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Rural News

How Can Landowners Protect Themselves from Liability?

Texas Agriculture Law Blog | Posted on August 1, 2018

A common concern for landowners across the country is how to ensure they are protected from liability if someone is injured on their property.  In fact, in one morning last week, I got three emails from landowners asking what they could do now to be in a position to best defend themselves in the event an injury does occur on their land. Importantly, there is no silver-bullet that will ensure a landowner will not ever be liable for anything.  Additionally, there is nothing a landowner can do to make it impossible for another person to file a lawsuit against the landowner.  There are, however, numerous steps landowners can take to limit liability and protect their operations from this concern. Every landowner needs to have a liability insurance policy that covers every activity taking place on the property.   However, generally speaking, warning any guest on the property about dangerous conditions or making them safe would satisfy the duty of care owned by a landowner to any type of guest on the property. 

Editorial: Rural America needs Theodore Roosevelt

The Roanoke Times | Posted on July 31, 2018

The New York-born president looked out at the nation and didn’t like what he saw.He saw two very different Americas that were increasingly growing apart — a prosperous urban America where the economy was driven by fantastical new technologies, and a rural America that was being passed over by this emerging new economy.2018? No. 1908. The president then was Theodore Roosevelt, who envisioned himself a man of action (and often was). Roosevelt feared that the economic gap opening between the two parts of the country was not a healthy one. So he did what politicians often do: He appointed a blue-ribbon commission to study the matter.Roosevelt’s commission — which included Henry Wallace, a future Democratic vice president — fanned out across the country to study the economy of rural America. It held 30 public hearings and produced a report, the main recommendations of which were put into action. (The most famous of those at the time was the creation of the agricultural extension service).


Hard lessons are learned growing up on the farm

AgWeek | Posted on July 31, 2018

Every day I am grateful for the opportunity my children have had to live on a farm. I have truly appreciated the life lessons, work ethic and sense of responsibility they have gained. I know they are equipped on a level most never experience to handle whatever life may throw their way. It is, however, not without some sadness and pain.

Editorial: Should people in rural areas simply move?

The Roanoke Times | Posted on July 31, 2018

That lack of empathy for rural areas isn’t confined to the left, though. A surprising number of conservative commentators take the same point of view. In 2016, Kevin Williamson wrote a scathing piece in the right-leaning National Review about Rust Belt communities in upstate New York and concluded “the truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die.” His blunt advice to the people who live there: Move. “They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.” Even President Trump — who rode to office on the strength of votes from places that Williamson says “deserve to die” — apparently now shares similar views. In an interview last summer with The Wall Street Journal, Trump also said that residents of some communities should simply move: “I’m going to start explaining to people when you have an area that just isn’t working —like upper New York state, where people are getting very badly hurt – and then you’ll have another area 500 miles away where you can’t— you can’t get people, I’m going to explain you can leave.” We bring all this up because there’s recently been a flurry of articles in national publications— from the New Republic to the New York Times to Reason to Slate — that essentially pose the same questions: Is it really possible to build a new economy in communities that have seen traditional employers wither away? Should we even try to save them? Or should we simply tell people to move?

Survey: Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Oppose Cuts to SNAP Program

John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health | Posted on July 31, 2018

A majority of registered voters oppose recent efforts to scale back Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits and believe the government should be doing more to meet the needs of people facing food insecurity and other challenges. The survey, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research from June 5 to June 12, explores voter attitudes on several key farm bill issues, including conservation programs designed to protect U.S. land, water and food supply. The farm bill, when passed, will replace the Farm Act of 2014, which expires this year. In addition to support for SNAP, a majority of survey respondents would like to see increased environmental regulations for the agricultural industry. The nationwide survey conducted by phone included 1,005 registered voters.Among survey respondents, almost two-thirds (61 percent) said that they were opposed to reducing funding for SNAP, more commonly known as Food Stamps. Among those opposed, over 73 percent said that they were “strongly opposed” to cuts. Registered voters are more divided on whether to cap the number of SNAP recipients in a single household.The survey also found that 85 percent of respondents support increased opportunities for beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers to participate in government support programs, and 57 percent support increased funding for small- and mid-sized farms.

Are property values affected by wind farms?

Center for Rural Affairs | Posted on July 31, 2018

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory completed a study in 2013 that used data collected from the sale of more than 50,000 homes in 27 counties, in nine different states. These homes were within 10 miles of wind projects, with 1,198 sales within one mile and 331 within half of a mile. This study also used data from before a project; the post-announcement, pre-construction period; and during operation. The study found no evidence of an effect on prices of homes in proximity to wind turbines. While wind farms appear to have no notable effect on property values, siting remains an important piece of wind energy development. Developers, along with county and community officials, must identify ways to address concerns and mitigate impacts from new development, while allowing landowners to host wind turbines, if they choose to.

Top States for Manufacturing – 2017

Agracel | Posted on July 26, 2018

This week, we are looking at NAM’s state data report from 2017 that looks at which states are employing the most manufacturing workers. Below are the top 10. New York – The state employs 451,200. The state is focusing on advanced materials, with this sector bringing in $5 billion. South Carolina – The state employs 460,200 and is the country’s top car exporter. Its manufacturing industry accounted for more than 18% of its gross domestic product and contributed over $56 billion to the state’s economic growth.Indiana – The state employs 516,900 and is ranked third nationally in vehicle manufacturing with 20% of those in manufacturing working in this sector.Pennsylvania – The state employs 566,000, across 14,000 companies. The industry ranks 8th nationally for its manufacturing output with a GDP of $84 billion.Illinois – The state employs 571,800 and the second largest food processing cluster in the country. Michigan – The state employs 598,800. The state is home to 81 global auto suppliers’ N.A. headquarters or tech centers.Ohio – Ohio employs 687,400 and is a leader in the production of composites, plastics and rubber. The state also ranks first in plastics and paper producing $106 billion in output in those areas.Texas – The state employs 848,100 in manufacturing. California – The state employs 1,284,100. This figure represents 8% of the workforce. Manufacturing accounts for 11% of the total output in the state.

States Try to Silence Robocalls, But They’re Worse Than Ever

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on July 26, 2018

Robocalls — those nettlesome autodial telephone calls from both scammers and legitimate businesses — skyrocketed in the first half of 2018, and have prompted the most complaints to federal and most state enforcement officials of any consumer topic in recent years. But as much as top state law enforcement officers would love to go after the robocallers, who often operate outside the law, the combined hurdles of technology, economics and geography make the job difficult.Robocalls jumped dramatically nationwide this year, from 2.9 billion in January to 4.1 billion in June, according to YouMail Inc., a company that tracks robocalls and sells software to block them.Unwanted calls are the biggest complaint to the Federal Communications Commission, making up about 60 percent of complaints the agency gets. Robocalls also are the top complaint at the Federal Trade Commission, which in fiscal 2017 received more than 4.5 million robocall complaints.

Broadband: FCC map vs experience on the ground

Daily Yonder | Posted on July 26, 2018

To construct its current map of who has broadband, the FCC relies on the self-reported data of Internet service providers. Another set of data developed through an open-source speed test indicates that the typical Internet user has a much different online experience.

Telehealth changes could help rural seniors age in place

Daily Yonder | Posted on July 26, 2018

Telemedicine providers can’t catch senior citizens when they fall. But health services delivered over broadband can make it possible for seniors to live independently for longer periods of time.