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Half of produce at farm stands could come from grocery stores

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Posted on June 23, 2017 in News

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.

Arkansas Plant Board Votes to Ban Dicamba

Arkansas Matters | Posted on June 23, 2017 in Agriculture, SARL Members and Alumni News

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.

Bitter scientific debate erupts over the future of America's power grid

Chicago Tribune | Posted on June 23, 2017 in Energy News

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.

SARL Members and Alumni News

Arkansas Plant Board Votes to Ban Dicamba

Arkansas Matters | Posted on June 23, 2017

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.

Troxler defends NC milk inspection program following alarming audit

WRAL | Posted on June 23, 2017

North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler on Thursday responded to recent criticism by state auditors who say his agency's inspectors aren't tough enough on dairies when handling out grades on their milk.According to an audit released Wednesday, inspectors rarely took action when they noted repeated violations. In one case, for example, the inspector marked violations of the same two requirements for six successive inspections without suspending the dairy's permit to market its milk as Grade A.Troxler mostly spoke about what he called "inaccuracies" in the audit.

Judge reverses key ruling in $1.4 billion timber class action

Capital Press | Posted on June 23, 2017

A judge has ruled that counties can’t sue the State of Oregon for financial damages, potentially undermining a $1.4 billion class action lawsuit over state logging practices.Linn County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Murphy has reversed an earlier ruling in the case, which held that Oregon’s “sovereign immunity” doesn’t bar counties from seeking such damages.In his most recent June 20 decision, Murphy has agreed with Oregon’s attorneys that counties — as subdivisions of the state — cannot sue the state government for money.Murphy said he’s “well aware this interpretation contradicts” his earlie

PA:House and Senate bills aim to protect animals left in hot vehicles

Lancaster online | Posted on June 23, 2017

Pet owners who leave their dogs or cats in a vehicle in extreme heat conditions are the targets of bills being considered by both the state House and Senate this session.House Bill 1236 relieves a police officer, humane society police officer or firefighter who enters a vehicle to rescue a dog or cat from any liability for damage caused by the rescue.The House bill mandates that the officer first “makes a reasonable effort to locate the person who owes a duty of care to the animal,” “acts under a reasonable belief that the animal is in severe physical distress” and “takes reasonable steps t

Governor Cuomo Announces Grand Opening of $4.9 Million Community Kitchen in Rochester

New York Governor | Posted on June 23, 2017

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the grand opening of Foodlink’s new $4.9 million community kitchen in Rochester.

Agriculture News

Arkansas Plant Board Votes to Ban Dicamba

Arkansas Matters | Posted on June 23, 2017

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.

Troxler defends NC milk inspection program following alarming audit

WRAL | Posted on June 23, 2017

North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler on Thursday responded to recent criticism by state auditors who say his agency's inspectors aren't tough enough on dairies when handling out grades on their milk.According to an audit released Wednesday, inspectors rarely took action when they noted repeated violations. In one case, for example, the inspector marked violations of the same two requirements for six successive inspections without suspending the dairy's permit to market its milk as Grade A.Troxler mostly spoke about what he called "inaccuracies" in the audit.

Ag Lenders Take Caution

DTN | Posted on June 23, 2017

The winter/spring of 2017 did not see the financial shake-out many financial experts expected after three consecutive years of declining net farm income. In fact, lenders and other ag industry representatives at the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank's annual Ag Symposium last week were not wringing their hands -- yet.

Ranchers sue to return country-of-origin labeling

Greensburg Daily News | Posted on June 23, 2017

Ranchers on Monday sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture, seeking a return of labels that clearly identify meat produced in other countries and imported to the United States. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Spokane, seeks to overturn a March 2016 decision by the Department of Agriculture to revoke regulations requiring imported meat products to be labeled with their country of origin. That change allowed imported meat to be sold as U.S.

Farm family leaves for Mexico amid questions over immigration crackdown

Wisconsin State Journal | Posted on June 23, 2017

Hernandez worked on the Knoepkes’ farm in Pepin County for 16 years. He shared that home with his wife and two young sons, Thomas, 5, and Liam, 4. That day, at Thomas’ last day at Noah’s Ark Preschool, he cried as he told his classmates that he will not be starting kindergarten with them in the fall. He had never been to Mexico.Earlier this month, Hernandez and four other men, who for years had milked and cared for cows on dairy farms among the hills of western Wisconsin, drove away in the direction of their mountainous hometown of Texhuacan.

Federal News

USDA bans fresh Brazil beef imports over 'recurring' safety concerns

USA Today | Posted on June 23, 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture halted imports of fresh beef from Brazil on Thursday over recurring safety concerns about the products. Since March, USDA officials increased testing to cover "100% of all meat products" coming from Brazil, and turned away 11% of the country's fresh beef products, the USDA said in a statement.  In total, the health officials have turned away 1.9 million pounds of Brazilian beef products over health concerns, sanitary conditions and animal health issues.According to the USDA, the rejected products never made it to grocery store shelves.

Joint statement of Perdue, MacAuley and Calzada

USDA | Posted on June 23, 2017

Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay; Mexican Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food Jose Calzada; and United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement at the conclusion of their first trilateral meetings in Savannah, GA, June 19-20, 2017.“Our three nations are connected not only geographically, but through our deeply integrated agricultural markets. Our trading relationship is vital to the economies - and the people - of our respective countries.

Ranchers sue to return country-of-origin labeling

Greensburg Daily News | Posted on June 23, 2017

Ranchers on Monday sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture, seeking a return of labels that clearly identify meat produced in other countries and imported to the United States. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Spokane, seeks to overturn a March 2016 decision by the Department of Agriculture to revoke regulations requiring imported meat products to be labeled with their country of origin. That change allowed imported meat to be sold as U.S.

Farm family leaves for Mexico amid questions over immigration crackdown

Wisconsin State Journal | Posted on June 23, 2017

Hernandez worked on the Knoepkes’ farm in Pepin County for 16 years. He shared that home with his wife and two young sons, Thomas, 5, and Liam, 4. That day, at Thomas’ last day at Noah’s Ark Preschool, he cried as he told his classmates that he will not be starting kindergarten with them in the fall. He had never been to Mexico.Earlier this month, Hernandez and four other men, who for years had milked and cared for cows on dairy farms among the hills of western Wisconsin, drove away in the direction of their mountainous hometown of Texhuacan.

Enlist corn trait approved for import to China, available for 2018

Successful Farming | Posted on June 23, 2017

Enlist corn will be available for farmers in the U.S. starting in the 2018 growing season. Dow AgroSciences made the announcement after China approved the import of corn grown with the new trait. The announcement was made along with approval for Monsanto’s Vistive Gold soybeans and renewed approvals for 14 other GMO crops.

Rural News

Judge reverses key ruling in $1.4 billion timber class action

Capital Press | Posted on June 23, 2017

A judge has ruled that counties can’t sue the State of Oregon for financial damages, potentially undermining a $1.4 billion class action lawsuit over state logging practices.Linn County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Murphy has reversed an earlier ruling in the case, which held that Oregon’s “sovereign immunity” doesn’t bar counties from seeking such damages.In his most recent June 20 decision, Murphy has agreed with Oregon’s attorneys that counties — as subdivisions of the state — cannot sue the state government for money.Murphy said he’s “well aware this interpretation contradicts” his earlie

Rural divide

The Washington Post | Posted on June 23, 2017

The political divide between rural and urban America is more cultural than it is economic, rooted in rural residents’ deep misgivings about the nation’s rapidly changing demographics, their sense that Christianity is under siege and their perception that the federal government caters most to the needs of people in big cities, according to a wide-ranging poll that examines cultural attitudes across the United States.

Review of sage grouse agreement could turn partners into adversaries

Daily Yonder | Posted on June 23, 2017

A public-private agreement has managed to preserve the habitat of a threatened species while accommodating hunting, fishing, ranching, and energy development. Interior Secretary Zinke says he's revisiting the agreement. That could lead to the sage grouse qualifying as "endangered," which would mean a far less flexible approach to conservation. “The sage grouse initiative, the collaboration, up to now it’s been working,” said O’Toole, owner of Ladder Ranch along the Wyoming and Colorado border.“It’s the collaboration that’s the key.

WA:Court water-well ruling imposes undue burden on rural families

Yakima Herald | Posted on June 23, 2017

Now a harsh ruling by the Washington State Supreme Court in Hirst v. Whatcom County, blocks access to water for rural families — making that life unaffordable and simply impossible for the average Washington citizen. Declaring that counties can no longer rely on the Washington State Department of Ecology to determine if there is enough water for permit-exempt wells, the court brought the state’s Growth Management Act into conflict with 80 years of water law.  Supporters of Hirst argue the court’s strict new interpretation helps salmon.

For First Time in History, Solar Jobs Outnumber Coal Jobs in Virginia

WVTF | Posted on June 23, 2017

Virginia has long been coal country, but the solar power industry has been increasing its foothold in the Commonwealth over the last few years. Virginia now has more jobs in the solar industry than the coal industry. Numbers from the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy show a 40% drop in the number of people working in the coal industry over the last five years. Henry Childress with the Virginia Coal and Energy Alliance says coal produces more energy with fewer employees.For now, though, the solar industry has more employees in Virginia than the coal industry.

Energy News

Bitter scientific debate erupts over the future of America's power grid

Chicago Tribune | Posted on June 23, 2017

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.

Exxon, BP and Shell back carbon tax proposal to curb emissions

The Guardian | Posted on June 23, 2017

Oil giants ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Total are among a group of large corporations supporting a plan to tax carbon dioxide emissions in order to address climate change.

Sustainable ethanol from carbon dioxide? A possible path

Science Daily | Posted on June 23, 2017

A recent discovery could lead to a new, more sustainable way to make ethanol without corn or other crops. This promising technology has three basic components: water, carbon dioxide and electricity delivered through a copper catalyst.To compare electrocatalytic performance, the researchers placed the three large electrodes in water, exposed them to carbon dioxide gas and applied a potential to generate an electric current.The results were clear.

Regulatory overhaul could give boost to independent generation in Michigan

Midwest Energy News | Posted on June 23, 2017

Advocates say recent regulatory changes in Michigan could spur more solar energy development from independent producers and ensure existing renewable energy generators are paid fair prices from utilities for their power. On May 31, the Michigan Public Service Commission approved changes to the way avoided costs are determined under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) of 1978. Avoided costs are those that utilities pay independent power producers for their electricity that the utility would have otherwise had to pay itself.

This EPA research program just got a rave scientific review. Trump wants to eliminate it.

The Washington Post | Posted on June 23, 2017

A report released Thursday by the National Academy of Sciences — and prepared at the request of the EPA — argues that the agency’s Science to Achieve Results, or STAR, program, which provides millions of dollars in funding for scientific research each year, has contributed to important benefits for the environment and the public health.

Food News

IBM-powered DNA sequencing could find bacteria in raw milk

engadget | Posted on June 23, 2017

To be able to build those tools, they first need to be intimately familiar with the substance and the microorganisms that tend to contaminate it. They'll sequence and analyze the DNA and RNA of dairy samples from Cornell's farm, as well as of all the microorganisms in environments milk tends to make contact with, including the cows themselves, from the moment it's pumped. Their tests will characterize what's "normal" for raw milk, so the tools they make can easily tell if something's wrong even if it's an unknown contaminant we've never seen before.

USDA bans fresh Brazil beef imports over 'recurring' safety concerns

USA Today | Posted on June 23, 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture halted imports of fresh beef from Brazil on Thursday over recurring safety concerns about the products. Since March, USDA officials increased testing to cover "100% of all meat products" coming from Brazil, and turned away 11% of the country's fresh beef products, the USDA said in a statement.  In total, the health officials have turned away 1.9 million pounds of Brazilian beef products over health concerns, sanitary conditions and animal health issues.According to the USDA, the rejected products never made it to grocery store shelves.

Governor Cuomo Announces Grand Opening of $4.9 Million Community Kitchen in Rochester

New York Governor | Posted on June 23, 2017

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the grand opening of Foodlink’s new $4.9 million community kitchen in Rochester.

With Dow-DuPont merger, food ‘editing’ gets fresh start

Greenwich Time | Posted on June 23, 2017

In the past year, the GMO debate has faded as attention has shifted to the promise of genetically “edited” foods in which producers trim existing DNA in foods rather than introducing new DNA, as the case in GMO-based genetic engineering. DuPont has emerged as a major innovation in genetic editing with a new unit called CRISPR-Cas, designed to improve seeds without incorporating DNA from other species.

Sanderson Farms sued over '100 percent natural' label claim

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 23, 2017

Three consumer groups on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Sanderson Farms Inc. accusing the company of falsely advertising that its chicken is “100 percent natural.” The groups suing Sanderson Farms are the Organic Consumers Association, Friends of the Earth and Center for Food Safety. In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in California, the groups said testing in 2015 and 2016 by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service found 49 instances in which samples of Sanderson products tested positive for residues of synthetic drugs.