Daily Harvest -- 1/26/2015
Here's your daily summary of top news from www.Agri-Pulse.com and other national and regional headlines from across the country. Do you know of someone who should also be on our list? Please ask them to click here.
FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Open Mic with House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway
Link - (Audio) As Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in the 114th Congress, Mike Conaway has revised the subcommittee structure to allow for closer policy oversight and careful attention to reauthorization of nutrition programs and futures trading. In his first audio interview on ag issues this year, Conaway covers a wide variety of topics.
Agri-Pulse: A whole new year for cotton growers
Link - (Audio) What a change a year can make in the cotton market. Gary Adams, vice president for economic and policy analysis for the National Cotton Council, says a year ago this time cotton prices and demand were looking fairly good.
Agri-Pulse: Senate Ag Chairman Roberts fills key committee posts
Link - Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., today announced several key selections to the panel's senior staff.
Agri-Pulse: Scott Graves heads list of House Ag Committee Staffers
Link - The House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday approved the list of senior staffers who will lead the panel in the 114th Congress. In November, Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, the then-incoming chairman of the committee, had announced the appointments.
Agri-Pulse: High-path avian flu found in commercial turkey flock in California
Link - USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic (HPAI) H5N8 avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Stanislaus County, California.
Reuters: Exclusive: USDA Secretary orders update of animal welfare research strategy
Link - U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has directed agency staff to create and deliver an updated Animal Welfare Strategy plan within 60 days, according to an internal email reviewed by Reuters.
Wall Street Journal: California’s Scrambled Eggs
Link - California has a way of living up to the worst regulatory expectations, as grocery shoppers across the country are discovering. The state’s latest animal-rights march is levying a punishing new food tax on the nation’s poor.
Los Angeles Times: California again tops ranking of the most animal-friendly states
Link - For the sixth straight year, the society has ranked the Golden State No. 1 on its list of 50 states for laws and policies relating to wildlife, farm livestock, pets and animal fighting. Oregon placed second and Illinois came in third.
Des Moines Register: The Register's Editorial: Good things could flow from water lawsuit
Link - The lawsuit the Des Moines Water Works contemplates filing against three Iowa counties is not a war against rural Iowa, as some would have it. Rather, it is a civilized approach to resolving a threat to public health.
Associated Press: Fueled by Oil, Agriculture Sector Welcomes Low Diesel Prices
Link - The recent plunge in fuel prices has been a welcome relief across the agricultural sector, helping ease the pain of low grain prices for growers and boosting profits for cattle ranchers.
Des Moines Register: Two Branstads vow to 'educate' presidential hopefuls on RFS
Link - Iowa leaders on Thursday threw down a warning to presidential candidates about the renewable fuel standard.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Food inflation less than average in 2014, USDA says
Link - Food prices rose by 2.4 percent last year, less than the historical average, despite sharp increases in meat costs and the drought in California, the Agriculture Department says.
Newsweek: A Taste Test of America's Good Food Movement
Link - Going from Brooklyn to Northern California, as I have in the last year, one could be forgiven for thinking that all the best local, sustainable, innovative food is produced in those two locales.
PBS: 5 ways drones could change the way America eats
Link - Drone technology, already used in other countries, can make farmers more efficient by helping them locate problem spots in vast fields or ranchlands. Increased efficiency could mean lower costs for consumers and less impact on the environment if farmers used fewer chemicals because drones showed them exactly where to spray.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: U.S. helps move WTO Trade Facilitation pact forward
Link - The U.S. has formally accepted the World Trade Organization's so-called Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), an accord designed to cut red tape among trading partners and which is projected to generate hundreds of billions of dollars in economic activity.
Agri-Pulse: Washington Week Ahead: White House seeks to sell trade agenda, close TPP deal
Link - Key congressional committees start laying the groundwork this week for pushing the Obama administration's trade agenda through Congress with back-to-back meetings with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Monsanto plans first seed plant in Russia
Link - Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, plans to open its first plant in Russia in coming years, stepping up its activities in the world’s fourth largest grain producer as it seeks to counter the effects of a plunging ruble.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Business analysis shows Midwest agriculture at high risk from climate change
Link - The American Midwest faces “economic disruptions as climate change advances, reduces labor productivity, and shifts agricultural production patterns.” The threats include the potential shift of “growing patterns for major commodity crops to the north …putting individual farming communities at risk.”
Wall Street Journal: More Beekeepers Sour on Profession as Winter Die-Offs Continue
Link - The government doesn’t track employment statistics on commercial beekeepers, but the White House cited particular concern over the fate of professional beekeepers when it created a task force in June to address bee deaths.
Magic Valley: What Does Sustainability Mean for Agriculture?
Link - What does it mean to be a sustainable agricultural producer? That’s a debate quietly occurring across southern Idaho as various commodity groups begin talking with members about best management practices retailers want used to address concerns their customers have about the food they buy.
DL-Online: Peterson: Let Minnesota control wolf population
Link - Rep. Collin Peterson: I have concerns on the recent U.S. District Court’s decision to reinstate gray wolves under the protections of the Endangered Species Act in Minnesota. I urge the Department of the Interior to appeal this decision so Minnesota can return to successfully managing our robust gray wolf population.
My Eastern Shore MD: Md. farmers plant record cover crops
Link - Farmers participating in the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s 2014-2015 Cover Crop Program planted a record 478,000 acres of cover crops on their fields last fall, according to a news release.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Wall Street Journal: U.S., Mexico Increasingly Competing for Farm Labor
Link - The U.S. and Mexico are increasingly competing for a dwindling supply of farm labor, according to a new analysis, a development that likely will have long-term implications for the U.S. agricultural sector.
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