Relaxing Moo-ssage? Cow Indulges Herself at Colorado Dairy Farm



A happy cow named Maya was spotted enjoying herself in the straw at a Colorado dairy farm on January 21. This footage, by dairy farmer Kevin McSweeney, shows Maya working her head and neck into piles of straw at Five Freedoms Dairy in Galeton, a town about 30 miles east of Fort Collins. “Maya loves to help me spread the straw,” McSweeney wrote on Twitter. Credit: Kevin McSweeney via Storyful

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Demolition proposal for New Farm cottage heads to court


“The buildings are structurally unsound and therefore unsafe, are laid out in a manner that prevents casual surveillance, are an entrapment location, and cannot be secured to restrict access,” a report presented to the council said.

“The buildings are therefore deemed to present a safety issue to surrounding properties and the wider community.”

The property, originally used as a convenience store and tucked behind the Brunswick Hotel, was also reported to be sinking on one side, with one building sinking away from the other.

The reports concluded the work needed to get the cottage structurally sound would reach a “substantial” estimated cost of $220,000, not including work to bring the building up to a liveable standard such as installing a new kitchen, bathroom and other living requirements.

In October, the council acknowledged the application for demolition and noted that public notification would be required for at least 15 business days as the application was impact assessible.

Development applications are typically either code assessable or impact assessible: the latter meaning the council must take into account public opinion on a development, and the former meaning the application is assessed against legislation only.

The rear of the property, showing the outbuilding.

Planners Murray Bell wrote to the council on behalf of Mr Ellis in December, noting the council viewed the application as impact assessible and requiring the 15 days public notification.

The letter argued that, having submitted updated structural engineering reports that gave the council more information and complied with planning codes, the demolition should not be subject to public input.

“Accordingly, we request council issue an amended Confirmation Notice confirming the development need not be subject to public notification,” the letter concluded.

On January 19, Mr Ellis lodged an appeal with the Planning Court, requesting the court order the council to assess the demolition application against the code, rather than as an impact assessment.

“… The development application must be subject to code assessment,” the appeal says.

“Notwithstanding, [council] maintains that the development application must be subject to impact assessment.”

Council has not yet responded to the court appeal. A directions hearing is set for February 10.

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Farm reforms much-needed, repeal won’t help: SC panel


The farmers’ unions even made it clear they would not talk to any committee members, after which Mann recused himself from the panel

New Delhi: Under sharp attack from the protesting farmers’ unions for their “pro-government” public stand on the three contentious agricultural reform laws, members of a panel set up by the Supreme Court to resolve the crisis said Tuesday they will “keep aside their own ideology and views” while consulting various stakeholders, even as they indicated a complete repeal won’t augur well for the much-needed agriculture reforms.

After their first meeting at Delhi’s Pusa Agriculture University on Tuesday, a key panel member and president of the Maharashtra-based Shetkari Sanghatana, Anil Ghanwat, said the farm sector reforms were much needed and no political party in the next 50 years would ever attempt them again if these laws were repealed. He said the panel would listen to all farmers, including those supporting and those opposing the laws, and then prepare a report for the Supreme Court.

 

Noting their “biggest challenge” was to convince the protesting farmers to appear before the panel, Ghanwat said the first meeting with the stakeholders had been scheduled for Thursday. So far, nine rounds of talks have also taken place between the government and the agitating unions without any concrete resolution. The next round of talks between the farmers’ representatives and the Centre are now scheduled for 2 pm on Wednesday at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan.

Ghanwat said the court-appointed committee had decided to listen to the views of the protesting unions on a priority basis, as it wants them to end their two-month agitation at Delhi’s borders at the earliest. He also said, however, that the laws implemented over the last 70 years were not in the interests of farmers, and 4.5 lakh farmers have committed suicide. “Farmers are getting poor and are under debt. Some changes are needed. Those changes were happening, but then the protest began,” he added.

 

After staying the implementation of the three farm laws, the Supreme Court had on January 11 appointed Ghanwat, Bhartiya Kisan Union president Bhupinder Singh Mann and agricultural economists Ashok Gulati and Pramod Kumar Joshi as members of a committee to ascertain the views of the stakeholders on the contentious laws.

The committee members came under sharp criticism by the protesting farmers and the Opposition for publicly supporting the new laws. The farmers’ unions even made it clear they would not talk to any committee members, after which Mann recused himself from the panel.

The 81-year-old Mann, a former Rajya Sabha member, said: “As a farmer myself and a union leader, in view of the prevailing sentiments and apprehensions amongst the farm unions and the public in general, I am ready to sacrifice any position offered or given to me so as to not compromise the interests of Punjab and farmers of the country.”

 

Ghanwat said the panel was keen to know whether the farmers want these laws repealed or not. “A physical meeting will be held with those organisations who want to meet us in person. Video conferencing will be held with those who can’t come to us.”

He said: “If the government wants to come and speak with us, we welcome it. We will hear the government too. The biggest challenge is to convince the agitating farmers to come and speak with us. We will try our level best.”

Ghanwat also made it clear the panel “will not meet representatives of those farm unions that were formed recently”. The statement assumes significance in the wake of reports that the BJP was now registering new farmers’ unions as a way to sway the dialogue in favour of the laws, and that these unions were meeting ministers and submitting memos.

 

Joshi said: “We are also setting up a website where people can post their suggestions… We are unbiased, impartial.” Even the Supreme Court seemed to defend the selection of the panel members. “Opinions can change,” Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde said in an unrelated case, in a possible reference to criticism of the panel members.

CJI Bobde said: “If you appoint a committee and if they had taken a view (earlier) it does not mean they should not be in the committee… It is okay. You have taken a view and you are entitled to change your opinion. Generally, there is a peculiar lack of comprehension on the constitution of a committee. They are not judges.”

 

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Ploughing on – India’s Supreme Court suspends the government’s farm reforms | Asia


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Farm talks stuck after 9 rounds, next round on January 19


One of the major challenges before the govt is to ensure that the farmers call off their proposed tractor march to Delhi on Republic Day

New Delhi: The ninth round of talks on Friday between the Central government and the protesting farmers’ unions over the three agricultural reform laws again failed to break the deadlock as the two sides were unable to reach common ground on the issues of repeal of the laws and the Minimum Support Price (MSP) Act.

The next round of talks has been scheduled on Tuesday, January 19, the day when the Supreme Court-appointed committee was due to start its consultations with stakeholders to end the impasse. Friday’s was the first meeting after the court stayed the implementation of the farm laws till further orders and announced formation of a four-member panel to hear the grievances of the farmers and the government’s views.

 

Just two days after the committee was named by the court, Bhupinder Singh Mann, president of BKU (Mann) and chairman of All India Kisan Coordination Committee, recused himself from the panel, saying: “I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab”.

One of the major challenges before the government is to ensure that the farmers call off their proposed tractor march to Delhi on Republic Day. On Monday, the Supreme Court will have to decide on a petition by the Centre, moved through the Delhi police, to stop the protesters from holding any rally that could disrupt the Republic Day parade.

While the Centre insists the laws introduced in September will unshackle farmers from having to sell their produce only at regulated wholesale markets, the protesting farmers say the bills are meant to benefit private buyers.

 

After meeting 41 representatives of farmers’ unions, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said: “Today’s talks with the farmers unions were inconclusive. We will hold talks again on January 19. We are positive (about) reaching a solution through talks.” During the negotiations, he urged the union leaders to be “flexible” in their approach. Besides Mr Tomar, Union ministers Piyush Goyal and Som Parkash, who is an MP from Punjab, were also present at the meeting which lasted for around five hours.

Mr Tomar said the government was concerned about the health of the farmers who have been camping on Delhi’s outskirts for almost two months. The farmers’ round-the-clock sit-ins in cold weather have also led to some deaths among them.

 

Mr Tomar said he has no problem with the fact that the unions want to continue their talks only with the government, but also said the court-appointed panel will also continue its work. On the Congress’ protest led by Rahul Gandhi in support of the agitating farmers, he said: “Congress leaders laugh at the statements and actions of Rahul Gandhi, (they) mock him. I would like to tell him that in their 2019 election manifesto, the Congress had promised that they will bring this reform. If he does not remember, he should read the manifesto again.”

Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesman Rakesh Tikait, who has been at the forefront of the agitation for over seven weeks at Delhi’s borders, said: “Our demands of repealing of the three farm laws & MSP guarantee remain. We will not go to the committee constituted by the Supreme Court. We’ll talk to the Central government only.” All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee member Kavita Kuruganti said: “Both the government and the farmers’ unions have reaffirmed their commitment to continue with the direct dialogue process.”

 

Farmers’ leader Joginder Singh Ugrahan said the unions have urged the government to repeal the three laws, but the Centre was unwilling to do so. “We decided to meet again on January 19 at 12 noon.” He said the union leaders also raised the issue of the NIA raids on transporters in Punjab who are supporting the farmers’ protests and providing logistics support for the agitation.

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Bhupinder Singh Mann recuses himself from SC committee on farm laws


Chandigarh: Bhartiya Kisan Union president Bhupinder Singh Mann, who was one of the four members of the Supreme Court-appointed committee on farm laws, on Thursday said he is recusing himself from the panel. Mann said he is thankful to the apex court for nominating him on the committee but would sacrifice any position offered to him so as not to compromise the interests of farmers.



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India farmers protests: Supreme Court puts three contentious farm bills on hold


In an order issued Tuesday, the court said that the decision to suspend the laws “may assuage the hurt feelings of the farmers and encourage them to come to the negotiating table with confidence and good faith.”

The laws were first passed in September. For decades, the Indian government has offered guaranteed prices to farmers for certain crops, providing long-term certainty that allows them to make investments for the next crop cycle. The new laws, initiated by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, instead allowed farmers to sell their goods to anyone for any price — giving them more freedom to do things such as sell directly to buyers and sell to other states.

But farmers argued that the new rules would leave them worse off by making it easier for corporations to exploit agricultural workers, and help big companies drive down prices. While farmers could sell crops at elevated prices if the demand is there, conversely, they could struggle to meet the minimum price in years when there is too much supply in the market.

More than 100,000 people have been protesting the laws since late November.

There have been sit-ins lasting days along each of New Delhi’s three borders. Farmers have blocked roads and set up makeshift camps, some sleeping on the road or in their tractors. They arrived from numerous different states to participate in the mass protests, at times clashing with police.

All the while, the government has held eight rounds of talks with leaders of more than 30 farmers’ unions that are opposed to the laws — but the talks went nowhere.

The stalemate prompted the Supreme Court to suspend the laws on Tuesday and order the formation of a four-member mediation committee to help the parties negotiate in a “congenial atmosphere.” The mediation committee must meet within 10 days and submit its first report within two months of that meeting, according to the order.

The court also said on Tuesday that the minimum support price protection would be maintained until further orders — one of the primary points of friction between the government and farmers. Under the court order, “no farmer shall be dispossessed or deprived of his title as a result of any action taken under the Farm Laws.”

However, the umbrella group representing farmers’ unions, Samyukt Kisan Morcha, has repeatedly said it would not participate in any court-appointed mediation — and reiterated this point after the new order was issued.

Thousands of people are protesting with farmers in India. This is why you should care

“This is the mischief of the government that they want to relieve pressure from their shoulders so they have asked for this Supreme Court committee, to which we are opposed,” farmers’ leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said at a news conference on Tuesday, adding that the committee members are all pro-government.

The attorney general representing the government in the matter also criticized the Supreme Court order, saying they “opposed vehemently” any interim stay.

The laws have been so contentious because agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58% of India’s 1.3 billion population, and farmers have been arguing for years to get the minimum guaranteed prices increased. They are the biggest voter block in the country — making farming a central political issue.

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Indian Supreme Court stays contentious farm laws – NewsIn.Asia


New Delhi, January 12 (Reuters): India’s Supreme Court ordered an indefinite stay on Tuesday over the implementation of new agricultural laws that have triggered widespread protest from farmers, saying it would set up a panel to hear their objections.

For more than a month, tens of thousands of farmers have camped on the outskirts of New Delhi, the capital, to protest against reform measures that they say benefit large private buyers and farm growers.

Chief Justice Sharad Bobde told a hearing the Supreme Court would establish a panel to hear the farmers’ grievances.

“We have the power to make a committee and the committee can give us the report,” he said, ordering the stay for an undisclosed period on the laws passed in September.

“We will protect farmers.”

There were no immediate further details.

The government has said there was no question of such a rollback, and eight rounds of talks have failed to find common ground. The two sides are set to meet next on Friday.

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Farm worker from Timor Leste killed in Tasmanian crash



A 25-year-old Timor Leste man has been killed in a car crash on a private farm in Tasmania’s north.

The body of the man, who was working as a berry picker at the farm in Exton, near Deloraine, was found just before 6:00am Sunday.

Tasmania Police Inspector Ruth Orr said the man was driving a car on the property late Saturday night when he lost control negotiating a right-hand bend and was thrown out the car window.

“The car slid into an embankment and rolled into that embankment and rolled about 20 metres or so,” Inspector Orr said.

The man had a valid international drivers licence, but was not wearing a seatbelt — a factor Ms Orr said contributed to his death.

“Despite the fact this happened on a private property rather than a public street, it’s advisable to put your seatbelt on and drive to the conditions,” she said.

“Seatbelts save lives, particularly if the vehicle is involved in a rollover.”

Drugs and alcohol are not believed to have contributed to the crash.

Police are still investigating why the man, who lived in a workers residence on the farm, was driving at night.

Fellow workers in mourning

The farm, which supplies berries for Driscolls, employs a large number of seasonal workers, most of whom are from Timor Leste.

About 50 workers crowded around the site of the crash today in an impromptu grieving ceremony.

The man worked alongside his cousin. And he leaves behind a wife in his home country.

He had also worked on the farm last season.

Inspector Orr said the employees he worked alongside were very distressed.

“Because he worked here last year, he’s quite well known to the farm owner-operator,” she said.

“The other seasonal workers are quite upset about it, which is completely understandable.”

Complicated path back home

Inspector Orr said the process of repatriating the man’s body to Timor Leste was long.

“We’re working with the ambassador to Timor Leste through their embassy to get the appropriate authorisations,” she said.

“Firstly he’ll go to Hobart, where he’ll remain for the foreseeable future while we work through the coronial investigation and then at the earliest opportunity there’ll be arrangements made through the embassy to get his body back to Timor Leste, but I couldn’t  say how long that would take.”

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Smart farm supply chains could cut food waste by 50%


  • Food wastage worldwide could be reduced by 20% by the year 2025 and by 50% in 2030, if food and produce supply chains can be reoutfitted with IoT sensor labels

Approximately 1.6 billion tons of food per year are either lost or wasted globally, according to a recent study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAOUN), resulting in annual losses of US$1.2 trillion.

With ongoing resource scarcity and a ballooning global population, the UNhas set a target to cut down on food wastage by half within the next ten years. But Eseye, an Internet of Things (IoT) technology firm based out of the UK, believes that food wastage could be reduced by 20% by the year 2025 itself, and billions of IoT connected devices in food manufacturers’ supply chains could be the answer.

Eseye CEO Nick Earle believes that just like how smart farming technology is making a difference in other aspects of food production, the use of IoT batteries, and cellular connectivity can be printed onto flexible labels and implanted on food products – effectively enabling comprehensive visibility of the entire product supply chain.

“IoT has the power to dramatically overhaul the way we grow and transport the world’s food,” said Earle. “With a growing population and finite resources on our planet, we must become more efficient and end wastage.”

The UN asserts that roughly 14% of food wastage occurs after harvesting, but before reaching shops and markets, largely due to inefficiencies in farming practice. With IoT sensors providing real-time location and movement monitoring, along with temperature and humidity data, it is possible to monitor the entire supply chain instantly to identify defects and inefficiencies.

According to Eseye, the IoT labels can even measure the properties of fruit and vegetables such as the color, size, and shape, while they are still growing. That data can then be used to control growing conditions like water supply, helping accurately ascertain the best harvest date, and consequently determine the amount of stock that should be reduced from the outset, before it even enters the supply chain.

“By connecting every single part of the supply chain, we can grow, pick and ship only what we need, and then better care for that produce to ensure it reaches the fork unharmed,” noted Earle.

“IoT has traditionally been centered around big-ticket items such as machinery and consumer goods and electricals, but new technologies are making smaller sensors economically viable on a massive scale,” he added before noting that the biggest barrier to rolling out these IoT tracking labels would likely be the uneven mobile network access in different areas along the supply route, especially across different countries.

“The current mobile network model is not fit for purpose,” Earle said. “We need mobile operators to work together to enable devices to connect seamlessly anywhere in the world in a way that gives them the best possible connection, regardless of network provider.”



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