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U.S. Bank Ranks #2 in Nation for Agricultural Lending - 11 Oct 2016 03:37


[[html]]MINNEAPOLIS(BUSINESS WIRE)June 18, 2003—U.S. Bank N.A., is one of the top agricultural lenders in the United States, ranked by total farm loans. The findings, published in Ag Lender and in the American Bankers Association's Journal of Agricultural Lending, are ranked according to information provided on call and income reports to the Federal Reserve System for the quarter that ended December 31, 2002. <br><br>Ranked second in the nation, U.S. Bank provides top-notch service and products, including lines of credit, to individuals and businesses, including family farms, in the agricultural industry. <br><br><img style="float:right;margin:10px;border:none;" src="" width="358" /><br><br>In the rankings for 2002, Ag Lender and the Journal of Agricultural Lending state that U.S. Bank had more than $2 billion in total agricultural loans. Of that, there are over $1.3 billion in agricultural production, livestock and agribusiness loans and nearly $728 million in farmland loans. <br><br>"This ranking shows that U.S. Bank is a dominant player in the agricultural lending industry," said John Elmore, executive vice president of the community banking division at U.S. Bank. "Our customers tell us that they are impressed with the variety and quality of the financial products and services U.S. Bank has provided them. U.S. Bank's lenders are <a href="">Halo Capital Blog</a> committed to helping their customers and take pride in understanding the agricultural industry they serve." <br><br>U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), with assets in excess of $182 billion, is the 8th largest financial services holding company in the United States. The company operates 2,200 banking offices and 4,582 ATMs, and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. U.S. Bancorp is home of the Five Star Service <a href=""></a> Guarantee which assures customers of certain key banking benefits and services or customers will be paid for their inconvenience. U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of U.S. Bank. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at<br><br>U.S. Bank Media Relations<br><br>Amy Frantti, 612/303-0733<br><br><a href=''></a><br><br>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

White House Apology for Ousted USDA Official Shirley Sherrod - 28 Sep 2016 11:26


[[html]]White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs apologized to former USDA official Shirley Sherrod for her abrupt firing, followed quickly by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack who personally apologized to her and took full responsibility for her ouster.<br><br>"Members of this administration, members of the media, members of different political factions on both sides of this have all made determinations and judgment without a full set of facts," Gibbs said. "I think that is wholly and completely accurate. Without a doubt, Miss. Sherrod is owed an apology. I would certainly do so on behalf of this administration."<br><br>Exclusive: Andrew Breitbart Shirley Sherrod Race<br><br>Gibbs said President Obama was informed of the case Tuesday, most likely in the morning.<br><br>Sherrod, who was watching Gibbs' press briefing on CNN's set, accepted the apology but said it was overdue.<br><br>"It makes me feel better. This should not have happened, it took too long but it makes me feel better," she said. "The apology finally came."<br><br>The Agriculture Department official, based in Georgia, grabbed national headlines after conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart posted a video clip of her from a March NAACP event talking about her dilemma in helping a white farmer 24 years ago.<br><br>Shirley Sherrod Unsure She Wants Her USDA Job Back<br><br>Gibbs today reiterated multiple times that the decision to oust Sherrod was made by the USDA, and it was based on an "incomplete set of facts."<br><br>Vilsack stressed today that the decision to fire Sherrod was solely his and he acted in haste. He said he told her that he "regretted the circumstances" that led to her resignation and he should and could have done a better job.<br><br>"There was no pressure from the White House," Vilsack said in a press conference today. "This was my decision and it was a decision that I regret having made. … I didn't take the time I should have. As a result a good woman has gone through a very difficult time."<br><br>Sherrod said she tried to tell USDA officials to listen to the entire tape, but they jumped to conclusions before doing so.<br><br>Vilsack today said he offered her a job having to do with various legal claims against the Agriculture Department by women and minority farmers who claim that they've been discriminated against through the USDA loan program. Noting that Sherrod has been a claimant against the Agriculture Department, Vilsack said she "has a unique set of skills trying to turn the page on our civil rights chapter which has been difficult."<br><br><img src="" width="316" /><br><br>Sherrod told him that she needed to talk it over with her family, Vilsack said.<br><br>Vilsack, who said Tuesday that "there is zero tolerance for discrimination" at his agency, flipped from his initial decision after the NAACP released the full video of Sherrod's remarks, which augmented her argument that her speech had been taken out of context and in fact she'd been preaching against racism.<br><br>Senior White House officials held a conference call with Vilsack Tuesday night to discuss the issue, leading the Agriculture Secretary to release a statement this morning saying he is "of course willing and will conduct a thorough review and consider additional facts to ensure to the American people <a href="">Web</a> we are providing services in a fair and equitable manner."<br><br>The 62-year-old said her first thought when the news went viral was what her grandchildren would think about the first black director of rural development for Georgia asked to resign by the first black president.<br><br>Sherrod told "Good Morning America's" George Stephanopoulos today that her comments were taken out of context and that she was using the story as an illustration of how she grew and learned to move beyond race.<br><br>"I used my life where I grew up in a segregated society to show how I could move beyond that," said Sherrod.<br><br>Sherrod, who worked at the USDA as the director of rural development for Georgia, said earlier today she's not sure if she will want to return to her former workplace.<br><br>"I don't know how I will be treated. I'm just not sure," she said on "GMA." "I'd have to be reassured on that."<br><br>Breitbart, the conservative guru who posted the video with the headline, "Video Proof: The NAACP Awards Racism — 2010," said it was not meant to be an attack on Sherrod but rather a lesson to the NAACP that they use accusations of racism to stifle dissent.<br><br>"What this video clearly shows is a standard that Tea Party has not been held to, is that the NAACP shows people in the audience there applauding her when she discriminates against a white farmer. That was the point I was trying to make," Breitbart said on "GMA" today. "This was not about Shirley Sherrod. This was about the smears that have gone on against the Tea Party."<br><br>The NAACP and the Tea Party have been embroiled in a heated battle since last week, when the nation's largest civil rights group passed a resolution condemning what it called racist elements in the conservative movement, and urged its <a href=""></a> leaders to denounce racism.<br><br>Many Tea Party leaders such as Breitbart deny there are racial overtones in the movement, arguing that charges of racist remarks have never been proven.<br><br>The video clip posted on Breitbart's conservative blog featured a clip of Sherrod speaking at a March NAACP awards ceremony describing "the first time I was faced with having to help a white farmer save his farm."<br><br>Sherrod described the farmer as "trying to show me he was superior to me… What he didn't know was while he was taking all that time trying to show me he was superior to me, was I was trying to decide how much help I was going to give him."<br><br>Sherrod continued, saying, "I was struggling with the fact that so many black people have lost their farmland and here I was faced with having to help a white person save their land. So I didn't give him the full force of what I could do. I did enough."<br><br>The video was cited as proof of Sherrod's racism — since it seems to show a government employee saying she discriminated on the basis of race — was seized by cable news outlets and on the internet.<br><br>Left out of the story's race throughout the media world, at least in its initial few laps, were the facts that the incident in question took place in 1986 when Sherrod worked for a non-profit, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund.<br><br>Sherrod's larger argument was that her involvement with the white farmers in question — Roger and Eloise Spooner from Iron City, Ga. — made her realize a larger lesson.<br><br>As she said in a different part of the video splice, "it was revealed to me that it's about the poor versus those who have."<br><br>On Tuesday evening, the NAACP posted a more complete video of Sherrod's remarks, and the longer version supports her story. The fuller video shows her telling the story about how the white lawyer to whom she introduced Spooner did little to help him, with Spooner calling her to tell her "the lawyer wasn't doing anything."<br><br><object width="400" height="241"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="400" height="241"></embed></object><br><br>So Sherrod helped him. "Working with him made me see that it's really about those who have versus those who don't," she said. "You know, and that they could be black, they could be white, they could be Hispanic. And it made me realize then that I needed to work to help poor people, those who don't have access the way others have." "<br><br>The shorter clip of Sherrod speaking at the NAACP banquet aired in the context of various racially-charged debates in the last year.<br><br>For decades, black farmers have said the USDA unfairly denied them loans or took much longer to process their loans. Earlier this year, the Obama administration agreed to a $1.25 billion settlement in a class-action lawsuit against the agency.<br><br>Vilsack today acknowledged the challenge of dealing with the multitude of lawsuits that have been brought against the USDA, saying that "trying to turn the page on our civil rights chapter… has been difficult."<br><br>Sherrod's story, she said, was to argue that race shouldn't matter.<br><br>"Up to that point, I felt they had all the advantages," Sherrod told ABC News Tuesday. "Until I started working with that farmer, I didn't think white farmers were treated like black farmers were treated by the agency… There are a few of them who get treated like black farmers. And they turned into saying that I'm a racist."<br><br>The farmer who Sherrod assisted, and his wife, have come out in support of Sherrod, saying she did not discriminate on the basis of race.<br><br>"It never, never crossed my mind," Roger Spooner told ABC News. "Never crossed my mind. Me and the wife, we never, we never, we never saw that at all. Absolutely. It's unbelievable."<br><br>Spooner said that without Sherrod, he would have lost the farm.<br><br>"If we had not found her, me and my wife — we went checking here and yonder and everywhere — if it hadn't been for her, we'd have lost. It was just a matter of a few months and we would have lost it."<br><br>The NAACP initially sided with Vilsack's argument but then flipped on the issue, saying in a statement late Tuesday that it was "snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias."<br><br>"Having reviewed the full tape, spoken to Ms. Sherrod, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned in this story, we now believe the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans," NAACP president Ben Jealous said in a statement. "The fact is Ms. Sherrod did help the white farmers mentioned in her speech. They personally credit her with helping to save their family farm."<br><br><img style="float:left;margin:10px;border:none;" src="" width="314" /><br><br>Racial sensitivities within the USDA are high, with lawsuits from black farmers, Hispanic farmers, and other groups alleging billions of dollars in unfairly denied USDA loans, rooted in racial discrimination.<br><br><object width="400" height="241"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="400" height="241"></embed></object><br><br>Vilsack was originally scheduled to attend the National Rural Education Technology Summit today at the National Museum of the American Indian, but at the last minute his name was removed from the official attendees' list. Following his news conference, he met with members of the House Black Caucus.<br><br><a href=''></a>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

War on the poor? Kigali cracks down on street trade - 17 Sep 2016 11:48


[[html]]President Paul Kagame's Vision 2020 program has overseen epic construction projects in the Rwandan capital, such as the $300 million Kigali Convention Centre, and instilled a focus on sustainability that includes a ban on plastic bags, and one day each month of compulsory community service when the public cleans the city. <br><br>But the future appears less bright for the thousands of street traders working in Kigali, following a new directive from the city council imposing harsh new restrictions.<br><br>"Whoever is caught peddling on the street or buying the products will (be fined) RWF10,000 ($13)," the directive announced. Traders' goods are to be confiscated. <br><br>Pressure has grown on the informal economy in recent years, although it accounts for 73% of non-agricultural employment in Rwanda and 46% of the nation's GDP. Traders have complained of increasing harassment, and the new Mayor of Kigali Monique Mukaruliza has made her position clear."We want street vendors to quit working on streets," Mukaruzila said in May. "They should work in an organized way and promote the development of our country."<br><br>'Empowering young people'<br><br>City officials argue the crackdown is necessary as street trade causes economic and social problems.<br><br>"The issue is that street vendors don't pay rent or taxes, and people complain that if they buy something faulty they cannot take it back," says spokesperson Bruno Rangira. "There is a lot of littering where the traders operate, and we have had some cases of people selling smuggled goods." <br><br><img style="float:right;margin:10px;border:none;" src="" width="279" /><br><br>The new measures represent stricter enforcement of an existing prohibition on street vending, Rnagira adds, and they offer new opportunities. The city is offering low-interest loans to traders if they are willing to transfer their businesses to approved, tax-paying market sites.<br><br>"This is aimed at empowering these young men and women involved in informal business to put them into the formal sector," he says. "We are not making them unemployed, we are making them more sustainable. We want more taxpayers and larger businesses."<br><br>Cleaning the streets<br><br>But the task of bringing the vast street trade into the mainstream economy is hugely ambitious, particularly as traders have rejected previous initiatives. <br><br>"Many of such directives have come and died away," says Fred Mwasa, a journalist with Kigali Today news agency. "Kigali authorities have been pushing for years for these hawkers to go to established markets and operate from there. They have resisted."<br><br>A recent Human Rights Watch report highlights the risks for those who defy the rules. The group documented dozens of cases of vendors being arrested and detained without trial at the notorious Gikondo Transit Center, and in some instances being subjected to violence, extortion and torture. <br><br>The police describe the facility as a "re-education center," where street vendors are encouraged to find legitimate work. But testimonies from the workers highlight their desperation. <br><br>"Every day I risk going back to (Gikondo), but I continue working," one vendor told Human Rights Watch. "They say they send us there to correct us or to get us to abandon our trade, but we don't have money to start a restaurant or a bar. The police just say, 'Abandon your work', but what can we do?"<br><br><img style="float:left;margin:10px;border:none;" src="" width="376" /><br><br>Street value<br><br>Crackdowns on street traders are becoming increasingly common and severe in the major cities of Sub-Saharan Africa, where rapid development is pushing the informal economy to the margins.<br><br>Nigerian capital Lagos recently <a href="">Halo Capital agricultural loans</a> sanctioned jail sentences for both vendors and buyers of street produce, generating a fierce backlash against a perceived "war on the poor." South African cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg have driven out much of the informal trade after long-running campaigns. This heavy-handed approach can have damaging consequences, according to Caroline Skinner, senior researcher with the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town and urban research director of Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO).<br><br>"(Traders) are part of the fabric of the city, providing cheap goods in convenient locations for poorer consumers," says Skinner. "If they could be integrated into urban planning with proper facilities it would be good for consumers and provide livelihoods for people in desperate need."<br><br>A WIEGO study in South Africa found that street traders typically have dozens of dependents, who also suffer in any crackdown. <br><br>Divided cities<br><br>Skinner adds that enforcement measures are typically expensive and impractical. <br><br>"Unless you give people other opportunities they will be back in a day or a month," she says. "There are opportunity costs as the police will not be chasing real criminals. It takes a lot of human resources and money to remove people."<br><br>Zimbabwe has had success in clearing street traders through sustained brutality, says Skinner, but severe crackdowns also breed corruption as underpaid police solicit bribes to protect traders. <br><br>Skinner is skeptical of Kigali's proposition of transferring traders to approved markets. <br><br>"There are too many examples in Africa of using "white elephant" markets to move people away from economically viable places," she says. "They are attempting to hide the informal economy."<br><br>The effect is often segregation, says Skinner, as the low income traders are corralled into ghettos while the city centers are kept pristine for the affluent classes. <br><br>As Kigali presses ahead with sparkling modernization, life on the streets is likely to grow harsher. <br><br><a href=''></a><br><br>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

Farm Loan Programs - 13 Sep 2016 23:12


[[html]]By providing access to credit, FSA's Farm Loan Programs offer opportunities to:<br><br>Start, improve, expand, transition, market, and strengthen family farming and ranching operationsProvide viable farming opportunities for beginning farmers, racial and ethnic minority farmers and women producersValue-added, direct sale, organic, and specialty crop operationsYoung People actively involved in agricultural youth organizationsUrban producers<br><br>Continue below to learn more about Available Farm Loans, Targeted Loan Audiences, and Specialty Loans.<br><br><img style="float:right;margin:10px;border:none;" src="" width="273" /><br><br>USDA Paths to SuccessYour Guide to FSA Farm Loans<br><br>This guidebook simplifies information on the types of farm loans available; how to apply for a guaranteed loan, direct loan, or land contract guarantee; what you can expect once you submit your application; and most importantly, your rights and responsibilities as an FSA customer.<br><br>Available Farm Loans<br><br>Direct Operating Loans are used to purchase items such as livestock and feed; farm equipment; fuel, farm chemicals, insurance, and family living expenses; make minor improvements or repairs to buildings and fencing; and general farm operating expenses.<br><br>Microloans are operating loans designed to meet the needs of small and beginning farmers, non-traditional, specialty crop and niche type operations by easing some requirements and offering less paperwork.<br><br>Direct Farm Ownership Loans are used to purchase or enlarge a farm or ranch, construct a new or improve existing farm or ranch buildings, and for soil and water conservation and protection purposes.<br><br><img style="float:right;margin:10px;border:none;" src="" width="338" /><br><br>Guaranteed Loans enables lenders to extend credit to family farm operators and owners who do not qualify for standard commercial loans. Farmers receive credit at reasonable terms to finance their current operations or to expand their business; financial institutions receive additional loan business and servicing fees, as well as other benefits from the program, such as protection from loss.<br><br>Targeted Loan Audiences<br><br>Youth Loans are used by young people participating in 4-H clubs, FFA , or a similar organization, to finance educational, income-producing, agriculture-related projects.<br><br>Minority and Women Farmers and Ranchers loans support the full participation of minority and women family farmers in FSA's farm loan programs by targeting a portion of its direct and guaranteed farm ownership and operating loan funds for minority and women farmers to buy and operate a farm or ranch.<br><br>Beginning Farmers and Ranchers loans provide credit opportunities to eligible family farm and ranch operators and owners who have been in business less than 10 years.<br><br>Specialty Loans<br><br>Emergency Loans help farmers and ranchers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, other natural disasters or quarantine.<br><br><a href=''></a><br><br>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

Malaysia's incredible Paralympic performance at Rio continues with third gold - 13 Sep 2016 23:06


[[html]]Malaysia's incredible Paralympic performance at Rio continues with third gold<br><br>It's a third gold for Malaysia at the Rio Paralympics, as long jumper Abdul Latif Romly broke the world record multiple times at the finals on Sunday.<br><br>Latif, who was competing in the men's long jump T20 (intellectual disability), broke the previous world record of 7.35 metres and set the new mark at 7.60 metres.<br><br>SEE ALSO: 7 badass Paralympic events that you really need to watch<br><br>Zoran Talic from Croatia and Ukraine's Dmytro Prudnikov took silver and bronze, respectively.<br><br>The three men previously took the medal podium in the same order last October in Doha, Qatar, at the IPC Athletics World Championships.<br><br><img style="float:right;margin:10px;border:none;" src="" width="291" /><br><br><img data-credit-name="Francois Nel/Getty Images" data-credit-provider="custom type" data-caption="Abdul Latif Romly of Malaysia wins gold, Zoran Talic of Croatia silver and Dmytro Prudnikov of Ukraine bronze in Doha, Qatar." src="" alt="Abdul Latif Romly of Malaysia wins gold, Zoran Talic of Croatia silver and Dmytro Prudnikov of Ukraine bronze in Doha, Qatar." data-fragment="m!5e3e" data-image="" data-micro="1"><br><br>Abdul Latif Romly of Malaysia wins gold, Zoran Talic of Croatia silver and Dmytro Prudnikov of Ukraine bronze in Doha, Qatar.<br><br>Image:Francois Nel/Getty Images<br><br>Latif's gold adds to the historic medal tally Malaysia is racking up at the Games. It had previously won silver and bronze at the Paralympics, but never gold.<br><br>On Saturday, Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi won the country's first Paralympic gold at the 100 metre T36 (cerebral palsy) event.<br><br>We just got our GOLD. Paralympic record for Ridzuan Puzi! History is made tonight!<br><br>— Khairy Jamaluddin (@Khairykj) September 10, 2016<br><br><img data-credit-name="Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images" data-credit-provider="custom type" data-caption="Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi winning the men's 100m - T36 final" src="" alt="Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi winning the men's 100m - T36 final" data-fragment="m!4355" data-image="" data-micro="1"><br><br>Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi winning the men's 100m - T36 final<br><br>Image:Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images<br><br>Later, the next gold was delivered by Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli, who won the men's shot put F20 (intellectual disability) final — and shattered the world record as well.<br><br><img data-credit-name="Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images" data-credit-provider="custom type" data-caption="Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli celebrates his gold." src="" alt="Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli celebrates his gold." data-fragment="m!a79e" data-image="" data-micro="1"><br><br>Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli celebrates his gold.<br><br>Image:Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images<br><br><img data-credit-name="Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images" data-credit-provider="custom type" data-caption="Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli on the podium." src="" alt="Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli on the podium." data-fragment="m!9597" data-image="" data-micro="1"><br><br><object width="400" height="241"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="400" height="241"></embed></object><br><br>Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli on the podium.<br><br><object width="400" height="241"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="400" height="241"></embed></object><br><br>Image:Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images<br><br>Singaporean outcry over Paralympic prize money disparity<br><br>On Sunday, Malaysia's sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the country's Paralympic gold medal winners will receive the same 1 million Ringgit (US$242,927) prize bounty that's given to their Olympic counterparts.<br><br>The previous amount offered was just 30 percent of that.<br><br>The minister said in a Facebook post that it's meant to signal the country's support for the Paralympians, and that their "achievements and sacrifices are to be honoured the same as other athletes."<br><br>The move was lauded by local press and netizens.<br><br>But over in neighbouring Singapore, debate raged over the weekend regarding recent gold medal winner Yip Pin Xiu, who received S$200,000 (US$147,188) for her swimming achievement at Rio.<br><br>This is just one fifth of the S$1 million (US$735,943) given to Olympic gold swimmer Joseph Schooling after he beat Michael Phelps on the world stage last month.<br><br>Netizens registered their outrage at the "unfair treatment" on Facebook:<br><br><img data-credit-provider="custom type" src="" data-fragment="m!fc8d" data-image="" data-micro="1"><br><br><img data-credit-provider="custom type" src="" data-fragment="m!933a" data-image="" data-micro="1"><br><br><img data-credit-provider="custom type" src="" data-fragment="m!1c56" data-image="" data-micro="1"><br><br><img style="float:left;margin:10px;border:none;" src="" width="362" /><br><br>Yip's prize money this time round is already higher than the S$100,000 (US$73,594) she got for her gold at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.<br><br>A similar public debate was sparked when it was revealed the country was offering just a fraction of the monetary award to Paralympians, and the amount was later raised, reported Today.<br><br>Singapore, which has always offered a S$1 million prize for Olympic gold, had never won one until Schooling's achievement last month.<br><br>Yip was Singapore's first Paralympic gold medal in 2008, where she broke a world record. Over the weekend in Rio she broke her own record and set another when she won the 100 metre backstroke S2 gold. <br><br><img data-credit-name="Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images" data-credit-provider="custom type" data-caption="Gold medalist Yip Pin Xiu of Singapore celebrates on the podium on day 2 of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games." src="" alt="Gold medalist Yip Pin Xiu of Singapore celebrates on the podium on day 2 of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games." data-fragment="m!1d1c" data-image="" data-micro="1"><br><br>Gold medalist Yip Pin Xiu of Singapore celebrates on the podium on day 2 of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.<br><br>Image:Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images<br><br><a href=''></a>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

Trucks :: Your Antique John Deere Tractor - 13 Sep 2016 21:58


[[html]]Although it seems that modern tractors have been a part of our landscape forever, the truth is, there are still plenty of antique tractors, that can be found everywhere, and you don' need to look in museums, either!<br><br><img src="" width="368" /><br><br>Antique tractors represent a beloved past time of restoration and even of use to the people who enjoy them, and you'll soon see that there are a wide variety of tractors that you can see on a fairly regular basis. <br><br>You'll find that there are plenty of antique tractors, including those from Farmall, Allis Chalmers, Ford and of course John Deere, that are still in service. If you have ever been curious about antique tractors, there is a lot of good information out there.<br><br>There are many different types of used John Deere tractors for sale. The different types include the compact utility, row-crop, specialty, utility, four-wheel drive, and track tractors. If you cannot afford a new tractor you might consider looking through antique tractors to find what you are looking for. You can get an old John Deere up and running for a very low start up costs.<br><br>The compact utility used John Deere tractors can be driven by anyone. They are really easy to use. You can mow up to 7 acres with these, till almost 4 acres, and lift up to almost 1300 pounds. You can even dig with the 16-inch bucket attached to it down to a little over 6 feet deep in the ground.<br><br>There are many antique farm tractors for sale you might consider for rowing crops. It is important you think about horsepower when you think about this type of a tractor. If you are going to use it you need to be sure it is for the type of farm for you. You should be sure it is fuel efficient for your farm size also. <br><br>A four-wheel drive John Deere tractors for sale are for the rougher terrain and the extra wet and muddy irrigating you might need to do on your farm. You cannot afford to get stuck in the middle of the farm. This will take time away from getting the crops going. Time is money and a four wheel drive tractor may be your best option for rainy days or soil that is often real moist and difficult to maneuver through.<br><br>If you are looking for smaller antique tractors for sale or small John Deere tractors for sale you might consider the specialty tractors. Usually a specialty tractor is used for things like a nursery and a greenhouse. They are not designed to be used out on the farm and you would run out of gas before you got very far if you tried.<br><br>The antique specialty tractors are designed with an excellent turning radius, an oscillating front axle, and a diesel engine. These can also run on the biodiesel fuels. You can take advantage of four-wheel drive with these smaller tractors also. They can lift over 1000 pounds and you have perfect visibility without a blind spot anywhere.<br><br>The utility antique farm tractors are the tractors that allow you to get the most work done on your farm the fastest. This can include mowing up to 40 acres, tilling approximately 15 acres, lifting over 4,000 pounds, and digging almost 10 feet deep with a 40 inch bucket. You can even bale up to 60 acres with the utility used John Deere tractors for sale. Another excellent feature of these tractors is that they include a cab if you want one. This allows you to continue working when the weather conditions are bad. You can take advantage of tinted windows in the cab so you don't get sunburned or just to stay out of the rain but keep the work going. The cabs can be removed if you want to work with it off.<br><br>If you are looking for old John Deere tractors for sale for your farm it is a good choice. You can take advantage of saving on the high gas prices by switching over to biodiesel. Be sure the vintage tractors for sale you consider at least have a John Deere engine in them. There are many different types of tractors you can take advantage of for use on your farm.<br><br>&#13;<br><br><a href=''></a><br><br>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

Business News, Personal Finance and Money News - 13 Sep 2016 20:30


[[html]]Automatic emergency braking can help prevent car crashes or reduce their severity by…<br><br>The agreement announced today affects nearly all light-duty cars and trucks with a…<br><br>This agreement will expedite automatic emergency braking standards three years faster…<br><br>Every time a new safety technology becomes standard on modern cars it adds to the costs…<br><br>"<br><br>newsbulletin.nbFooter = ""<br><br>append widget header<br><br>$("#newsbulletin &gt; .midcontainer").append("");<br><br>$("#newsbulletin &gt; .midcontainer").append(newsbulletin.nbContainer);<br><br>$("#newsbulletin &gt; .midcontainer").append(newsbulletin.nbFooter);<br><br>newsbulletin.nbDiv = document.getElementById('nbItemContainer');<br><br>nbjsId = 0;<br><br>newsbulletin.load = function()<br><br>alert(newsbulletin.baseloc+'/xmldata/newsbulletin?id=14640490&amp;twOverride=&amp;lpos='+newsbulletin.lpos+'&amp;section=&amp;'+nbjsId)<br><br>to try and handle caching in webkit browsers<br><br>dynamicJS.load('newsBulletin'+nbjsId, newsbulletin.baseloc+'/xmldata/newsbulletin?id=14640490&amp;twOverride=&amp;lpos='+newsbulletin.lpos2+'&amp;section=&amp;'+nbjsId);<br><br>dynamicJS.load('newsBulletin','');<br><br>display items<br><br>newsbulletin.displayItems = function(nbItemObj)<br><br>check if status update<br><br>this.isStatusUpdate = (nbItemObj.label == 'Status Update')?true:false;<br><br>item type class<br><br>this.itemTypeClass = (this.isStatusUpdate)?'orange':'blue';<br><br>bg position<br><br>this.itemBgPos = '100% 55%';<br><br>if(nbItemObj.bgPos != null)<br><br>this.itemBgPos = nbItemObj.bgPos;<br><br>author image<br><br>this.nbItemStyle = '';<br><br>this.nbH4Class = 'class=nbheader';<br><br>this.nbH4Style = '';<br><br>this.nbItemStyleAuthor = '';<br><br>if(nbItemObj.authorimage != null &amp;&amp; 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.nbFooter").css("display":"none");<br><br>var timeoutId = setTimeout(function() <br><br>$("#newsbulletin &gt; .midcontainer &gt; .nbFooter").css("display":"block");<br><br>clearTimeout(timeoutId);<br><br>, 3000);<br><br>7500)<br><br>setInterval(<br><br>function()<br><br>window.api.getContentPane().html(<br><br>newsbulletin.load()<br><br>);<br><br>,<br><br>120000<br><br>);<br><br>setInterval(function() <br><br> we could call "pane.jScrollPane(settings)" again but it is<br><br>// more convenient to call via the API as then the original<br><br>// settings we passed in are automatically remembered.<br><br>// Initialization of the container should be done after all the markup has been loaded<br><br>// since there is no listener that could be passed into reinitialise() for callback<br><br>if (isDoneLoading)<br><br>window.api.reinitialise();<br><br>isDoneLoading = false;<br><br>, 5000);<br><br>;<br><br>addOnload(newsbulletin.load());<br><br><img style="float:right;margin:10px;border:none;" src="" width="257" /><br><br><a href=''></a><br><br>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

Farm Loan Crisis of 1980s Demonstrates How "Stripdowns" Worked without Working - 13 Sep 2016 18:41


[[html]]The longer this foreclosure crisis drags on, the clearer it is that voluntary loan modification programs are inadequate to meet the needs of millions of borrowers with homes worth less than the mortgages. A recent commentary published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland shows how an old tool could be used in this new context to help underwater borrowers.<br><br>The fact that the current modification programs, such as the Home Affordable Modification Program, are voluntary means that homeowners have little power to force reluctant mortgage loan servicers to the bargaining table. While several "judicial foreclosure" jurisdictions (where foreclosures must be approved by a judge) are implementing mandatory or voluntary court-supervised mediation programs that bring homeowners and servicers to the table, such programs are too few to address the nationwide problem of ongoing foreclosures.<br><br>Continuing to rely exclusively on voluntary modifications and expect a different result would be irrational and irresponsible. There are other options proven to be more effective at keeping people in their homes, such as allowing judges to modify mortgage loans on primary residences through the bankruptcy process. Under this option, bankruptcy judges would reduce the balance of the mortgage loan to the current market value of the home and turn the remaining balance into an unsecured claim that would be treated the same as other unsecured debts in the Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. Almost any kind of secured loan, including mortgages on rental properties and vacation homes, can be modified through bankruptcy under current law-except loans for primary residences. When this exclusion was established, housing represented a borrower's most stable investment. With home values on the decline, a home mortgage now represents many borrowers' most volatile investment.<br><br>When Illinois Senator Dick Durbin proposed the idea of judicial modification for primary residences (S. 61) in 2009, it was shot down by the financial industry as a bankruptcy "cramdown." Opponents argued that allowing judicial modification would create a "moral hazard" by allowing debtors to get out their debts and discouraging other borrowers who could afford to pay from keeping current on their payments, lead to higher mortgage interest rates/reduce the availability of credit, prompt an avalanche of bankruptcy petitions, and/or give judges too much power.<br><br><img style="float:left;margin:10px;border:none;" src="" width="362" /><br><br>The Cleveland Fed piece is fascinating because it documents how the same objections were raised in opposition to judicial modification of family farm loans (the process was then called "stripdown") during the agricultural lending crisis of the 1980's, and how none of the feared results came to pass after Congress allowed farm mortgage stripdowns by creating a new Chapter 12 of the Bankruptcy Code. According to the authors, "the actual negative impact of the farm stripdown legislation was minor." Furthermore, "what was most interesting about Chapter 12 is that it worked without working… [I]nstead of flooding bankruptcy courts, Chapter 12 drove the parties to make private loan modifications. In fact, although the General Accounting Office reports that more than 30,000 bankruptcies were expected the year Chapter 12 went into effect, only 8,500 were filed in the first two years."<br><br>The Chapter 12 reforms have been on the books for more than two decades now. While the authors note that there are some important differences between the agricultural foreclosure crisis of the 1980's and the current home foreclosure crisis, we can learn some lessons from the earlier crisis. The authors concluded that "the effects of the stripdown provision… on the availability and terms of agricultural credit suggest that there has been little if any economically significant impact on the cost and availability of that credit."<br><br>Now that we understand how allowing judicial modification of mortgages on primary residences through bankruptcy would likely result in most parties negotiating private modifications without causing other significant adverse consequences, it's time for our policymakers to allow use of this proven tool to help stop the current tsunami of foreclosures.<br><br><img src="" width="327" /><br><br><a href=''></a><br><br>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

‚ÄčIn Mexico, it's avocado farms vs. the forest - 13 Sep 2016 17:10


[[html]]MEXICO CITY - Americans' love for avocados and rising prices for the highly exportable fruit are fueling the deforestation of central Mexico's pine forests as farmers rapidly expand their orchards to feed demand.<br><br>Avocado trees flourish at about the same altitude and climate as the pine and fir forests in the mountains of Michoacan, the state that produces most of Mexico's avocados. That has led farmers to wage a cat-and-mouse campaign to avoid authorities, thinning out the forests, planting young avocado trees under the forest canopy, and then gradually cutting back the forest as the trees grow to give them more sunlight.<br><br>"Even where they aren't visibly cutting down forest, there are avocados growing underneath [the pine boughs], and sooner or later they'll cut down the pines completely," said Mario Tapia Vargas, a researcher at Mexico's National Institute for Forestry, Farming and Fisheries Research.<br><br><img style="float:left;margin:10px;border:none;" src="" width="363" /><br><br>Given that Michoacan's forests contain much of the wintering grounds of the monarch butterfly, the deforestation is more than just an academic issue. Authorities have already detected small avocado plots in the monarchs' reserve where farmers have cut down pine forest.<br><br>Worse, Tapia Vargas said, a mature avocado orchard uses almost twice as much water as fairly dense forest, meaning less water reaches Michoacan's legendary crystalline mountain streams on which the forests and animals depend.<br><br>Greenpeace Mexico says people are likely to suffer, too.<br><br><img style="float:left;margin:10px;border:none;" src="" width="362" /><br><br>"Beyond the displacement of forests and the effects on water retention, the high use of agricultural chemicals and the large volumes of wood needed to pack and ship avocados are other factors that could have negative effects on the area's environment and the well-being of its inhabitants," Greenpeace said in a statement.<br><br>The two-lane rural roads that cut through the mountains are choked with lines of heavy trucks carrying avocados out and pickers in to the orchards.<br><br>But it is hard to argue farmers out of the economic logic of growing avocados.<br><br>"Avocado farming is very attractive, because of the prices being the way they are," Tapia Vargas said.<br><br>Avocado prices jumped from around 86 cents apiece in January to around $1.10 in July, partly because of weak seasonal supply from Mexico. And the peso lost 16 percent of its value against the dollar over the past year, making exports cheaper for the U.S. customers. Mexican farmers can make much higher profits growing avocados than from most other crops.<br><br>It is the enormous U.S. appetite for avocados that has driven the expansion. Between 2001 and 2010, avocado production in Michoacan tripled, but exports rose 10 times, according to a report published in 2012 by Tapia Vargas' institute.<br><br>And if Super Bowl guacamole has had this effect, just wait for skyrocketing demand from China, where imports of Mexican avocados have been growing by about 200 percent annually.<br><br>"You can imagine what it will take (to supply) the Chinese market," Michoacan Gov. Silvano Aureoles told local media in July.<br><br>The Tapia Vargas report suggested the expansion caused loss of forest land of about 1,700 acres (690 hectares) a year from 2000 through 2010.<br><br>Ignacio Vidales, another government researcher who specializes in avocados, said he believes the deforestation rate has slowed, in part because authorities are taking it more seriously. "We think that it is less, because there is more enforcement now than in previous years," said Vidales.<br><br>Authorities have begun to fight back.<br><br>On July 31, federal police in Morelia, the Michoacan state capital, detained 13 people and seized two avocado plants and two vehicles that were being used to turn a recently deforested plot into an orchard.<br><br>Police said 260 pine trees and 87 firs had been cut down on a 12-acre (4.7-hectare) plot to make room for 1,320 avocado saplings. While the trees take seven years to reach maturity, if each bore 100 avocados a year — a fairly low yield — those farmers could make as much as $500,000 annually from the plot, a fortune for area farmers.<br><br>"More than anything else, it is economic pressure," Vidales said. "They have seen that planting avocados is more profitable than planting corn, or other crops, or even the forest."<br><br><a href=''></a><br><br>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

Meet Your Taxpayer-Subsidized Farm Bill Billionaires! - 13 Sep 2016 15:16


[[html]]When most people think about farm subsidies, chances are they do not immediately think "massive taxpayer money boondoggle that should be cut from the federal budget immediately." They've probably heard about how hard it is out there for small family farmers, doing honest work in the world, keeping everyone fed and maintaining our institutional repository of agricultural practices. Surely, these subsidies are helping to keep an important way of life alive for the True Sons of Soil and Toil … like, say, multi-billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.<br><br>Wait. What? He's a farmer?<br><br>Ha ha, yes. As it turns out, your taxpayer dollars "subsidize" the "farming" that's being done by a host of mega-rich superstars from the Forbes 400 list, none of whom you'd immediately associate with the sort of hardscrabble agri-artisan who's in need of a leg up from the federal government. But their numbers are legion. According to the Environmental Working Group, "at least 50 billionaires or farm businesses in which they had a financial interest benefited from $11.3 million in traditional farm subsidies between 1995 and 2012." And the farm bill currently being considered contains changes that will likely increase the subsidies these billionaires take away.<br><br>It would also affect several members of Congress. As we reported back in June, there's a $237,921 kitty of farm subsidies currently going to fifteen lawmakers or their spouses. That includes people like Reps. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) and Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), who are apparently budding ironists in the world of government handouts:<br><br>Reps. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) and Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) both cited the Bible last week to argue that while individual Christians have a responsibility to feed the poor, the federal government does not.<br><br>"We're all here on this committee making decisions about other people's money," Fincher said.<br><br>LaMalfa said that while it's nice for politicians to boast about how they've helped their constituents, "That's all someone else's money."<br><br>Yet both men's farms have received millions in federal assistance, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit that advocates for more conservation and fewer subsidies. LaMalfa's family rice farm has received more than $5 million in commodity subsidies since 1995, according to the group's analysis of data from the U.S. Agriculture Department, while Fincher's farm has received more than $3 million since then.<br><br>Last year alone, Fincher's farm received $70,574 and LaMalfa's got $188,570.<br><br>It's probably pretty embarrassing for those guys to be subjected to stories that point out what staggering hypocritical bastards they are, so Congress is trying to change the law to make things a lot less transparent. As HuffPost reported:<br><br><object width="400" height="241"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="400" height="241"></embed></object><br><br>The House and Senate farm bill drafts eliminate most direct payments and instead boost subsidies for farmers to buy crop insurance policies that protect against losses from weather or price changes. Since the government divulges the names of people who get the payments but not the insurance subsidies, the Environmental Working Group's Scott Faber says the bills as they stand now would reduce government transparency.<br><br>"Although much ballyhooed, the end of direct payments really heralds the replacement of an inequitable and transparent safety net with a more inequitable and less transparent safety net," Faber said. "Crop insurance subsidies have no limits on who can receive them and the amount they can receive."<br><br>Both chambers of Congress have passed versions of the farm bill, and right now a conference committee is working to resolve differences between them. So you should click over to the EWG's analysis and take one last look at the billionaire beneficiaries of taxpayer farm handouts before our ability to track them transparently vanishes in the fog of this new law.<br><br><object width="400" height="241"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="400" height="241"></embed></object><br><br>"Farm programs that benefit billionaires are indefensible and irresponsible," writes Alex Rindler, the EWG policy associate who authored the analysis. "The information shows that our broken policies propped up the richest few at the expense of taxpayers and struggling families - that's a backwards vision that no one should be proud of."<br><br>Here are some highlights:<br><br>Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft<br><br><img alt="paul allen microsoft" src=""/><br><br>Net worth: $15.8 billion<br><br>His Kona Residence Trust received $14,429 in barley subsidies from 1996 to 2006.<br><br>Philip Anschutz, owner of Anschutz Entertainment Group and co-founder of Major League Soccer<br><br><img alt="philip anschutz" src=""/><br><br>Net worth: $10 billion<br><br>His Clm Company received $553,323 in cotton, wheat, sorghum, corn, oat, barley and other farm subsidies from 1995-2003. His Equus Farms received $53,291 in livestock subsidies in 2002.<br><br>S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A<br><br><img alt="truett" src=""/><br><br>Net worth: $6 billion<br><br>His Rock Ranch LLC received $4,536 in livestock subsidies in 2003.<br><br>Richard DeVos, co-founder of Amway<br><br><img alt="richard devos" src=""/><br><br>Net worth: $6.8 billion<br><br>His Ada Holdings LLC received $37,986 in corn, wheat and soybean subsidies from 2001 to 2006.<br><br>Charles Ergen, co-founder of DISH Network<br><br><img alt="charles ergen dish network" src=""/><br><br>Net worth: $12.5 billion<br><br>His Telluray Ranch received $117,826 in crop and livestock disaster payments from 2002 to 2008.<br><br>Jim Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises<br><br><img alt="kennedy cox enterprises" src=""/>Net worth: $6.7 billion<br><br>Kennedy received $37,162 in rice, corn, sorghum, wheat, soybean, sunflower and other farm subsidies from 1996 to 2004. His York Woods At Yonkapin Cutoff LLC, received $19,545 in rice, sorghum and soybean subsidies from 2002 to 2003.<br><br>Leonard Lauder, former CEO of the Estee Lauder Companies Inc.<br><br><img alt="leonard lauder" src=""/><br><br>Net worth: $7.6 billion<br><br>His Horizon Organic Dairy Idaho Farm received $360,102 in wheat, diary, barley, corn and other farm subsidies from 1997 to 2004. His Horizon Organic Dairy Maryland Farm received $202,088 in dairy, corn, soybean, wheat and other farm subsidies from 1998 to 2005.<br><br>Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce<br><br><img alt="penny pritzker" src=""/><br><br>Net worth: $2.2 billion<br><br>Her Chicago Mill &amp; Lumber Co. received $1,604,288 in cotton, soybean, corn, sorghum, wheat, rice, oat and other farm subsidies from 1996 to 2006.<br><br>Charles Schwab, founder of brokerage firm Charles Schwab Corporation<br><br><img alt="charles schwab founder of charles schwab" src=""/><br><br>Net worth: $5.1 billion<br><br>Schwab received $525,593 in rice and other farm subsidies from 1995 to 2003.<br><br>Alice and Jim Walton, Wal-Mart heirs<br><br><img alt="alice jim walton" src=""/><br><br>Net worth: $33.5 billion and $33.8 billion, respectively.<br><br>Their Robson Ranch Inc. received $261,292 in crop disaster payments, wheat, soybean, corn and other farm subsidies from 1995 to 2008.<br><br>Leslie Wexner, CEO of L Brands Inc., which owns Victoria's Secret<br><br><img alt="leslie wexner limited brands" src=""/><br><br>Net worth: $5.7 billion<br><br>His LAW Plantation Co. LLC received $209,717 in wheat, corn, sorghum and oat subsidies from 1997 to 2003. <br><br><img src="" width="290" /><br><br>CORRECTION: This article originally identified Richard DeVos as a former candidate for governor of Michigan. That was his son, Richard Marvin DeVos, Jr. We apologize for the error.<br><br>[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not?]<br><br><img src="" width="288" /><br><br><a href=''></a>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

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