Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Monday, February 13, 2017
Wildlife water project draws partners together Ruidoso News By Dianne L Stallings …The project involved a partnership of multiple agencies, a working rancher with a science background and volunteers willing to invest their muscle and sweat to finish the on-ground installation. The result will benefit wildlife and livestock in a self-sustaining network of a productive well, storage, pumps, a float box, overflow pipes, tough and dirt tank…"We’ve done a lot of improvements on the ranch that have helped the wildlife tremendously and that’s where the idea for this came from. Everything we do for wildlife obviously helps livestock as well. We’ve added a lot of small little ponds for surface water and in doing so, we’ve seen a tremendous increase in wildlife populations during the drought, everything from quail and rabbits all the way up to antelope and deer."
State Land Commissioner and Agriculture Industry Agree to New Grazing Fee State Land Office Press Release State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn this week met with members of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, and the Northern New Mexico Stockmen’s Association who agreed to support a 3.38% increase in grazing fees for livestock on State Trust Lands. The current fee of $5.99 per Animal Unit Month (AUM) is effective until September 30, 2017 and the new fee of $6.19 will take effect October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018.The factors adjust agricultural lease rental fees up or down depending on the value of forage and economic conditions in the livestock industry. Industry leaders who support the increase include Craig Ogden, President of the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, who said, “The grazing fee formula works in its present form.”
New Mexico Sheepman Elected to Industry’s Top Position Barn Media Press Release The 2017 American Sheep Industry Association Convention wrapped up on Saturday, Jan. 28, with the election of New Mexico sheep producer Mike Corn as the organization’s new president…Corn said he is humbled to lead the organization and that “It is an honor to be selected to lead the industry that my family has worked in for four generations. We have a great opportunity in the coming year to make some changes for this industry. I feel that there are positive things ahead for us and we have a great executive team in place that is up to the challenge.” The Corn family has been raising sheep in the Roswell area since the 1880s. He owns and operates his own ranch and raises white-faced, fine-wool sheep, mainly a merino cross. Corn is also the majority owner of the Roswell Wool Warehouse.
FMD Concerns Growing in South Korea South Korea last week raised the nation’s foot-and-mouth disease alert status to its highest level, as a second strain of the disease was confirmed at a dairy farm. South Korea also announced plans to vaccinate all cattle in the nation against FMD. The first confirmed FMD case in South Korea in more than a year was confirmed last week, and two other FMD confirmations followed, prompting the alert status and vaccination announcement. South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, last raised the country’s foot-and-mouth disease alert status to the highest level in 2010 when the country grappled with its worst-ever FMD outbreak, according to Reuters.
Friday, February 10, 2017
While recent studies show that today’s fathers are more likely to see parenting as central to their identity than in prior eras, a new study finds that it’s the quality of time, not the quantity, that really matters. This article in Slate also references information from last year’s Journal of Marriage and Family, which looked at the relationship between the amount of parent-child time before the age of 11 and children’s academic achievement. Read more at: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/11/29/study_shows_quality_of_time_between_dad_ and_child_is_more_important_than.html
Research shows that people with more social connections are more likely to be "hired, healthy and happy." However, there is less understanding and research around the role of social networks for low-income fathers. This study uses information from the Parents and Children Together (PACT) evaluation to help fill the information gap. - http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/pact_secondwave_101216_508.pdf
An individual in the U.S. is most likely to experience homelessness in the first year of life. The Administration for Children & Families examines the increased understanding of the impact homelessness has on families, and especially how it affects young children. - http://www.acf.hhs.gov/blog/2016/11/supporting-young-children-and-families-experiencinghomelessness
Understanding Child Welfare and the Courts: Factsheets for Families Learning to navigate the judicial system can be a necessity for families involved with the child welfare system. The Child Welfare Information Gateway has created fact sheets titled "Understanding Child Welfare and the Courts," which are designed to help explain what families can expect during the various stages of court proceedings. Read more (pdf): https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/cwandcourts.pdf
As part of the Parents and Children Together (PACT) evaluation, researchers from Mathematica interviewed fathers who did not live with their children and discovered the complex challenges fathers face when trying to coparent. Roughly seven in ten reported frequent conflict or lack of communication between parents. Read more at: https://www.mathematica-mpr.com/ourpublications-and-findings/publications/fathers-views-of-co-parenting-relationships-findingsfrom-the-pact-evaluation
Officials in some US schools are introducing mindfulness practices in the classroom as an alternative to traditional discipline. At one Baltimore elementary school that has adopted this approach, officials report fewer trips to the principal's office and no suspensions over the past two years. Full Story: U.S. News & World Report - http://health.usnews.com/wellnes
Children from low-income families who enroll in high-quality prekindergarten programs that serve children from infancy to age 5 may have more positive outcomes later in life than those who enroll in programs that start serving children at age 3, according to a study by Nobel Prize winner James Heckman. Data show zero-to-five programs yield such benefits as better highschool graduation rates - https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/a-nobel-prize-winner- says-public-preschool-programs-should-start-at-birth/2016/12/11/2576a1ee-be91-11e6-94ac- 3d324840106c_story.html?utm_term=.f4df8921c258&wpisrc=nl_sb_smartbrief .
Children who were helpful and shared in kindergarten had increased odds of finishing their college education and having full-time jobs by age 25, compared with those who had problems cooperating and resolving conflicts. The findings in the American Journal of Public Health, based on teacher evaluations of 800 youths followed for 25 years, also showed every one-point increase in social competency score doubled the odds of obtaining a college degree. DailyRx.com - http://www.dailyrxnews.com/social-skills-kindergarten-linked-success-youngadults-penn-state-and-duke-university-research
Why sleep matters — the economic costs of insufficient sleep: A cross-country comparative analysis Sleep deprivation leads to a higher mortality risk and lower productivity levels among the workforce, putting a significant damper on a nation's economy. Read more » http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1791.htm
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
12 Tips for Carefully Choosing Income Tax Return Preparers 12 Tips for Carefully Choosing Income Tax Return Preparers February 06, 2017 The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) this week warned taxpayers to be on the lookout for unscrupulous return preparers, one of the most common “Dirty Dozen” tax scams seen during tax season. The vast majority of tax professionals provide honest, high-quality service. But there are some dishonest preparers who set up shop each filing season to perpetrate refund fraud, identity theft and other scams that hurt taxpayers. That's why unscrupulous preparers who prey on unsuspecting taxpayers with outlandish promises of overly large refunds make the Dirty Dozen list every year. "Choose your tax return preparer carefully because you entrust them with your private financial information that needs to be protected," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "Most preparers provide high-quality service but we run across cases each year where unscrupulous preparers steal from their clients and misfile their taxes." Return preparers are a vital part of the U.S. tax system. About 60 percent of taxpayers use tax professionals to prepare their returns. Illegal scams can lead to significant penalties and interest and possible criminal prosecution. IRS Criminal Investigation works closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to shutdown scams and prosecute the criminals behind them. Choosing Income Tax Return Preparers Carefully It is important to choose carefully when hiring an individual or firm to prepare a tax return. Well-intentioned taxpayers can be misled by preparers who don't understand taxes or who mislead people into taking credits or deductions they aren't entitled to in order to increase their fee. Every year, these types of tax preparers face everything from penalties to jail time for defrauding their clients. Here are a few tips when choosing a tax preparer: Ask if the preparer has an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Paid tax return preparers are required to register with the IRS, have a PTIN and include it on tax returns. Inquire whether the tax return preparer has a professional credential (enrolled agent, certified public accountant or attorney), belongs to a professional organization or attends continuing education classes. A number of tax law changes can be complex. A competent tax professional needs to be up-to-date in these matters. Tax return preparers aren't required to have a professional credential. The IRS website has more information regarding the national tax professional organizations. Check the preparer's qualifications. Use the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. This tool can help locate a tax return preparer with the preferred qualifications The Directory is a searchable and sortable listing of certain preparers registered with the IRS. It includes the name, city, state and zip code of: Attorneys CPAs Enrolled Agents Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents Enrolled Actuaries Annual Filing Season Program participants Check the preparer's history. Ask the Better Business Bureau about the preparer. Check for disciplinary actions and the license status for credentialed preparers. For CPAs, check with the State Board of Accountancy. For attorneys, check with the State Bar Association. For Enrolled Agents, go to www.IRS.gov and search for “verify enrolled agent status” or check the Directory. Ask about service fees. Avoid preparers who base fees on a percentage of their client's refund or boast bigger refunds than their competition. Don't give your tax documents, SSNs, and other information to a preparer when only inquiring about their services and fees. Unfortunately, some preparers have improperly filed returns without the taxpayer's permission once the records were obtained. Ask to e-file your return. Make sure your preparer offers IRS e-file. Paid preparers who do taxes for more than 10 clients generally must file electronically. The IRS has processed more than 1.5 billion e-filed tax returns. It's the safest and most accurate way to file a return. Provide records and receipts. Good preparers will ask to see your records and receipts. They'll ask questions to determine your total income, deductions, tax credits and other items. Do not rely on a preparer who is willing to e-file your return using your last pay stub instead of your Form W-2. This is against IRS e-file rules. Make sure the preparer is available. In the event questions come up about your tax return, you may need to contact your preparer after the return is filed. Avoid fly-by-night preparers. Understand who can represent you. Attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents can represent any client before the IRS in any situation. Annual Filing Season Program participants may represent you in limited situations if they prepared and signed your return. However, non-credentialed preparers who do not participate in the Annual Filing Season Program may only represent clients before the IRS on returns they prepared and signed on or before Dec. 31, 2015. Never sign a blank return. Don't use a tax preparer that asks you to sign an incomplete or blank tax form. Review your return before signing. Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions if something is not clear. Make sure you're comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it and that your refund goes directly to you – not into the preparer's bank account. Reviewing the routing and bank account number on the completed return is always a good idea. Report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. You can report abusive tax return preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If you suspect a return preparer filed or changed the return without your consent, you should also file Form 14157-A, Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit. You can get these forms on www.IRS.gov. To find other tips about choosing a preparer, understanding the differences in credentials and qualifications, researching the IRS preparer directory, and learning how to submit a complaint regarding a tax return preparer, visit www.irs.gov/chooseataxpro. Remember: Taxpayers are legally responsible for what is on their tax return even if someone else prepares it. Make sure the preparer you hire is up to the task.