Farm and Rural Digest

The U.S. Senate has done their best to keep us otherwise occupied, and thus not Digesting. We're back this week though with another contribution over at Ethicurean.

When farm policy fails: Once we were an agrarian nation. Today, there is less than a 1% chance you are a farmer. We have fallen far, and getting back on our feet will be difficult. The journey begins with a deep analysis of the policies that got us to where we are today. (Time)

Where rural America prospers: Economists like to measure growth, but what if growth is not the best measure of prosperity? A new measure of rural community prosperity looks at poverty rates, housing stocks, employment rates, and drop-out rates. (Daily Yonder)

Hope endures: Even in the hard-hit rural communities of Kansas, some local leaders are looking for innovative ways to meet the challenges of the future. With people, businesses, and wealth constantly leaving many Great Plains communities, a new way forward is needed. A new documentary introduces some of the people on the front line of this rural development challenge in Kansas. (High Plains Journal)

Water belongs to everyone…doesn’t it?: Second only to soil and sunlight, water makes agriculture go around. In much of the otherwise arid West, that water often comes out of the ground, and out of the Ogallala aquifer in particular. Now one man has plan to buy and sell that very water. (Bloomberg) Related: Wall Street Journal

Few pluses, substantial costs: Yet more research shows the detrimental impact of industrial livestock operations on local communities. The real question is when, if ever, policy makers start paying attention. (Iowa Policy Project)

Expiration inspiration: Agribusiness processors see money to be made in extending the life of that carton of milk in your refrigerator. But is this ultra-ultrapasteurized milk anything more than white water? (Sacramento Bee)

E. coli? Suck it up and swallow: With mega-farms on the rise and large processors only out to make a buck, food safety scares are likely to become as common as McDonald’s cheeseburger. Is this a notion we should just get used to, as the article implies? Or should we wise up to the fact that our broken food system, which puts more emphasis on factories than farmers, will never serve eaters well? (Baltimore Sun)

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