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Couple of things to look at this afternoon. The first is a front page story in today’s New York Times about problems in North Dakota. Apparently, the state has too many jobs and not enough houses and apartments. Okay, too many jobs these days is not much of a hassle. North D’s unemployment rate is down to 4% and the state’s construction industry can’t build housing fast enough for the people who work in the booming oil fields (above). People living — for long periods — in hotels, eating out of microwaves and snack machines. 

Tuesday afternoon the Senate Ag Committee voted to establish oversight of financial derivatives. The bill was written by Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln and it got one Republican vote, that of Charles Grassley, an Iowa farmer. Farmers use the futures markets all the time, but clearly they’ve gotten out of hand. Lincoln’s bill will make these market mechanisms more regulated. Read about it here and here.  

And in a New York Times, there’s a discussion of a recent article about the paucity of small slaughterhouses, a major impediment to small farmers trying to make a go of it in the meat business.  The number of slaughter houses is declining while the number of small farmers is increasing. The problem is particularly acute in the Northeast. In a New York Times blog, several people write about this issue. Thankfully, some of those in the discussion talk about the continuing consolidation of the meatpacking industry, a particular concern to us here at the Yonder. 

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