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SARL Members and Alumni News

Agriculture, State Organizations Try to Help Farmers Affected by Flood, Blizzard

DTN | Posted on March 20, 2019

With ongoing flood recovery efforts in Nebraska, Iowa, and other affected states, there are a number of places farmers and ranchers can go for help or to donate. Livestock losses in Nebraska are estimated at about $400 million and many ranchers face challenges to save remaining herds.The Nebraska Department of Agriculture is ready to help producers affected by the blizzards and flooding who need hay, feedstuffs, fencing materials, volunteer help and equipment.Callers to the department at 1-800-831-0550 should be prepared to share their name, contact information, type and number of livestock, location (including county), the type of assistance needed and how urgent the need is.

Maine senator revives ‘red flag’ bill to allow confiscation of guns from people who pose threat

Press Herald | Posted on March 20, 2019

The measure sponsored by Democrat Rebecca Millett of Cape Elizabeth would allow police and family members to seek a court order to temporarily disarm someone in mental health crisis

Delaware Senate approves raising age to buy tobacco products

Delaware on line | Posted on March 20, 2019

The state Senate has approved a bill raising the legal age to buy tobacco products in Delaware from 18 to 21. A bill was approved on a 14-6 vote Tuesday and now goes to the House.The legislation would apply to all tobacco products and tobacco substitutes, including e-cigarettes and vaping devices.

Background check on all gun sales in NH means dealers must broker private transactions;

Union Leader | Posted on March 20, 2019

The New Hampshire House on Tuesday passed two gun control bills, one requiring background checks for all firearms sales and another imposing a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a gun.The Democratic majority in the House also defeated a Republican sponsored bill that would have expanded the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law to allow the use of deadly force in defending a third party or “other” against any felony offense.HB 109, requiring universal background checks, passed 203-148, along mostly partisan lines. No Republicans voted for the bill, but seven Democrats voted against it.

Hawaii bills push 1st state ban on plastics in restaurants

AP News | Posted on March 20, 2019

Hawaii would be the first state in the U.S. to ban most plastics at restaurants under legislation that aims to cut down on waste that pollutes the ocean. Dozens of cities nationwide have banned plastic foam containers, but Hawaii’s measure targeting fast-food and full-service restaurants would make it the first state to do so. The liberal state has a history of prioritizing the environment — it’s mandated renewable energy use and prohibited sunscreen ingredients that harm coral.

As Home-Cooked Cottage-Food Industry Grows, States Work to Keep Up

Pew Trust | Posted on March 20, 2019

As more consumers shop at farmers markets and “eat local,” U.S. local food sales, including cottage-food sales, have soared from $5 billion annually in 2008 to a projected $20 billion this year. Every state except New Jersey now allows home-kitchen cooks to make and sell non-hazardous foods with a low risk of causing foodborne illness such as baked goods, jams, jellies and other items that do not require time and temperature controls for food safety.Maine, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming have gone further, enacting “food freedom” laws that exempt home producers from food-safety rules that apply to grocery stores, restaurants and other food establishments.Advocates see food freedom as a matter of personal liberty and think informed consumers can make their own choices. The issue is a cause among those who want less government regulation.

Governor Walz Signs Bill to Expand Recovery Loan Program for Farmers

KAAL TV | Posted on March 20, 2019

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed Chapter 4, S.F. 2225 into law. The bill amends the farm disaster recovery loan program to add “the weight of snow, sleet or ice” as conditions for which a farmer is eligible to participate in the program. It allows the Rural Finance Authority (RFA) to determine whether a weather event constitutes an emergency.

Colorado Lawmakers Introduce Blockchain Agriculture Bill

ETH News | Posted on March 20, 2019

On Friday, March 15, lawmakers from the state of Colorado introduced a bipartisan bill calling for the study of how blockchain technology might be applied to the state's agricultural industry. House Bill 1247 is championed in the house by representatives Donald Valdez and Mark Catlin, with state senators Kerry Donovan and Don Coram also sponsoring. The bill calls for the state's commissioner of agriculture to develop an advisory group to study possible use cases for blockchain technology in agricultural operations.

Georgia legislators pass oyster farming bill

Savannah Now | Posted on March 20, 2019

Georgia lawmakers on Monday passed legislation to create an oyster farming industry in the state despite opposition from fishermen and environmentalists who consider it too restrictive. With a vote of 35-19 in the senate, H.B. 501, which passed the house last week, now goes to the desk of Gov. Brian Kemp.

Wyoming Department of Agriculture begins work on industrial hemp program

The Fence Post | Posted on March 20, 2019

The Wyoming Department of Agriculture is beginning the process of regulating industrial hemp in Wyoming following the passage of HB171/HEA No. 0110 and Gov. Mark Gordon's signature.