Stateline Midwest ~ December 2012

What is the economic impact of a single dairy cow? An analysis by South Dakota State University put it at $14,000, and in Nebraska, the state estimates that a 2,000-cow dairy operation generates 20 jobs and pays more than $200,000 in property taxes.

Animal agriculture is big business in the Midwest, and in recent years, states such as Nebraska and South Dakota have begun new initiatives to encourage its expansion.

This Act generally permits farmers and certain other customers who use solar electric generating equipment, farm waste electric generating equipment, or wind electric generating equipment, to designate all or a portion of the net metering credits generated by such equipment to meters at any property their own or lease within the service territory of the same electric corporation to which their net energy meters are interconnected.

On November 19, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad released a nearly 200 page report calling for reductions in nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus found in fertilizer run-off from agriculture operations and wastewater treatment plants. The report, nearly two years in the making, came as a result of a 2008 EPA directive called the Hypoxia Action Plan which outlined a strategy for 12 states in the Mississippi River watershed to reduce discharges of nutrients that contributed to the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico - an oxygen deprived area that causes algae blooms and fish kills.

CSG Midwest ~ Question of the Month 

Question: What are states doing, or can they do, to promote urban agriculture?

AnswerAccording to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 15 percent of the world’s food is grown in urban areas. And there was a time in U.S. history, too, when the country came to rely on local production. During World War II, millions of Americans planted fruit and vegetable “victory gardens” at private residences.

These gardens reportedly grew 40 percent of the nation’s produce by the war’s end.
Today, a mix of factors — food insecurity, the rise in blighted and vacant land in urban areas, and concerns about environmental sustainability, for example — has renewed interest in promoting such activity in this country.

Stateline MIdwest ~ November 2012

The 2008 farm bill officially expired on Sept. 30, a congressional inaction that has left plans for 2013 crop production in limbo while also costing dairy farmers hundreds of thousands of dollars and leaving  consumers with the prospects of much higher milk prices starting next year.

Stateline Midwest ~ October 2012

State-by-state overview of state farmland taxation laws and formulas »

It is the single largest source of revenue raised by local governments (two-thirds of the total), and the single largest tax paid by farmers (44 percent of the total). The property tax is the lifeblood of rural schools and other critical public services, but can also be a burden on agricultural producers: Across the United States, the equivalent of one-fifth of the gross sales produced by farmland is paid in property taxes each year. 

Such costs can impact the stability of many farms, particularly in a period of income shortfall such as the one encountered by some farmers in the Midwest during the drought of 2012. State legislators are ultimately responsible for finding the balance that works, an agricultural taxation formula that sustains both rural communities and their farmers.

Stateline Midwest ~ September 2012

Canada took a big step in the expansion of its livestock tracking programs when the government announced plans to establish a new national system that will provide data and services to industry-run livestock tracking organizations.

Stateline Midwest ~ September 2012

The long-simmering fuel vs. food debate has reached a boiling point, as the result of drought conditions that have raised corn prices and precipitated requests for the EPA to adjust the federal Renewable Fuels Standard.

Stateline Midwest

When the Midwestern Legislative Conference Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee met in July, much of the discussion — and ultimately the passing of a resolution — focused on the importance of basing policy decisions on sound scientific data.

Stateline Midwest ~ March 2012

Nebraska Sen. Kate Sullivan says agriculture is not only her state’s largest industry, it may also be one of the least understood.