Weekly Column

Opportunities and Challenges in Ag Census

USDA’s Census of Agriculture provides statistical information that should help the agency respond to opportunities in American agriculture, such as the 14,000 more farms claiming farming as their primary occupation than there were in 2007.

However, in the size categories from 50 to 999 acres nearly 56,000 fewer farms were reported nationally. 
And there was a net loss of over 96,000 farms in the 35-54 age group categories.

Clearing the Regulatory Waters

After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

Keep Calm and Carry on with Healthcare.gov

Officially, the open period for enrolling in the new healthcare marketplace expired at midnight, March 31st. However, consumers who began their enrollment through healthcare.gov or the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Call Center and, through no fault of their own, have been unable to complete the process by the deadline have been granted a special enrollment extension. Consumers enrolling after March 31st will have to attest that they tried to enroll prior to the end of open enrollment.

Wind Legislation a Boon to Rural Communities

Many are blown away by the thriving wind industry in the Midwest. Neighboring states like Iowa and South Dakota have seen fantastic expansion, with each state getting 27 and 26% of their energy from wind respectively, and Kansas is fast-approaching the 20% mark. Besides affordable, renewable energy; wind energy brought new careers and revenue to these states.

While Iowa, Kansas, and South Dakota continue to expand wind energy; Nebraska is lagging far behind. We’re missing out on the local benefits that wind development brings with it.

Kansas, Continue Wind Energy Leadership

Expanding wind energy has brought fantastic opportunities to Kansas. Rural Kansas has often been the recipients of this boost, with the industry bringing new income to farmers and ranchers that host projects, and also reinvigorating small towns by providing new economic opportunities.

Landowners have benefited from lease payments, and local communities have enjoyed new revenue generated by turbines. Investment in wind energy has provided these communities the chance to improve local roads and schools, while also creating over 12,000 jobs in the state.

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