AG Rural News

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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The Illinois General Assembly is expected to debate energy proposals in a special session Wednesday that include some red flags for rural residents. Illinois Farm Bureau’s Kevin Semlow says if passed, the legislation could shut down coal generated plants by 2035 leading to higher energy rates for rural communities and could grant eminent domain powers to private energy companies allowing them to take private farmland away from farmers. ...
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A lobbyist says farmers should approach their local governments now to get their local roads and bridges repaired.  Jordan Lamb with DeWitt Law represents several Wisconsin agriculture organizations at the state capitol, and she says President Biden’s American Rescue Plan did send some federal infrastructure dollars directly to local governments. “So if any of you or your neighbors or your family members serve on county boards or even town boards, you got, likely, an allocation of federal money specific towards infrastructure projects. ...
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A Midwestern congresswoman has asked the chief medical adviser to President Biden how Congress can deal with the COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy seen in rural areas. Anthony Fauci told Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois, at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, the first thing not to do, “Make sure we don’t point fingers at them for doing that and not make them feel guilty about that.” Bustos described a county in Illinois with a low population and only 19% vaccination rate as of Tuesday, “They had one phone line to sign up to get a vaccine. ...
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Ag News

There are many questions about how the Biden administration’s recent Waters of the U.S. announcement impacts farmers and landowners now and going forward.  Earlier this month the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers announced plans to revise the definition of WOTUS under the Clean Water Act. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association chief environmental counsel Scott Yager says the Department of Justice has also asked for a “remand without vacatur” of the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule that went into effect last year. ...
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Agronomists from across the Corn Belt agree that corn looks pretty good so far this season, but most areas really need some rain as the crop enters the rapid growth stage. During the AgriGold Specialty Products Conference held virtually Thursday, regional agronomists were part of a panel to review the 2021 planting season an assess current crop conditions. Western Corn Belt Kris Young covers Kansas, northern Oklahoma and eastern Colorado while keeping in touch with their Nebraska and Iowa-based agronomists. ...
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The U.S. Drought Monitor’s (USDM) latest report indicates drought conditions are intensifying across much of the Corn Belt. Climatologist Curtis Riganti with the National Drought Mitigation Center tells Brownfield this week’s report shows expansion of moderate and severe drought southward across Iowa and “extreme drought developing in the Chicago-land area, a little bit of moderate drought around St. Louis now and then we saw an expansion of severe drought further south into lower Michigan, more moderate drought expanding northward into Wisconsin and Minnesota.” He says conditions are similar to what many producers experienced in 2012. ...
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Three U.S. Congresswomen and a dozen of their colleagues are concerned about reports that the Biden administration is considering options to exempt oil refiners of their obligations under the Clean Air Act’s Renewable Fuel Standard. Representatives Cindy Axne of Iowa, Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Angie Craig of Minnesota – along with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar – have sent the letter to the EPA and National Economic Council saying any such exemptions are unjustified. ...
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