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SARL Members and Alumni News

Food and Agriculture Grants Will Boost Businesses in Michigan

Michigan.gov | Posted on September 26, 2018

During its regularly scheduled meeting, the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development voted to approve Food and Agriculture Investment Fund grants for three food and agriculture projects in Michigan. The projects will help grow companies focused on cheese-making, asparagus packing and production, and grain processing as well as support the expansion of consumer-demand driven, value-added Michigan products. “Food and agriculture processing is a diversified business in Michigan, and these three projects are great examples of the support we can give to small companies in order to accelerate their growth,” said Peter Anastor, Director of MDARD’s Agriculture Development Division. “We hope these companies continue to grow and establish themselves as key pieces of our food and ag supply chain that will support local, regional and national food companies and consumers.”The Food and Agriculture Investment Program provides financial support for food and agriculture projects that help expand food and agriculture processing to enable growth in the industry and Michigan’s economy. Projects are selected based on their impact to the overall agriculture industry and their impact to food and agriculture growth and investment in Michigan. 


As More Cities Push for Paid Sick Leave, States Push Back

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on September 26, 2018

A split is growing between cities that want to require private companies to give workers paid sick days and states that are determined to stop them. In the last three years, a dozen states have banned localities from passing paid leave requirements, more than doubling to 22 the states that now outlaw such local ordinances. The state moves come in response to the increasing number of cities and counties passing paid sick days ordinances. Since 2015, more than 20 cities, as well as eight states, have approved measures mandating that companies provide local workers with paid sick leave. Since San Francisco approved the first paid sick leave ordinance in 2006, paid sick day requirements have been passed in 35 cities or counties and 11 states.


Court temporarily blocks anti-union law in North Carolina, but fight isn’t over for farm workers

The News & Observer | Posted on September 24, 2018

Agriculture is one of the biggest, most powerful industries in North Carolina. But its corporate and political backers just lost the first round of a legal battle with the industry’s lowest-paid workers. Last year the N.C. General Assembly passed a law that, in part, made it illegal for farms and unions to negotiate settlements involving union contracts. It also made it illegal for farm workers to directly transfer parts of their paycheck to the union as dues. A federal judge blocked the law from taking effect — at least temporarily — as the lawsuit continues winding its way through the court system. 


SARL VP's farm wins 2018 Grower Achievement Award

Growing Produce | Posted on September 20, 2018

Autryville, NC-based Jackson Farming Company is the 2018 winner of American Vegetable Grower's prestigious Grower Achievement Award. First generation growers Brent and Debbie Jackson and their son Rodney Jackson demonstrate what can be accomplished when you’re willing to aim for long-term success.The Jackson Family will receive the American Vegetable Grower Grower Achievement Award in Washington, D.C., on September 24, 2018, during the United Fresh Produce Association’s Washington Conference. United Fresh partners with American Vegetable Grower in selecting and celebrating the Grower Achievement Award winner. The Jackson’s achievements over the past 37 years impressed the judges. Many in the industry think only multi-generation operations can reach the heights Jackson Farming Company has reached. The parents-and-son team of Brent and Debbie Jackson, along with second-generation grower Rodney, show their blend of risk-taking and a long-term focus on sustainability can let you reach great heights.” Senator Brent Jackson serves as SARL's 2nd Vice President.


SARL member Manitoba Minister Ralph Eichler signs MOU with Indiana

Cass Network | Posted on September 20, 2018

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler and members of the Indiana agricultural delegation met with officials from Canada’s Manitoba Province today to discuss opportunities to grow both regions’ agricultural sectors. Through a signed memorandum of understanding, the Indiana and Manitoba departments of agriculture agreed to facilitate cooperation in several areas including agricultural research and development, youth education and leadership, and trade investment – all for the purpose of mutual economic growth. The agricultural sector has been a key driver of trade and economic growth in both Manitoba and Indiana. Through the MOU, the two regions will encourage stronger partnerships between researchers, innovation leaders, businesses, and young farmers, and will share information and best practices to help each jurisdiction make the most of new opportunities to drive growth and innovation in agriculture and related sectors.“Indiana and Manitoba share common priorities and strengths in the agricultural sector that provide excellent opportunities for more collaboration and information sharing,” said Ralph Eichler, Manitoba’s Minister of Agriculture.


Agriculture doesn't know boundaries' says Manitoba minister of agriculture during visit to ND

AgWeek | Posted on September 20, 2018

Ralph Eichler was born and raised in Colorado, moving to Canada with his family in 1968. Though initially unenthusiastic about the change, he eventually became a proud Canadian agriculturalist and now serves as Manitoba minister of agriculture."Agriculture doesn't know boundaries,"and certainly not the one between Manitoba and North Dakota to the south, Eichler said.On Sept. 18, he meet with North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring in Grand Forks, about 140 miles south of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Though Eichler's position is appointed and Goehring's is elected, their respective posts have many similarities."This is really about enhancing communications," Goehring said of the meeting. "There are opportunities to make sure we can get on the same page working for the same goals."He and Eichler said they're in the initial stages of developing "a memorandum of understanding" that would include ways in which Manitoba and North Dakota agriculture could work together constructively.


Pennsylvania announces $5M for dairy farmers

ABC | Posted on September 20, 2018

The funding was made available under the Pennsylvania Dairy Investment Program, which helps farmers to modernize or expand their operations. Milk sales have dropped in recent years, partly because more people are buying soy, almond, and other non-dairy substitutes.


Cybersecurity: ‘We cannot rely on Washington to keep us safe’

The Connecticut Mirror | Posted on September 20, 2018

The leader of Connecticut’s cybersecurity efforts said Tuesday that Washington, with a deeply polarized Congress and faction-riven White House, has abrogated its role in defending the nation’s electrical grid, natural gas system and public water supplies against hackers who are growing bolder, more numerous and more sophisticated. “I’m often asked in my job, ‘Are we safe from a cyber attack?’ And the answer, of course, is no,” said Arthur H. House, the state’s chief cybersecurity risk officer. “We’re not safe. No one’s safe. No federal agency, no state agency, no city, no business, no individual can take safety as an assumption. We’re all threatened. We’re threatened all the time. What’s important is that Connecticut and Connecticut’s utilities take cyber security vey, very seriously.”House joined Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and representatives of state agencies and utilities to release the second annual cybersecurity review of Connecticut’s systems for the delivery of electricity, natural gas and water. The report found no penetrations of any Connecticut utility, despite hundreds of millions of attempts annually from every corner of the world.


Government group buying helping to spread solar across Minnesota

Energy News Network | Posted on September 19, 2018

The state of Minnesota and nearly a dozen other government entities will use a collaborative buying approach to build 4 megawatts of on-site solar. Called “Solar Possible,” the initiative used a master contract and a joint request for proposals to select vendors and gather pricing data. The Minnesota Department of Administration’s Office of Enterprise Sustainability and two partner organizations developed the program.Participating school districts, government agencies and city governments are getting better prices than they would have on their own, said Office of Enterprise Sustainability director Larry Herke.


California to rely on 100% clean electricity by 2045

The Los Angeles Times | Posted on September 13, 2018

All of California’s electricity will come from clean power sources by 2045 under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday, the latest in a series of ambitious goals set by the state to combat the effects of climate change.Brown hailed the move as another example of the state’s global leadership on environmental initiatives as the Trump administration backs away from such policies. The bill’s signing comes just days before Brown is set to host a global conference on climate change in San Francisco, a final effort to showcase California’s actions on the environment before he ends his fourth and final term as governor in January.


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