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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

SD lawmaker OK’s House Farm Bill draft, despite climate, food program cuts

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Wednesday, May 29, 2024   

After 13 hours of markups late last week, the House Committee on Agriculture passed its version of the massive piece of legislation known as the Farm Bill.

The bill is renewed every five years and determines spending on agriculture and nutrition programs, conservation efforts and rural development. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., supports the bill. He emphasized his contributions during the markup, including higher rural broadband speeds, creating sovereignty in tribal SNAP programming and increasing investments in smaller meatpackers and processors rather than the four now dominating the industry.

He spoke to the committee chairman.

"Livestock. You and I, sir, heard that it was important that we built capacity outside of the 'big four,'" Johnson emphasized. "With the 'A Plus Act' and the 'Butcher Block Act' inside this bill, we do that."

Critics of the House proposal are concerned about major cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, and a reappropriation of dollars away from conservation funding.

Evert Van der Sluis, professor of economics at South Dakota State University, said the shift would be a big deal.

"People concerned about conservation have been opposed to this," Van der Sluis explained. "Because funds now having to do with climate change would then be rechanneled to direct producer support."

Democrats are also concerned. There is bipartisan support for an increased safety net for big producers through raising what are known as "reference prices." But the biggest proposed increases predominantly benefit southern farmers who grow peanuts, rice, wheat and cotton, not Midwestern producers. The Senate has not yet indicated when it will release its own proposed Farm Bill.


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Health and Wellness

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North Carolina must increase its crisis response capacity for long-term success, according to a new report by the mental-health policy group …


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Environment

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Health and Wellness

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Social Issues

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A new Virginia law protects residents from utility shutoffs in extreme weather. The law prevents utility company shutoffs when temperatures are at …

Social Issues

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Social Issues

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