National briefs: Challenge on large-scale poultry farm blocked

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


Judge rejects group's challenge to Maryland poultry farm 

A judge has blocked an environmental group's challenge to a large-scale poultry farm on Maryland's Eastern Shore. 

The judge on Thursday upheld a decision by the Wicomico County Board of Appeals not to hear an appeal from the Salisbury-based Concerned Citizens Against Industrial CAFOs. 

CAFO is an acronym for concentrated animal-feeding operation. 

The judge agreed with the county that that the group missed a 30-day deadline last November for filing its appeal. 

The Daily Times of Salisbury reports that the group faxed in the documents on the 30th day, but that they were time-stamped 27 minutes after county offices closed for the day. 

An attorney for the county argued that allowing the late appeal to go forward could have invited a lawsuit from the property's owner. 


Idaho dairy group opposes immigration detention contract 

A dairymen group in south-central Idaho has sent a letter to Jerome County commissioners in opposition to a pending contract that would lease out space in the county's new jail to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

Idaho Dairymen's Association Executive Director Bob Naerebout tells the Capital Press that many dairymen are concerned with the possibility of losing workers with the increased ICE presence. He says workers fear ICE agents will intimate them and could raid work areas. 

Naerebout says some workers have already left their jobs because they no longer feel safe. 

A copy of an ICE memorandum given to the newspaper by the Jerome County Sheriff's Office states that no on-site ICE compliance personnel would be housed at the Jerome facility. 


Lawmakers want to take bite out of food waste with new bill 

Two Democratic lawmakers say their food recovery proposal would help cut down on food waste in places like restaurants, schools and farms. 

Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal are behind the Food Recovery Act. They say they want to take a bite out of wasted food everywhere from stores and businesses to homes. 

The lawmakers say their proposal would cut down food waste by standardizing confusing food date labels. It would also encourage school cafeterias to buy lower-cost "ugly" fruits and vegetables. 

The bill also calls for creation of new technology to increase food shelf life. 

Pingree and Blumenthal say 40 percent of food produced in America goes uneaten every year. It adds up to a total of 62 million tons of food thrown away annually. 


Firefighters praised for helping save UVM plant collection 

Scientists nationwide are praising Vermont firefighters for the care they took in preserving the University of Vermont's prized plant collection after a fire ravaged the historic building they were kept in. 

Fire officials tell the Burlington Free Press they received over 65 messages praising their work at the University of Vermont's Torrey Hall. The Pringle Herbarium, which stored over 300,000 prized specimens from Vermont and other locations, was damaged in a fire Thursday caused by construction workers soldering copper on the hall's exterior. 

Burlington firefighters covered cabinets containing the samples with tarps. UVM biologist Dave Barrington says firefighters at the scene made "excellent decisions." 

Shannon Dominick, a biologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, applauded the efforts of the fire department in a Facebook post. 


Oregon farmers, vintners worry about heat damage to crops 

Farmers and vineyard owners in Oregon are worrying that the extensive heat wave in the state may be doing damage to their crops. 

The Capital Press reported that excessive heat can blister or sunburn wine grapes, which are still developing and won't be harvested until September. Late season raspberries may develop white dots due to sun scald and blueberries may not reach their ideal size because of a lack of water. 

"The plant can't pump enough water, so it shuts down and interferes with sizing," crop consultant Tom Peerbolt said of the blueberries. "Fortunately a lot of the commercial folks have installed cooling systems, and they pay for themselves in an event like this." 

With temperatures topping 100 in Portland and throughout Western Oregon the first three days of August, some growers ran the misters eight hours a day, Peerbolt said. He said the systems are a large infrastructure expense, but are intended to handle situations of extreme heat. 

Climatologist Greg Jones, incoming director of Linfield College's wine education program, said the current heat wave is unusual for its magnitude and length, and may turn out to be Oregon's most extreme since 1981. 

Vineyards could see sunburn on the fruit and dried out leaves, he said.