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USDA will open some FSA offices

USDA | Posted on January 17, 2019 in Federal News

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Thursday, January 17 and Friday, January 18, in addition to Tuesday, January 22, during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 21.

‘Dairy farmers are eroding their profits for the pleasure of producing extra milk’

The Bull Vine | Posted on January 17, 2019 in Agriculture News

Speaking at the Irish Grassland Association’s (IGA) Dairy Conference on January 9 in Co. Cork, John Roche from Down to Earth Advice presented on the topic of producing marginal milk to the large crowd in attendance on the day. “In the Irish system of milk production, base milk is cheap and marginal milk is very expensive to produce.

Updated Canadian Food Safety Rules

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on January 17, 2019 in Agriculture News

Food businesses that import or prepare food for export from Canada will be required to follow new rules designed to remove unsafe food from the marketplace faster and stop the spread of disease, starting yesterday. The new Safe Foods for Canadians Regulations(SFCR), effective Jan. 15, cover a wide range of food safety-related efforts from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), including licensing, labeling standards, rules enforcement and new recall protocols.

SARL Members and Alumni News

Several Florida Imperiled Species No Longer Warrant Listing, Including Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtle

Space Coast Daily | Posted on January 17, 2019

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission completed the final step in reevaluating five Species of Special Concern, one of six key objectives outlined in Florida’s Imperiled Species Management Plan.  s a result, several fish and wildlife species no longer warrant listing.Based on a thorough scientific review, the FWC determined the harlequin darter, Homosassa shrew, southern fox squirrel and the Monroe County osprey population no longer warrant listing as Species of Special Concern.Through the process, FWC biologists and partners agreed that Florida has three distinct species of

Industry wary of alternatives tries to protect a word: meat

WREG | Posted on January 17, 2019

More than four months after Missouri became the first U.S. state to regulate the term “meat” on product labels, Nebraska’s powerful farm groups are pushing for similar protection from veggie burgers, tofu dogs and other items that look and taste like real meat.

Maryland Public Service Commission authorizes utilities to install 5,000 electric vehicle charging stations statewide

The Baltimore Sun | Posted on January 17, 2019

Maryland’s utility companies on Monday won state approval to install a network of more than 5,000 electric vehicle charging stations — fewer than they had hoped for, but a step toward the state’s ambitious goal of 300,000 electric vehicles on the streets by 2025. The Maryland Public Service Commission authorized BGE, Potomac Electric Power Co., Delmarva Power and Potomac Edison Co. to move forward with a modified, five-year pilot program of residential, workplace and public charging stations, paid for mostly by ratepayers.

Oregon Legislature to consider laws protecting wine industry

Capital Press | Posted on January 17, 2019

Oregon lawmakers will consider several proposals during the 2019 Legislature to protect the state's $5.6 billion wine industry, including a measure aimed at preventing out-of-state winemakers from hijacking the names and reputations of certain growing areas. The issue stems from a dispute last year between several Willamette Valley wineries and Copper Cane LLC, a California wine producer that purchases grapes from about 50 Oregon vineyards to make Pinot noir and rosé.

Minnesota:Grants available to support start-up, expansion and update farm projects

Message Media | Posted on January 17, 2019

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is now accepting applications for the competitive AGRI Value-Added Grant Program. The MDA anticipates awarding up to $2.5 million in this round of proposals. The aim of the Value-Added Grant is to increase sales of Minnesota agricultural products by diversifying markets, increasing market access and increasing food safety of value-added products through equipment purchases and facility improvements.

Agriculture News

‘Dairy farmers are eroding their profits for the pleasure of producing extra milk’

The Bull Vine | Posted on January 17, 2019

Speaking at the Irish Grassland Association’s (IGA) Dairy Conference on January 9 in Co. Cork, John Roche from Down to Earth Advice presented on the topic of producing marginal milk to the large crowd in attendance on the day. “In the Irish system of milk production, base milk is cheap and marginal milk is very expensive to produce.

Updated Canadian Food Safety Rules

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on January 17, 2019

Food businesses that import or prepare food for export from Canada will be required to follow new rules designed to remove unsafe food from the marketplace faster and stop the spread of disease, starting yesterday. The new Safe Foods for Canadians Regulations(SFCR), effective Jan. 15, cover a wide range of food safety-related efforts from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), including licensing, labeling standards, rules enforcement and new recall protocols.

Telemedicine Will Enhance, Not Replace Doctors In Rural Wisconsin

Wisconsin Public Radio | Posted on January 17, 2019

Medical centers in rural Wisconsin are working to meet the needs of underserved patients through technology — but that’s slow going and may not be the best replacement for human interaction in the future.

Texas Case Offers Good Analysis of Enforceability of Liability Release

Texas A&M | Posted on January 17, 2019

One way that Texas landowners can protect themselves from liability is to ensure that guests sign liability waivers before engaging in certain activities.  For example, oftentimes hunters that plan to hunt on the property of another are asked to sign a liability waiver (also called a release of liability).  A recent Texas case, Quiroz v.

‘Right This Very Minute’ picked as AFB Foundation’s book of the year

Ag Daily | Posted on January 17, 2019

Helping to make young people more connected to agriculture, the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has chosen its next book of the year: “Right This Very Minute,” written by Lisl H. Detlefsen and illustrated by Renee Kurilla. Subtitled, “A Table-to-Farm Book about Food and Farming,” the kids book is a delicious celebration of agriculture and is sure to inspire readers of all ages to learn more about where their food comes from.

Federal News

USDA will open some FSA offices

USDA | Posted on January 17, 2019

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Thursday, January 17 and Friday, January 18, in addition to Tuesday, January 22, during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 21.

How the Farm Bill help spur a rural innovation renaissance

Pacific Standard | Posted on January 17, 2019

Rural and small towns in the United States have higher rates of self-employment than their urban and suburban counterparts. More than that, the more rural the county, the higher the rate of entrepreneurship—and these businesses tend to be more resilient because of their engagement with smaller communities.

Big winners in Trump rollback of wetlands rules? Developers

AP News | Posted on January 17, 2019

President Donald Trump pointed to farmers Monday as winners from the administration’s proposed rollback of federal protections for wetlands and waterways across the country, describing farmers crying in gratitude when he ordered the change. But under long-standing federal law and rules, farmers and farmland already are exempt from most of the regulatory hurdles on behalf of wetlands that the Trump administration is targeting.

Farmers are playing the long game with Trump, even as woes build up

Bloomberg | Posted on January 15, 2019

Donald Trump’s policies might be causing hiccups in the agriculture world, but the man himself is still enjoying the affections of his farming base. Speaking before the American Farm Bureau in New Orleans Monday, Trump drew applause and cheers as he lobbied for a border wall, while telling the audience that he’ll make it “easier” for migrants to work on farms. He also touted his administration’s approval of year-round sales of gasoline with higher ethanol content and said he’s making deals and regulatory changes that will benefit agriculture.

Trump's tone-deaf appeal to farmers hurting from trade war: 'Greatest harvest is yet to come'

The Hill  | Posted on January 15, 2019

President Trump today appealed to America’s family farmers and ranchers, promising great things to come for the men and women who provide food, fuel and fiber for our nation. “The greatest harvest is yet to come,” he said. Yet, the sentiment could not have come off more tone deaf from a man who’s trade tactics have depressed an already troubled farm economy, pushing many family farmers into significant financial stress and even more out of business. “Before I got here, it was heading south,” Trump said, referring to America’s ability to export agricultural products.

Rural News

How Is Rural America Saving Itself?

Wisconsin Public Radio | Posted on January 17, 2019

Recent news analysis has asked - and tried to answer the question - of whether we can we save rural America. But our guest says that's the wrong question. He joins us to explore how rural America is saving itself and why rethinking what economic success looks like is key for the future of rural success.

CU Boulder professor says “we can’t log our way out of the fire problem”

The Denver Post | Posted on January 17, 2019

Trump quietly issued an executive order to expand logging on public land on the grounds that it will curb deadly wildfires. The declaration, issued the Friday before Christmas, reflects Trump’s interest in forest management since a spate of wildfires ravaged California last year.

tates, cities gear up for Census with billions of dollars at stake

The Hill | Posted on January 17, 2019

With billions of dollars in federal money on the line, state and local governments are budgeting hundreds of millions of dollars to convince their residents to respond to next year’s Census.

Antarctica losing six times more ice mass annually now than 40 years ago

Science Daily | Posted on January 15, 2019

Antarctica experienced a sixfold increase in yearly ice mass loss between 1979 and 2017, according to a new study. Glaciologists additionally found that the accelerated melting caused global sea levels to rise more than half an inch during that time.

How a Local Bookstore Can Make Your Town Richer—In More Than One Way

Strong Towns | Posted on January 14, 2019

Recently, Commonwealth Magazine ran an article speculating on the economic role that independent bookstores play in our downtowns, particularly in small and mid-sized city neighborhoods.

Energy News

Industry-led effort commits $1B to curb plastic pollution

Houston Chronicle | Posted on January 17, 2019

With more plastics piling into rivers and oceans, several of the world's biggest plastic chemical manufacturers are joining together in an  industry-led effort to curb plastic waste. A group of nearly 30 global companies have committed more than $1 billion into developing programs and technologies to better minimize, manage and prevent plastic waste.

Maryland Public Service Commission authorizes utilities to install 5,000 electric vehicle charging stations statewide

The Baltimore Sun | Posted on January 17, 2019

Maryland’s utility companies on Monday won state approval to install a network of more than 5,000 electric vehicle charging stations — fewer than they had hoped for, but a step toward the state’s ambitious goal of 300,000 electric vehicles on the streets by 2025. The Maryland Public Service Commission authorized BGE, Potomac Electric Power Co., Delmarva Power and Potomac Edison Co. to move forward with a modified, five-year pilot program of residential, workplace and public charging stations, paid for mostly by ratepayers.

Iowa ethanol plants continue record production

The Daily Reporter | Posted on January 17, 2019

Iowa’s ethanol industry continues it’s streak of breaking annual production records as ethanol plants in the state produced 4.35 billion gallons of ethanol in 2018. Up from 4.2 billion in 2017, the production is just shy of the 4.5 billion gallon capacity of Iowa’s ethanol producers, which is expected to make up approximately 27 percent of all production nationally. Officials with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association said the achievement came during a difficult year and is a sign of strength.

2019 US renewable generation additions expected to far outpace gas: EIA

Utility Dive | Posted on January 17, 2019

23.7 GW of new U.S. electric generating capacity, mostly from wind, natural gas and solar, are expected in 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) inventory of electric generators. In addition, EIA data shows 8 GW of primarily coal, nuclear and natural gas generation are expected to retire this year, though that number could increase as utilities continue to evaluate their generating portfolios.

Oceans are warming even faster than previously thought

Science Daily | Posted on January 17, 2019

Heat trapped by greenhouse gases is raising ocean temperatures faster than previously thought, concludes an analysis of four recent ocean heating observations. The results provide further evidence that earlier claims of a slowdown or 'hiatus' in global warming over the past 15 years were unfounded.

Food News

Poll: Consumers want FDA to end mislabeling of fake milks

Feedstuffs | Posted on January 17, 2019

New national survey data released Jan. 10 found that consumers – by a nearly three-to-one margin – want the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to enforce existing regulations and prohibit non-dairy beverage companies from using the term “milk” on their product labels. FDA is currently soliciting public comment regarding front-of-package dairy labeling regulations through Jan. 28.

New Pork Board Research Reveals How Americans Are Eating Tonight

Pork | Posted on January 17, 2019

Today, the National Pork Board released the first report from its ambitious and comprehensive Insight to Action research program. The report, Dinner at Home in America, examines the contextual occasions in which Americans are eating dinner in the home. The research identifies areas of growth opportunity for pork, serving up a bold new challenge to the pork industry: innovate or risk losing relevance with today’s  and more importantly tomorrow’s consumer.

Industry wary of alternatives tries to protect a word: meat

WREG | Posted on January 17, 2019

More than four months after Missouri became the first U.S. state to regulate the term “meat” on product labels, Nebraska’s powerful farm groups are pushing for similar protection from veggie burgers, tofu dogs and other items that look and taste like real meat.

Food bloggers impressed with Ontario chicken farm

Watt AgNet | Posted on January 17, 2019

If anyone in Canada is skeptical of how chickens are raised in the country should be able to consumer Canadian chicken with confidence after a recent transparency project from Chicken Farmers of Ontario. A group of Canadian food bloggers were invited to tour a broiler chicken farm in Ontario.In the video, which was posted about a month ago, a farmer named Jacqui, explained why she felt it was important to open up her farm, which appeared immaculate both inside and outside of the barns, to the visiting writers.

Chobani Joins Plant-Based Product World, Looks Beyond Yogurt

Dairy Herd Management | Posted on January 17, 2019

Stepping outside of the dairy sector and joining the plant-based craze, the Greek yogurt giant, Chobani, has released a non-dairy coconut-based yogurt alternative.