Every state has a “right-to-farm” law on the books to protect farmers from being sued by their neighbors for the routine smells and sounds created by farming operations. But this year, the agriculture industry has been pushing in several states to amend those laws so that they will effectively prevent neighbors from suing farms at all — even massive industrial livestock operations.
Georgia, the No. 2 cotton state, lost one-third of its crop to Hurricane Michael, said the USDA on Thursday in lowering its estimate of the total U.S. harvest by 7 percent because of storm damage in the Southeast.
For Georgia farmers, Hurricane Michael is "the most widespread and devastating hurricane in recollection," said state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. More than 92 poultry barns, housing more than 2 million birds, were destroyed; cotton growers suffered massive losses; and pecan growers lost trees for the third year in a row to a hurricane.
For centuries, a coveted type of ham — jamón ibérico de bellota — has been produced from a special breed of pigs in Spain. Now a Georgia farmer is aiming to create an American version of the iconic food, writes Maryn McKenna in FERN’s latest story, produced with Eater. No paywall
The one-two punch of Hurricane Harvey on Gulf coast and Hurricane Irma in the Southeast reduced the U.S. cotton crop by more than 600,000 bales, or 3 percent, said the USDA in its monthly crop report. The USDA lowered its estimate of the harvest in Texas, the No. 1 cotton state, and in No. 2 Georgia, down by 300,000 bales apiece.
President Trump plans to appoint the Georgia state public health commissioner, Brenda Fitzgerald, as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the Washington Post. Fitzgerald is president-elect of the organization representing public health agencies and "has strong ties to Republican leaders," including Health Secretary Tom Price, a former Georgia congressman, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, said the newspaper.
The Daily Yonder says its analysis of State Election Board records for 2015 and 2016 in Georgia "shows that rural voters are about twice as likely to be investigated as urban voters are." The secretary of state's office, which oversees elections, says if there's a disparity, it's because rural poll workers are not as well trained rather than bias of any form.
Tyson Foods is the second U.S. poultry processor to report contact by the Florida attorney general's office in an investigation of the former Georgia dock pricing system, reports the news site Just Food. The wholesale chicken price index was abandoned last year after reports indicated it set prices higher than other indices, "suggesting there may have been over-inflation at the supermarket prices for chicken," said the site, based in Britain.
At the same time rainfall is slaking drought in the Pacific Northwest, the southeastern quadrant of the United States faces intensifying drought, with the worst conditions in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and eastern Tennessee. Georgia's state agriculture director, Gary Black, is to take part in a rally to "discuss the drought facing Georgia's agricultural community and to pray for the rain Georgia so desperately needs" on Monday.
An email released as part of a federal court case indicates the White House had a role in the forced resignation of USDA official Shirley Sherrod in 2010, says the Associated Press.