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• The invaluable DTN has done a series of stories on fuel subsidies. Not just subsidies for ethanol, but all state and federal subsidies for all fuels.

Today, reporter Todd Neeley reports on state and local subsidies for ethanol. 

Neeley’s research finds that ethanol is more dependent on subsidies. That is, subsidies amount to a higher percentage of the fuel’s cost. But oil receives a larger total amount from the federal government.

Oil gets federal and state incentives totaling $17.9 billion annually. Ethanol receives $7.1 billion. Total subsidies to oil amount to between $133.2 billion and $280.8 billion. Read here for the details. 

•This is the time of year when we see lots of stories about how farmers and rural folks can make big money off of something that’s called “agri-tourism.” Another definition is having a bunch of strangers tromping around in your pasture.

Here, the Boston Globe finds lots of happy farmers making their homes open to people willing to spend a dollar or two. We figure there must be some money in this activity, but we wonder why a corn maze makes for a front page story while reports on seed ownership and GIPSA regulations never make print. 

• Nobody likes politicians or bankers, but Iowans still admire their farmers.

More than 9 out of ten Iowans have a positive view of the state’s farmers, according to the Iowa Poll. There is concern with farm pollution and food safety, however. 

• Story here about the troubles Rep. Chet Edwards, a Democrat, is having holding on to one of the more rural districts in Texas. 

Meanwhile, here is a story about how Republican Lisa Murkowski is on the verge of winning back her U.S. Senate seat as a write-in candidate. See Mark Trahant’s story on this page for a reason why — Native American voters. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/morning-fix/1-2-3-republican-sharron.html

• USDA says more conservation efforts are needed to reduce the flows of nitrogen and phosphorus into the Chesapeake Bay. 

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