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News from Around the FarmWorld - Feb. 27, 2013
Kentucky farmer dies in tractor accident

COWEN, Ky. (AP) — A farmer in northeastern Kentucky has died after being run over by his tractor.

Fleming County Sheriff Scotty Royse told The Ledger Independent 73-year-old Ronald McCord appeared to have been ejected somehow from the tractor he was operating Feb. 18, before the vehicle ran over him on a steep hill on his farm in Cowen.
He said McCord was moving bales of hay to feed cattle when the accident happened. Royse said McCord’s family found him after he didn’t return home for lunch and didn’t answer calls to his cell phone.

Worker critically hurt in fall into manure pit

GRIFFIN, Ind. (AP) — A worker at a southwestern Indiana pig operation has been critically injured after falling into a pit filled with hog manure.

Griffin Fire Chief Tim Compton told the Evansville Courier & Press an employee of Griffin Pig fell into an 8-foot-deep pit that is used to hold manure. The manure produces methane gas, which is highly explosive and can cause asphyxiation.

Compton said the incident occurred about 8 a.m. Friday. The worker was in the pit for about 45 minutes before another employee noticed and flagged down a Wadesville firefighter. The firefighter used a rope to lower himself into the pit and rescue the man.
The worker was flown by helicopter to an Evansville hospital. Compton did not release his name.

At least three cattle dead following Michigan barn fire
PORT HOPE, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say at least three cattle died following a barn fire in Michigan’s rural Thumb region.
The Huron Daily Tribune of Bad Axe reported crews responded Feb. 20 to the blaze near Port Hope, about 110 miles north of Detroit. Most of the cattle in the barn were removed safely.

No people were reported injured. The barn was destroyed in the blaze. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Indiana food banks seek sharp jump in state funding
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — A group of Indiana food banks is seeking public support for a steep increase in state aid.
The Tribune-Star reported 11 food banks that make up FIsH, or Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, hope to receive $3 million to $5 million in the budget lawmakers must craft this year. The request is a large jump from the $291,000 the group received last year and expects to receive this year.

Executive Director Emily Bryant said that money enabled the group to buy about 500,000 pounds of food. That figure is less than 1 percent of the total amount of food distributed from the food banks.

The General Assembly budgeted $300,000 for the group in both 2010 and 2011, but the money was never distributed.

Report: Actions benefited nonprofit over $800K

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A state senator backed actions in the Ohio General Assembly that resulted in a benefit of more than $800,000 to a nonprofit he helped found, a newspaper reported Feb. 17.
Republican state Sen. Chris Widener of Springfield was in the Ohio House when he supported Senate changes to House Bill 160, the Dayton Daily News reported. The bill helped the nonprofit Springfield-based Ohio Equine and Agricultural Assoc. get out from under $413,877 in taxes and penalties, and Widener inserted an amendment into the 2009 state budget bill that allowed Clark County to levy a bed tax that generated $412,890 in revenue for Ohio Equine, the newspaper reported.

Widener told The Associated Press he spent his “entire career maintaining the highest standards of ethical conduct” and that any “legislative action I have taken has been guided by those principles, and interpretations of Ohio ethics laws I have received from the legislative inspector general.”

The Ohio Revised Code allows legislators to rely on advisory opinions from the Joint Legislative Ethics Commission when carrying out their official duties, “which I have done since serving,” he said.
There has been no determination that any ethics laws were violated, according to the newspaper.

Widener was a proponent of Ohio Equine’s exposition center, which was seen as a tourism draw for horse shows and other events and began serving on the nonprofit’s board in 2004. The newspaper reported Widener didn’t disclose his board membership on his annual financial disclosure statements filed with the Joint Legislative Ethics Commission while on the board.

He was still a member when the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce asked for legislation to create a convention facilities authority that could levy a hotel bed tax to finance tourism-related organizations. He resigned from the board a month before legislative action on the budget bill.

Widener has said he guarded against any conflict by resigning and canceling a startup loan guarantee he’d earlier provided the nonprofit. Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said he has discussed the issue with the legislative inspector general, but wouldn’t comment on any details.