[imgcontainer right] [img:4c6bf5f60d035.preview-300.jpeg] Christie Vilsack, wife of the agriculture secretary, is to announce a run for Congress Tuesday. She has moved to Ames, Iowa, to oppose a very conservative Republican, Rep. Steve King. [/imgcontainer]

Amish have established ten new settlements in New York since the start of 2010, report researchers at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. 

Amish are moving to New York State from Ohio and Pennsylvania in search of affordable farmland. The total Amish population in the state has grown by a third in the last two years, to 13,000.

Prof. Don Kraybill said there is a certain “contagion” effect at work, as people find productive and underpriced land and the word spreads through the larger Amish community. The same thing happened in the 1980s and ’90s, when the Amish community expanded in Kentucky.

One of the attractions of New York, Kraybill said, is its ruralness. “If you want to get away from the suburbs and the high-tech world, there are more places to hide in New York,’’ he said.

• We’re not big into carrying bottles of water wherever we go. But we do note that Loretta Lynn developed a bad case of dehydration while working in her garden. Caused her to miss two weekend shows. 

• Yes, food prices are high, write two researchers in Foreign Affairs magazine. And that is working hardships on poor people and their governments. But food price volatility is not all that out of line. 

Food price volatility hurts producers (farmers), write Christopher Barrett and Marc Bellemare, since farmers “make all their investments in seeds, fertilizer, and equipment at the start of the growing season, before the post-harvest price is known. If prices in the year ahead look unstable, farmers may invest less than usual, with the consequence that they no longer maximize profits and also produce less food to sell.”

The big problem, the authors say, is high food prices. These can be lessened by more research, fewer trade barriers and “focus on innovative ways to reduce post-harvest losses, which run to nearly 50 percent in many low-income countries, often due to insufficient or sub-standard storage, refrigeration, and processing facilities.”

• Delta Airlines is dropping flights to 24 small cities in the Midwest, saying it can’t make money on these routes. The cities are in Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Christie Vilsack is expected to announce a run for Congress Tuesday in Iowa. She is the wife of U.S. Ag Secretary (and former Iowa governor) Tom Vilsack.

Christie Vilsack moved to Ames, Iowa, in May to put herself in a position to challenge Rep. Steve King, a very conservative Republican. 

• Telecom firms are worried that Congress may decide to pay down the deficit with the Universal Service Fund, $8 billion devoted to subsidizing telephone service for rural and low-income households.

The Federal Communications Commission hopes to use the USF to extend broadband to rural areas. Some in Congress, however, have talked of taking $1 billion from the fund to pay down the deficit. 

• A woman in Oak Park, Michigan, was charged with a misdemeanor for violating a city ordinance. What did she do? She planted a garden in her front yard

• The green flag at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday said “American Ethanol,” as the fuel’s promoters turn to NASCAR to build support for the corn-based fuel. 

• The Japanese worry about their meat supply as some cattle from the Fukushima area have been fed rice straw containing high levels of radioactive cesium

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