#AgAlerts: Water: unaffordable; contaminated; flooding results

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A roundup of news, reports, and research on agribusiness and related issues.

A new report finds nearly half the residents of Martin County, Kentucky, cannot afford water service. Local activists with the Martin County Concerned Citizens are ringing alarm bells about water affordability as the beleaguered county faces another likely water rate increase in the coming months.

Workers were ordered to come in on nights and weekends and process meat without inspectors present. To avoid arousing suspicion, workers were instructed to park off-site and work with the lights off, according to court documents.

Julie Adams, one of Griswold’s busy city councillors, took it upon herself to knock on doors and ring around new mothers and daycare nurseries, warning them of the risks: “I tell them, ‘If you have small babies do not use the tap water when you’re making formula. Use bottled water. Just to be safe.’”

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture says $440 million dollars in crops were lost. That figure doesn’t account for damage to cropland or the cleanup costs of hauling away rotting grain, sand, and scattered personal belongings of upriver flood victims. The department estimates $400 million in cattle inventory was lost to flooding or freezing temperatures. 

"This was the most difficult harvest of my life," beekeeper Riccardo Polide says, fighting back tears at the fate of his hives in Mondovi. The bees could make only "pitiful quantities of honey, not even enough to keep alive", he told AFP. A bitter blend of increased pesticide use, falling prices due to foreign competition and climate change—which affects whole ecosystems, including bees and plants—has hit keepers like Polide hard in recent years.