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Where People Live Shapes How They Talk About Food, Study Shows

University of Texas | Posted on February 15, 2018 in Rural News

Food has been a topic of conversation for centuries, and now new research from The University of Texas at Austin shows that how we specifically talk about food plays a role in our health. Scientists have found that people in healthier cities talk differently about food — that healthy cities (e.g. Austin, San Diego, Boston) referenced locations, such as grocery stores or farmers’ markets, and used more complex language to describe a variety of cuisines more so than people in unhealthy cities (e.g. Houston, San Antonio, Columbus).

Senators would exempt farms from emergency waste reporting and superfund laws

The Progressive Farmer | Posted on February 15, 2018 in Agriculture, Federal News

A bipartisan coalition of 20 senators on Tuesday introduced a bill that would exempt farmers from reporting requirements for animal waste emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).  The bill was organized by Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.

Trump infrastructure plan leaves out rural broadband funding

CNet | Posted on February 15, 2018 in Federal, Rural News

Even though Trump has talked about the importance of expanding broadband in rural areas, he has not committed any funding to help build networks. Instead, his efforts have been aimed at eliminating red tape and regulation to get infrastructure built.  The proposal, which makes no mention of broadband infrastructure, is meant to spur the investment of at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure, according to a White House fact sheet. Under the plan, the feds would contribute a total of $200 billion over the next 10 years.

SARL Members and Alumni News

Trump budget slashes farm programs, food assistance

Agri-Pulse | Posted on February 13, 2018

President Trump is proposing to slash crop insurance and other farm programs by $47 billion over 10 years and to dramatically overhaul the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, eventually shrinking its cost to taxpayers by one-third.  The proposals will be dead on arrival in the House and Senate Agriculture committees but they would provide ammunition to farm bill critics on the right and left who would like to reduce nutrition assistance and farm subsidies. 

Lawmakers Seek Firmer Stance Against Drilling off Georgia

US News and World Report | Posted on February 13, 2018

While the governor sticks to cautious, measured responses to President Donald Trump's proposal to expand oil drilling into waters off Georgia and its coastal neighbors, a bipartisan group of lawmakers wants the Georgia legislature to formally denounce the energy plan as a threat to tourism and fishing.Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, serving his last year in office, stands alone among governors of 22 coastal U.S.

Woman ‘Dragged’ From West Virginia Hearing After Listing Lawmakers’ Oil And Gas Donors

Huffington Post | Posted on February 13, 2018

 woman was removed from the West Virginia House of Delegates on Friday after she used her testimony about a fossil fuel-sponsored piece of legislation to list industry donations to state lawmakers.Lissa Lucas ventured to Charleston to voice her objections to the proposed bill, HB 4268, which would give oil and gas companies the right to drill on private land with the consent of just 75 percent of the landowners.

Colorado Senate gives initial OK to rural broadband bill

Aspen Times | Posted on February 13, 2018

Colorado’s Republican-led Senate gave initial approval Wednesday to a bill that would expedite the construction of high-speed broadband service in rural areas by taking money from a state fund that has long subsidized rural telephone service. Rural broadband is a top session priority for lawmakers and for Gov. John Hickenlooper, who acknowledge that Colorado’s eastern plains, western slope and many mountain towns have missed out on the economic boom that is centered in metropolitan Denver.Republican Sens.

Now that marijuana is legal in Alaska, this bill would hide misdemeanor pot convictions

Anchorage Daily News | Posted on February 13, 2018

A new bill in the Legislature aims to seal Alaskans' convictions for low-level marijuana possession — nearly four years after voters approved a citizens initiative to legalize the drug's commercial sale.Anchorage Democratic Rep.

Agriculture News

Senators would exempt farms from emergency waste reporting and superfund laws

The Progressive Farmer | Posted on February 15, 2018

A bipartisan coalition of 20 senators on Tuesday introduced a bill that would exempt farmers from reporting requirements for animal waste emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).  The bill was organized by Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.

Basics of Texas Water Law

Texas A&M | Posted on February 13, 2018

Water law is one of the most contentious and frequent legal issues Texas landowners face. As the adage goes, “Whiskey is for drinkin’ and water is for fightin’.” Texas property owners need to understand the basics of Texas water law as well as their rights and legal limitations related to the use of water on their property. Texas water law divides water into two broad categories: groundwater and surface water.

Iowa farmer sentenced to prison for bank, bankruptcy fraud

Des Moines Register | Posted on February 13, 2018

A Lake City farmer has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for committing fraud to get bank loans, crop insurance proceeds and ease a bankruptcy burden. Federal prosecutors say 36-year-old Clint Devries was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty in September to two counts of making false statements and one count of bankruptcy fraud.Prosecutors say he lied from 2013 through 2015 to a bank about the amount of crops he had in storage and other things to obtain farm operating loans. He later defaulted on more than $400,000 in loans from the bank.

New techniques can boost yields, improve animal welfare. But are you ready?

AgWeek | Posted on February 13, 2018

The process of producing better food, protecting the environment and improving animal health is advancing at a seemingly breakneck pace.These advancements are driven in part by new scientific discoveries, genetic research, data science, enhanced computational power and the availability of new systems for precision breeding like CRISPR—an acronym for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.

The beef industry has fired its first shot in the fight against cell-cultured meat

Quartz | Posted on February 13, 2018

A major sector of the American meat industry is finally taking aim at cell-cultured meat, sparking what promises to be a spirited debate over the future of high-tech meat and how people will buy it. The US Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) has filed a 15-page petition(pdf) with the US Department of Agriculture, asking it to differentiate conventional meat from the cell cultured—known in the industry as “clean meat”—by creating a formal definition.

Federal News

Senators would exempt farms from emergency waste reporting and superfund laws

The Progressive Farmer | Posted on February 15, 2018

A bipartisan coalition of 20 senators on Tuesday introduced a bill that would exempt farmers from reporting requirements for animal waste emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).  The bill was organized by Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.

Trump infrastructure plan leaves out rural broadband funding

CNet | Posted on February 15, 2018

Even though Trump has talked about the importance of expanding broadband in rural areas, he has not committed any funding to help build networks. Instead, his efforts have been aimed at eliminating red tape and regulation to get infrastructure built.  The proposal, which makes no mention of broadband infrastructure, is meant to spur the investment of at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure, according to a White House fact sheet. Under the plan, the feds would contribute a total of $200 billion over the next 10 years.

Under the Trump administration, the EPA reduced federal penalties against polluters

Pacific Standard | Posted on February 13, 2018

Under the Trump administration, the Environmental Protection Agency significantly lowered its activity to monitor and enforce regulation against industry polluters, falling to its lowest levels in a decade.The analysis of 2017 enforcement activity shows the EPA opened 115 environmental crime cases over the 2017 fiscal year, compared to the nearly 400 cases opened in 2009 under the Obama administration. The EPA also missed its 2017 target of 14,000 federal inspections and investigations, instead conducting only 11,800.

Sessions clears way for food companies to ignore FDA guidance

Food Safety News | Posted on February 13, 2018

Those guidance documents the Food and Drug Administration hands out to food manufacturers and others don’t mean as much as they once did. The Department of Justice has changed its policy so government lawyers will no longer rely on guidance documents to establish civil law infractions. In his memo on the subject, Sessions said the DOJ would no longer engage in the practice. Actions by an associate AG on Jan. 25 made the policy change official.

Health Insurance and National Farm Policy

Choices magazine | Posted on February 13, 2018

In the midst of national healthcare debates, there has been little discussion of how health, healthcare costs and access, and health insurance fit into national agriculture policy efforts to build a more vibrant and resilient farm economy. Yet Inwood (2015) found that 65% of commercial farmers identified the cost of health insurance as the most serious threat to their farm, more significant than the cost of land, inputs, market conditions, or development pressure.

Rural News

Where People Live Shapes How They Talk About Food, Study Shows

University of Texas | Posted on February 15, 2018

Food has been a topic of conversation for centuries, and now new research from The University of Texas at Austin shows that how we specifically talk about food plays a role in our health. Scientists have found that people in healthier cities talk differently about food — that healthy cities (e.g. Austin, San Diego, Boston) referenced locations, such as grocery stores or farmers’ markets, and used more complex language to describe a variety of cuisines more so than people in unhealthy cities (e.g. Houston, San Antonio, Columbus).

Trump infrastructure plan leaves out rural broadband funding

CNet | Posted on February 15, 2018

Even though Trump has talked about the importance of expanding broadband in rural areas, he has not committed any funding to help build networks. Instead, his efforts have been aimed at eliminating red tape and regulation to get infrastructure built.  The proposal, which makes no mention of broadband infrastructure, is meant to spur the investment of at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure, according to a White House fact sheet. Under the plan, the feds would contribute a total of $200 billion over the next 10 years.

Ohio drug overdose deaths up 39% -- nearly triple US average

The Columbus Dispatch | Posted on February 13, 2018

Ohio’s drug overdose deaths rose 39 percent — the third-largest increase among the states — between mid-2016 and mid-2017, according to new federal figures. The state’s opioid crisis continued to explode in the first half of last year, with 5,232 Ohio overdose deaths recorded in the 12 months ending June 31, 2017.

Trump budget slashes farm programs, food assistance

Agri-Pulse | Posted on February 13, 2018

President Trump is proposing to slash crop insurance and other farm programs by $47 billion over 10 years and to dramatically overhaul the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, eventually shrinking its cost to taxpayers by one-third.  The proposals will be dead on arrival in the House and Senate Agriculture committees but they would provide ammunition to farm bill critics on the right and left who would like to reduce nutrition assistance and farm subsidies. 

Colorado Senate gives initial OK to rural broadband bill

Aspen Times | Posted on February 13, 2018

Colorado’s Republican-led Senate gave initial approval Wednesday to a bill that would expedite the construction of high-speed broadband service in rural areas by taking money from a state fund that has long subsidized rural telephone service. Rural broadband is a top session priority for lawmakers and for Gov. John Hickenlooper, who acknowledge that Colorado’s eastern plains, western slope and many mountain towns have missed out on the economic boom that is centered in metropolitan Denver.Republican Sens.

Energy News

Bill Proposes Taxing Solar, Increasing Wind Tax in Wyoming

US News and World Report | Posted on February 13, 2018

Legislation has been proposed to increase Wyoming's tax on wind production and impose a new tax on utility-scale solar facilities.House Bill 118 is sponsored by Republican Rep. Thomas Crank, of Kemmerer. It proposes levying a $2 per megawatt hour tax on renewable energy produced in Wyoming. Currently, the state levies a $1 per megawatt hour tax on just wind power.The Casper Star-Tribune reports that the measure provides that if a company manufactures and installs its wind or solar facilities in Wyoming, the cost of equipment may be subtracted from the tax bill.

Virginia Senate passes utility regulation overhaul

Richmond Times Dispatch  | Posted on February 13, 2018

Despite floor speeches from lawmakers from both parties calling it a mistake, the state Senate voted 26-13 on Friday to pass the utility regulatory reform package endorsed by Gov. Ralph Northam and spearheaded by Dominion Energy, Virginia’s biggest utility. “Let’s be honest,” said Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax City. “This bill is being written to benefit ...

Lawmakers Seek Firmer Stance Against Drilling off Georgia

US News and World Report | Posted on February 13, 2018

While the governor sticks to cautious, measured responses to President Donald Trump's proposal to expand oil drilling into waters off Georgia and its coastal neighbors, a bipartisan group of lawmakers wants the Georgia legislature to formally denounce the energy plan as a threat to tourism and fishing.Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, serving his last year in office, stands alone among governors of 22 coastal U.S.

Pipeline sues Wintergreen property owners citing eminent domain

The Daily Progress | Posted on February 13, 2018

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC is suing Nelson County property owners to gain land for the 600-mile natural gas pipeline, which is set to emerge from the mountain and pass along a ridge right next to the popular Wintergreen Resort.The company, which is majority owned by Dominion Energy, sued the Wintergreen Property Owners Association Friday in the United States Court for the Western District of Virginia for seven and a half acres.

Cruz scapegoating the renewable fuels standard

My San Antonio | Posted on February 13, 2018

Texas Sen.

Food News

Sessions clears way for food companies to ignore FDA guidance

Food Safety News | Posted on February 13, 2018

Those guidance documents the Food and Drug Administration hands out to food manufacturers and others don’t mean as much as they once did. The Department of Justice has changed its policy so government lawyers will no longer rely on guidance documents to establish civil law infractions. In his memo on the subject, Sessions said the DOJ would no longer engage in the practice. Actions by an associate AG on Jan. 25 made the policy change official.

Kraft Heinz Made Its Factories Really Efficient. Now It Has to Sell Bologna

Wall Street Journal | Posted on February 13, 2018

For decades, Kraft Foods Group produced Oscar Mayer cold cuts out of a six-story, former slaughterhouse built in 1872.The systems seemed out of another era. Workers drove forklifts loaded with giant vats of ham, turkey and chicken parts on and off freight elevators to different processing points. A typical turkey breast required four rides between floors to get from raw meat to packaged slices. Breakdowns could slow production to a crawl. The inefficiency was easy to spot for 3G Capital LLC, the acquisitive Brazilian investment giant, which took over Kraft in 2015.

Cow, Soy or Almond: Which 'Milk' Is Best for You?

Health Day | Posted on February 13, 2018

Almond milk, soy milk, rice milk and coconut milk may all offer lactose-free alternatives to cow's milk, but new research suggests that the dairy version remains the most nutritious option.

Leftover food bypasses garbage to fill nutritional goals

Bismarck Tribune | Posted on February 13, 2018

One afternoon last week at Fort Lincoln Elementary School in Mandan, kindergartner Traven Hanning placed a red apple on a cart parked in the middle of the cafeteria.The portable cart, dubbed the "share table," allows students like Hanning to return unwanted food to the table, and it gives them an option to take an extra helping."I can't eat my apple because I might break my tooth," said Hanning, who indicated his front tooth was loose. Instead, he prefers milk and crackers, which he has taken before from the share table.

How Stonyfield Could Have Gotten It Right on GMOs

Biotech-now | Posted on February 12, 2018

The uproar following yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm’s recent Facebook video ad featuring elementary school-aged girls perpetuating GMO myths was widespread. Within hours, hundreds of consumers, farmers and scientists condemned the brand for spreading misinformation and fearmongering.  Here’s what a company SHOULD do:Lead with science & facts.Don’t exploit consumer knowledge gaps.