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Rural News

Economic Contributions of the Off-Highway Equipment Industry

AEM | Posted on March 13, 2017

For 2016, the IHS estimates there was $31.3 trillion in total sales activity in the United States across all sectors; of that total, IHS estimates that $416.2 billion in sales was supported by the o -highway equipment and ancillary products industry’s economic activity. This occurred through approximately $266.5 billion in direct industry sales activity, such as the sales of equipment like skid steers and combines, which generated additional economic activity as dollars fl owed through the equipment manufacturing supply chain. This multiplier e ect drove an additional $94.7 billion in indirect sales in the supply chain for goods and services such as steel, electronics and banking services. Further, equipment companies and their suppliers hired and compensated employees, who, in turn, used their incomes to generate additional economic activity through the purchase of consumer goods and services. These third-order or ‘induced’ e ects amount to $55.0 billion in 2016.

1 in 4 Ohio hospitals could close under GOP Obamacare replacement, Ohio Hospitals Association chief says

Biz Journals | Posted on March 12, 2017

One in four Ohio hospitals could close if an Affordable Care Act replacement rescinds Medicaid expansion without a new revenue source, Ohio Hospital Association CEO Mike Abrams said, one of a growing chorus of Ohioans speaking up about the GOP health-care proposal.

New report offers insight into off-highway equipment

Farm Industry News | Posted on March 10, 2017

As the new Administration gets going, understanding certain segments of the economy will gain importance. One area that many don't consider is the off-highway equipment market, which includes farm equipment. A new report released by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers shows that off-highway equipment manufacturing supports about 1.3 million jobs and has contributed more than $159 billion to the Gross Domestic Product of the U.S. in 2016. The association unveiled the report during its Conexpo-Con/Agg 2017 event being held in Las Vegas. The construction industry's premier trade show brings in more than 130,000 attendees. The new report was prepared by HIS Markit, and looks at the size and reach of three major market sectors - construction, agriculture and energy.

Omaha’s Answer to Costly Potholes? Go Back to Gravel Roads

The New York Times | Posted on March 9, 2017

After living more than 40 years along a road plagued by potholes, Jo Anne Amoura was excited to see city crews shred her block of Leavenworth Street into gravel. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is great. We’re going to get a new street,’” Ms. Amoura recalled. “And then we waited and waited and waited.”Fresh pavement never arrived. Only after the asphalt had been ripped out almost three years ago did Ms. Amoura and her neighbors learn that their street had been “reclaimed,” Omaha City Hall’s euphemism for unpaving a road.“It’s really kind of like living in the country in the city,” said Ms. Amoura, 74. Her neighbors sometimes hauled wheelbarrows full of scattered gravel back up the hill after big rainstorms. And her house, she says, is regularly smudged with dirt blowing in from the street.

Presentation highlights risk, solutions to West’s ‘megafires’

Capital Press | Posted on March 9, 2017

Wildfires are getting bigger and hotter across the West, threatening communities and causing billions of dollars in damage as forests become more cluttered and prone to disease. That’s according to a presentation by Paul Hessburg, research landscape ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service, documenting how the landscape has changed and what effect humans are having on fire behavior. Hessburg’s talk, titled “Era of Megafires,” is equal parts cautionary tale and call to action, mixing decades worth of research with short video clips to show how and why large fires erupt, the devastation they cause and what people must do to contain them in the future. Hessburg spoke March 1 before a mostly full house at Maxey Hall on the campus of Whitman College in Walla Walla. The community had its own brush with the destructive Blue Creek Fire in July 2015 that burned 6,000 acres, 12 structures and nearly crept into the Mill Creek watershed. While the prospect of megafires is a scary thought, Hessburg said it wasn’t his goal to make people afraid — quite the opposite, actually.

Monsanto starting sage grouse research at corporate ranch

Capital Press | Posted on March 9, 2017

Monsanto officials say they’ll use a large corporate ranch in a phosphate-rich area of Caribou County to research sage grouse habitat restoration on land denuded for agricultural activities. Monsanto has hired a Ph.D. involved in sage grouse work and plans to collaborate with university researchers on projects at the ranch, intended to help mitigate for the company’s planned Caldwell Canyon Mine. The mine is proposed within public land classified as general sage grouse habitat under the Bureau of Land Management’s new land-use plan, though it shouldn’t affect any active leks, which are sensitive areas where sage grouse perform elaborate mating rituals.

The Rural-Urban Divide

American Farm Bureau | Posted on March 9, 2017

Rural voters tended to vote Republican and urban voters Democratic in this election. The divide may have less to do with party labels and more to do with political philosophy. Rural Americans are more conservative than urban dwellers, and their priorities often differ.   In an analysis after the recent election, National Public Radio said the rural-urban divide grew in 2016 from where it was in 2012 and 2008, and it was because rural counties became progressively more Republican. The NPR analysis said it was impossible to tell what is causing the widening rural-urban gap because of the number of factors related to voting patterns. One striking similarity between the election of Truman in 1948 and Trump in 2016 is that a segment of the population felt left out or passed over by the losing party. Dewey was criticized for speaking over the heads of voters. Truman, on the other hand, played upon farmers’ fears that a Republican administration would lead to another depression, especially in farm prices. The farm economy is always on farmers’ minds, but in the 2016 election they had other serious concerns. A major example was the regulatory overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency. It isn’t just that farmers abhorred the fines, paperwork and legal fees. They viewed EPA as a threat to private property rights. This issue was not a high priority with urban dwellers, who seldom face a loss of property rights or EPA intrusion in their affairs.

Progress made on reducing Yellowstone bison herd

Capital Press | Posted on March 6, 2017

Wildlife managers estimate that more than 570 Yellowstone National Park bison have been killed so far this winter. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that the numbers show that bison managers are making progress on their goal to eliminate 1,300 bison from the Yellowstone herd. A 2000 management plan calls for a population of 3,000 bison in the region, but about 5,500 live there now. A Yellowstone report says 179 bison have been transferred to Native American tribes for slaughter and 359 have been killed by hunters as of last Friday. A Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks report on the bison hunt compiled last week shows a lower number of confirmed bison kills but says officials believe more the total number of bison hunted and killed is already above 400.

Monsanto donates Middleton plant research facility to UW-Madison

University of Wisconsin | Posted on March 2, 2017

A $10 million commercial biotech plant laboratory in Middleton, Wisconsin, first opened in 1982 with the help of University of Wisconsin–Madison scientists, will soon become part of UW–Madison following a donation from Monsanto Co. The facility, a labyrinth of greenhouses and laboratories where some of plant biotechnology’s first critical steps were taken, was officially donated to UW–Madison’s University Research Park by Monsanto last month (December 2016) to become the hub of the new Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center (WCIC). “This gift will enable us to create a plant biotechnology facility unparalleled in the public sector,” says UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean Kate VandenBosch. “We can now leverage the diverse strengths of UW–Madison’s plant science community, allowing us to more deeply explore plant gene function and to collaborate with partners around the world to improve crop traits.” Established first as Cetus and later as Agracetus, the 100,000-square-foot facility and its plant biotechnology portfolio were acquired by Monsanto in 1996. Monsanto closed the facility in 2016 when it consolidated its research operations to the company’s St. Louis, Mo. headquarters.

Humans sparked 84 percent of US wildfires, increased fire season over two decades

Science Daily | Posted on March 2, 2017

Humans have dramatically increased the spatial and seasonal extent of wildfires across the US in recent decades and ignited more than 840,000 blazes in the spring, fall and winter seasons over a 21-year period, according to new research.