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Friday, December 1, 2023

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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

MN Family Farms Make Their Case for Farm Bill Inclusion

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Friday, May 5, 2023   

Congress is gathering input as it looks to reauthorize the Farm Bill. Voices from Minnesota's agricultural sector hope independent family farms get a fair shake.

The Farm Bill covers a range of components tied to the nation's food system. It's updated every five years, and the current plan expires this fall.

Southeastern Minnesota dairy farmer Bonnie Haugen recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers about what she and other advocates want to see in the funding package. She said Congress needs to shift more support to smaller operations, noting that too many monopolies have eroded the presence of family farms, including in her area.

"When we bought these acres, 30 years ago this year, there was about 12 dairy farms within about a three-mile radius," she said. "As of last March, we are the last ones."

The Minnesota-based Land Stewardship Project said a big help would be keeping provisions about enforcing antitrust laws. Small farmers also want full funding of conservation programs, arguing that those dollars shouldn't go to factory farms that may not be as motivated to preserve soil health. Some elements of the emerging plan have bipartisan support, but there are still political differences within the debate.

Sarah Goldman, policy organizer for the Land Stewardship Project, said more Minnesota farmers are nearing retirement age, and predicted a huge generational transfer of land in the coming years. She said Congress has an opportunity to create a better path for those who want to carry on the spirit of family farms.

"If we aren't able to facilitate land access for beginning farmers," she said, "then there aren't going to be folks who are able to continue on and support their communities, and feed their communities."

Her organization believes there should be more support for incubators and cooperative farms. It has said that could boost access to infrastructure, equipment and training for aspiring producers, and also create more opportunities for farmers of color.


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Respite for ME Grants, funded by the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, provide caregivers up to $5,171 to access needed services and can be accessed through the state's five Area Agencies on Aging. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

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Advocates for unpaid family caregivers in Maine say they'll need continued support beyond the recently passed paid family and medical leave program…


Social Issues

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The Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida are filing lawsuits against the deacti…

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A new report from WGU Labs, a nonprofit affiliate of Western Governors University based in Millcreek, Utah, is shedding light on the importance of …


The economic threshold for the Senior Property Tax Exemption program in King County will increase to $84,000 in 2024. (CascadeCreatives/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

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Many older residents of Washington state are facing strains on their budgets -- and the government programs that could assist them are underused…

Environment

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Bloomington and Indianapolis are getting some international recognition for the work they're doing to help the environment. The two have been named …

Today marks the 35th anniversary of World AIDS Day. (Nito/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

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New Mexico activists are tapping today's World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, to announce they'll ask the State Legislature to provide more money for treatment …

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Bipartisan legislation that proposes the installation of solar panels in schools across Pennsylvania awaits a vote in the state Senate. The Solar …

Social Issues

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A bill in Congress with a Connecticut House sponsor aims to reduce child labor in the United States. Called the "Children Harmed in Life-Threatening …

 

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