[imgcontainer right] [img:daniel_woodrell_large.jpeg] Daniel Woodrell lives in the Ozarks and he writes about the Ozarks. His novel, Winter’s Bone, was turned into an Oscar-nominated movie. [/imgcontainer]

A Missouri legislator is pressing a law that would protect the owners of large hog farms from lawsuits. It limits the liability of those who are causing a nuisance (if that’s what you call it) to the fair market value of the property being affected. 

An example (as we understand the bill): If a large confined animal facility opens next to your house, making it uninhabitable, you can sue the owner of the facility for only the value of your property. The bill is being offered by Sen. Brad Lager, a Savannah Republican and has been passed out of committee.

Sen. Lugar says he has introduced the bill to protect Premium Standard Farms, a hog producer that employes 3,000 people in Gentry, Grundy, Linn, Mercer and Sullivan counties. “Pigs aren’t going to stop stinking,” Mr. Lager told a crowd in Andrew County recently. “I don’t know how to make pigs not stink.” 

• A new Washington Post poll finds that white Americans who have not been to college have a particularly gloomy view of the nation’s future. The paper reports

A mere 10 percent of whites without college degrees say they are satisfied with the nation’s current economic situation. Most – 56 percent – say the country’s best days are in the past, and more, 61 percent, say it will be a long time before the economy begins to recover. 

Fully 43 percent of non-college whites say “hard work and determination are no guarantees of success,” and nearly half doubt that they have enough education and skills to compete in the job market.

• Walmart Stores reports fourth quarter earnings that rose 27% — and the Bentonville, Arkansas, company predicted higher full year earnings.

The increase in sales came largely from its international business.

• The Los Angeles Times interviews Daniel Woodrell, the author of the novel Winter’s Bone that inspired the movie by the same name. Woodrell lives in West Plains, Missouri, on the Arkansas border, and most of his books are set in the Ozarks. 

“It’s always been hard to make a living here,” Woodrell said in a telephone interview. “You don’t feel any requirement to strut around, acting like you have more than you have.”

• Chris Clayton reports that the House voted late last week against an amendment that would cap farm payments at $250,000. The House voted 241-186 to defeat this amendment. Republicans led the way in defeating this proposal.

Those against the amendment said it was unfair to change the rules in the middle of a planting season and that any cuts to subsidies should be done in writing the 2012 farm bill. 

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