New research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has, for the first time, detected prions responsible for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in samples taken from sites where deer congregate. Scientists searched for prions at mineral licks — areas where deer seek out essential nutrients and minerals — in the CWD endemic area across south-central Wisconsin. Out of 11 sites, nine had detectable levels of the disease-causing misfolded proteins. Prions were found both in soil and in water from the sites, as well as in nearby fecal samples from one site, the announcement said. It is not clear if quantity of soil-dwelling prions detected in current study is sufficient to infect deer.
In case you missed it, Congress is in the midst of a pretty major food fight. At the center of it is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is the first line of defense against hunger for more than 21 million American households. Going forward, however, an estimated 2 million people stand to lose SNAP benefits if the farm bill proposal passed by the House Agriculture Committee last month becomes law. The bill’s draconian work requirementsand eligibility changes threaten to upend the lives of some of the nation’s most vulnerable individuals and families. But it could also deliver a serious blow to the economic vitality of many rural and small-town communities, in an economic domino effect that often starts at the local grocery store.
The Supreme Court cleared the way on Monday for states to legalize sports betting, striking down a 1992 federal law that had prohibited most states from authorizing sports betting.The 6-3 ruling is a victory for New Jersey and other states who have considered allowing sports gambling as a way to encourage tourism and tax revenue. The NCAA, NFL and NBA had backed the federal prohibition.
Researchers at Oregon State University are challenging the premise that trophy hunting is an acceptable and effective tool for wildlife conservation and community development. They argue that charging hunters to kill animals and claim body parts should be a last resort rather than a fallback plan.In a paper published today in Conservation Letters, the researchers label the practice as morally inappropriate and say alternative strategies such as ecotourism should be fully explored and ruled out before trophy hunting is broadly endorsed."Trophies are body parts," said lead author Chelsea Batavia, a Ph.D. student in OSU's College of Forestry. "But when I read the literature, I don't see researchers talking about them like that. Nobody's even flinching. And at this point it seems to have become so normalized, no one really stops to think about what trophy hunting actually entails."Furthermore, the authors point out, the notion that trophy hunting is imperative to conservation seems to have taken hold largely without compelling empirical evidence. Such an assumption is not only unsubstantiated but can also serve to squelch the search for alternatives.
Senator Maggie Hassan met with employees of New Hampshire-based organic yogurt-maker Stonyfield Farm Monday. The company voiced concerns over the FCC's decision to end ‘net neutrality’ rules. Representatives from Stonyfield are worried, among other things, that Internet Service Providers could start charging more for access to some websites and services. Britt Lundgren is Stonyfield's Director of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture. She says small dairy farmers her company works with rely on affordable Internet service to manage records and access markets. "They need that technology to manage their business, just the same way that a startup in Silicon Valley needs that technology,” Lundgren said. "If farmers, who are operating on pretty small margins, now have to pay even more to get the kind of speed on the Internet that they need to be competitive, this could really be debilitating to them,” Hassan said. Local New England farmers also voiced concerns about a general lack of broadband infrastructure in rural areas. “For a small business like mine - and I think probably many of the small farms that Stonyfield is sourcing milk from - everything is internet-based now,” said Roger Noonan, President of the New England Farmers Union.
Missouri will soon open a state office devoted to helping rural communities get access to high-speed internet. The Department of Agriculture and Department of Economic Development launched a joint broadband expansion initiative last week as part of a 16-point plan to address the needs of the state’s agricultural and rural communities.The newly established Office of Broadband will help these communities navigate federal programs to bring broadband networks where only expensive or low-quality internet access exists, said Chris Chinn, Missouri Department of Agriculture director.
The only place Democrats rack up big wins is in the core counties of the nation’s largest cities. Everywhere else, it’s either a close race or a runaway victory for Republicans. The trend is pronounced and has been accelerating since 2010.
With the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the news because of proposed cuts, we took another look at the data. The bottom line: Rural areas cluster near the top of counties that are most reliant on SNAP.
Communities should consider the needs of both long-term and acute medical care as they create networks for telemedicine. Whether it’s providing lifesaving stroke treatment or caring for chronic conditions like addiction or wound management, different treatments require different tools.
A native Kansan returns home to find that the broken promises of commodity agriculture have destroyed a way of life. Most Americans experience Kansas from inside their cars, eight hours of cruise-controlled tedium on their way to someplace else. Even residents of the state’s eastern power centers glimpse its vast rural spaces at 85 mph, if at all.But on recent trips back, I wanted to really see my home state—so I avoided I-70, the zippy east/west thoroughfare. The slower pace paid off in moments of heart-stopping beauty. At dawn, outside Courtland, wisps of morning mist floated above the patchwork of farms that gently rolled out all around me. Driving up a slight incline, I had a 360-degree panorama to a distant horizon. And that is when I realized what was missing. As far as I could see, there was an utter lack of people. The only other sign of human life was a farm truck roaring down a string-straight road toward the edge of the earth.