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SARL Members and Alumni News

Ohio:What does CAUV reform mean for me?

Farm and Dairy | Posted on September 7, 2017

The property tax reforms that Ohio farmers and farm groups sought over the past three years are just a few weeks from taking effect. The law itself becomes effective Sept. 30, and the reforms will be phased in over the next six years of assessments. It is estimated landowners will see an average of 30 percent savings beginning with the 2017 reassessments, with full savings realized after six years.Most recently, CAUV reform refers to changes included in the 2017 state budget bill that ensure all the factors in the CAUV calculation tie directly to the agricultural economy, making for a more accurate CAUV valuation. An earlier set of reforms were adopted by the Ohio Department of Taxation in 2015, which resulted in about a $10-per-acre savings.

Medical marijuana plants growing in Maryland

ABC News 2 | Posted on September 7, 2017

The first legal crop of marijuana has started to grow in Maryland. And industry officials say products should be available in medical marijuana dispensaries by 2018.

Rural Utahns hope new push to create jobs means they don’t have to leave home to be employed

The Salt Lake Tribune | Posted on September 7, 2017

When Angela Arnold was laid off at the end of last year, she didn’t know if she would find work that would let her stay in Carbon County. But then she got a job that keeps rural workers home by design.With training and support from a new company, Accelerant BSP, she answers calls from her house for HealthEquity, a Draper-based health savings account firm that manages over $5 billion for more than 3 million customers.“The idea is ultrasimple: Create rural jobs while filling the needs of the urban company that can’t find adequate talent on the Wasatch Front,” said Joel McKay Smith, CEO of Accelerant Business Solutions Provider. As the economy in Utah as a whole expands, job losses have devastated some rural counties. Gov. Gary Herbert hopes to see more solutions like Accelerant BSP during his push to create 25,000 jobs off the Wasatch Front in the next four years. Creating 25,000 jobs in those counties would represent the smallest amount of job growth in any consecutive four-year period this century, outside the Great Recession. From 2004 to 2008, before the recession settled in, rural Utah grew by more than 32,000 jobs. From 2012 to 2016, the counties grew by more than 27,000 jobs.

U.S. states hit back at EPA chief over climate rule guidance

Reuters | Posted on September 7, 2017

Democratic state officials blasted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday for telling governors in what they describe as a “legally incorrect” letter in March that they do not need to comply with a major climate change regulation. Fourteen Democratic attorneys general and officials from six cities and counties said the guidance that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sent to states on March 30 was misleading because the Clean Power Plan enacted under former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, remains on the books despite the Republican Trump administration’s plans to unravel it.The Clean Power Plan was aimed at curbing carbon emissions from power plants. It never took effect because the Supreme Court put it on hold in February 2016.The state officials said the regulation “remains the law of the land” even if it is currently on hold and that Pruitt’s “unsolicited legal advice” to governors was “premature and legally incorrect.” They called for Pruitt to retract his letter.

Animal rights activists: Proposition 2 not good enough

Watt Ag Net | Posted on September 7, 2017

Coalition of animal rights groups files ballot language which would require all eggs sold in the state to be from cage-free systems, all pork and veal sold in state to be from farms that don’t use crates.

Texas Farm Bureau Sets up Fund

DTN | Posted on August 31, 2017

Farmers and ranchers in eastern Texas and western Louisiana were coping with continued torrential downpours on Wednesday even as floodwaters receded in other areas of Texas hit by Tropical Storm Harvey. The Texas Farm Bureau on Wednesday created a relief fund focusing on agricultural producers in southeast Texas hit by the storm that first struck Texas as a Category 4 hurricane. "One hundred percent of everything we collect will go to them and we are setting up the infrastructure for implementing that right now," said Gene Hall, a spokesman for the Texas Farm Bureau.

Alaska Growing: State’s small, but steady agriculture market improving

Frontiersman | Posted on August 31, 2017

There’s something happening in Alaska’s small agriculture industry. It’s little noticed by most, but there are signs. Farmers are selling all they produce. Many think they can sell more.“If farmers sell out, they’ll grow more,” state agriculture director Arthur Keyes said. That trickles through the economy, creating jobs.Several signs are positive: Grocery retailers like Safeway buy local produce during the summer and mount special promotions of Alaskan-grown vegetables, which prove popular.The company is expanding its purchases of Alaskan-grown products, including new products made with Alaska barley flour now being featured in several stores in the state, according to ReinoBellio, Safeway’s general manager for Alaska.New ways of marketing are developing, too. Farmer’s Markets that feature locally grown products are widely popular, and there are now about 40 statewide.There’s also growth of niche food suppliers for local foods. Several small operators work out of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to supply customers in Anchorage with deliveries of fresh, local vegetables, poultry and eggs.

Dow-DuPont merger closes Thursday. How will Pioneer, Iowa fare?

The Des Moines Register | Posted on August 31, 2017

With Dow-DuPont's $150 billion merger closing Thursday, the newly combined business's first spin-off could be the agribusiness formed by Johnston-based seed giant Pioneer and Indianapolis' Dow AgroSciences, experts say. "It makes sense, from my view, that agriculture" could be the focus of the first company formed, said Seth Goldstein, an analyst at Morningstar in Chicago. Here's why: Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont, which initially proposed creating three independent, publicly traded spin-offs — agribusiness, material science and specialty products — are facing intense investor pressure to create more, smaller companies. "There’s less debate about what would fall into ag and what doesn’t," said Matt Arnold, an analyst at Edward Jones in St. Louis. "For the most part, that should be pretty straightforward." Dow and DuPont have yet to say which company will first leave the nest. Investors are pushing for as many as six companies. In 2016, Iowa economic development leaders reached a deal with Dow-DuPont that will help cement its 2,600 employee workforce in the state. Most of those jobs are located in Johnston. Altogether, the company will receive $17 million in incentives, including $14 million in state tax credits and a $2 million forgivable loan.

Sick puppies spur N.Y. law regulating pet rescue groups

Democrat and Chronicle | Posted on August 31, 2017

Kozmon is among the animal lovers who pushed for a new law to provide state oversight of nonprofit pet adoption groups. It cracks down on everything from shoddy health and record-keeping to unscrupulous pet dealers rebranding themselves as nonprofit “rescues” and peddling puppies from the same puppy mills adopters seek to avoid. The law, signed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo this month, puts nonprofit shelters and rescues under the same state Agriculture and Markets regulations that cover licensed pet dealers and municipal shelters.“You have up to 500 nonprofit entities under no regulation whatsoever,” said Bill Ketzer, a regional official with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.The new law requires the organizations to register with the agriculture agency, follow state documentation and vaccination requirements and disclose the number of animals transported annually. It also gives the agency the authority to craft additional regulations.

Governor revamps panel to strengthen animal cruelty laws

Minnesota Star Tribune | Posted on August 30, 2017

Sununu, a Republican, joined officials from the Humane Society and the Wolfeboro Police Department on Thursday to sign an executive order expanding the duties of the 13-year-old Commission on the Humane Treatment of Animals. Sitting on a table in front of him was an eight-week-old puppy, born to one of Fay's dogs that had been surrendered to an animal shelter shortly before the other dogs were seized. Sununu said he looks forward to working with the panel to strengthen animal cruelty laws."We're not just re-establishing it ... we're putting a little more oomph into it," he said of the commission."Whether it's dogs or cats or bears, we do have a responsibility," Sununu said. "It's part of who we are in the state of New Hampshire. It's part of our culture."