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Groups Launch Broadband Connects America Coalition to End Rural Digital Divide

Public Knowledge joined 17 other organizations to form the Broadband Connects America coalition. The Coalition is comprised of a wide range of consumer, rural, and social justice organizations committed to closing the digital divide. Coinciding with today’s launch, Broadband Connects America released the Principles to Connect Rural America -- five principles to serve as a foundation for policymakers and advocates to promote policies that work to bring broadband to millions of rural Americans.

By Gluing Fiber to the Ground, Startup Thinks It Can Slash Broadband Installation Costs for Local Government

If a city puts its fiber cables underground, it has to close down traffic, pay the cost of digging equipment and endure the risk of unexpected obstacles like a hidden sheet of rock. If it decides to string up the fiber along utility poles, it has a lot of legal maneuvering, negotiations and paperwork ahead of it to secure permission — before it signs on to pay a leasing fee that never goes away. In Stillwater, Okla., and Fauquier County, Va., people are trying a third option.

Michigan governor announces broadband Internet for entire state

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has announced a plan to bring broadband Internet to every residence and business throughout his state. The state will coordinate with Connect Michigan, a subsidiary of the nonprofit Connected Nation, to implement the plan to connect nearly 40,000 households that don't have high-speed Internet.The plan calls for Internet at a speed of 1 gigabit per second to all homes and businesses by 2026."As technology continues to rapidly change and evolve, having access to fast, reliable internet is now a necessity for everyday life," Snyder said in a statement.

Rural Broadband’s Only Hope: Thinking Outside the Box?

The American landscape of broadband in rural areas is spotty at best. It is a picture covered with splotches of color. Some maps are covered with red indicating there is no service; and other maps are covered in blue where access can be found. In states like North and South Dakota, officials have done their best to give their populace fiber to the home.Then there are areas where the state government has worked hard to provide grants and a flexible network of private and local not-for-profit organizations to build out coverage slowly.

That “infotainment” and “pseudoscience” story by Consumer Reports

The report on “Banned Drugs in Your Meat” by Consumer Reports was released on August 29 and immediately followed by a press release from the USDA in the voice of Carmen Rottenberg, Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Food Safety, and she used those words in the title to express her disgust with the report. Rottenberg’s response was enlightening, and maddening in that CR did not listen when USDA tried to explain to them the reports were presumptive and follow up testing specifically for the banned drugs were negative.

U.S. Agricultural Exports Set July Record as China Trade Row Persists

U.S. agriculture exports set a record in July.  “It’s the best July that the U.S. has seen as far as agricultural exports go, the value total,” said Bryce Cooke, an economist with USDA’s Economic Research Service.  The total value of U.S. agricultural exports in July totaled just over $11 billion. In the radio update, Gary Crawford pointed out that the USDA trade data showed U.S. agricultural exports at $122 billion for first ten months of the fiscal year (October – July), which is two percent ahead of last year.

Idaho’s economy depends on ‘foreign-born’ workers

It’s August in southern Idaho, and all is calm for the region’s dairy workers. But after four workers were picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE, in July, Latino families have mostly stayed inside, missing church and otherwise lying low. In dairy country, the anxiety is constant.

Vets warn of disease threat to UK pets from overseas rescue dogs

Well-meaning animal lovers who import rescue dogs from abroad are risking the health of millions of UK pets, vets are warning. The British Veterinary Association is urging prospective owners to safeguard the country’s dog population by rehoming dogs from within the UK instead. Nine out of ten vets are “concerned” by the growing numbers of rescue dogs from abroad, according to figures from the BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary profession survey. Three quarters of the country’s pet specialists claim the numbers have increased over the last year, it reveals.
 

Organic trade group creating a voluntary checkoff

The Organic Trade Association announced it will develop a voluntary, industry-invested checkoff program to fund research, promotion and education efforts. Organic stakeholders across the supply chain will collaborate to design and implement the program, the group said. The group has formed a steering committee to coordinate the process and address governance questions to maximize participation and good decision making, it said. It also aims to bring together multiple private efforts to foster coordinated organic research and promotion.

How a poultry processor, pork producer and feedyard approach labor: CoBank

In a report titled “Help Wanted,” CoBank — a cooperative bank serving rural America — explores some of the factors influencing today’s agricultural labor climate. The report also takes a closer look at how poultry processor Case Farms, cattle feedyard operator Friona Industries and pork producer Schwartz Farms are addressing the issue.  

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