Tuesday Roundup: Rural Fla. Cancer Rate

Farm Bureau submits new farm bill proposal • Online livestock auctions need better regulation, farmer says • Fluharty joins Agri-Pulse columnists • Rebranding potatoes. 


More on International Dark Sky Week.


The highest cancer rates in Florida occur in 11 mostly rural counties that span north central Florida, near Gainesville, the Gainesville Sun reports

Gainesville oncologists, who see many of the patients from these 11 counties, say those patients typically face a tougher path through treatment. ““I would say that 70-75 percent of patients come from rural areas, and they have a tendency to be diagnosed at a later stage — either because of lack of medical care or because it takes them some time to get to the office,” Lucio Gordon, an oncologist at the North Florida Regional Cancer Center, told the Sun.

Poverty, lack of health insurance and a doctor shortage are among the obstacles to improving early diagnosis and treatment, the article reports.

Farm Bureau on the Farm Bill. The American Farm Bureau Federation has sent its revised recommendations
to Congress for a new five-year farm bill. The Senate Agriculture
Committee is expected to start marking up a new bill later this month.

Online Livestock Auctions. Some livestock sales have moved from the auction barn to the internet. But the rules that regulate livestock auctions haven’t been adjusted to keep up with the changes in technology, says one Kentucky farmer.


DTN’s senior editor Victoria G. Myers has a fascinating article on Jeffrey Straley’s experience of trying to purchase a heifer from 44 Farms of Texas via an online auction. Straley wound up “winning” more than he bargained for, when the owner of the online auction software withdrew a leading bid, leaving Straley with two heifers for the price of, well, two heifers. 44 Farms didn’t make him purchase both heifers, but the experience prompted Straley to look into the rules that govern online auctions.

A representative of a livestock marketing association says people assume that the same rules apply to online auctions as to physical auction facilities. But they don’t.

Straley has continued trying to get regulators to make changes in the rules to reflect modern technology.  He told DTN:

“Every week I call somebody to see if anything has happened. I know I’m not the first guy this happened to, and I won’t be the last. I’ll never buy on another timed internet auction … It seems like a good way to buy cattle, and I like the convenience of it. But I won’t do it again until there is some clear regulation in place to protect guys like me.”

New Agri-Pulse Columnist. Chuck Fluharty, founder and president of the Rural Policy Research Institute, has started writing a column for Agri-Pulse, the ag news site. His first one strikes a familiar theme: “Rural America, Urban America, or E Pluribus Unum?”

board is spending $4 million a year in ads and social media to reach a market they’ve dubbed “Linda,” “mothers who enjoy cooking for their families.” The mythical shopper “includes a mix of demographic characteristics and psychological attitudes and impulses.”

Potato sales have declined since the low-carb diet craze of a decade ago, potato growers say. Although the low-carb fad has waned, potato sales remain in a slump. The latest Potato Board campaign is trying to rebrand potatoes as a healthy option.