Optimism About Farm Economy Remains Robust, Says New Economic Indicator

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – One year ago, Purdue and CME Group launched the Ag Economy Barometer, the first economic indicator to help gauge the monthly outlook of the U.S. farm economy. Since its inception, the barometer has measured farmers’ sentiment through market-moving events — such as Brexit, the U.S. presidential election and key agricultural reports — and continues to be an important tool for taking the temperature of the nation’s agricultural sector.
Each month, the barometer measures the confidence of 400 food producers regarding the farm economy and key economic drivers, resulting in a barometer reading that represents sentiment. The barometer reading is published on the first Tuesday of each month, indicating whether sentiment has improved or declined month over month or above or below the baseline score of 100.
Since Purdue and CME Group started fielding this research, the barometer has seen a significant rise in producer optimism from 116 to 130 points, due to unexpected factors beyond commodity prices. Sentiment began rising steadily after the U.S. presidential election in November and reached an all-time peak of 153 points in January, when Donald Trump took office.
“Over the last year, we learned that producer expectations are a driving force of sentiment, not solely day-to-day changes in commodity prices or even overall profitability,” says Jim Mintert, director of Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture and principal investigator for the barometer.
“While near-term economic conditions in agriculture barely changed around the election, producers’ attitudes improved with expectations of less regulation and tax reform down the line.”
“Agriculture is a key component of the global economy, so understanding the health of the farming community is critical to get the full picture,” says Fred Seamon, CME Group executive director of commodity research & product development.
“We’re pleased that the barometer is providing vital insight into an industry on which consumers so heavily rely, and will continue to do so.”
Results for the Ag Economy Barometer are tabulated and published on the first Tuesday of each month by Purdue University. To learn more about the barometer, survey methodology or to view the most recent results, visit www.purdue.edu/agbarometer

Fighting Fungal Lung Infections with Innovative Inhaled Technology

(NewsUSA) – Fungal infections in the lungs are a serious, underreported medical issue.Most people don’t realize that the air we breathe is laden with the spores of many different types of fungi and molds. For the large majority, this isn’t a problem. The spores either get trapped in our airway mucus and expelled, or are tackled and neutralized by our immune systems.But in many people, especially those with compromised immune systems or lungs, such as those who have cystic fibrosis (CF), the spores germinate into fungi that cause both serious infections and allergic reactions.Usually caused by the spore-forming mold, Aspergillus fumigatus, the problem is particularly acute in CF patients, with half of that patient population requiring treatment for fungal infections in their lungs and, in the case of severe asthma, affecting millions of patients."This infection can cause an allergic reaction, known as allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis or ABPA, that impairs lung function," explains Dr. Richard Moss, former chief of the Pediatric Pulmonary and Allergy Divisions at Stanford University.Fighting these fungal lung infections has been difficult.There are oral anti-fungal drugs, such as one called itraconazole. The problem is getting enough of the drug through the bloodstream to the lungs, where it’s needed. Getting sufficient lung concentrations requires giving high oral doses that can cause severe side effects, including liver toxicity.The ideal alternative would be to deliver the drug directly to the lungs of patients by inhalation. However, due to dosing limitations, standard inhalation technologies aren’t able to do this.But now there’s an innovative new technology from a Massachusetts-based company, Pulmatrix (NASDAQ:PULM), which uses small, dense particles that easily fly into the lungs. The company has incorporated itraconazole to the particles, enabling it to be efficiently delivered.Preclinical studies have already shown that Pulmatrix’s experimental anti-fungal inhaled drug can achieve high drug concentrations in the lungs, with very low amounts in the bloodstream."This inhaled drug technology has great potential to treat serious fungal infections and the allergies those infections cause without the dangerous side effects and drug-drug interactions of using oral drugs," says Moss. 

Central Florida’s Hidden Gems Shine in the Summer

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Florida may be best known as a winter- and spring- break getaway, but savvy travelers will tell you that the Sunshine State is most certainly a summer destination as well.
Florida is home to many diversions perfect for lazy summer days, especially when you head inland and away from the crowds.
Streamsong Resort, located between Tampa and Orlando in central Florida’s Polk County, is one off-the-beaten-path destination that truly shines during the summer.
Known for its nationally-ranked golf, the 16,000-acre property is home to soaring sand dunes, wide open fields, dense woods, deep lakes, and a lone palm tree, giving it a distinct “anywhere but Florida” look.
“Out-of-staters think Florida is just crowded beaches and theme parks,” says Richard Mogensen, Streamsong’s general manager.
“They’re shocked when they travel inland and experience a destination like Streamsong that’s more about relaxing and savoring their time off.”
While golf may be in the resort’s DNA, it has become known as a prime spot for outdoor enthusiasts.
In fact, Streamsong’s guided bass fishing tours routinely pull in fish weighing more than six pounds, and it’s not unusual for guests to reel in a catch north of eight pounds.
The property’s sporting clays course — located about 15 minutes from the Lodge, but, amazingly, still on the property — challenges guests to shoot over a variety of ravine landscapes from multiple stations, all the while being surrounded by local flora, fauna and wildlife. And, the adjacent archery range lets guests perfect their marksmanship in a serene natural setting.
Of course, you don’t have to be the outdoorsy type to enjoy Streamsong.
The lakeside infinity pool is prime for lounging and the resort’s grotto-style spa beckons guests seeking a slice of serenity.
“At Streamsong, relaxation is whatever you want it to be — whether it’s playing 36 holes of golf or spending the afternoon stretched out in a cabana,” Mogensen says.
For more information, go to www.streamsongresort.com or call 1-866-849-8582.

Reduce Your Risk of Dangerous Blood Clots

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Oral contraceptives are the most common form of hormonal birth control in the United States, and while research shows that they are safe and effective, the pill can carry risks like any other prescription medication.
The common risk factor for any form of hormonal birth control, including the pill, patch or ring, is the hormone estrogen, which increases the risk of dangerous blood clots, especially in women with a clotting disorder, a previous blood clot, or a family history of blood clots.
Some of the newer hormonal birth control pills poses a greater blood clot risk than the older oral hormonal contraceptives, and the use of hormonal birth control patches and rings poses an even greater blood clot risk.
It is important for women to know their risks of blood clots, and to understand their options for birth control.
In recognition of National Women’s Health Week, the National Blood Clot Alliance is partnering with the Alexandra L. Rowan Memorial Foundation to provide women with this essential information by encouraging them to go to www.womenandbloodclots.org.
On the Resources Page, women will find a risk assessment tool to help them determine, along with their doctor, their risk of blood clots, and also their best contraception options.

High-Tech Tools Preview Roof Repairs

The home improvement industry has embraced the digital age; online virtual-reality tools allow homeowners to easily preview, plan, and choose options for all types of remodeling. The development of these virtual-reality products can help prevent homeowners from making costly mistakes that must be repaired later.

Virtual reality is especially useful when it comes to choosing a roof, which is critical to the curb appeal, comfort, and resale value of a home. GAF’s Virtual Home Remodeler allows users to experiment with a variety of different looks, ranging from French country to Victorian to ranch.

The Millenial Homebuyers are Savvy and Know What They Want

It may be hard to believe, but not all of the 18- to-35-year-old generation is so weighed down with college debt that they’re living in their parents’ basements. Contrary to popular perception, the Millennials are driving home sales. In fact, the National Association of Realtors just recognized them as the largest segment of the homebuyer market at 35 percent — up from 32 percent in 2014 — in its most recent 2016 “Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Study.”
“The coming years of housing demand will be Millennial-driven and will support the single-family sector,” Dennis Lockhart, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, says. Given that new reality, here are four things experts say Millennials desire most in a house. Keep these in mind because you will most likely be selling to a younger buyer.

The Benefits of A Flexible Work Schedule

 

(NewsUSA) – Within the past two decades, job opportunities that offer telecommuting options have quadrupled, and as technology advances, that number will continue to grow.

Besides having more time to manage personal and family obligations, research shows that telecommuting also boosts productivity and reduces stress.

If the thought of having flexible work hours sounds appealing, becoming a benefits advisor may be the answer.

Learn more at www.aflac.com/agent

High resolution infographic here.

Tristar Praises Trump, EXIM Bank for Creating Jobs

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – A small Virginia business that will help create manufacturing jobs in U.S and energy development in Ethiopia praised President Trump for his support of the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of the US as a job-creating and export tool.
“Thanks to President Trump for his support of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. We are on track to create a 1,200 megawatt wind energy project in Ethiopia that is expected to create up to 5,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs producing turbines for export,” says Paul Delkaso, President and CEO of Tristar and Tritente Global Energy Group.
“EXIM is not just about help-ing large companies like Boeing” Delkaso adds. “It is all about help-ing small- and mid-sized U.S. firms, making America Great Again and bringing security, eco-nomic development and jobs to the African continent.”
“Exporting American electricity technology will create jobs in the U.S. while demonstrating American leadership in a growing market. Electricity will generate jobs, and improve security and healthcare while stimulating benign economic development.”
Tristar and its sister company, Tritente Global Energy Group, is working with Détente Group of Virginia, EXIM Bank and leaders in Africa to bring energy security to Africa, where 620 million people lack electricity.
“Every industrialized country has an EXIM-type of program to stimulate exports,” says Brien Morgan, Managing Partner of Détente Group, which has been working with Tristar and the US EXIM Bank to finalize funding.
“Under President Trump’s Administration and Rep. Scott Garrett’s leadership, Détente looks forward to working with an invigorated US EXIM Bank to deploy its Ethiopian wind farm project along with other US high-tech job-creating projects.”
The Hon. Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, met with the Tritente Global Energy Group team and says that, “Africa is undergoing a sustained period of economic growth and transformation. In order to be sustained, this growth will need to be fueled by a massive investment in energy.”
“The vision of Tristar and Tritente Global Energy Group in sub-Saharan Africa must be supported and admirable,” adds Mwencha.
Tristar is also working with several African nations on a new round of infrastructure projects, including rail, port and clean coal, Delkaso says.
However, the EXIM support of Detente’s $3.6 billion is the best way to create U.S. manufacturing jobs and to boost exports.

Online Retailer Celebrates 50 Amazing Teachers

(NewsUSA) -Education is a cornerstone of our culture and society. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are more than four million teachers in the United States. Every day, they go above and beyond to shape children’s minds through their passion for lifelong learning.The average teacher spends $500 investing in his or her classroom, with one in ten having spent $1,000 or more. Some teachers work in economically challenged districts where purchasing gym equipment, art supplies or even groceries with their own money helps engage a child, or their family, in education.For the projected 60 million children who attend preschool through grade 12, the lengths to which educators go to invest outside of their curriculum and official hours is staggering.Companies have earnestly started recognizing the work of educators everywhere, and online retailer zulily has taken National Teacher Appreciation Week a step further. zulily is launching a series of curated collections inspired by six teachers, selected through its Thank a Teacher Contest. The contest invited individuals from across the country to submit inspirational stories about a teacher who made a difference in their students’ lives.The brand received an influx of stories highlighting the different ways that teachers show dedication to their students. These stories include a teacher who created a Kindergarten Santa project to ensure that every child would have a Christmas present, and a teacher who continues to teach while undergoing chemotherapy because she wants to be with her students, who "give her life."Teachers from across the country were nominated from preschool through grade 12, with schools including public, private, Head Start, Montessori, court school system and homeschool represented."We wanted to bring visibility to everything that teachers do and spotlight a few stories that are emblematic of all teachers," zulily’s CEO, Darrell Cavens, says."Great educators have encouraged and impacted everyone in meaningful ways, big and small, which is why we wanted to share a heartfelt thank you, from all of us here at zulily."During National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8-12), zulily will run the curated teacher-inspired sales events, featuring classroom-ready merchandise in education categories, including: STEM, Art & Creative Play, Foreign Language, Homeschool & Montessori, Special Needs, and Teacher Supplies & Furniture. zulily is offering an additional 15 percent off items purchased from any of these six events.Visit The Find to learn more about the 50 winners of the zulily Thank a Teacher Contest. 

Hunger Still Has Hold on America Despite Economic Improvement

(NewsUSA) – While America may not appear to have the kind of hunger that is pervasive in other countries, that’s not to say it doesn’t exist.Hunger remains a concern for millions of Americans, and for people who are "food insecure," the average reported need for food has increased, based on data from Map the Meal Gap 2017, a new report released by Feeding America, a non-profit hunger-relief organization.The report describes the cost of food and food insecurity in communities across the United States.Food insecurity is defined by the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all members of a household.According to the USDA, the number of Americans identified as food insecure decreased from 50 million in 2009 to 42 million in 2015. Still, Map the Meal Gap finds that the individuals who are food insecure report needing an average of nearly $530 more per person in 2015 to afford enough food, representing a 13 percent increase since 2008."This is grim news," says Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America, in a statement. "It is disheartening to realize that millions of hardworking, low-income Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to feed themselves and their families at the same time that our economy is showing many signs of improvement, including a substantial decline in the number of people who are unemployed."The online version of the report features an interactive map, and key data points include estimates of the number of food-insecure individuals at the community level, the percentage of these individuals who may or may not qualify for federal nutrition programs, such as SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, as well as information about average cost of a meal in these areas.Consider this: According to the report, even states such as North Dakota, where the rate of child food insecurity is lowest, 1 in 11 children are estimated to live in food-insecure households. In addition, food insecurity tends to be more common in rural areas versus urban areas."Feeding America is particularly concerned about children who struggle with hunger because of the devastating and sometimes life-long consequences caused by lack of adequate nutrition," Ms. Aviv says. "Children are our most vulnerable citizens."The report uses data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as food price data and analysis from the information company Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights.The study was supported by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Conagra Brands Foundation, and Nielsen.Visit feedingamerica.org for more information about hunger, local member food banks, and opportunities to help.