.Conserving and restoring American forest, farm and natural lands could cut a substantial chunk of the country's emissions, helping meet greenhouse gas reduction goals without relying on undeveloped technologies, a new report finds.A team of 38 researchers spent more than two years looking at "natural climate solutions"—a range of strategies that includes planting trees in cities, preventing the conversion of natural grassland to farmland and shifting

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