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MARBLEHEAD, Wis. – The lime plant at Marblehead, a company town, is all that’s left of a spot that once boasted as many as 500 residents in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. Farmers in Wisconsin may be familiar with one of the products coming from Marblehead in the form of barn lime from Western Lime and Cement.

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The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill to reform the agricultural-labor system in the United States, has been reintroduced in Congress. The bill is the product of negotiations between a diverse array of agricultural stakeholders and farmworker advocates. It balances the interests of both agricultural employers and workers. It would make it easier for farmers to hire workers by streamlining the H-2A-application process, and increasing the availability of green cards and visas for year-round workers. It would also establish a program for workers who have been engaged in agricultural work and plan to continue working in agriculture to earn legal status.

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The construction workers who traveled to central Kansas to erect a wind farm for utility giant American Electric Power thought it would be a good job. Then they fell victim to the troubling side of the renewable power industry.