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Lack of affordable child care is hurting young farm families’ ability to grow their businesses – the US farm bill may finally offer some help

Access to affordable child care affects farm productivity, safety and ultimately the nation’s food supply. Farm families across the U.S. are struggling…



Kerissa and Charlie Payne are beginning farmers living their dream of raising two daughters on a farm in Central Ohio. By conventional measures, their livestock farm, Covey Rise, is a success. Yet, below the surface, the challenge of finding quality affordable child care has kept their business from growing and reaching its full potential.

“It feels like we’re always split between keeping the kids safe on the farm, being a good parent, and the needs of the farm,” Kerissa Payne said.

The United States has a child care crisis, yet the issue remains largely invisible in the farm sector. For too long, the nation has ignored the fact that farm parents are working parents who must juggle child care while working what can be one of the most dangerous and stressful jobs in America.

But as Bob Dylan might say, “The times they are a-changin’.”

For the first time in history, the two largest farm organizations, the American Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union, have included child care in their policy priorities for the 2023 federal farm bill, a massive spending bill that passes every five years. As rural researchers, our conversations with policymakers suggest that there may be bipartisan support to help increase access to affordable quality rural child care as lawmakers hear from families.

Keeping children busy and safe can divert time from parents’ own farm work. AnnaStills/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Over the past 10 years, we have interviewed and surveyed thousands of farmers across the country to understand how child care affects farm business economic viability, farm safety, farm families’ quality of life and the future of the nation’s food supply. What we found debunks the three most common myths that have kept child care in the shadows of farm policy debates and points to solutions that can support farm parents.

Myth #1: Child care is a not a problem in the farm sector

Despite hearing from countless parents about their challenges with child care, the issue has been largely invisible among farm business advisers, farm organizations, and federal and state agricultural agencies. When we were interviewing advisers and decision-makers about this topic early in the COVID-19 pandemic, common first reactions we heard were: “child care is not an issue for farmers,” “we have never thought to ask about it” and “does it affect the farm business?”

Nationally, three-quarters (77%) of farm families with children under 18 report difficulties securing child care because of lack of affordability, availability or quality. Almost half (48%) report that having access to affordable child care is important for maintaining and growing their farm business.

Our research has consistently found child care is an issue that affects all of agriculture regardless of farm size, production system or location.

A smiling little girl in a bright pink coat looks through the wires of a fence at the cattle beyond.
Growing up on a farm can be fun and educational, even as parents worry about risks. Kerissa and Charlie Payne

Access to child care is especially acute in rural areas, where even before COVID-19, 3 in 5 rural communities were categorized as child care deserts. The high cost of child care left the Paynes in a position familiar to many Americans – they make too much to qualify for child care support, but they don’t make enough to afford the type of quality child care they want.

The Paynes’ experience reflects what we consistently hear from farmers: Child care affects the trajectory of the farm business and the ability of a farm family to stay on the land.

Myth #2: Farmers don’t want or need help with child care because they have family help

Perhaps one of the biggest myths we have heard is that farm parents want to do it all on their own, and when they need help, they have family members who can watch the children.

This might work if relatives are nearby, but almost half of farmers we surveyed said their own parents were too busy to help with child care, had died or were in declining health.

Often, farm parents have had to move away from family and friends to find affordable land. These parents consistently said the lack of community made it harder to take care of their children.

Farmers have repeatedly said that it is a myth that they don’t want help taking care of children. The problem is that they cannot find or afford help.

An adolescent boy in full beekeeper coveralls and veil stands besides his mother as she lifts a bee-covered honeycomb from a beehive.
A honey producer teaches her son about beekeeping in Maryland. Preston Keres/USDA/FPAC

Myth #3: Children can just come along when doing farm work

While wonderful places to grow up, farms can be dangerous, with large equipment, electric fencing, large animals, ponds and other potential hazards. Every day, 33 children are seriously injured in agricultural-related incidents, and every three days a child dies on a farm.

Farm parents we spoke with recounted stories of children who died after falling out of a tractor, drowned when they fell into a pond, or were maimed by a cow. Almost all farm parents – 97% – have worried that their children could get hurt on the farm.

In our research, parents talked about constantly weighing the risks and benefits of having children on the farm. One farmer had hoped his young son would “be my little sidekick and do everything I did.” However, the reality was different. He admitted he “didn’t think about a baby not being able to be out in the sun all day,” and he was struggling to balance care work and farm work. The government has spent millions of dollars on farm stress programs, yet child care’s role in creating and exacerbating farm stress is rarely talked about.

A baby's bottle sticks out the front pocket of bib overalls.
Without affordable child care, farm parents often do double duty. Kerissa and Charlie Payne

The Paynes asked a question we heard from many other parents: “Why is farming the only occupation where you are expected to take your kids to work?”

Farm safety programs have traditionally focused on education. However, our research shows that farm parents are highly aware of the risks. Instead of education, parents explain that they need resources to help with child care – 86% said they sometimes bring children to the farm worksite because they lack other options.

Finding solutions to support child care

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to America’s child care problems, particularly for farm parents, who are juggling raising their own families while working to feed and clothe the nation.

In our research, farmers spoke about a wide range of solutions: free or affordable quality child care, before- and after-school programs, better parental leave policies for wage and self-employed workers, financial support for safe play areas on the farm, college debt relief, free college tuition and more affordable health insurance.

Seeing his farm community struggling with child care, Adam Alson, a corn and soybean farmer in Jasper County, Indiana, co-founded Appleseed Childhood Education, a nonprofit dedicated to creating care and education opportunities for children from birth through high school. It opened its first early learning center in 2023 with a mix of public and private support.

People shoot confetti into the air outside a building in celebration.
Farmers, backers and staff celebrate the opening of the new Appleseed Childhood Education Center in Jasper County, Indiana, which had largely been a childcare desert, to the detriment of farm families. Adam Alson

Alson sees investing in child care as a path to attracting and retaining young farmers and families, and a strategy for growing and retaining the rural workforce.

“Throughout our country’s history, we have valued the importance of our rural communities and have invested in them and in sectors where the market does not go,” he said. “In 2023, quality child care is one of those sectors.”

As one Ohio farmer put it: “If America wants farmers, farm families need help with child care.”

Shoshanah Inwood receives funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Florence Becot receives funding from the CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

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China Auto Sales Jump 55% Year Over Year As Price Cuts Continue To Move NEV Metal

China Auto Sales Jump 55% Year Over Year As Price Cuts Continue To Move NEV Metal

Retail sales of passenger vehicles scorched higher in May,…



China Auto Sales Jump 55% Year Over Year As Price Cuts Continue To Move NEV Metal

Retail sales of passenger vehicles scorched higher in May, with 1.76 million units sold, according to preliminary data from the China Passenger Car Association released this week. 

The sales figure represents 8% growth from the month prior. As has been the case over the last several years, new energy vehicles continue to grow disproportionately to the rest of the sector, driving sales higher.

Last month 557,000 NEVs were sold, growth of 55% year over year and 6% sequentially, according to a Bloomberg wrap up of the data. 

The sales boost comes as the country slashed prices to move metal throughout the first 5 months of the year. In late May we noted that China's auto industry association was urging automakers to "cool" the hype behind price cuts that were sweeping across the country. 

The price cuts were getting so egregious that the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers went so far as to put out a message on its official WeChat account, stating that "a price war is not a long-term solution". Instead "automakers should work harder on technology and branding," it said at the time.

Recall we wrote in May that most major automakers were slashing prices in China. The move is coming after lifting pandemic controls failed to spur significant demand in China, the Wall Street Journal reported last month. Ford and GM will be joined by BMW and Volkswagen in offering the discounts and promotions on EVs, the report says. 

At the time, Ford was offering $6,000 off its Mustang Mach-E, putting the standard version of its EV at just $31,000. In April, prior to the discounts, only 84 of the vehicles were sold, compared to 1,500 sales in December. There was some pulling forward of demand due to the phasing out of subsidies heading into the new year, and Ford had also cut prices by about 9% in December. 

A spokesperson for Ford called it a "stock clearance" at the time. 

Discounts at Volkswagen ranged from around $2,200 to $7,300 a car. Its electric ID series is seeing price cuts of almost $6,000. The company called the cuts "temporary promotions due to general reluctance among car buyers, the new emissions rule and discounts offered by competitors."

China followed suit, and thus, now we have the sales numbers to prove it...

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/07/2023 - 20:00

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World Bank: Global Economic Growth Expected To Slow To 2008 Levels

World Bank: Global Economic Growth Expected To Slow To 2008 Levels

Authored by Michael Maharrey via,

Most people in the mainstream…



World Bank: Global Economic Growth Expected To Slow To 2008 Levels

Authored by Michael Maharrey via,

Most people in the mainstream concede that the economy is heading for a recession, but the consensus seems to be that downturn will be short and shallow. Projections by the World Bank undercut that optimism.

According to the World Bank, global growth in 2023 will slow to the lowest level since the 2008 financial crisis.

In other words, the World Bank is predicting the beginning of Great Recession 2.0.

You might recall that the Great Recession was neither short nor shallow.

In fact, World Bank Group chief economist and senior vice president Indermit Gill said, “The world economy is in a precarious position.”

According to the World Bank’s new Global Economic Prospects report, global growth is projected to decelerate to 2.1% this year, falling from 3.1% in 2022. The bank forecasts a significant slowdown during the last half of this year.

That would match the global growth rate during the 2008 financial crisis.

According to the World Bank, higher interest rates, inflation, and more restrictive credit conditions will drive the economic downturn.

The report forecasts that growth in advanced economies will slow from 2.6% in 2022 to 0.7% this year and remain weak in 2024.

Emerging market economies will feel significant pain from the economic slowdown. Yahoo Finance reported, “Higher interest rates are a problem for emerging markets, which already were reeling from the overlapping shocks of the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They make it harder for those economies to service debt loans denominated in US dollars.”

The World Bank report paints a bleak picture.

The world economy remains hobbled. Besieged by high inflation, tight global financial markets, and record debt levels, many countries are simply growing poorer.”

Absent from the World Bank analysis is any mention of how more than a decade of artificially low interest rates and trillions of dollars in quantitative easing by central banks created the wave of inflation that continues to sweep the globe, along with massive levels of debt and all kinds of economic bubbles.

If you listen to the mainstream narrative, you would think inflation just came out of nowhere, and central banks are innocent victims nobly struggling to save the day by raising interest rates. Pundits fret about rising rates but never mention that rates were only so low for so long because of the actions of central banks. And they seem oblivious to the consequences of those policies.

But being oblivious doesn’t shield you from the impact of those consequences.

In reality, central banks and governments implemented policies intended to incentivize the accumulation of debt. They created trillions of dollars out of thin air and showered the world with stimulus, unleashing the inflation monster. And now they’re trying to battle the dragon they set loose by raising interest rates. This will inevitably pop the bubble they intentionally blew up. That’s why the World Bank is forecasting Great Recession-era growth. All of this was entirely predictable.

After all, artificially low interest rates are the mother’s milk of a global economy built on easy money and debt. When you take away the milk, the baby gets hungry. That’s what’s happening today. With interest rates rising, the bubbles are starting to pop.

And it’s probably going to be much worse than most people realize. There are more malinvestments, more debt, and more bubbles in the global economy today than there were in 2008. There is every reason to believe the bust will be much worse today than it was then.

In other words, you can strike “short” and “shallow” from your recession vocabulary.

Even the World Bank is hinting at this.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/07/2023 - 15:20

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Spread & Containment

DNAmFitAge: Biological age indicator incorporating physical fitness

“We expect DNAmFitAge will be a useful biomarker for quantifying fitness benefits at an epigenetic level and can be used to evaluate exercise-based interventions.”…



“We expect DNAmFitAge will be a useful biomarker for quantifying fitness benefits at an epigenetic level and can be used to evaluate exercise-based interventions.”

Credit: 2023 McGreevy et al.

“We expect DNAmFitAge will be a useful biomarker for quantifying fitness benefits at an epigenetic level and can be used to evaluate exercise-based interventions.”

BUFFALO, NY- June 7, 2023 – A new research paper was published in Aging (listed by MEDLINE/PubMed as “Aging (Albany NY)” and “Aging-US” by Web of Science) Volume 15, Issue 10, entitled, “DNAmFitAge: biological age indicator incorporating physical fitness.”

Physical fitness is a well-known correlate of health and the aging process and DNA methylation (DNAm) data can capture aging via epigenetic clocks. However, current epigenetic clocks did not yet use measures of mobility, strength, lung, or endurance fitness in their construction. 

In this new study, researchers Kristen M. McGreevy, Zsolt Radak, Ferenc Torma, Matyas Jokai, Ake T. Lu, Daniel W. Belsky, Alexandra Binder, Riccardo E. Marioni, Luigi Ferrucci, Ewelina Pośpiech, Wojciech Branicki, Andrzej Ossowski, Aneta Sitek, Magdalena Spólnicka, Laura M. Raffield, Alex P. Reiner, Simon Cox, Michael Kobor, David L. Corcoran, and Steve Horvath from the University of California Los Angeles, University of Physical Education, Altos Labs, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, University of Hawaii, University of Edinburgh, National Institute on Aging, Jagiellonian University, Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, University of Łódź, Central Forensic Laboratory of the Police in Warsaw, Poland, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Washington, and University of British Columbia develop blood-based DNAm biomarkers for fitness parameters including gait speed (walking speed), maximum handgrip strength, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) which have modest correlation with fitness parameters in five large-scale validation datasets (average r between 0.16–0.48). 

“These parameters were chosen because handgrip strength and VO2max provide insight into the two main categories of fitness: strength and endurance [23], and gait speed and FEV1 provide insight into fitness-related organ function: mobility and lung function [8, 24].”

The researchers then used these DNAm fitness parameter biomarkers with DNAmGrimAge, a DNAm mortality risk estimate, to construct DNAmFitAge, a new biological age indicator that incorporates physical fitness. DNAmFitAge was associated with low-intermediate physical activity levels across validation datasets (p = 6.4E-13), and younger/fitter DNAmFitAge corresponds to stronger DNAm fitness parameters in both males and females. 

DNAmFitAge was lower (p = 0.046) and DNAmVO2max is higher (p = 0.023) in male body builders compared to controls. Physically fit people had a younger DNAmFitAge and experienced better age-related outcomes: lower mortality risk (p = 7.2E-51), coronary heart disease risk (p = 2.6E-8), and increased disease-free status (p = 1.1E-7). These new DNAm biomarkers provide researchers a new method to incorporate physical fitness into epigenetic clocks.

“Our newly constructed DNAm biomarkers and DNAmFitAge provide researchers and physicians a new method to incorporate physical fitness into epigenetic clocks and emphasizes the effect lifestyle has on the aging methylome.”

Read the full study: DOI: 

Corresponding Authors: Kristen M. McGreevy, Zsolt Radak, Steve Horvath

Corresponding Emails:,, 

Keywords: epigenetics, aging, physical fitness, biological age, DNA methylation

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About Aging-US:

Launched in 2009, Aging publishes papers of general interest and biological significance in all fields of aging research and age-related diseases, including cancer—and now, with a special focus on COVID-19 vulnerability as an age-dependent syndrome. Topics in Aging go beyond traditional gerontology, including, but not limited to, cellular and molecular biology, human age-related diseases, pathology in model organisms, signal transduction pathways (e.g., p53, sirtuins, and PI-3K/AKT/mTOR, among others), and approaches to modulating these signaling pathways.

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