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Rural News

Outdoor Recreation Now the Largest Sector of Montana’s Economy

Wild Montana | Posted on August 9, 2017

Governor Bullock's Office of Outdoor Recreation now makes more sense than ever, as does taking good care of our public lands.

Rural families rely more on food stamps than those in metro areas

New York Daily News | Posted on August 8, 2017

Rural Americans are increasingly reliant on food stamps to make ends meet each month — and their usage outstrips that of urban residents, a new study found. Nationally, food stamp participation is highest overall among households in rural areas (16%) and small towns (16%) compared to metro counties (13%).In 23% of rural counties, at least 20% of households participate in the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, meaning they get monthly food stamps to help them purchase certain types of food.

Assemblymen reach across aisle for agriculture

Lodi News | Posted on August 8, 2017

On paper, Assemblymen Jim Cooper, a Democrat from Elk Grove representing California’s 9th District and Heath Flora, a Republican from Ripon representing the 12th District should be political adversaries. Despite their opposing party affiliations, the two found common ground in both their history as public safety employees and their commitment to advocating for California’s agriculture industry.Cooper, a second-term assemblyman, served in the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department for 30 years, reaching the rank of Captain, and spent 14 years as Elk Grove’s founding mayor and councilman before joining the Assembly in 2014.Flora, who is in his first term, is a small business owner from a farming family, served as a volunteer firefighter for 15 years in Ripon, where he lives to this day, before joining the assembly in 2016 with Cooper’s endorsement.“I met Heath and thought he was a good fit. His family is in farming, and he was a firefighter, so we have that bond from our histories working in public safety, where you get used to working with other folks. All that matters to cops and firefighters is getting the job done, (political) parties and race don’t matter” said Cooper.In addition to Cooper’s law enforcement background, Flora was impressed by the Elk Grove Democrat’s dedication to learning as much as possible about agriculture.“Jim didn’t know anything about agriculture when he first started, but nobody else in the Assembly educated themselves like he did. We want to take his model and educate other Democrats as well,” said Flora.The two were quick to work across party lines to represent the Central Valley’s needs, including water conservation and agriculture, which Cooper says are different from the rest of California.

Amid farm-to-table movement, Colorado agriculture attempts to shape perceptions of farming

Denver Post | Posted on August 8, 2017

Younger generations want to know where their food comes from, but communicating that information might be harder than it seems. Younger generations are leading the charge on demanding locally sourced food. They’re starting farm-to-table restaurants, making farmers markets trendy and paying a premium for locally sourced food. But getting the most accurate message out to consumers about where their food comes from and how it is grown is easier said than done.As part of Colorado Proud month – as proclaimed by Gov. John Hickenlooper and celebrated with a campaign theme each year – partners in Colorado’s agricultural industry will tour the state this month to show the faces of agriculture. The Colorado Proud program provides a guarantee to consumers that their food was grown, raised or processed in the state. The program started in 1999, but its purple-and-yellow mountain symbol is becoming more powerful. This year’s Colorado Proud survey results suggested that consumers want to “feel more connected” to farmers and food sources.

Regional planning across Louisiana will look at reducing future flooding

The Advocate | Posted on August 6, 2017

Hundreds of millions of dollars are set to flow to three regions in Louisiana devastated by flooding in 2016, with an emphasis on establishing coordinated, regional planning to mitigate future flood events. Gov. John Bel Edwards joined scores of local, state and federal representatives at University of Louisiana at Lafayette Thursday to detail the initiative aimed at providing multi-parish coordination to address the historic flooding that swamped parts of metro Baton Rouge and Lafayette in August 2016 and northeast Louisiana the previous March, damaging or destroying an estimated 113,000 homes and leaving tens of thousands languishing in shelters.“There’s nobody out there who’s going to do a retention project or detention project big enough to keep all the water, so it’s going to go somewhere — it’s going to go off to the neighbors,” Edwards told the group of elected officials, scientists, engineers and emergency management professionals gathered at Louisiana Immersive Technology Enterprise. “So why not have the neighbors sitting down all at one time to come up with one comprehensive strategy to manage the watershed?”The state, Edwards explained, is dispersing the money to local parishes, but will emphasize regional planning that deals with the three watersheds most affected by the 2016 floods — the Amite watershed in metro Baton Rouge, the Vermilion in the Acadiana region and the Ouachita in northeast Louisiana.

Dispelling GMO myths with Neil Degrasse Tyson and Bill Nye | Posted on August 6, 2017

Rosanne Rust, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author from Northwest, Pennsylvania, had this to say about the definition of GMOs. “GMOs come from modifying the genes of a plant or animal by inserting one targeted gene that possesses a desired trait into the other organism.” She added, “This highly specific process can help an organism stay healthy by preventing disease or malformation, or it may enhance the organism’s positive traits.” Some say that the debate still lingers on, but for many, the debate is over when people are dealing with the facts and not belief systems. Much of the scientific community seems to agree that GMOs in and of themselves are not harmful and may even be beneficial to the economy and the environment, as well as having long term effects that will help the world.

The elephant not in the room

Strongtowns | Posted on August 6, 2017

Instead of throwing studies and statistics at each other in a battle of the riders, we actually need to speak to each other's elephants. Or, more precisely, we need to listen and try to understand the other's elephant. Only then can we find real common ground that we can build upon. Only then can we change minds. Last week someone shared an article with me about the Foxconn deal that was announced by the Trump administration. When I read it, my elephant started to charge and my rider had no problem justifying it. I'm deeply skeptical of these kind of deals and, with the numbers presented in the article, I quickly went about presenting a pretty convincing case for why this was a ridiculous thing to do. At least, I thought it was convincing. There were a number of others who didn't. I heard from many people over the weekend that I was missing something and that my credibility was damaged as a result. Chuck, you're not taking into account all the related industries that are going to follow and the jobs they will create. Chuck, these subsidies are all tax credits so it's not like they get a handout for doing nothing. Chuck, you're not counting the property taxes or the sales taxes, which will certainly be significant. I responded to one of these comments by noting that, for the deal to make financial sense, the side aspect they claimed I was discounting would need to amount to multiple times the main deal. I responded as if that were obvious, because it was to me. Why would the state of Wisconsin want a bunch of new workers -- a bunch of people who are going to cost the state a ton of money -- when, under an ideal scenario, the state will get no revenue from those workers for more than half a century? How does this benefit anyone in Wisconsin not named or directly employed by Foxconn?

For Rural Veterans, New Approaches to Health Care

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on August 3, 2017

Many rural veterans rely on a combination of VA health insurance and other forms of insurance, such as private insurance, Medicaid (the joint federal-state health insurance program for the poor and disabled), or Medicare (federal health program for the elderly), according to census data. The number of veterans enrolled in Medicaid increased by about 340,000 under the Affordable Care Act, according to an analysis by Families USA, a nonprofit that advocates for high-quality, affordable health care.

Anti-vax movement prompts Brooklynites to withhold inoculations from their pets, vets say

Brooklyn Paper | Posted on August 3, 2017

Some Brooklynites are refusing to vaccinate their pets against virulent and potentially deadly illnesses — some of which could spread to humans — thanks to a growing movement against the life-saving inoculations, according to borough veterinarians. “We do see a higher number of clients who don’t want to vaccinate their animals,” said Dr. Amy Ford of the Veterinarian Wellness Center of Boerum Hill. “This may be stemming from the anti-vaccine movement, which people are applying to their pets.”

This Food Bank Invests In The Local Community

NPR | Posted on August 3, 2017

Wayne County, New York, is the biggest producer of apples in the Empire State. Yet, in 2013 public school children in the county were being served apples from Washington on their lunch trays. At the end of the lunch period, the lovely, whole Washington apples ended up mostly uneaten in the garbage. Tom Ferraro, founder of the Rochester, NY, food bank Foodlink, set about solving the problem. Ferraro was familiar with a recent study showing that children were more likely to eat sliced fruit than whole. Since Foodlink had the facilities to wash, slice and package apples into portions, Ferraro decided topurchase apples from local farmers, process them, and sell them back to local schools. The program has been a success. Since July 2014, Foodlink has purchased 3.8 million pounds of local apples, investing $600,000 into the local agricultural economy. Children are eating the apple slices. And Foodlink uses revenue from apple sales in its own kitchen to prepare scratch-cooked meals for local school lunches, after-school and summer programs.