Across the Nation

Washington: The Washington State Legislature has authorized the Small Farm Internship Pilot Project to let farms in Skagit and San Juan counties with annual sales of less than $250,000 enroll in a one-year pilot project that allows up to three farm interns to work on a farm with the goal of learning about farming practices.

The pilot project allows participating farms to receive workers compensation for their interns in case of injury. The legislature created the program after hearing concerns that farms weren’t following applicable labor laws for interns and complaints of few existing opportunities for inexperienced people to learn farming practices.

Kansas: A computer program being tested this spring in two Kansas counties may play a major role in deciding whether the annual spring burning in the Flint Hills causes too much smoke and air quality problems in urban areas. As part of a pilot project, ranchers in Chase and Greenwood counties will test a computer modeling tool and fire management practices that are part of the new Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan. The smoke management plan allows ranchers to continue burning grasslands in the spring, but restricts other burning in 12 counties in the Flint Hills and four near Kansas City and Wichita.

New York: The debate continues on the possibility of separating rural upstate New York from New York City. New York state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would allow counties to hold a referendum on whether the state should be separated into upstate and downstate.

For more information, contact Virginia Wolking, or 402.687.2103 x 1017.