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  • Half of produce at farm stands could come from grocery stores | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    It’s a growing problem: some of the vegetables for sale in farm markets may have come from a local grocery store. Farmers might resort to buying vegetables from outside sources — including Amish wholesale auction houses, other farms and grocery stores — to supplement booths, or at times when their own farms aren’t producing.In some instances, they’re pushed by the punishing need to fill a table every week come hell or high water.Granted, it’s not exactly a scandal. Shoppers might not care because they still like the farm market experience. And after all, these outdoor markets are selling vegetables and fruit, which are good for you no matter where they come from and how they’re sold.  But if not properly labeled, they're giving a false impression that all of the produce was freshly picked out of local soil. Booths might be charging dearly for something that was trucked in. It irks farmers who are following the rules, working on slim profit margins and sweating it out when Mother Nature throws them a curve.“It’s like going to Napa Valley and they’re pouring ‘two buck chuck’ and charging $20 a glass for it,” said Nami Moon Farms co-owner Chris Holman. “We’re like the winemakers. What’s at a farm market should be an artisan product. It should be qualitatively better.”

    Post date: Fri, 06/23/2017 - 19:18
  • Arkansas Plant Board Votes to Ban Dicamba | Arkansas Matters

    The Arkansas State Plant Board (ASPB) has voted to ban the sale and use of in-crop dicamba, with an exemption for pastureland. The decision came in a meeting Friday to consider an emergency rule on the herbicide.The Agriculture Council of Arkansas says the 9-5 vote Friday morning also calls for expediting enforcement of new penalties."The proposed rule is the first step in the process of establishing an emergency rule. The next step includes a review of the proposed rule by the Governor before being submitted to the Executive Subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council for approval," according to Adriane Barnes, Director of Communication with the Arkansas Agriculture Department.

    Post date: Fri, 06/23/2017 - 19:16
  • Bitter scientific debate erupts over the future of America's power grid | Chicago Tribune

    Scientists are engaged in an increasingly bitter and personal feud over how much of the United States' power it can get from renewable sources, with a large group of scientists taking aim at a popular recent paper that claimed the country could move beyond fossil fuels entirely by 2055. In 2015, Stanford professor Mark Jacobson and his colleagues argued that between 2050 and 2055, the U.S. could be entirely powered by "clean" energy sources and "no natural gas, biofuels, nuclear power, or stationary batteries are needed." That would be a massive shift from the current power makeup, as in 2016, the United States only got 6.5 percent of its electricity from hydropower, 5.6 percent from wind, and 0.9 percent from solar. Nonetheless, the paper excited proponents of renewable energy, and has been embraced by Sen. Bernie Sanders, celebrity backers such actor Mark Ruffalo, and many environmental groups.But Jacobson's idea was always contentious. And now, no fewer than 21 researchers have published a study in the influential Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (which also published Jacobson's original study in 2015) arguing that the work "used invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions." "We thought we had to write a peer reviewed piece to highlight some of the mistakes and have a broader discussion about what we really need to fight climate change," said lead study author Christopher Clack of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory. "And we felt the only way to do it in a fair and unbiased way was to go through peer review, and have external referees vet it to make sure we're not saying anything that's untrue in our piece."Clack is backed in the study by a number of noted colleagues including prominent climate research Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution, energy researcher Dan Kammen of the University of California, Berkeley, and former EPA Science Advisory Board chair Granger Morgan.In a simultaneous letter in the journal, meanwhile, Jacobson and three Stanford colleagues fire back that Clack's critique is itself "riddled with errors" and "demonstrably false."

    Post date: Fri, 06/23/2017 - 19:15
  • Funding available to support training for farmers of color, veterans | National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

    Historically, farmers of color and military veterans have not had the same access to or rates of participation in the programs administered by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA); often this disparity has been due to insufficient or inadequate outreach to these communities. In order to help veterans and farmers of color to enter and succeed in agriculture, the USDA developed the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the “Section 2501 Program”), which helps ensure that these producers have opportunities to successfully acquire, own, operate, and retain farms and equitably participate in all USDA programs. This week, USDA announced the availability of over $8 million in Section 2501 grants to help organizations conduct targeted outreach and provide technical assistance to minority, veteran, and other underserved farmers. The grants are available to support a range of outreach and assistance activities, including farm management, financial management, marketing, and application and bidding procedures.

    Post date: Fri, 06/23/2017 - 19:13
  • New York lawmakers clear bill creating energy storage targetsv | Utility Dive

    The New York State legislature has unanimously passed a measure that calls for the setting of statewide targets for energy storage. The bills, SB 5190 and AB 6571, direct that state’s Public Service Commission to develop an Energy Storage Deployment Program, including a storage procurement target for 2030. If the bill is signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the PSC would have until Jan. 1, 2018 to establish an energy storage target.

    Post date: Fri, 06/23/2017 - 19:12

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Farmland Taxes Under Discussion in the Midwest Again

23 January, 2017

Senator Jean Leising knows it’s going to be another tough year for beef and hog producers, and 2016’s record national yields for corn and soybeans indicate that farm profitability will decline for the third straight year.  She is convinced that “the drop in net farm income again this year makes the changes Indiana made to the farmland taxation calculation in 2016 even more important.”  


Are corporations taking over America’s food supply?

15 March, 2016

Family farms.  The foundation of America’s food security.  According to the USDA, 97 percent of farms are family farms, and they grow 90 percent of the food produced. But national policies to keep food affordable (American’s spend less than 7 percent of their paycheck for food) and the boom and bust cycles of farming have resulted in larger, more concentrated farming practices.