Daily Harvest -- 1/22/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Panels set hearing on WOTUS, mull legislative action
- House and Senate committees have set a joint Feb. 4 hearing on the Obama administration's proposed Clean Water Act rule as lawmakers plan how to block it from taking effect.
Agri-Pulse: Six Democrats join House Agriculture panel
- The House Agriculture Committee will have a significant new look on the Democratic side this year.
Wall Street Journal: U.S. Farmers Scramble to Supply Latest Hot Crop: Sorghum
- The grain, long overshadowed by more-plentiful crops, suddenly is in high demand thanks to China’s soaring appetite for animal feed and a shift in its buying preferences away from foreign corn.
Capital Press: Ag-gag bill has few friends as farm groups stay silent
- A bill modeled after Idaho’s so-called “ag-gag” law got little support and suffered much criticism Tuesday at a House committee hearing.
Reuters: USDA reviewing animal welfare concerns at federal research center
- The federal Agriculture Department is looking into recent media reports over controversial animal welfare conditions at its U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska, it said on Wednesday.
Wall Street Journal: Sugar Is on a High at Year’s Start
- Raw-sugar futures are up about 10% this year, even as most commodities continue to decline. Sugar’s gains come amid dry weather in No. 1 producer Brazil, which is expected to result in the smallest global surplus of the sweetener in five years.
Wall Street Journal: WH Group Investor Lifts Cloud on Sino-U.S. Pork Play
- The world’s largest pork producer experienced a safety scare last year—in its shares. Now a move by one of its biggest investors should help Hong Kong-listed WH Group, which owns Smithfield Foods in the U.S., become nontoxic again.
Agri-Pulse: EPA official says agency is working hard on RFS, but issue is complex
- An Environmental Protection Agency official says employees of the agency charged with rule making for the Renewable Fuels Standard every year are working hard to implement changes, but the growing complexity of the statute is slowing their progress.
Agri-Pulse: Former lawmakers are biodiesel advocates
- (Audio) A former governor, a former congressman and a former senator discussed biofuels policy and the need to diversify the fuel supply during the National Biod Conference this week in Fort Worth.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: USDA proposes new bacteria testing standards for poultry
- USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today proposed the first federal standards for salmonella and campylobacter testing in ground chicken and turkey products as well as raw chicken breasts, legs and wings.
Boston Globe: Harvard, Yale scientists develop technique to make GMOs safer
- Two teams of scientists from Harvard and Yale have reached a crucial milestone in the effort to build synthetic life forms: a powerful way to prevent genetically modified organisms from escaping into the wild.
Boston Globe: For food truck owners, it’s all about location
- Boston’s food truck vendors are 10 weeks from opening for the season, but they already have some idea of where they’ll be hawking their wood-fire pizza, fish tacos, and other moveable feasts.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: U.S. Trade Rep urges mayors to help sell Obama trade agenda
- U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman went before the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Wednesday to start selling the trade agenda President Obama highlighted in his State of the Union address, an agenda that includes trade agreements that Froman said will provide “premier access to two-thirds of the global economy.”
Agri-Pulse: Ag groups support Obama on Cuba, bipartisanship
- The two biggest U.S. farmer organizations say they support President Obama's State of the Union calls for bipartisanship in Congress and an end to the Cuban embargo.
Wall Street Journal: China Confronts ‘New Normal’ of Slower Growth
- China’s slipping economic momentum is driving the government to seek new sources of growth and pushing multinationals and Chinese companies to look for a Plan B to prosper in the world’s second-largest economy.
Agri-Pulse: Stabenow, Cubans talk increased farm trade
- (Subscriber only) The Cuban government is expressing interest in increasing purchases of U.S. agriculture commodities in the wake of President Barack Obama's moves to establish diplomatic relations and also wants to buy some farm equipment, says Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
The Hill: Dem: 'Bad' trade deals 'wreak havoc' on minorities
- Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that trade deals that outsource American jobs "wreak havoc" on minorities.
Washington Post: U.S.-Cuba talks begin amid bilateral optimism
- The most senior U.S. official to visit Cuba in decades arrived here Wednesday for talks on normalizing relations between the two countries, barely a month after President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced an end to 61 years of official estrangement.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Los Angeles Times: Creating a 'genetic firewall' for GMOs
- Synthetic amino acids may one day allow scientists to create "genetic firewalls" that prevent GMO crops or animals from escaping into the wild and causing environmental damage, according to Harvard and Yale researchers.
The Star Democrat: Md. agriculture halfway to 2017 phosphorus goals
- As of 2013, Maryland agriculture is 95 percent toward meeting its 2017 nitrogen reduction goal and 51 percent toward meeting its 2017 goal for phosphorus reduction.
New York Times: Senate Rejects Climate Measures
- The Senate on Wednesday twice rejected measures declaring that humans are causing climate change. But in the course of those votes, 15 Republicans, including Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, voted yes.
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