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October 2015, Volume 21, Number 4

Rural America

California: Drought
The drought was the major farming story during summer 2015. An estimated 542,000 acres were fallowed in 2015, up from 490,00 acres in 2014, as

Meat and Migrants
Omaha-based Nebraska Beef in August 2015 agreed to pay $200,000 and create a fund to compensate workers who were not hired because of its employment

Labor, H-1B
The unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in September 2015, but job growth slowed to less than 150,000 a month, perhaps delaying US interest rate hikes.

Farm Workers

California: Trends, FLCs, AB 20
Don Villarejo, a leading farm labor researcher, highlighted 40 years of continuity and change in California agriculture and farm labor. The continuities include low incomes and poverty for many seasonal workers, while the changes include fewer and larger growers, more intermediaries who bring workers to farms, and fewer union contracts.

Florida, Southeast
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers in July 2015 announced that Ahold USA, owner of Giant and Stop & Shop, joined the Fair Food Program. Ahold USA

Northwest, Midwest, Northeast
Washington. The state Supreme Court on July 16, 2015 ruled that piece-rate workers must be compensated separately for their rest periods at their

UFW, ALRB, Unions
Heat. The UFW in June 2015 settled the so-called Bautista suits filed in 2009 and 2012 alleging that the state was not doing enough to protect farm


DAPA, Politics
President Obama's November 2014 executive order creating the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs remained on hold in summer 2015, as the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals considered a case filed by Texas and 25 other states arguing that DAPA and DACA imposed costs on the states and should have been subject to formal rulemaking.

DHS: ICE Audits, Visas
The US had an estimated 11.3 million unauthorized foreigners in 2013. Almost 93 percent were 18 and older, and they had been in the US a median 13

H-2A; H-2B
The Wall Street Journal on August 13, 2015 reported that, in response to fewer new Mexican entrants into the US farm work force, farmers are raising

Canada, Mexico
Quebec produces 70 percent of the world's maple syrup. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers has since 2004 managed the supply of maple

Global Migration
Europe. EU leaders faced several crises in summer 2015, including maintaining a united front to extend sanctions against Russia for its actions in

UN: SDGs, Recruitment
The UN in September 2015 endorsed 17 Sustainable Development Goals to be met by 2030 (Agenda 2030) to end poverty and hunger, ensure healthy lives


Trade: TPP, TTIP
Congress approved Trade Promotion Authority in June 2015, allowing the president to negotiate free-trade agreements that are subject to a yes or no

Wine, Food
The Napa wine grape harvest of Chardonnay for sparkling wine began July 22, 2015, the earliest date on record. A warm winter promises an early and

Global Pop, Ag, Ships
The UN revised upward its global population projections in July 2015. The 7.3 billion population in 2015 is projected to increase to 9.7 billion in

Climate Change
Climate change is expected to lead to more extreme weather, with floods and droughts becoming more common. Overshadowing more extreme weather is

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