#AgAlerts: Climate change; pollinators; news deserts; meth; hemp

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

“We may be approaching a threshold beyond which the agriculture that we’ve always known cannot support human civilization as we know it,” he declared in a low growl. “That’s something we need to avoid.”

When farmer Gary Guthrie describes recent changes to his farm, his eyes light up. After adding native prairie to his central Iowa operation, he remembers hearing the hum of pollinators flocking to the property. “Oh, my goodness, it was stunning, the level of buzzing,” Guthrie said. “That moment was sort of an awakening for me.” The presence of so many bees and other insects was an indicator, to Guthrie, of the health of the land.

As rural counties lose population, they often become unable to support a newspaper worthy of the name, Cross said. There just isn’t enough digital or print revenue in some rural communities to pay for public service journalism, according to the 2018 UNC report. At the same time, many larger newspapers are closing their suburban and rural bureaus to save money.

While the widely known opioid epidemic killed 3,800 people in Wisconsin between 2014 and 2018, a surge in meth use has quietly supplanted opioids in western and northern parts of the state.

“We are watching these young farmers, beginning farmers, stemming the tide. After watching the drain of our young people leaving agriculture, this is the first sign we’ve had in quite some time—hemp is bringing people back to farming.”