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Genius Is 1% Inspiration


99% Perspiration


(click on ribbion)

Which Is Why

AG-es Sometimes Smell Really Really Bad!



Scientists breed cows

that give skimmed milk

SCIENTISTS have bred cows that produce skimmed milk and hope to establish herds of the cattle to meet the demands of health-conscious consumers.

The milk is also high in omega3 oils, claimed to improve brain power, and contains polyunsaturated fat. The saturated fats found in normal milk are linked to increased risk of heart disease. The cows, which have a particular genetic mutation, were bred from a single female discovered by researchers when they screened milk from millions of cattle in New Zealand.

Butter from these cows has the extra advantage of being spreadable straight from the fridge, like margarine.

Scientists at ViaLactia, the biotech firm behind the 55m research, have named the cow Marge. Russell Snell, ViaLactia’s chief scientist, said: “Marge looks like an ordinary Friesian cow but has three key differences. She produces a normal level of protein in her milk but substantially less fat, and the fat she does produce has much more unsaturated fat. She also produces milk with very high levels of omega3 oils.”

Marge was discovered in 2001 when ViaLactia’s researchers bought her from her owner for 120 and moved her to a secret location.

The key issue was whether her calves would inherit her traits. “You have to generate daughters and then they have to carry a calf and deliver milk,” said Snell. “The eureka moment was when we found her daughters produced milk like their mother.”

The Auckland-based company says the first commercial herds for spreadable butter could be expected by 2011.

A brief description of ViaLactia’s research is due to be published this week in Chemistry & Industry, a journal of the Society of Chemical Industry. A formal research paper for a peer-reviewed journal will follow.

Britain produces 24.6 billion pints of milk a year of which 7.7 billion is for drinking. Growing health concerns mean that full-fat milk accounts for only a quarter of sales. The rest is semi-skimmed or skimmed, according to Dairy UK, the industry association.

ViaLactia hopes Marge’s male offspring carry the same genes as her daughters. “To have a bull from Marge’s offspring who passes on her traits would be the holy grail. It would allow us to reproduce hundreds of thousands of cows like Marge,” said Snell.

The scientists are still trying to identify the genes behind Marge’s unique traits. Klaus Lehnert, 43, Snell’s deputy, said: “We do expect to find them. We are good at finding genes. Then we can use DNA tests to find if an animal has the trait, rather than rely on data from experiments.”

Milk was once universally regarded as a health drink, thanks to heavy pro-motion by the government. Generations of children grew up with slogans such as “Drinka pinta milka day”. Free supplies were given to schoolchil-dren and pregnant women. When questions began to be raised about the fat content of milk, the Milk Marketing Board switched to trying to sell milk as sexy, targeting housewives with slogans such as: “Is your man getting enough?”

Government health campaigns now push low-fat diets and sales of whole milk, which contains 3.5% butter fat, account for just 25% of milk sales.

By contrast, sales of semi-skimmed milk, which contains 1.7% fat, and skimmed milk, which has 0.1% fat, account for 75% of sales. The New Zealand animals are understood to have less than 1% fat in their milk.

Ed Komorowski, technical director at Dairy UK, said a proper evaluation depended on ViaLactia’s research being published in a scientific journal.

“The New Zealand approach is exciting because people tend to avoid full-cream milk and go for semi-skim and skim. If whole milk can be made to contain unsaturated fats, which are good for you, then people may change back to whole milk,” he said.

Dr Susan Jebb, head of the Medical Research Council’s human nutrition unit, said such a milk could contribute to the nation’s health. “Dairy products make a significant contribution to our saturated fat intake, which is already 30% higher than recommended. A milk that has less fat, and fats of a better type, would be a lot healthier.”

Tom Brooksbank, of Norton& Brooksbank, one of Britain’s leading livestock auctioneers and valuers, said animals able to produce such milk could command a premium. “A cow that produced milk low in saturated fats and high in healthy ones would be a big hit, especially if it was natural,” he added.

Helen Wallace, of GeneWatch, the genetics watchdog, said it was important to ensure the mutations that produced the milk were not harmful in any way. “If so then using such animals would be far better than creating genetically modified cows.”
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Mysterious disappearance of US bees creating a buzz

by Jean-Louis SantiniFri Apr 6, 10:54 PM ET

US beekeepers have been stung in recent months by the mysterious disappearance of millions of bees threatening honey supplies as well as crops which depend on the insects for pollination.

Bee numbers on parts of the east coast and in Texas have fallen by more than 70 percent, while California has seen colonies drop by 30 to 60 percent.

According to estimates from the US Department of Agriculture, bees are vanishing across a total of 22 states, and for the time being no one really knows why.

"Approximately 40 percent of my 2,000 colonies are currently dead and this is the greatest winter colony mortality I have ever experienced in my 30 years of beekeeping," apiarist Gene Brandi, from the California State Beekeepers Association, told Congress recently.

It is normal for hives to see populations fall by some 20 percent during the winter, but the sharp loss of bees is causing concern, especially as domestic US bee colonies have been steadily decreasing since 1980.

There are some 2.4 million professional hives in the country, according to the Agriculture Department, 25 percent fewer than at the start of the 1980s.

And the number of beekeepers has halved.

The situation is so bad, that beekeepers are now calling for some kind of government intervention, warning the flight of the bees could be catastrophic for crop growers.

Domestic bees are essential for pollinating some 90 varieties of vegetables and fruits, such as apples, avocados, and blueberries and cherries.

"The pollination work of honey bees increases the yield and quality of United States crops by approximately 15 billion dollars annually including six billion in California," Brandi said.

California's almond industry alone contributes two billion dollars to the local economy, and depends on 1.4 million bees which are brought from around the US every year to help pollinate the trees, he added.

The phenomenon now being witnessed across the United States has been dubbed "colony collapse disorder," or CCD, by scientists as they seek to explain what is causing the bees to literally disappear in droves.

The usual suspects to which bees are known to be vulnerable such as the varroa mite, an external parasite which attacks honey bees and which can wipe out a hive, appear not to be the main cause.

"CCD is associated with unique symptoms, not seen in normal collapses associated with varroa mites and honey bee viruses or in colony deaths due to winter kill," entomologist Diana Cox-Foster told the Congress committee.

In cases of colony collapse disorder, flourishing hives are suddenly depopulated leaving few, if any, surviving bees behind.

The queen bee, which is the only one in the hive allowed to reproduce, is found with just a handful of young worker bees and a reserve of food.

Curiously though no dead bees are found either inside or outside the hive.

The fact that other bees or parasites seem to shun the emptied hives raises suspicions that some kind of toxin or chemical is keeping the insects away, Cox-Foster said.

Those bees found in such devastated colonies also all seem to be infected with multiple micro-organisms, many of which are known to be behind stress-related illness in bees.

Scientists working to unravel the mysteries behind CCD believe a new pathogen may be the cause, or a new kind of chemical product which could be weakening the insects' immune systems.

The finger of suspicion is being pointed at agriculture pesticides such as the widely-used neonicotinoides, which are already known to be poisonous to bees.

France saw a huge fall in its bee population in the 1990s, blamed on the insecticide Gaucho which has now been banned in the country.;_ylt=AlqZ8Fdq6WixRIT5H58bkPzZa7gF

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Asian Parasite Killing Western Bees


Story by Julia Hayley

SPAIN: July 19, 2007

Asian Parasite Killing Western Bees - Scientist

MADRID - A parasite common in Asian bees has spread to Europe and the Americas and is behind the mass disappearance of honeybees in many countries, says a Spanish scientist who has been studying the phenomenon for years.

The culprit is a microscopic parasite called nosema ceranae said Mariano Higes, who leads a team of researchers at a government-funded apiculture centre in Guadalajara, the province east of Madrid that is the heartland of Spain's honey industry.

He and his colleagues have analysed thousands of samples from stricken hives in many countries.

"We started in 2000 with the hypothesis that it was pesticides, but soon ruled it out," he told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Pesticide traces were present only in a tiny proportion of samples and bee colonies were also dying in areas many miles from cultivated land, he said.

They then ruled out the varroa mite, which is easy to see and which was not present in most of the affected hives.

For a long time Higes and his colleagues thought a parasite called nosema apis, common in wet weather, was killing the bees.

"We saw the spores, but the symptoms were very different and it was happening in dry weather too."

Then he decided to sequence the parasite's DNA and discovered it was an Asian variant, nosema ceranae. Asian honeybees are less vulnerable to it, but it can kill European bees in a matter of days in laboratory conditions.

"Nosema ceranae is far more dangerous and lives in heat and cold. A hive can become infected in two months and the whole colony can collapse in six to 18 months," said Higes, whose team has published a number of papers on the subject.

"We've no doubt at all it's nosema ceranae and we think 50 percent of Spanish hives are infected," he said.

Spain, with 2.3 million hives, is home to a quarter of the European Union's bees.

His team have also identified this parasite in bees from Austria, Slovenia and other parts of Eastern Europe and assume it has invaded from Asia over a number of years.

Now it seems to have crossed the Atlantic and is present in Canada and Argentina, he said. The Spanish researchers have not tested samples from the United States, where bees have also gone missing.

Treatment for nosema ceranae is effective and cheap -- 1 euro (US$1.4) a hive twice a year -- but beekeepers first have to be convinced the parasite is the problem.

Another theory points a finger at mobile phone aerials, but Higes notes bees use the angle of the sun to navigate and not electromagnetic frequencies.

Other elements, such as drought or misapplied treatments, may play a part in lowering bees' resistance, but Higes is convinced the Asian parasite is the chief assassin.


For original article - click here.


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For The Latest Info On This New Farm Bill
(click on above pic)

For More Info
(click pic)

Congress Reviews

The Farm Security


Rural Investment Act

Agricultural policy affects not only the economic well-being of farm households, but also our food supply, the environment, and the future of rural communities. The current farm law (the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002) remains in force only through 2007. A proposal for a new farm bill was released by the Bush administration at the end of January, and other proposals have been made by various stakeholder groups. The agriculture committees in Congress have begun to debate these ideas and develop their own proposals. In the upcoming months, they will be crafting legislation that will eventually become the next farm law.

ERS analysts examine the economic effects of current farm legislation on producers, consumers, taxpayers, and rural communities, and evaluate potential effects of alternative policies and programs. Included here is a selection of ERS research and analysis on issues that the farm bill debate will address:
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material  herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have
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Policy Options for a Changing Rural America

No longer tied closely to farm policies, rural economies in the 21st century will be shaped demographic change, industrial restructuring, and national economic trends.

Leslie A. Whitener and Tim Parker

 In 1950, 4 out of every 10 rural people lived on a farm, and almost a third of the Nation’s rural workforce was engaged directly in production agriculture. Because agriculture dominated the social and economic well-being of most of the rural was a dominant force shaping rural life both on the farm and in rural
communities. But today, rural America is vastly different from the 1950’s, and current commodity-based farm policies do not fully address the complexities of rural economies and populations. Farms are larger and more efficient, farm households depend more on off-farm income, and rural communities look for nonfarm sources of economic growth. Today, less than 10 percent of rural people live on a farm, and only 14 percent of the rural workforce is employed in farming.

In addition, some rural communities have changed dramatically since 1990 due to increased population from urban areas, shifts in age and ethnic composition, and economic and industrial restructuring. Population changes are creating new needs as new migrants from urban areas and abroad revitalize some nonmetropolitan (nonmetro) or rural areas, while long-term population and employment losses have the opposite effect on other rural communities. Increasing competition from abroad and sectoral shifts in employment present new challenges and opportunities in the worldwide economy and raise the question—how can rural communities successfully build on their economic base and other assets to retain and attract population and employment? And, when, where, and under what circumstances will rural development strategies be most successful? The diversity within rural America dictates that strategies tailored to particular types of rural economies may be more effective than a broader “one size fits all” rural policy. Demographic change, the health of the Nation’s economy, and industrial restructuring will be major factors affecting rural policy in the 21st century.

Changing Demographics Suggest Different Policy Needs

Overall rural population growth rebounded in the 1990s, increasing by over 10 percent, up from 3-percent growth in the previous decade. Migration continued to fuel rapid population growth in some nonmetro counties, especially in scenic areas and along the metro periphery. However, population growth began to slow at mid-decade, and the number of nonmetro counties that have lost population has climbed from around 600 counties during the 1990s to well over 1,000 since 2000. While population loss affects all regions, it is particularly widespread in the Great Plains, a region that depends heavily on farming (see box, “The 2004 ERS County Typology”). Many of these counties also lost population in the 1980s. Maintaining the population base, improving off-farm job opportunities, and providing public services continue to be long-term challenges for many traditionally farming areas.

Growing numbers of Hispanics are settling in rural America, accounting for over 46 percent of nonmetro population growth between 2000 and 2005. With a younger population and higher fertility, Hispanics are now the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in rural America. And, almost half of all rural Hispanics live outside of the traditional settlement States in the Southwest. In many places, new Hispanic settlement patterns are contributing to the revitalization of small towns; in others, the influx of residents is straining housing supplies and other community resources. In addition, the younger age, lower education, and large family size of Hispanic households suggest increased demands for social services, including prenatal care, child care, and education programs.


The older population grew rapidly in many rural places in the 1990s, due largely to retirement and recreation opportunities. Nonmetro retirement-destination counties, where the number of residents age 60 and older grew by 15 percent or more between 1990 and 2000 due to inmigration, were located predominantly in the West and in major retirement centers throughout the South, including Texas and Florida. In the rural agricultural areas of the Great Plains and Corn Belt, as well as in rural parts of the lower Mississippi Delta, the growth of the older population slowed and in many places stopped altogether. This pattern reflects the small size of the cohort now reaching age 65, a group that was depleted in many rural areas by low birth rates in the 1930s, an exodus to cities in the 1940s, and an exit from farming in the 1950s. These dual patterns of growth and decline suggest the need for different strategies. Areas with rapidly increasing older populations must be prepared to provide essential services, resources, and programs for the elderly. Areas with declining elderly populations must consider economies of scale when ensuring that necessary services are available and accessible.

The educational attainment of rural Americans is higher than ever before, continuing a long upward trend. In 2005, nearly one in six rural adults had a 4-year college degree, about twice the share of a generation ago. But the substantial growth in the college-educated population was not evenly distributed across rural areas, and low education levels still challenge much of rural America. Low-education counties, with 25 percent or more of residents age 25 to 64 who had not completed high school, are concentrated in the South and Southwest. Low-wage resource-based and manufacturing economies in many of these counties limit the kind of high-skill job growth that attracts a higher educated labor force. Strategies for raising educational levels and the quality of that education are essential to improving the economies of many rural communities.

The Rural and National Economies Are Linked

Rural areas as a whole shared in the Nation’s economic prosperity during the 1990s. The nonmetro unemployment rate fell to its lowest level (4.9 percent in 2006) since the 2001 recession, and rural poverty rates reached an all-time low (13.4 percent in 2000). But in late summer 2000, the manufacturing industry went into a downturn, and by March 2001, the longest U.S. economic expansion on record had ended. Unemployment and poverty rates subsequently rose in both rural and urban areas, while employment and earnings grew sluggishly.

The U.S. economic recovery began in November 2001, and by the beginning of 2004 had become broad-based, with most domestic sectors exhibiting moderate to strong growth. Metro employment grew by 3.3 percent from 2002 to 2005, while nonmetro employment grew by 2.7 percent. But economic recovery has been uneven across rural America, with most gains concentrated in the high population growth areas of the South and the West. Areas of the Northwest continue to wrestle with declining employment in timber and other natural resource industries. The employment picture for the Great Plains and Midwest was mixed, with some rural areas buoyed by employment gains of at least 2 percent and others mired in long-term declines in population and employment.


Industrial Restructuring Creates New Opportunities and Challenges

The rural economy has shifted from a dependence on farm-based jobs to a dependence on nonfarm-based jobs. Today, four out of five rural counties are dominated by nonfarm activities, including manufacturing, services, mining, and government operations. In many areas, however, agriculture is still a major source of income. For farming-dependent counties—located primarily in the Great Plains and accounting for 10.8 percent of farm operators and 22.9 percent of total farm cash receipts in 2004—the challenge is not a weak agricultural economy. Rather, these counties have not been equally prosperous as others because nonfarm sector development is limited by remoteness from major urban markets and low population densities.

Other nonmetro economies depend more on industries, such as manufacturing, for their economic base. Almost 30 percent of all nonmetro counties were dependent on manufacturing, having derived 25 percent or more of average earnings from manufacturing during 1998-2000. Manufacturing has traditionally located in rural areas to take advantage of lower labor and land costs. Since the late 1980s, some manufacturers, competing on the basis of low-cost production, shifted their production overseas. Other manufacturers took advantage of new technologies and management practices and began to compete on the basis of product quality. This shift resulted in a need for more highly skilled labor, and manufacturing moved to rural areas with better schools and fewer high school dropouts. Areas with low high school completion rates, located predominantly in the South, now face greater difficulties in attracting and retaining manufacturing employers. The manufacturing counties of the rural Great Plains offer a more educated labor force, and these areas have been most attractive to employers. But, the loss of 3.2 million manufacturing jobs nationwide since 2000 suggests that manufacturing counties as a whole may be especially hard pressed to find alternative sources of economic growth.

Rural Policy Options for the Future

The goals of economic/community development programs and policies in rural areas vary widely, as do the resources and the opportunities and challenges communities face. Some areas will focus on strategies to stimulate economic and community growth to help address problems associated with population and employment decline. Other areas will seek to improve wages and living standards by changing the nature of employment, or by enhancing infrastructure and public services. Low-density settlement patterns often make it more costly for communities and businesses to provide critical public services. In contrast, other rural areas, particularly those rich in natural amenities, face growing pains borne out of economic transformation and rapid population increases. Community leaders in these areas are struggling to provide new roads, schools, and other community services and may actually want to stem growth in order to limit rural sprawl.

One point is clear—commodity-based farm policies as currently structured do not fully address the complexity of issues facing rural economies and populations. For example, the high level of farm payments in the late 1990s did little to eliminate the long-term outmigration from farming areas. ERS research shows that counties highly dependent on farm payments had some of the highest rates of population loss, even during periods when most other rural areas were gaining population.

Rural policy for the future will need to encompass a broader array of issues, and these different rural issues will require different mixes of solutions. Strategies to generate new employment and income opportunities, develop local human resources, and build and expand critical infrastructure hold the most promise for enhancing the economic opportunities and well-being of rural America.

New Economic Engines: Prosperity for many rural communities will depend on innovative income-generating strategies that attract people and jobs. Faced with continuing loss of farm jobs, some rural communities have sought to offset shrinking employment by adding value to farm products. Focusing on the role of farms as a source of raw materials for food and fiber products, these communities seek to add value to agricultural commodities by luring food processing plants to rural areas, developing new consumer or industrial uses for agricultural products, or bypassing conventional wholesale-retail systems to sell food products directly to consumers. These strategies may prove successful for some communities, but ERS research finds that value-added strategies in general are not particularly promising as engines for rural job growth. Food retail and marketing are the largest and fastest growing value-added sectors, but these businesses usually choose to locate in urban areas for more efficient access to consumers, nonagricultural suppliers, and distribution networks. Food manufacturing and other value-added activities account for a relatively small share of rural employment, and the amount of job growth from these value-added strategies has had little impact on the general rural labor market.


Many rural communities are looking at other innovative ways of attracting and retaining high-paying industries and employment to rural areas. The traditional way of attracting firms to a region by offering tax reductions may no longer be sufficient. New approaches, such as providing training and technical assistance by local educational institutions to clusters of similar firms, may be more successful than tax-based incentives because they help firms to adapt innovative production techniques. Training and business assistance programs can help new entrepreneurs in some rural areas enhance their business acumen and improve business communication skills. Networks of small businesses can help build a more effective business infrastructure by coordinating marketing services, warehousing, business resources, and computer technology.

Capitalizing on new uses of the Nation’s natural resource base may be essential to ensuring the economic well-being of rural America. This resource base can provide such uses as water filtration, carbon sequestration, and nontraditional energy sources, including methane utilization. Some rural areas may be well suited for the development of renewable energy as well as the production of more traditional fossil-fuel energy. Natural amenities, though, will be the trump card for some rural areas. Rural counties with varied topography, relatively large lakes or coastal areas, warm and sunny winters, and temperate summers have tended to reap huge benefits from tourism and recreation, one of the fastest growing rural industries. Recent ERS research finds that tourism and recreational development in rural areas leads to increases in local employment, income, and wage levels, and improvements in social conditions, such as poverty, education, and health. These strategies have drawbacks, however, particularly in the form of higher housing costs in nonmetro recreation counties.

Human Resource Development: The wage gap between urban and rural workers reflects a rural workforce with less education and training than urban workers. In 2006, median weekly earnings for nonmetro workers ($509) were about 84 percent of the metro average ($607). In 2005, only 16.9 percent of rural adults age 25 and older had completed college, half the percentage of urban adults. Moreover, the rural-urban gap in college completion has widened since 1990. Today, employers are increasingly attracted to rural areas offering concentrations of well-educated and skilled workers. A labor force with low educational levels poses challenges for many rural counties seeking economic development. Rural areas with poorly funded public schools, few good universities and community colleges, very low educational attainment, and high levels of economic distress may find it hard to compete in the new economy. Recent ERS-sponsored research documents the direct link between improved labor force quality and economic development outcomes, finding that increases in the number of adults with some college education resulted in higher per capita income and employment growth rates, although less so in nonmetro than metro counties. Efforts to reduce high school dropout rates, increase high school graduation rates, enhance student preparation for college, and increase college attendance are all critical to improving local labor quality.

Rural human capital can also be improved by strengthening the quality of classroom instruction. Technical assistance could ensure that best-practice models of distance learning are available to remote schools, where the benefits from such technologies are greatest. Instructional quality could be improved by promoting teacher recruitment and retention efforts in remote and poor rural areas. Efforts to facilitate school-to-work transitions of youth are particularly important in isolated and distressed rural communities. The benefits of these strategies will be greatest in rural communities, where existing workforce development programs (especially the Workforce Investment Act) face special challenges due to high rates of high school dropouts or limited demand for youth labor.


Infrastructure and Public Services: Telecommunications, electricity, water and waste disposal systems, and transportation infrastructures (such as highways and airports) are essential for community well-being and economic development. But many rural communities are financially restrained because of a limited tax base, high costs associated with “dis-economies” of size, and difficulties adjusting to population growth or decline. Investments in needed infrastructure have increased in recent years, but high costs and deregulation pose challenges.

Investment in rural infrastructure not only enhances the well-being of community residents, but also facilitates the expansion of existing businesses and the development of new ones. Recent ERS research assessed the economic impacts of 87 water and sewer projects funded by the Economic Development Administration and found that these projects in general created or saved jobs, spurred private-sector investment, attracted government funds, and enlarged the property tax base. But the average urban water/sewer facility, which costs only about one-third more than the average rural facility, generated two to three times the economic impacts of rural facilities. The rural-urban difference in economic benefits likely stems from the generally more abundant infrastructure of urban areas—easy access to highways, railroads, and airports, primary and secondary suppliers, input and output markets, community facilities and amenities, and skilled labor.

The Federal Government has helped rural communities finance public infrastructure, but many communities still lack infrastructure like advanced telecommunications and air transportation services. Information and communication technology—abetted by financial and technical assistance—can help smaller communities enjoy the same benefits as cities, such as higher standards of health care and virtually unlimited educational opportunities. Federal financial assistance for deploying broadband access and incentives for State, private, and public partnerships to develop fiber optic or wireless capabilities are among the options for rural areas seeking to invest in a telecommunication infrastructure.

Because many rural problems occur regionwide, some policies need to address broader geographic implications. Agriculture, as a major source of income and employment, is concentrated in the northern Great Plains and western Corn Belt. Rural manufacturing is disproportionately located in the Midwest and Southeast. Mining and other extractive activities are conducted west of the Mississippi River and in Appalachia. All of these industries have experienced very slow job growth or job loss in recent decades. Regional or multicommunity cooperative efforts, such as the Delta Regional Authority and the Northern Great Plains Regional Authority, may offer rural areas a better chance of success in responding to industrywide declines or problems associated with persistent poverty, population loss, or educational disadvantage. Job generation and human resource development will require close coordination to ensure that the skills possessed by workers will be appropriate for the new, largely service-based and information-dependent industries, and that the jobs will be available in the regional economy.

Unfortunately, little empirical analysis is available on what strategies will be most effective in which areas under what circumstances. There is no one formula for success. Policy analysts will do well to look to the areas that have achieved prosperity to help develop successful prototypes for areas that may be unprepared to meet the challenges of the future.

The 2004 ERS County Typology

ERS has recently developed county typologies to measure broad patterns of economic and social diversity for developing public policies and programs. The 2004 County Typology classifies all U.S. counties according to seven overlapping categories of policy-relevant themes and six non-overlapping categories of economic dependence.

Policy types:

Housing stress (537 total, 302 nonmetro) counties are those where 30 percent or more of households had one or more of these housing conditions in 2000: lacked complete plumbing, lacked complete kitchen, paid 30 percent or more of income for owner costs or rent, or had more than 1 person per room.

Low-education (622 total, 499 nonmetro) counties are those where 25 percent or more of residents age 25 to 64 had neither a high school diploma nor a GED (General Educational Development) diploma in 2000.

Low-employment (460 total, 396 nonmetro) counties are those where less than 65 percent of residents age 21 to 64 were employed in 2000.

Persistent poverty (386 total, 340 nonmetro) counties are those where 20 percent or more of residents were poor as measured by each of the last four censuses (1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000).

Population loss (601 total, 532 nonmetro) counties are those where the number of residents declined both between the 1980 and 1990 censuses and between the 1990 and 2000 censuses.

Nonmetro recreation (334 designated nonmetro in either 1993 or 2003, 34 designated metro in 2003) counties were classified using a combination of factors, including share of employment or share of earnings in recreation-related industries in 1999, share of seasonal or occasional use housing units in 2000, and per capita receipts from motels and hotels in 1997.

Retirement destination (440 total, 277 nonmetro) counties are those where the number of residents age 60 and older grew by 15 percent or more between 1990 and 2000 due to inmigration.

Economic types:

Farming-dependent (440 total, 403 nonmetro) counties are those with either 15 percent or more of average annual labor and proprietors’ earnings derived from farming during 1998-2000 or 15 percent or more of residents employed in farm occupations in 2000.

Mining-dependent (128 total, 113 nonmetro) counties are those with 15 percent or more of average annual labor and proprietors’ earnings derived from mining during 1998-2000.

Manufacturing-dependent (905 total, 585 nonmetro) counties are those with 25 percent or more of average annual labor and proprietors’ earnings derived from manufacturing during 1998-2000.

Federal/State Government-dependent (381 total, 222 nonmetro) counties are those with 15 percent or more of average annual labor and proprietors’ earnings derived from Federal and State Government during 1998-2000.

Services-dependent (340 total, 114 nonmetro) counties are those with 45 percent or more of average annual labor and proprietors’ earnings derived from services (SIC categories of retail trade; finance, insurance, and real estate; and services) during 1998-2000.

Nonspecialized (948 total, 615 nonmetro) counties are those that did not meet the dependence threshold for any one of the above industries.

The ERS County Typology has been featured in several Amber Waves articles:

“One in Five Rural Counties Depends on Farming,” by Linda Ghelfi and David McGranahan, Amber Waves, Vol. 2, Issue 3, June 2004.

“Persistent Poverty Is More Pervasive in Nonmetro Counties,” by Dean Jolliffe, Amber Waves, Vol. 2, Issue 4, September 2004.

“One in Four Nonmetro Households Are Housing Stressed,” by James Mikesell, Amber Waves, Vol. 2, Issue 5, November 2004.

“Job Losses Higher in Manufacturing Counties,” by Tim Wojan, Amber Waves, Vol. 3, Issue 1, February 2005.

“Population Loss Counties Lack Natural Amenities and Metro Proximity,” by John Cromartie, Amber Waves, Vol. 3, Issue 2, April 2005.
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Sunday, 20 May 2007

Global warming debunked

Climate change will be considered a joke in five years time, meteorologist Augie Auer told the annual meeting of Mid Canterbury Federated Farmers in Ashburton this week.

Man's contribution to the greenhouse gases was so small we couldn't change the climate if we tried, he maintained.

"We're all going to survive this. It's all going to be a joke in five years," he said.

A combination of misinterpreted and misguided science, media hype, and political spin had created the current hysteria and it was time to put a stop to it.

"It is time to attack the myth of global warming," he said.

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Brits Could Be Forced To Give Up Meat, Milk To Fight Global Warming
Climate hysteria reaches new heights after revelation that government is considering making population switch to vegan diet

Paul Joseph Watson
Tuesday, May 29, 2007


For The Rest Of The Story
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Do You Remember?

Where Was The Global Warming When We Needed It!

LAST WEEK’s WEATHER TREND (1-7 APR): Temperatures plummeted as a strong Arctic cold front dove deep into the South late in the week. There were 100s of record low temperatures across the U.S. with the Southwest being the one exception. Hard freezes most likely did 10s of millions of dollars damage to trees and crops in the Southeast over the Easter weekend. Snowfall was also the most in at least 14 years with dozens of record snowfall totals from Texas to the Middle Atlantic and throughout the interior Northeast and Great Lakes. Even Dallas had a trace of snow which was the latest snowfall in 69 years.

After 3 consecutive weeks of mild temperatures across the Corn Belt, last weeks temperatures were the coldest in 15 years. The same week in 1996 and 2002 were cold. Corn Belt moisture was not overpowering. However, with cold temperatures, evaporation was minimal so field firming was at a snail’s pace. The commodity markets are primed for instability and this past weeks weather can only be called unsettling.

THIS WEEK (8-14 APR): Last year was record warm, this year record cold! April is currently tracking as the coldest April in 113 years - a dramatic change from last years #1 warmest ever. Even after some late month moderation, April 2007 will likely keep the month in the top 7 coldest in history. The Southwest is the one exception, but even here temperatures will cool dramatically late in the week. And, the snow is not over! Short range computer models hint at the possibility of a stronger snow storm from Colorado to Wisconsin late in the week into the weekend. This will be the heavy wet variety. The week overall is expected to show the greatest change toward wetter weather in two years - another very big negative for retail sales and for early planting of this years Corn and Bean crop. Weather Trends had forecast this to be the coldest April in 7 years and the wettest in 3 years. It will very likely be the coldest in 10 years and wettest in three. On a more uplifting note, Al Peterlin, Weather Trends International VP, reminds growers, “Planting rates can accelerate quickly after a slow start. Consider 1998 and 2005. In 1998 only about 15 percent of the crop was in the ground by the end of April, in 2005 only about 30 percent. Still, by the last week of May, 93 to 95 percent of planting was complete and final yields were strong.”

NEXT WEEK (15-21 APR): More of the same, although not as wet. Another reinforcing shot of cold air for the East early in the week with more frost and freezes likely in the Middle Atlantic.

MAY: The next solid week for warm seasonal activities could be May 6-12th, and the middle May period could be one of the bright spots of Spring and Summer!




Weather Trends International Forecast Highlights
4/9/2007 Editors


NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted
material  herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have
expressed  a  prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit
research and  educational purposes only. For more information go to:


NEWS RELEASE 07-14-06:

RCD - A Long Time In The Coming Has Open House Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Worthwhile endeavors, like the truly grassroots locally led  Resource Conservation District (RCD), are rare happenings on the Del Norte community scene. That's because it took five years of the intense dedication, enormous patience, endless lists of required approvals, not to mention an incredible amount of paper work and approximately $35,000 funding from the Del Norte Farm Bureau to accomplish this.

Thursday, landowners joined hands, both physically and symbolically with members of the RCD and NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) today, at the Lake Earl Grange Hall. The event was the ribbon cutting ceremony to the RCD office in the Grange building.

This ceremony represented a humble, but solid start in dedication to benefit land and people in Del Norte County.

(click for docs & pics)

RCD Flyer On It's Purpose
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The Del Norte RCD's stated goals are to:

        Promote voluntary action to resolve natural resource issues.

        Focus attention on local resource problems and opportunities.

        Develop and implement educational programs to the benefit of landowners.

        Provide input for the development and implementation of government programs,

        Coordinate with federal, state and local agencies as needed for technical assistance.

The Del Norte County Board of Supervisors first established the RCD, in August of 2005. It is already active in critical areas of habitat restoration and management, engaging Del Norte County in several government support organizations, water quality, and control of noxious weeds.

(click for docs & pics)

RCD Flyer On It's Purpose
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Mission statement: to help private and public landowners protect, enhance, nurture and conserve their natural resources and provide assistance for projects benefiting the land, water and life of Del Norte County.

Del Norte RCD will have a staffed booth at the Del Norte County Fair. Please stop by to learn more.

For more info on this contact:

Del Norte RCD @  (707) 487-7630

Resource info @:

Click here for event documents & pictures




RCD - A Long Time In The Coming

Perhaps worthwhile endeavors like the Rural Conservation District (RCD), appear less and less on the Del Norte community scene; because of the intense dedication, enormous patience and endless lists of required approvals, not to mention the incredible amount of paper work needed to accomplish them.

But we did it! Or should I say a sturdy band of bureaucratic battlers (as in our Brian Ferguson) did it for us.

The Lake Earl Grange (LEG), always the leader in Del Norte agricultural community in Del Norte county, has worked hard to establish a RCD here. Now we've got it, it's up and running and located in our LEGrange Hall.

RCD has a full time staff person on hand to manage the many chores demanded by AG needs in our community that come under their purview. Andrea Souther, District Conservationist, our AG person is there to manage and assist.


US Department of Agriculture

Natural Resources Conservation Service

Crescent City Local Partnership Office

P.O. Box 124

Lake Earl Grange Hall

Fort Dick, CA 95538

Voice: (707) 487 7630 / Fax: (707) 487 7640


This is an organization of district property owners, with 40 acres or more, committed and pledged to the wise husbandry of Del Norte County. They will seek to make available, to the district, the technical, financial and educational resources, whatever their source. Direct, focus and coordinate them so that they meet the needs of local land user for conservation of soil, water and related resources.

As part of the RC&D Council our RCD is committed to work to improve the general level of economic activity, to enhance the our environment and standard of living in our district. Councils provide a system of rural development to encourage the wise use of our natural resources and improve our quality of life.

The Lake Earl Grange - RCD will hold regular  meetings in the LEGrange Hall on Lake Earl Road in Fort Dick, CA on the third Wednesday of every month at 11 AM. These meetings are open to attendance by the general public. Please feel free to contact Andrea Souther for information on other activities and their respective times.

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