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SARL Members and Alumni News

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.

Nebraska checking elk carcasses for chronic wasting disease

News Press Now | Posted on September 13, 2018

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is asking for elk hunters' cooperation in testing for chronic wasting disease.The commission's Todd Nordeen says staffers at check stations will be asking hunters to allow removal of lymph nodes from elk carcasses to test for the disease.The tests have about a two-week turn-around, and staffers will notify hunters if their animals tested positive. All test results will be posted to links at the bottom of the commission's website page on the disease.

Dairy Troubles in Indiana: What Affects Where Your Milk Comes From

| Posted on September 13, 2018

Tariffs, oversupply and European policies may all be to blame for some Hoosier dairy farm troubles.  The dairy industry is dealing with some tough times and that trickles down to Hoosier dairy farmers. You may have heard the story of one Indiana farm where milk will no longer be produced. Joe Kelsay said his troubles don't just come from the tariffs on exports, but from a long downward trend in the market. Deb Osza, CEO of the American Dairy Assoc. Indiana, said she believes overproduction may be caused by the tariffs, and that may be a reason Hoosier farmers are having trouble."It's a tough situation when there's too much supply and not enough demand," said Ozsa. "We consume the vast majority of what we produce. But, we don't consume every last bit of it. So, we hneed to be involved in the export market."And, there's another problem-nature."Cows can't just stop producing milk," she said. "They will produce milk for as long as their cycle, eight or nine or ten months, they can't just shut it off."Moving business elsewhereSo, people involved in the industry are trying to make sure that all the extra milk is used, even trying to encourage food companies to make it into cheese and other products, rather than it not being sold and going to waste. She said the tariffs may have stopped some of that because that production happens, to a large degree, outside the U.S."When the tariff situation is resolved things will balance out and we'll be able to get rid of this oversupply," said Osza.

Bill Pound NCSL leadership for more than 30 years to step down

Governing | Posted on September 13, 2018

After leading NCSL for more than three decades, Pound tells Governing in an exclusive interview that he will step down by the time of the group's next annual meeting in August 2019. He will be leaving at a moment when the group faces a changing political landscape. "In the early years, it was hard sometimes to tell the Democrats from the Republicans," Pound says. "The growth of partisanship in the country is the greatest challenge we've had in the country."Despite that challenge, Pound says NCSL has been able to flourish in large part due to its founding bylaws, which require its four legislative officer positions to be split evenly between the parties. Others credit Pound himself for the group's ability to maintain a bipartisan approach in an increasingly partisan era."NCSL has been able to focus on those policy issues and those challenges that states have in common," says Bramble. "Bill has been able to navigate some fairly turbulent political waters over the years, and he's done so successfully. If you look at the success of governing at the state level -- it's not a cause and effect, but it's a reflection of Bill's ability to lead an organization that has some very diverse political elements."

Michigan governor announces broadband Internet for entire state

UPI | Posted on September 13, 2018

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has announced a plan to bring broadband Internet to every residence and business throughout his state. The state will coordinate with Connect Michigan, a subsidiary of the nonprofit Connected Nation, to implement the plan to connect nearly 40,000 households that don't have high-speed Internet.The plan calls for Internet at a speed of 1 gigabit per second to all homes and businesses by 2026."As technology continues to rapidly change and evolve, having access to fast, reliable internet is now a necessity for everyday life," Snyder said in a statement. "There are many regions of Michigan where internet is inaccessible or ineffective, and this plan works to make broadband internet available to Michigan residents in every corner of the state."

Idaho’s economy depends on ‘foreign-born’ workers

High Country News | Posted on September 13, 2018

It’s August in southern Idaho, and all is calm for the region’s dairy workers. But after four workers were picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE, in July, Latino families have mostly stayed inside, missing church and otherwise lying low. In dairy country, the anxiety is constant. The Idaho Dairymen’s Association’s website is clear about who those workers are today: “Of the 8,100 on-dairy jobs, 85-90 percent are filled by foreign-born labor.” They are also foundationally important: “Without those jobs, none of the 31,300 supporting jobs would exist.” According to a recent study, 40,000 workers in the milk, cheese, yogurt and related products industry have built a $10 billion yearly value in a state economy of $72 billion.Yet because “foreign-born” is too often a euphemism for “illegal,” many of these workers are vulnerable. Consequently, so is an industry that is far more important to Idaho than its famous potatoes.