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Federal judge in Hawaii bars county from excessive regulation

Federal judge in Hawaii bars county from excessive regulation

By Gene Hall

It’s always refreshing to see a legal matter settled on the basis of law and fact rather than emotion, overheated rhetoric and political theory. This was the case in Hawaii a few days ago when a federal judge ruled against Kauai County’s aggressive and anti-farmer Ordinance 960.

It’s not that silly laws never win in court, but this one, sillier than most, was turned back, though on more narrow grounds than I believe were justified.  Kauai County Ordinance 960 was passed some months ago with very strict curbs on many agricultural practices and the agribusiness firms that operate there. Included were restrictions on pesticide use and biotechnology, or GMOs if you will. The trouble is, that’s the state’s job—one that Hawaii performs aggressively.

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‘Mega-farming’ contaminates Toledo water supply: not exactly

‘Mega-farming’ contaminates Toledo water supply: not exactly

By Jay Bragg

Recently, 500,000 residents of Toledo, Ohio were without drinking water due to dangerously high levels of cyanotoxin in Lake Erie, produced by excessive amounts of blue-green algae.  National news outlets were quick to point their fingers at agriculture, picking up on the talking points of local politicians, activist groups, and pseudo-scientists.

Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins was quoted by the Los Angeles Times: “Once we clear this problem up, that is not going to eliminate the algae problem in the western basin of Lake Erie; that is not going to eliminate the agricultural runoff; that is not going to eliminate mega-farming.”

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Texas farmer emphasizes need for workable ag labor force

Texas farmer emphasizes need for workable ag labor force

By Mike Barnett

“A farmer should never have to destroy a crop due to the lack of an adequate labor force.”

Attribute that statement to American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Bob Stallman. It is a thought echoed throughout Texas and the nation as food spoils in the field because Congress is unwilling to address labor shortages in agriculture.

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The power of the one-word argument

The power of the one-word argument

By Gene Hall

Here I am, trying to communicate complex ideas about the science of agriculture, navigating a broken political system and looking for serious people to debate in a serious way. Then, turn a rhetorical corner, start making progress, and you are bludgeoned with the deadly “one-word argument.”

I’d really like some help here. Looking for answers on immigration reform? NO! #AMNESTY!–in all caps shouting. Start laying out the overwhelming evidence supporting the safety and environmental benefits of biotechnology (GMOs) in food and you get–#MONSANTO!–as if that settled the argument.

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Texas Farm Bureau—We are you!

Texas Farm Bureau—We are you!

By Mike Barnett

In my travels, both within Texas and out of state, I’m often asked the question—many times by people in agriculture—what does Farm Bureau stand for?

It always takes me by surprise, but it shouldn’t. I spend most of my efforts working with people who know the scope and value of the state’s largest farm organization, because they are actively involved in pursuing its goals.

I tell those who don’t know—without hesitation—that we are you.

Farm Bureau is made up of individuals who collectively work together to ensure agriculture stays strong and the rural way of life remains viable.

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Farmers, ranchers and State of Texas win whooping crane case

Farmers, ranchers and State of Texas win whooping crane case

By Regan Beck

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed a district court decision on July 30 and ruled in favor of the State of Texas in a lawsuit concerning the whooping crane.

It was the classic example of water for people weighed against an environmental group suing under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The Fifth Circuit concluded the environmental group, The Aransas Project (TAP), failed to prove the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) management of water permits resulted in the deaths of whooping cranes.

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