A network of dams and locks that make commercial river traffic possible is at risk of failure after decades of underinvestment, potentially causing significant economic damage
Idaho led the nation in personal income growth during the first three months of 2017, economists say, and the gain was driven largely by strong farm earnings.
Fish or farms? The House this week will tackle the question, which for years has triggered a tug-of-war between growers and environmentalists. It plans to vote on a Republican-authored plan aimed at sending more of northern California’s water to the Central Valley farmers who say they badly need it.But California’s two U.S. senators, both Democrats, vow to block the bill in that chamber, saying it would bypass environmental safeguards and override state law. Gov. Jerry Brown also opposes the bill.The bill, said Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., in an interview, “does not strike the right balance because there’s no reason that we have to accept a false choice and somehow weaken the Endangered Species Act in order to be smarter with water policy.”
There has been a bloodletting at the top of the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Eight senior officials, including the chief, have been removed from their posts after a bid to increase the cost of in-state hunting and fishing licenses divided the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.On one side was former chief Ray Petering and a coalition of 41 sporting organizations that support higher fees to help meet the division’s needs. On the other, advocates say, was Jim Zehringer, head of the agency, who opposed the increase.The cause of the divide was a $220 million budget shortfall projected over the next decade by the Sportsmen’s Alliance, and a grassroots-initiated proposal for a license fee increase to help address that problem. “Ohio sportsmen and women have never had to fight so hard to convince the government to pay our own way,” said Robert Sexton, a consultant with the Sportsmen’s Alliance.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) on Wednesday joined other Southern states by announcing additional measures to mitigate the risk of herbicides containing dicamba. The new rules filed with the Tennessee Secretary of State extend through Oct. 1, 2017, and require anyone spraying dicamba to be certified as a private or licensed applicator and keep records of the applications. Available hours to spray dicamba are now restricted to a period of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to avoid temperature inversions. No older formulations of dicamba products can be sprayed in agricultural settings for the remainder of the agricultural growing season. Applications over the top of cotton after first bloom are also prohibited.Dicamba herbicide is the suspected cause of widespread crop injury across several states.The Missouri Department of Agriculture said it may lift the temporary ban on the sale and use of in-crop use of the herbicide this week if a new label is developed with additional safeguards. The state has received over 130 official complaints related to dicamba since June 13, 2017.Both Monsanto and BASF, companies that manufacture dicamba herbicides designed to work with new Xtend-traited soybeans and cotton, confirmed to DTN that they have been actively working with state rule makers. "We are hopeful we will be able to reach resolution on this matter in very short order," said Monsanto spokesman Kyel Richard.
Last week, drone industry executives told President Trump they needed more regulation, not less, before they could expand further — a man-bites-dog story if ever there was one. But the answer isn’t to keep waiting on Washington. It’s to make use of one of our nation’s founding principles: federalism. For now, the drone industry is grounded because the Federal Aviation Agency hasn’t written guidelines for drones that fly beyond the operator’s line of sight. Rules are also absent for drone flights at night. It will take years for this bureaucratic behemoth to pass through all the procedural hoops and hurdles necessary to produce a comprehensive regulatory scheme. The agency itself predicts drones won’t be fully integrated into our nation’s airspace until 2025.
Veterinarians are seeing the aftershocks of the opioid epidemic as pets and police dogs have to be revived with opioid antidote.
Washington’s oversight of dairies could be toughened by stiffer penalties and more control over manure exported to other farms, according to a new Washington State Department of Agriculture report. The report doesn’t make policy recommendations, but broaches “strategies” for plugging “gaps” in how the state’s some 375 dairies manage manure to protect water.WSDA compiled the report at the direction of state lawmakers and with the advice of a 15-member committee, which included several producers.“I don’t see that there’s going to be a huge amount of regulations coming out of this,” said Whatcom County dairyman Larry Stap, a committee member. “I see this as accountability — proving we’re doing a good job.”Lawmakers ordered the study two years ago to identify “gaps” in manure-handling regulations.
Less than four years later, however, after U.S. special forces raided an al-Qaida cave complex in eastern Afghanistan and found documents on sabotaging American farms through the intentional introduction of diseases that could infect livestock and crops, securing our nation’s food supply became a government priority. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security, which was created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was charged with implementing a series of Homeland Security Presidential Directives to safeguard agriculture. HSPD-7, issued in December 2003, added agriculture to the list of industries for critical infrastructure protection, and a month later HSPD-9 established a national policy to protect against terrorist attacks on agriculture and food systems. The Securing Our Agriculture and Food Act, sponsored by Iowa Congressman David Young, directs DHS to coordinate efforts to defend U.S. food, agriculture and veterinary systems against terrorist attacks and “high-risk” events and to collaborate with other federal agencies in bolstering the government’s prevention and response capabilities.Young, who first introduced his legislation in the 114th Congress after the 2015 outbreak of avian influenza killed millions of Iowa’s laying hens, turkeys and chickens, said the response to that outbreak from the federal government, including its communications with farmers, was lacking.
Many veterinary students rely at least partially on federal loans to finance their education. That’s why it’s important for veterinary students to be aware that interest rates for federal student loans increased on July 1. We know this change is unwelcome news for veterinary students, and the AVMA is working hard to secure lower interest rates in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The July 1 changes are based on formulas outlined in the Higher Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1087e(b)). Rates for direct unsubsidized loans for graduate students rose to 6 percent, up from 5.31 percent previously. Rates for direct PLUS loans also rose, to 7 percent from 6.31 percent. These rate changes mean that a veterinary student who borrows $50,000 in 2018 will pay approximately $2,000 more over a 10-year standard repayment term than they would have if they had borrowed in 2017.