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  • United States Drought Monitor Shows Growing Drought | University of Nebraska

    An active summer pattern continued over the central and northern Plains and into the upper Midwest, with several areas seeing well above normal precipitation associated with thunderstorms. Along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida, precipitation was plentiful and widespread as ample moisture continued to be transported into the region. The precipitation along the Gulf also helped to keep temperatures 1-3 degrees cooler than normal for this time of year. Some monsoon activity started up in the Southwest with some scattered precipitation while most of the rest of the West remained warm and dry with an increase in fire danger and active fires throughout the region.

    Post date: Tue, 07/17/2018 - 16:33
  • Scott Pruitt's Parting Shot At U.S. Ethanol Producers | Seeking Alpha

    EPA Administrator and refining industry ally Scott Pruitt resigned earlier this month after losing the support of the White House. Shortly before his departure, the EPA implemented substantial reductions to biofuel blending volumes under the national blending mandate. Recently-released EPA documents show that the reductions were implemented in a way that will keep ethanol blending at roughly 10 vol% of gasoline consumption. The EPA documents also show that the reduction decision occurred shortly before Mr. Pruitt's departure. If finalized later this year, the reduction to future blending volumes will continue to put downward pressure on ethanol operating margins.

    Post date: Tue, 07/17/2018 - 16:10
  • People on food stamps may no longer be able to shop at farmers’ markets | Market Watch

    Squabbles over a government contract may prevent low-income families from having easy access to farm-fresh fruits and vegetables. At issue: The ability of low-income Americans on government assistance to use their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to buy food at farmers’ markets. Farmers’ markets have to be equipped to accept the EBT cards. If markets are not able to operate devices that can handle EBT payments, vendors must use manual paper vouchers instead. Congress has approved $4 million each year so the USDA can provide EBT equipment to markets and farmers, the USDA said. It previously worked with a third-party technology company called Novo Dia. But in November 2017 their agreement ended and, as of this month, they won’t provide support to the markets that used their technology. “The Food and Nutrition Service was recently informed by a major provider of mobile EBT technology for farmers’ markets and farm stands that it will discontinue this service,” Brandon Lipps, the administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service, which is part of the USDA, said in a statement. “With few providers in this marketplace, this is of great concern. Farmers’ markets play an important role in providing Americans with access to nutritious foods.”

    Post date: Tue, 07/17/2018 - 16:09
  • ‘We will not serve or pay for meat:’ WeWork takes the green workplace to a new level | The Washington Post

     WeWork is trying a new tactic in the push toward corporate sustainability by saying it was committed to being “a meat-free organization.” The global network of shared office spaces said in an email to employees last week that “moving forward, we will not serve or pay for meat at WeWork events and want to clarify that this includes poultry and pork, as well as red meat.” The company’s co-founder and chief culture officer, Miguel McKelvey, said the new policy was one way it could do more to become environmentally conscious. After the policy garnered headlines over the weekend, sustainability experts said it is rare — even as employers become more focused on showcasing their environmental friendliness — to see companies make a direct connection between meat and climate emissions. Such environmentally tied policies on employee behavior — such as tracking printing habits or financial rewards for public transit use — could be a sign of things to come, as employers seek to prove their environmental mettle with millennial workers attracted by such progressive policies.

    Post date: Tue, 07/17/2018 - 16:08
  • Air pollution is increasing over a wide swath of the U.S. because of record wildfires | Mashable

    The consequences of America’s swelling wildfire problem are traveling well beyond blackened, ashy forests. They're now tainting the air in cities and towns over vast regions of the western U.S.  Since the mid-1980s, fine bits of air pollution that have been repeatedly linked to heart and lung diseases have diminished in a good portion of the United States — except in an expansive zone of the western part of the country.  In this region, which extends north from Utah to Montana and west from Oregon to Wyoming, the most polluted days — when the air quality is at its most harmful — are getting even worse. 

    Post date: Tue, 07/17/2018 - 16:07

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STATE AGRICULTURE AND RURAL LEADERS is where state leaders find the answers they need on agriculture and rural policy issues.


Talk to your governor about the Opportunity Zones in your state

30 January, 2018

Qualified Opportunity Zones in the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017


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.”