Rural Stress

first_imgFarmers are extended family for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents throughout the state, and agents are uniquely positioned to raise awareness about rural stress and mental health concerns for Georgia farmers.Agents put time, attention and knowledge into helping producers make everyday decisions that affect their livelihoods and relationships, and this forges trust, according to Echols County Extension Coordinator Justin Shealey.“I see the same market data they do. I know what market prices are. I know that when I’m looking out my window and it’s not raining, their dryland crops are suffering,” Shealey said. “I know what they’re going through.”But it’s not enough that UGA Extension agents be sympathetic with local farmers’ daily concerns. They need to be ready to direct their growers to appropriate medical professionals if concerns are warranted. With suicide rates among Georgia farmers on the rise, UGA Extension is key to starting the conversation about stress and mental health in rural Georgia, says Andrea Scarrow, UGA Extension Southwest District director.“Farm families are the most resilient people we know. They’re used to carrying more day-to-day stress than most people, and they do extremely well with it, but that doesn’t negate the need that goes along with that,” Scarrow said.Scarrow is part of a coalition of southwest Georgia partners formed to educate farmers about the negative impact of rural stress. The group includes Extension personnel and administrative leaders from UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, College of Family and Consumer Sciences and School of Social Work.“It’s like Dr. (Mark) McCann says to farmers, ‘You are the greatest resource your farm has. You take care of the maintenance on your tractors, you need to take care of yourself,’” Scarrow said. “That’s really the way that we’re messaging it.”The message was clear at the Rural Stress Summit held in Atlanta in December 2018 to bring the issue to the forefront. It will also be a point of emphasis at the upcoming UGA Extension winter production meetings, where publication resources for addressing rural stress will be available.“We’ve been working every way we can about how to have this conversation because no one wants to talk about this. Nobody wants to talk about high stress and the risk of suicide,” said Anna Scheyett, dean of the UGA School of Social Work. “But if you don’t talk about it, then how are you going to help people?”Scheyett cited a 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that revealed that farming, fishing and forestry posted the third-highest suicide rate of any occupation. Among Georgia workers in that occupational group, the suicide rate is 50.7 per 100,000 compared to 14.9 per 100,000 for the overall population of workers, according to the report.During the upcoming winter production meetings in Colquitt, Mitchell and Echols counties — all located in the Southwest District — health professionals from area hospitals will be on hand to offer blood pressure checks and provide wellness updates as part of a pilot program.“The key for us is we can rely on the medical field for their expertise,” Scarrow said. “We feel like we can be that connector piece and promote it.”For Southwest District Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Development Coordinator Ronnie Barentine, farmer suicide is an unrelenting reality that haunts him every day. He experienced two farmer deaths in his county while serving as an Extension agent. It changed his perspective on how agents should work with their growers.“We need to try to be an encouragement to farmers, so when they come in the office and they’re down and out, just try to be positive and keep the conversation positive and upbeat,” Barentine said. “‘Yeah, it’s tough, but there’s going to be a better day. There’s a better day coming.’”Unfortunately, better days are almost impossible for farmers to project because Mother Nature remains the biggest obstacle. From 2016 through 2018, Georgia experienced hurricanes for three straight years, with Hurricane Michael causing the most destruction in 2018.“In 2018, that was the year we were going to see light at the end of the tunnel. Pretty much every acre in Georgia was irrigated. It rained a half of an inch every other day. We were signing contracts for 80 and 90 cents for cotton. Then you get knocked to the dirt by a hurricane, the third one in a row to hit our state,” Shealey said.This year’s weather challenge, a two-month-long drought in the fall, hindered production for crops like cotton, peanuts and pecans. Commodity prices remain well below what producers desire for their crops. Dealing with all of these external factors inevitably causes farmers stress.“Farming is the only profession I can think of where you can do everything right and work 24/7 and make all the best decisions and have all the best equipment and still go bankrupt,” Scheyett said. “There’s so much out of your control.”Videos of last year’s Rural Stress Summit presentations are available at read more

Record year pushes total Enel Green Power renewable capacity to 46GW

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Smart Energy International:Enel Green Power set a new record in 2019 within the renewable energy industry by building more than 3GW of capacity.Enel built around 190MW more renewable energy capacity in 2019 than in 2018, a 6.5% increase. The milestone makes Enel the largest private renewable energy player at global level Enel built 47 facilities of which the majority were wind (1,813 MW) and then solar (1,193 MW).Around 1,072MW was built in Europe, mainly in Spain, 997MW in Latin America, mainly in Mexico, 867MW in North America, mainly in the US and around 94MW in Africa, Asia and Oceania, mainly in South Africa.Renewable energy built by Enel in 2019 will generate 9.3TWh and avoid 5.85 million tons of carbon emissions per annum.The 2019 milestone increases Enel’s total renewable energy capacity to 46GW.The utility has set a goal of generating around 57% of its production from renewable sources in 2022. By adding 14.1 GW of renewable capacity to Enel will reach around 60GW renewable generation by 2022. The utility plans on being fully decarbonised by 2050.[Nicholas Nhede]More: Enel reached a new renewable energy milestone in 2019 Record year pushes total Enel Green Power renewable capacity to 46GWlast_img read more

UK’s USS adds to investor disapproval of SEC proxy rule proposals

first_imgA group of large Dutch and Nordic pension investors has also backed this letter, expressing “strong” support for the views it contained.“It is important to remind the SEC that as asset owners we take the final decision on how to vote”“It is important to remind the SEC that as asset owners we take the final decision on how to vote,” added senior representatives of APG, MN and PGGM in the Netherlands, and of Swedish buffer funds AP1, AP2, AP3 and AP4.“We have developed detailed custom voting policies and proxy advisors provide independent research that feeds into our independent decision making process,” they wrote in a comment submitted last month.Kempen Capital Management, another Dutch investor, also registered concerns about the rules, calling on the SEC to reconsider them.Unveiled in November, the SEC’s proposed rule amendments, and the lead-up to them, are complex and controversial.For example, the CII has argued that there is scant evidence for claims of errors in proxy advisors’ voting recommendations, which champions of the SEC’s proposals have made. Most of the alleged errors are cases where the company disagrees with the analysis and methodologies, it argues.The association recently appealed for dispute resolution services regarding its request for copies of SEC staff analysis and related documents pertaining to a presentation of data on proxy advisor errors included in the SEC’s November proposal.Konstantin Sergakis, professor of capital markets law and corporate governance at the University of Glasgow, said the objectives of the proposed reform were laudable but that the SEC’s proposals “frame the dialogue with investee companies in a formalistic, stringent and counter-producive fashion”, which would reduce their overall utility and efficiency.The proposals would have negative implications for competition in a market that was already “largely” dominated by two firms, according to the academic.Shareholder resolution ESG brakeUSS also registered its concerns about proposed changes to a rule governing shareholder resolutions, citing their role with regard to environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters.“If finalised, the SEC’s proposed amendments would in many cases hinder discussion of emerging ESG issues”Patrick O’Hara, senior responsible investment analyst at USS“We consider that such shareholder resolutions have played an important role in encouraging better corporate disclosure on material ESG issues and if finalised, the SEC’s proposed amendments […] would in many cases hinder discussion of emerging ESG issues,” wrote senior analyst O’Hara.A group of 15 of the most frequent filers of shareholder proposals this week argued that the SEC’s “dramatic” proposed rule changes would undermine shareholders’ rights to hold companies accountable for “risk mitigation and crisis management”.“The proposed rule changes would make the path of investor engagement steeper and more convoluted, adding unnecessary costs and red tape, and making it more difficult for investors to foster sustainability, risk management, and governance improvements at their companies,” wrote Sanford Lewis, director of the Shareholder Rights Group in a letter to the SEC.“It would block the most established and effective path for improving ESG disclosure and performance of the market.”The regulator’s proposed rule changes would increase the stock ownership requirements for submitting a resolution and increase the level of support the proposal must have received in order for it to be resubmitted in subsequent years.The Shareholder Rights Group is made up of smaller US asset managers such as Arjuna Capital and Boston Common Asset Management, which have a strong sustainability stance.The deadline for feedback to the SEC is 3 February, which several institutional investors have said does not give enough time. The UK’s largest pension fund has added its voice to those expressing concern about rule changes proposed by the US securities regulator that affect the shareholder voting process.In a letter submitted last week to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the £70.1bn (€78.2bn) Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) criticised a proposed requirement that proxy advisors share advance copies of voting recommendations with companies before passing them on to the investors that are their clients.“In our view, any Commission regulation that has the potential to compromise the independence of the research produced by proxy advisors and impinge upon the agency relationship with institutional investors would be detrimental to the execution of shareholder rights and would be incompatible with SEC’s historic role of investor protection,” wrote Patrick O’Hara, senior responsible investment analyst at USS.Large US institutional investors have been concerned about the SEC’s actions with regard to the shareholder voting process for some time, and O’Hara expressed USS’s support for the views set out in an October letter from the Council of Institutional Investors (CII), a US asset owner association, and a coalition of investors including major US pension funds such as CalPERS and CalSTRS.last_img read more

2015 is the year of the walk-on

first_imgSince February, Trojan fans and the media alike have praised USC and Sarkisian for a top-notch recruiting class. Full of four-star and five-star recruits, the class of 2018 has brought a lot excitement to Troy about the upcoming season. In addition to the new recruits, the Trojans will start a pair of walk-ons in 2015.Redshirt sophomore tight end Connor Spears and junior kicker Alex Wood have both been named starters in their respective positions after joining the team as walk-ons.Spears was forced to sit out last season per NCAA rules after transferring from Columbia. He played in five games as a freshman at Columbia and caught three passes for 32 yards.Spears was originally set to be used as a reserve tight end in 2015 until Bryce Dixon was removed from the team after a violation of student conduct. Dixon’s absence created an opportunity for Spears, who impressed coaches in spring practice and fall camp.Wood’s opportunity comes after the departure of last year’s starting kicker Andre Heidari. Wood started out as a reserve walk-on placekicker in 2012 and appeared in two games while Heidari was coming back from an injury. He hit all eight attempted extra points against Syracuse and Stanford.Wood did not see any action as the backup in 2013, but appeared in eight games in 2014. Wood handled kickoffs in USC’s last eight games in 2014 and even served as placekicker against Arizona and Colorado while Heidari was again rehabbing an injury. He hit all 12 of his attempted points after touchdowns.Though USC is renowned for its football prowess and legacy of college football and NFL greats, it is nice to see that walk-ons are still given a shot. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a Cinderella story, but it would make the season that much sweeter if it were aided by the success of walk-ons.Though he wasn’t a walk-on, USC great Matt Cassel served as a backup to Matt Leinart and was always considered a reserve quarterback. Nowadays, Cassel is a quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. Leinart, on the other hand, was never able to forge a successful NFL career despite being drafted in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft.Though his reputation is surely in question right now, Tom Brady is another example of a great NFL quarterback who wasn’t intended as a starter. When he first enrolled at Michigan, Brady was listed as the No. 7 quarterback on the depth chart. Meanwhile, future NFL quarterback Brian Griese led the Wolverines to a Rose Bowl and a national championship. Brady eventually won the starting job in his last two seasons and went on to be drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.Though Wood and Spears have a long way to go before they can be compared to the likes of Cassel and Brady, the 2015 season could be the beginning of two storied careers.Regan Estes is a junior majoring in public relations and Spanish. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Wild Wild Westes,” runs Tuesdays.last_img read more