Gov. Tom Wolf's office and the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced that almost 3,000 deer harvested by hunters in 2016-17 were donated to a nonprofit that distributes the venison to food banks. The donation sets a record for the nonprofit, Hunters Sharing the Harvest, now in its 26th season. The nonprofit coordinates the hunters' deer harvests with meat processors and distribution to food banks. Hunters do not have to pay for the processing of their donated deer because the nonprofit partners with the state Department of Agriculture to secure donations and to cover the costs to process the meat. In the last two years, the Department of Agriculture increased its share of financial support to process even more deer donations, according to a press release from the governor's office.
Two professors from San Diego State University claim in a new book that farmers’ markets in urban areas are weed-like “white spaces” responsible for oppression. Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando J Bosco are part of an anthology released this month titled “Just Green Enough.” The work, published by Routledge, claims there is a correlation between the “whiteness of farmers’ markets” and gentrification. “Farmers’ markets are often white spaces where the food consumption habits of white people are normalized,” the SDSU professors write, the education watchdog Campus Reform reported. The geology professors claim that 44 percent of San Diego’s farmers’ markets cater to “households from higher socio-economic backgrounds,” which raises property values and “[displaces] low-income residents and people of color.”
As we write this column in the week before Christmas 2017, it has been nearly three months since category 5 Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. Unlike the Texas coast which was drenched with rainfall from Hurricane Harvey that just weeks earlier was measured in feet, some 40 percent of the island still is without electrical power and damage to major roads and bridges makes many communities on the island difficult to reach with most of those in rural areas. According to Refugee International, “the U.S. response remains too slow and bureaucratic.” They point out that “the initial deployment of the US military was insufficient – for example, it paled in comparison to the magnitude of the US military response surrounding the Haiti earthquake in 2010” and Puerto Rico is a part of the US with the residents holding US citizenship.
he promotion of greater diversification and biodiversity in farming and food systems has long been a major goal of the Kansas Rural Center. Diversity in people, cultures and ideas, and a small but growing number of foreign-born immigrants, are also changing the state’s demographics. According to the Pew Research Center, two percent of Kansas’ population in 1980 were foreign-born residents; by 2012, that number had grown to six-and-a-half percent. Immigration has benefitted rural areas of the Midwest by slowing population loss, according to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and because many immigrants have roots in agriculture, food and food production is a unifying force.
Louisiana's agriculture department has unveiled its second mobile pet shelter for emergencies. It's similar to one rolled out during the 2015 hurricane season. The new unit is a 48-foot transport truck equipped with up to 55 metal cages, feed, water bowls and a wash down system. It has an air ventilation system to provide proper air circulation and temperature for the pets.The agriculture department can accommodate up to 3,000 pets at established mega pet shelters. The mobile pet shelter is primarily used when sudden events -- such as the August 2016 flood -- occur in areas where pet shelters aren't available.Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain said in a statement that the new mobile shelter was funded with a $72,100 grant from the Banfield Foundation.
The financial fabric of rural America is fraying. Even as lending revives around cities, it is drying up in small communities. In-person banking, crucial to many small businesses, is disappearing as banks consolidate and close rural branches. Bigger banks have been swallowing community banks and gravitating toward the business of making larger loans. The decline of community banks has disproportionately affected rural U.S. counties, where relationship banking plays an outsize role. There are now 625 rural counties without a community bank based in the county. Distant banks with few ties to local communities—which often rely heavily on algorithms to gauge creditworthiness—are also less likely to have the personal relationships that have helped local bankers judge which borrowers were a good bet.The phenomenon, almost automatically, is getting worse. Bankers say they don’t see enough business in small towns. Small towns say bank closings make it harder to do business.
The operators of a cooperative mobile slaughterhouse in Hawaii are considering a plan to open two meatpacking facilities on the Big Island next year, according to local media reports. Mike Amado, president of the cooperative that launched in April, said the mobile operation has processed more than 7,000 pounds of beef, 5,000 pounds of pork, 1,000 pounds of lamb and sheep meat and about 500 pounds of goat meat through November. Amado told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that 21 farms regularly use the cooperative’s mobile slaughterhouse services and there is a demand for post-slaughter services as well.
Members of the Dry Creek Valley Coalition applauded a judge’s decision to order the Ada County, Idaho, clerk to file a petition by the group that seeks to ask voters to overturn a county decision that paves the way for an $80 million development on 350 acres of irrigated farmland and 1,050 acres of grazing land north of Boise.
A group of woodland owners who believe they have been overcharged for their property taxes can appeal the values to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals. The Ohio Supreme Court released a decision Dec. 7 that said landowners can challenge their Current Agricultural Use Value before the appeals board, because the values are considered a “final determination” and are part of Ohio’s law that allows for appeals.A group of landowners from 20 Ohio counties had previously appealed their CAUV values to the Board of Tax Appeals, arguing their taxes were too high because the state used too low of a cost for clearing woodlands, and that the board’s rules were unreasonable.
A powerful group of state lawmakers approved sweeping proposals Wednesday designed to encourage people and businesses to move to rural Georgia.The group voted unanimously to support income tax breaks worth up to $6,000 a year, high-speed internet lines in unconnected areas and better health care access.