Obama Administration Makes Dramatic Immigration Policy Change

The Obama Administration created a firestorm of controversy on Friday with the announcement that it will stop deporting young undocumented immigrants and start issuing work permits. The new policy is similar to the so-called DREAM Act, but bypasses Congress. To be eligible, younger illegal immigrants must have a high school diploma, G.E.D., or served in the military, be older than 16, younger than 30, have lived in the US for five consecutive years, and have no criminal history. Brent Wilkes, national executive director of LULAC (the League of United Latin American Citizens) applauds the new policy, but says there needs to be a permanent solution:

“What the president is doing is not granting legal status or citizenship, it’s basically a deferred action. So that the administration isn’t going to prosecute them, they’re going to exercise prosecutorial discretion.”

Another Major Food Retailer Joins the Sow Housing Debate

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. announced it would begin formulating plans for a pork supply system that is free of gestation stalls.
The move follows similar ones by large food service companies and retailers including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Denny’s, Kroger and Safeway.

The National Pork Producers Council has cautioned, however, that customers making specific promises about sourcing gestation-stall-free pork may have trouble making good on their claims. Recent NPPC research showed nearly 83 percent of the pork currently produced in the United States comes from farms that use gestation stalls and so far major pork processors are not segregating product relative to how sows were housed.

Many, Many Years to Pass Before Fracking Comes to North Carolina

The beginning of legislation that will allow hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’ in north Carolina passed the NC House late last week. NC Farm Bureau has been keeping an eye on the legislation, and says that the impact on the farming community is double-edged:

“We, obviously look at hydraulic fracturing in other parts of the country and what they’ve been able to do to natural gas prices and the impact that they’ve had as far increasing the supply we have domestically, and obviously that supply lowering the cost, which we hope will eventually filter down to lower input cost for the farmers.”

As well as the income stream that would be created for those landowners that have natural gas on their land. But, there’s also the water contamination possibility:

“There’s also the aspect of extracting that natural gas here in North Carolina and the benefit for those particular land owners who may have that resource under their property and what that may mean from and additional income standpoint.”
The natural gas market is not attractive right now, and many wells have been shut down due to oversupply creating a price slump. Between that and the General Assembly creating very tight, narrow regulations on the practice, Sherman says it could be many, many years before we see the process in the Tar Heel state.

Virginia Poultry Producers Make Donations to Regional Food Bank

Poultry producers are pitching in to stock the freezers at the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank in Verona. Three poultry producers in the Shenandoah Valley are donating more than 8,500 pounds of frozen turkey to the food bank. The giving is from Cargill, Perdue and the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative. The food bank serves some 7,000 people in the region.

Before Traveling This Summer, Know How to Avoid Packing a Pest

The summer travel season has arrived, and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is asking summer travelers to join in the fight against invasive pests. Invasive pests can hitchhike on fruits, vegetables, meats, processed foods, plants and handicraft items

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