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A group of rural parents argued before the South Dakota Supreme Court Tuesday that rural schools don’t get enough state aid to provide an adequate education.

Attorneys for the parents said rural schools are penalized because they have fewer students than the state’s cities. The state now provides a $4,804 base for each student. The parents are asking that the justices find the state system unconstitutional.

“This is the crisis point, in rural South Dakota, especially,” said Ronald A. Parsons Jr., the attorney. “We can’t just herd everyone into certain counties.” 

• The chief justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court said the decline of lawyers in South Dakota’s small towns was creating a “rural sea of justice denied.” David Gilbertson made this observation during his State of the Judiciary Message to the legislature, but he proposed no plan to change the situation. 

Sam Brownback, the new Kansas governor (and ex senator) proposes to create Rural Opportunity Zones that will give tax breaks to people who move to counties that have experienced double-digit population declines. He says there are 40 such counties in Kansas. 

• In case you didn’t notice, 2010 was the wettest year on record.

It also tied 2005 as the hottest on record. Wet and hot is a nice combination. 

• The USDA reported that the corn harvest was 9 percent less than in 2009 and that stocks of corn were down 8 percent from November. That sent prices higher. 

DTN’s Alan Brugler wonders who will lose out as corn stockpiles disappear. Consumption is running ahead of demand and, right now, it doesn’t appear that farmers will plant enough corn to meet next year’s demand. 

• Sen. Mike Johanns, the Nebraska Republican, is warning Democrats that the Obama administration’s policies are undermining the “competitiveness of U.S. agriculture.” 

Among Johanns’ concerns are EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gasses and livestock marketing rules proposed by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).

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