Daily Harvest -- 1/19/2016
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Washington Week Ahead: School nutrition legislation; Trump (and Huckabee, Fiorina, Santorum and Vilsack) to speak at Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit
- The Senate Agriculture Committee begins moving long-awaited legislation this week that would preserve the broad improvements in school nutrition standards implemented by the Obama administration.
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack tapped to lead White House effort to reduce rural drug use
- The White House said the agriculture secretary will tackle the issues with the help of the White House Rural Council, established in 2011 to streamline and improve rural programs as well as coordinate private-sector partnerships to spur job creation and economic development in rural areas.
Ohio Public Radio: New Bat Protection Rules Backed By Ohio Energy Group, Environmental Group
- Ohio Oil and Gas Association, Great Lakes NWF chapter support new Fish and Wildlife Service rules for northern long-eared bat.
Las Vegas Review-Journal: Falling gas prices provide boost for consumers
- (Editorial) The idea that oil is a fuel of the past is absurd. Peak oil? Today the question is how low oil prices can go.
Washington Post: Loudoun farm family is growing in new directions
- Donald Virts, who farms 1,000 acres in northern and western Loudoun, decided that he had to adapt his methods to evolving economic and environmental conditions. His new business model embraces concepts such as hydroponics (growing crops in water), controlled environment farming, renewable energy sources and marketing directly to consumers.
SacBee: Farmers oppose SMUD proposal to add new power lines in Colusa and Sutter counties
- Rice farmer Mike Cole has learned to live with the utility transmission towers and crackling lines on the 313-acre farm he co-owns in Sutter County. But he’s opposed to any new towers and the possibility that his land can be taken by eminent domain, as may happen under a plan proposed by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and DOE’s Western Area Power Administration.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Nutrition advocates praise Senate nutrition agreement
- A bipartisan Senate agreement to reauthorize child nutrition programs for five years is winning praise from health advocates despite easing standards for whole grains and sodium.
Agri-Pulse: What's next in bird flu fight?
- (Audio) Last week marked the first detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a commercial poultry flock in 2016 when a southwestern Indiana flock of turkeys tested positive for the H7N8 strain of avian influenza.
Agri-Pulse: Senate deal eases whole grains, sodium standards
- A bipartisan Senate agreement on school meal standards would lower the whole grain requirement and delay for two years additional reductions in sodium limits.
Agri-Pulse: New bird flu strain found in Indiana
- A new strain of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) that caused the depopulation of more than 48 million birds last year has been detected in Indiana.
AP: First lady, school meal directors may be headed for truce
- A bipartisan Senate bill released Monday would revise healthier meal standards put into place over the last few years to give schools more flexibility in what they serve the nation’s schoolchildren, easing requirements on whole grains and delaying an upcoming deadline to cut sodium levels on the lunch line.
Des Moines Register: Sugar, cholesterol hot topics in new Dietary Guidelines
- An average diet of 2,000 calories a day would mean only 200 calories could come from added sugar, including syrups or other caloric sweeteners.
L.A. Times: New Dietary Guidelines spark intense debate among nutrition experts
- Nutritionists, public health specialists and experts in preventive health are vying to critique the government document, fill in its gaps and "spin" the guidelines to support their interests.
AP: Frigid air slows efforts to euthanize turkeys in Indiana
- (Jan. 18) Frigid temperatures are hampering efforts to euthanize turkeys at several southwestern Indiana farms where a strain of bird flu was found last week, freezing the hoses used to spread a foam that suffocates the affected flocks, a spokeswoman for a state agency said Monday.
AP: No New Bird Flu Infections Reported in Indiana
- (Jan. 17) No additional turkey farms in a southern Indiana county have tested positive for bird flu since an outbreak at 10 farms, where nearly 250,000 turkeys will be killed as a result, authorities said Sunday. The fact that 100 farms tested over 24 hours came back negative was a sign control measures appear to be working, said Denise Derrer, spokeswoman for the Indiana State Board of Animal Health.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Interview with Amb. Darci Vetter, Chief Agriculture Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
- (Audio) Vetter responds to speculation of a potential challenge of U.S. policy for soybean risk protection and possible trade reaction to a pending USDA decision to designate cottonseed as an oilseed.
Washington Post: Off to a quick (and risky) start in Argentina
- (Editorial) The newspaper says new Argentine President Mauricio Macri has "moved with astonishing speed" to change the course of his country. Among his moves: "The new government . . . reduced or abolished taxes on agricultural exporters," which resulted in shipments abroad of hoarded grain and "fresh dollars" in the central bank.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
L.A. Times: 14 years in, Brown shows no sign of losing political muscle
- The governor says "California will suffer devastating economic consequences" without the proposed delta water tunnel project -- twin 30-mile tunnels that would siphon fresh water from the Sacramento River before it flows through the estuary and pour it into southbound aqueducts. "This is not a 'nice.' It's a fundamental necessity."
L.A. Times: A land-use case that's enough to furrow a farmer's brow
- Farmer explains his side of enforcement case in Tehama County over plowing.
Miami Herald: Carl Hiaasen: Polluters win again in the state Legislature
- (Opinion) Touted as an environmental breakthrough, the water policy bill passed last week by the Florida Legislature is actually a major win for polluters and the politicians they own. Big Agriculture couldn’t be happier.
AP: California farmers brace for water shortage despite El Niño
- Farmers in California's fertile San Joaquin Valley are bracing to receive no irrigation water from a federal system of reservoirs and canals for a third consecutive year and looking to El Nino to produce the very wet winter they need.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
N.Y. Times: How to protect female farmworkers
- Across the country, some 400,000 women, mostly immigrants, work in agriculture, toiling in fields, nurseries and packing plants. Such work is backbreaking and low-paying. But for many of these women, it is also a nightmare of sexual violence.
Washington Post: Obama faces growing outrage over deportation sweeps
- The administration’s decision to launch the raids against mostly women and children from Central America has reopened old wounds between the White House and many Latino communities, and it has compromised the president’s efforts to create an election-year contrast with Republicans on immigration.
Capital Press: Don’t make farmers obtain a license to hire, Washington court urged
- The Washington Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in a case that will define which farmers will need a state license to hire workers.
Politico: Cruz pummels Trump on immigration
- In New Hampshire, Cruz says Trump was wasn't around during 2013 immigration reform battle in Congress. “We were on the verge of losing this fight, and 12 million people here illegally would be granted amnesty." But "Donald was nowhere to be found.”
Cedar Rapids Gazette: Marco Rubio takes hard stance on immigration
- Amid criticism from opponents that he’s flip-flopped on his views of illegal immigration, on Monday the presidential hopeful told a standing-room-only crowd he doesn’t support amnesty for those who are in the United States illegally.
Agriculture.com: USDA's SECD Response Found To Be Lackluster
- Government Accountability Office is not impressed with the way the USDA responded to the 2013 Swine Enteric Coronavirus Disease outbreaks.
N.Y. Times: Rural Oregon’s Lost Prosperity Gives Standoff a Distressed Backdrop
- Areas that were once economically important languish as jobs are clustered in urban centers, creating a feeling of powerlessness as their populations grow older, poorer and less educated.
AP: Max & Erma’s closing 13 locations in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana
- Nashville, Tennessee-based American Blue Ribbon Holdings, which owns the chain, is streamlining operations and dealing with underperforming outlets.
N.Y. Times: Seeking Ranchland in Texas, Where Wealth Is Measured in Acres
- Jay Ellis is raising a $100 million, Texas-only ranch fund. The first fund focused on restoring and enhancing ranch property to improve hunting and fishing habitats, but the new fund is aimed at scooping up $15 million to $25 million “trophy ranches” from owners who want to sell quickly and quietly.
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