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  • Gassy Cows Warm The Planet. Scientists Think They Know How To Squelch Those Belches | National Public Radio

    Cattle pass a lot of gas, and the methane from their flatulence and especially, their belches, is an expanding burden on the planet. The greenhouse gas has a warming potential 25 times that of carbon dioxide.

    Livestock account for 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, with over half of that coming from cattle, according to a 2013 report from the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization. Given that, some environmentalists might choose to eschew milk and beef, but scientists think they've figured out a way for us to one day have our cattle and eat them, too — gas-free.

    The key is breeding less-gassy cattle, and scientists now know it's possible because of a study that won the Public Library of Science Genetics Award on Thursday. The study, originally published in the journal PLoS Genetics last year, showed that a cow's genetics determine which microbes populate its gut — and some of those microbes produce the methane that eventually makes its way into the atmosphere.

    Post date: Sat, 09/23/2017 - 14:46
  • Florida residents prohibited from using solar energy after Hurricane Irma | Inhabitat

    Millions of Florida residents lost power after Hurricane Irma raged through the state. But homeowners with solar energy installations couldn’t use them during the outage – or they’d be breaking the law. State code requires people to connect their homes to the local electric grid – and when parts of it were damaged after the hurricane, even those homeowners with solar power were legally obliged to sit in the dark.

    Post date: Thu, 09/21/2017 - 14:42
  • Clean electricity revolution poised to steamroll fossil fuels as cost of renewables plunges | Independent

    The cost of renewables is plunging faster than forecasters anticipated just a few years ago as as technologies like gigantic wind turbines arrive on the market. That’s the conclusion of Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), whose founder Michael Liebreich estimated that clean energy will reap 86 percent of the $10.2 trillion likely to be invested in power generation by 2040.In a presentation to the research group’s conference in London on Tuesday, Liebreich said technology that’s slashing the costs of wind and solar farms makes it inevitable that clean energy will become more economical than fossil fuels for utilities in many places. The most visible advance is in the scale of wind turbines.

    Post date: Thu, 09/21/2017 - 14:40
  • Taking aim at food waste, companies plan to simplify expiration labels | Reuters

    Some of the world’s largest consumer goods companies including Kellogg Co and Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Wednesday they will simplify food expiration labels in an effort to eliminate confusion that contributes to food waste. Standardized labeling will use a single expiration date on perishable items and a single quality indicator for non-perishable items, the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) announced.Confusion over expiration labels costs families up to $29 billion annually in the United States alone, according to CGF, which represents some 400 of the world’s largest retailers and manufacturers from 70 countries.

    Post date: Thu, 09/21/2017 - 14:39
  • More than half of rural counties don't have a hospital where women can give birth | Sentinel Source

    A new study in the journal Health Affairs quantifies the trend. In 2004, 45 percent of rural counties lacked a hospital with obstetrics services. About one in 10 rural counties lost those services over the next decade, and by 2014, 54 percent of communities lacked those services. That leaves 2.4 million women of child-bearing age living in counties without hospitals that deliver babies.There are already a slew of well-known health disparities between rural women and those who live in urban settings. Women from rural areas are more likely to report having fair or poor health, be obese, smoke cigarettes, commit suicide and have cervical cancer than their urban counterparts. But the recent trend could exacerbate disparities in reproductive health, too. One recent study found that rural areas had made far fewer gains in improving infant mortality compared with the rest of the country.“A lot of discussion has been focusing on the closures of rural hospitals entirely,” said Peiyin Hung, a postdoctoral associate at Yale School of Public Health, who led the study. “We found that even among surviving hospitals in rural communities, a lot of obstetric services in these ares are disappearing.”What troubled Hung was that the most geographically isolated communities were more likely not to have had obstetrics services to begin with — and were more likely to lose them over the decade they studied. There were also patterns of inequality: rural counties that had lower median incomes and higher percentages of African American women of reproductive age were also more likely to not have hospitals with maternity wards.

    Post date: Thu, 09/21/2017 - 14:38

Ag and Rural Leaders

STATE AGRICULTURE AND RURAL LEADERS is dedicated to promoting and fostering cooperation, leadership and educational opportunities among and for state and provincial legislators that are passionate about agriculture and rural communities.

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STATE AGRICULTURE AND RURAL LEADERS is managed by an elected board of state and provincial legislators.

STATE AGRICULTURE AND RURAL LEADERS is where state leaders find the answers they need on agriculture and rural policy issues.

Gleanings

Farmland Taxes Under Discussion in the Midwest Again

23 January, 2017

Senator Jean Leising knows it’s going to be another tough year for beef and hog producers, and 2016’s record national yields for corn and soybeans indicate that farm profitability will decline for the third straight year.  She is convinced that “the drop in net farm income again this year makes the changes Indiana made to the farmland taxation calculation in 2016 even more important.”  

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Farm

Are corporations taking over America’s food supply?

15 March, 2016

Family farms.  The foundation of America’s food security.  According to the USDA, 97 percent of farms are family farms, and they grow 90 percent of the food produced. But national policies to keep food affordable (American’s spend less than 7 percent of their paycheck for food) and the boom and bust cycles of farming have resulted in larger, more concentrated farming practices. 

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