Obama directing the choir • Adding to the broadband map • NEA funding at least six diverse rural programs? • Serious challenges for senators • Midwest drought is taxing the aquifer
FSA Directors Singing from the Hymnal. The Obama Administration is apparently using state directors of the USDA Farm Service Agency to drum up attention for its report on the impact of immigration reform on the agricultural economy.
State directors of the Farm Service Agency in Virginia, Tennessee, and Iowa have each submitted an identical letter to the editor or op/ed to local newspaper. We’ve got a hunch there are more of these out there that will trickle through our inbox in the coming days.
The White House report on ag and immigration says the United States is losing billions of dollars a year in agricultural productivity because there aren’t enough workers to harvest and process crops and products. Changing the immigration system could solve these problems, according to the report, “Fixing Our Broken Immigration System: The Economic Benefits to Agriculture.”
Broadband Map Update.The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has released a new update for the National Broadband Map. It’s the sixth update since the map was originally published in 2011. The map is a joint project of NTIA and the Federal Communications Commission.
The Rural Humanities. The National Endowment for the Humanities has a report on six rural projects the federal agency has supported. “The projects featured in this report demonstrate the diversity of the agency’s work and the many strategies for engaging rural communities throughout the country,” the agency reports.
Senate Challenges. The National Journal has a list of the 10 senators and representatives most likely to lose their party’s nomination in primary elections next year. Senators the Journal expect to face serious opposition from within their own party are Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina; Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky; Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming; and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.
High Plains Drought. Harvest Public Media reports on the drought in western Kansas and eastern Colorado that is taxing the High Plains Aquifer system. “Across much of the High Plains Aquifer, water levels have been falling since irrigation took hold,” Frank Morris reports. “The three year drought has farmers pumping to, and sometimes past, the legal limit. In southwest Kansas levels are falling fast, and some wells are running dry. Neighbors are suing neighbors over water rights and towns are suffering.”