AG Rural News

Two Midwestern Congresswomen have been named chairs of the New Democrat Coalition Rural Reinvestment Taskforce. Cindy Axne of Iowa and Cheri Bustos of Illinois will lead the group, which aims to develop and advance policy solutions that support Rural America. Axne says the task force will ensure rural communities have a seat at the table in Congress, focusing on a wide range of issues like broadband, healthcare, and the impacts of a changing climate. ...
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A provision in major rural broadband legislation in the U.S. House allows for local mapping authority. New York Congressman Antonio Delgado – who calls the lack of rural broadband unacceptable – says he’s pleased his bipartisan has been included in the larger bill. “The Community Broadband Mapping Act will give our small communities the ability to collect their own data so they can challenge inaccurate mapping by the FCC.” Delgado says accurate information is critical in addressing the rural broadband deficit, “We need to fix the flawed broadband maps that overstate internet access and speeds in rural communities.” Delgado says the bill will...
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The US Postal Service has proposed revisions to service standards including the extension of first-class mail deliveries from 1-3 days out to five days. National Farmers Union President Rob Larew submitted comments to USPS opposing the idea, saying it would be “catastrophic” for farmers, especially those who send live animals like chicks and bees via the postal system. Packages with ag products, like seeds and parts, delivered during planting and harvest are critical to operations that live hours from distributors. ...
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State and federal lawmakers continue to direct money toward the expansion of rural broadband. And University of Minnesota Duluth assistant professor of computer science Dr. Peter Peterson suggests the dollars better keep coming because burying cable gets really expensive. “DSL, cable internet, and fiber, those are all delivered via wires that someone has buried, usually along roadways. And it costs, the low end is $18,000 per-mile to bury fiber.” He tells Brownfield that is the fundamental issue holding back rural broadband expansion. ...
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Ag News

The EPA and U.S. Department of the Army have set up a series of public meetings in August to hear from farmers and other stakeholders on a definition for Waters of the U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan says the goal is to listen to all sides and craft “an enduring definition of WOTUS because uncertainty over the definition has harmed waters, stakeholders and communities that rely on them.” Ag Secretary Vilsack says it’s vital farmers and rural Americans have a seat at the table. ...
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A bipartisan group of lawmakers has sent a letter to the USDA outlining ways to better create access to newly announced meat processing grant program. The representatives led by Reps. Angie Craig, D-Minn., Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, and Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb. are asking the USDA to ensure small and regional processors can access the $500 million grant program, while creating more financing options. Earlier this month, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA would allocate $500 million into expanding the nation’s meat processing capacity. ...
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More than 160 Midwestern counties are now eligible for USDA disaster assistance following widespread and worsening drought. In the month of July, USDA made several Secretarial Natural Disaster Declarations which allow the Farm Service Agency to offer emergency loans to producers for recovery needs like replacing equipment or livestock, business reorganization and refinancing certain debts. The declarations were made based on US Drought Monitor data for counties in severe to exceptional drought for 8 or more weeks in a row. ...
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Bayer says it’s committed to ensuring access to glyphosate for its farmer customers but will replace all U.S. lawn and garden glyphosate-products with NON-glyphosate-based formulations to mitigate any future litigation risk. Bayer says it is putting aside more than $4.5 Billion dollars for future lawsuits about Roundup but stresses the product will remain available for farmers. This spring, a judge rejected Bayer’s plan to limit the cost of settlements in claims that its glyphosate product cause non-Hodgkins lymphoma. ...
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