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Rural News

For Midwest, population growth will be a greater demographic, policy challenge in years ahead

CSG Midwest | Posted on July 14, 2016

The story of outmigration from the Midwest to other parts of the country is as old as the advent and widespread use of home air conditioning. So the most recent federal data on trends in domestic migration among states is not surprising: net gains for the South and West at the expense of the nation’s two other regions.  In the U.S. Census Bureau data showing population trends between 2010 and 2015, only two states in the Midwest — South Dakota and North Dakota — had net gains in domestic migration. And five of the 10 states with the largest population losses due to movement within the United States were Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas and Wisconsin.

The Dog Lover, a new film

The Dog Lover Movie | Posted on July 14, 2016

The Dog Lover is a suspenseful and provocative drama based on true events.  Sara Gold is a rising star at the United Animal Protection Agency (UAPA), a major animal rights organization that conducts animal rescues and lobbies for better animal welfare laws. Handpicked for a major assignment, Sara goes undercover as a college intern to infiltrate a suspected “puppy mill” run by the enigmatic Daniel Holloway.

Sara soon ingratiates herself with Daniel and his family, and learns all about the world of dog breeding but is hard pressed to find any sign of animal abuse. The UAPA teams up with local law enforcement and raids the farm, accusing Daniel of the inhumane treatment of animals. Sara finds herself torn between doing her job and doing what’s right, and she awakens to the moral contradictions of her work with the UAPA.

Researchers predict smaller harmful algae bloom on Lake Erie

Crains Detroit Business | Posted on July 14, 2016

Potentially toxic algae is expected to form again this summer in western Lake Erie but should be considerably less severe than the blooms that blanketed the lake and threatened drinking water supplies the previous two years, scientists said.  After three wet springs, the region's rainfall was more normal this year, said Richard Stumpf of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. That means less phosphorus from farms and sewage treatment plants has washed into the Maumee River and other tributaries that discharge into the lake, feeding harmful algae.  "With a return to average spring discharge, and much lower river flow in June than in the recent years, the western basin should look better," said Stumpf, of NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and the agency's top Lake Erie algae forecaster.  Even so, a bloom of mild to moderate size is likely to show up late this month, reach its peak size in August and possibly linger into October, he said.

WDFW to buy forest, grazing land in Central Washington

Capital Press | Posted on July 14, 2016

Grazing and logging will continue on 3,613 acres in Klickitat County that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will buy, according to a state official.  The Fish and Wildlife Commission on June 10 approved purchasing the land for $1.98 million from Western Pacific Timber.  The state also hopes to buy approximately 15,100 acres in the Simcoe Mountains from the timber company as money become available.

Veterinarian works to stop rabies in New Brunswick

CBC.CA | Posted on July 14, 2016

The provincial government has doubled the number of baited oral vaccines for wildlife to 500,000. It plans to air drop and hand deliver the vaccines over the next two months to Carleton County, Saint John, and Fredericton and Chartlotte County. The vaccines, with capsules that smell of maple, will be coated in fat, marshmallow and sugar and will be placed where raccoons and skunks hang out. When eaten, the animal becomes immune to rabies in about two weeks.

Drones are the blackfooted ferret's last hope

WIRED | Posted on July 14, 2016

The flea-borne sylvatic plague has wiped out most of the ferret’s favorite snack—prairie dogs—and when the dogs die, so do the ferrets. So the US Fish and Wildlife Service wants to use drones to sprinkle peanut butter-flavored plague vaccines over the prairie dog’s habitat. If it gets approved, the agency wants to start testing the method in UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Montana, where they’ve been trying to reestablish a ferret population for more than two decades.  “It’s a good year if it takes more than two hands to count them all,” says USFW biologist Randy Matchett. “As of a month ago, there were seven ferrets on the site and many, many thousands of prairie dogs.” It takes 100 acres of prairie dogs to support a female ferret and her litter for a year. On a 1,200-acre lot like UL Bend, 12 ferret families could flourish—once the USFW gets rid of the darn plague, that is. That’s why US Geological Survey epizootiologist Tonie Rocke and a team of scientists at the University of Wisconsin concocted the world’s first prairie dog vaccine back in the early 2000s. You wish you got these vaccines as a kid: They’re delivered orally, via delicious, peanut butter-smothered bait. (“It’s organic,” adds Rocke.) And while they don’t have the hard coating of an M&M, they’re roughly the same size and shape, with the texture of a chewy energy bar. Prairie dogs are big fans, eating up to 90 percent of the goodies in field tests.

Pace of U.S. Health Spending Increased in 2015, With Further Rise Expected

Wall Street Journal | Posted on July 14, 2016

Growth in U.S. health-care spending quickened slightly in 2015 and will continue to rise at a moderate pace over the next decade, but not at the fast clip seen in the 20-year period before the recession, federal actuaries said. Spending on all health care is estimated to have grown 5.5% in 2015 compared with 5.3% growth the previous year. Growth is expected to dip to a slightly lower rate of 4.8% in 2016, according to actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Their report, published in the journal Health Affairs, projects spending growth will reach 6% in 2025.  The pickup in the past two years follows five consecutive years in which average spending growth through 2013 was less than 4% annually, the lowest rates since the government began tracking health-care spending in the 1960s.

Wild hogs can now be shot from helicopters in North Carolina

The Charlotte Observer | Posted on July 14, 2016

Now wild hogs can be culled by aircraft in North Carolina — provided they are shot by federal or state wildlife control officers.  The 2016 North Carolina Farm Act, which lawmakers passed July 1, contains two sentences making the change.

A look at how and why North Dakota became a leader in deployment of fiber optic Internet

CSG Midwest | Posted on July 7, 2016

A fiber optic connection is considered the “gold standard” for quality, high-speed Internet access, and in the Midwest, it’s in pretty short supply. Except in North Dakota. In the region’s most sparsely populated state, 60 percent of the households, including those on farms in far-flung areas, have fiber. (That compares to 24 percent in the Midwest, where most of the existing fiber networks serve urban areas.) In all, North Dakota ranks fifth in the nation in fiber access. This is amazing enough, considering many of the obstacles typically cited as responsible for the dearth of high-speed technologies in rural parts of the Midwest — for example, the high costs of serving low-density areas.  But the story of North Dakota’s prominence in fiber access is also a testament to entrepreneurship in the nation’s heartland, and perhaps a model for the rest of the Midwest.

Kansas extends ‘angel investor’ tax credit; North Dakota mulls changes to its program

CSG Midwest | Posted on July 7, 2016

Lawmakers in two Midwestern states have given close scrutiny in recent months to a targeted tax credit that has become an increasingly popular policy tool for trying to help entrepreneurs and startup companies. Known as “angel investor” tax credits, these incentives encourage investment in early-stage firms by mitigating some of the potential loss if a company fails. Most states in the Midwest have some form of this tax credit. Kansas’ 11-year-old program was on track to sunset this year, but passage of SB 149 extended it for five years. As a result, individuals can receive a tax credit of 50 percent on their investment in a business that has been in operation for less than 10 years; has gross revenue of less than $5 million; and has an innovative and proprietary technology, product or service.