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INDUSTRIAL HEMP

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he’ll soon file a bill legalizing industrial hemp. Supporters say the bill will bring more certainty for farmers, agribusinesses and investors looking at the crop. (AP)

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RISING CROP PRICES?

RISING CROP PRICES? – Farmers may see a slight increase in 2018-19 crop prices, but shouldn’t expect averages to surpass the much sought after $4 mark for corn or $11 mark for soybeans. Despite the price bumps, farm margins are expected to remain tight. (FarmWeekNow.com)

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OPIOID CRISIS

OPIOID CRISIS – The U.S. Department of Agriculture will host monthly roundtables this summer on opioids. The goal is to raise awareness and better understand what support rural communities need to address opioid misuse. (USDA)

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HEMP OPPORTUNITY

A bill in the Illinois Senate would let local farmers grow industrial hemp, a less-potent form of marijuana, on a regulated basis. If approved, supporters say it could provide a boost for agriculture in the state and allow farmers to diversify. (Herald & Review)

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TARIFFS COMING?

President Trump is set to announce steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The move could spark retaliation from China, the world’s biggest producer of both. (Bloomberg)

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WE’RE #2

Financial site WalletHub reports Illinois’ property taxes are second-highest in the nation. The company says owners of an average home paid an effective real estate tax of more than $4,200. (Illinois News Network)

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RAUNER: AG DRIVES ILLINOIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner linked a strong Illinois economy to a healthy agriculture industry and promoted his budget plan during a visit Thursday to GROWMARK. He also highlighted several themes from his state budget message, especially the need to reduce income and property taxes. (FarmWeekNow.com)

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PAINFUL CHOICES

Ranchers in New Mexico are buying up as much alfalfa as they can to supplement feed supplies as drought continues in the west. Some cattle ranchers are reluctantly cutting herd sizes amid the unrelenting dry winter and unfavorable forecast. (Associated Press)

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FIGHTING THE OPIOID CRISIS

A new U.S. Department of Agriculture webpage features resources to help rural communities respond to the opioid crisis. An estimated one-half of the 63,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2016 involved opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin. (USDA)

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SLEUTHING FOR THE CENSUS

Two years before the next U.S. census, cities are scrambling to avert an undercount they fear could be unusually large for reasons both political and practical – and that could cost them federal funding and clout. The California housing crisis, the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston and lots of new construction in New York… read more

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