Daily Harvest -- 2/2/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Washington Week Ahead: Obama releases budget; GOP to attack water rule, Cuba policy
- Agri-Pulse: President Barack Obama sends Congress a fiscal 2016 budget Monday that will be dead on arrival because it sets aside the across-the-board cuts Congress set five years ago.
USDA shows first increase in size of U.S. cattle herd in 8 Years
- Wall Street Journal: The U.S. cattle herd expanded in 2014 for the first time in eight years, offering hope to consumers that beef prices could start to subside after soaring to a series of records.
Monsanto shareholder meeting gets heated
- Wall Street Journal: Monsanto Co. has long been a lightning rod for debate, but at its annual shareholder meeting Friday, the biotech-seed company was tagged with blame or credit for an even larger number of issues than usual.
Senator Pat Roberts has lunch with some new guests today
- KMBZ: Senator Pat Roberts, had lunch with high school kids this afternoon. As chair of the agriculture committee he's been reviewing school nutrition standards.
New York farmers seek tax credit on equipment purchases
- Wall Street Journal: Farmers in New York state are asking state lawmakers to pass a tax credit for purchases of agricultural machinery and equipment.
Minnesota's agricultural, er, representational largesse on the Agriculture Committee
- Star Tribune: Most every Minnesota politician understands the importance of the state’s agriculture interests.
Minnesota near the top in recent agricultural production report
- Star Tribune: Crop and livestock producers in Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District, comprising the western third of the state, sold just over $11 billion worth of agricultural products in 2012, making the district fourth in the nation among 435 districts.
2014 was bumper year for Idaho agriculture
- Idaho Statesman: Simply put, 2014 was the most profitable year ever for Idaho agriculture, even after factoring inflation.
Asheville ‘Farmer Incubator Program’ expands
- Citizen Times: Great food starts with great farms, but those fruits, vegetables, chickens and cows also need great farmers.
Fueled by oil, agriculture sector welcomes low diesel prices
- Sioux City Journal: 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.
Mitsui remains focused on resources
- Wall Street Journal: While many Japanese executives have welcomed lower oil prices, which have fallen by around 50% since June, others have been less pleased. Mitsui & Co., Japan’s second-largest trading house, derives about half its profit from energy investments, making it the most dependent on resource-related sectors of its peers.
FOOD & NUTRITION
EPA proposes new corn rootworm management plan
- Agri-Pulse: The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing new measures to delay the corn rootworm pest becoming resistant to corn genetically engineered to produce certain pesticides.
Nutrition Association: Lunch rules pushing students to 'junk food'
- The Hill: The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is lobbying to relax rules for healthy school lunches as Congress prepares to reauthorize first lady Michelle Obama's prized Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
On the east end of Long Island, embracing local wheat
- New York Times: Wines have their Tuscan countryside; cheeses, their hillside caves in southern France. So wouldn’t it make sense that bread, too, might hold a connection to the place where the wheat is grown and the dough kneaded?
Many G.M.O.-free labels, little clarity over rules
- New York Times: Few industry debates are as heated these days as the one about labeling foods that contain genetically modified ingredients.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
NBB baffled by EPA move to fast-track Argentine biodiesel imports
- Agri-Pulse: (Subscriber only) As the renewable fuels industry waits for the Obama administration to act on the Renewable Fuel Standard, the National Biodiesel Board is speaking out, calling the agency's lack of action "unacceptable."
China eyes food safety, modern farms in 2015 rural policy
- Reuters: China has listed food safety and modernizing farms as among key priorities this year, its 2015 rural policy outline showed, as it tackles falling agricultural productivity that has raised concerns about its future food supply.
Asian palm oil prices are under pressure
- Wall Street Journal: Palm oil prices in Asia are coming under pressure from slowing demand in both the food and fuel sectors, dampening investor hopes for prolonged gains after prices surged to a six-month high earlier this month following extensive floods in Malaysia.
Taiwan's birdflu under control-agriculture officials
- New York Times: (Video) Agriculture officials in Taiwan say latest outbreak of avian flu is under control but warns measures need to be in place to prevent future outbreaks.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
First soil health summit held in St. Louis
- Agri-Pulse: (Audio) The United Nation has declared 2015 the International Year of Soil so it was appropriate that the first Soil Health Summit, held by the Soil Health Partnership, occurred last week in St. Louis.
Climate change’s bottom line
- New York Times: It was 8 degrees in Minneapolis on a recent January day, and out on Interstate 394, snow whipped against the windshields of drivers on their morning commutes. But inside the offices of Cargill, the food conglomerate, Greg Page, the company’s executive chairman, felt compelled to talk about global warming.
Environmental groups pose billion-dollar challenge to ag
- Capitol Press: The 10 largest environmental organizations operating in the West collectively raise almost $1 billion each year to fund their activities, including filing lawsuits targeting farmers, ranchers, timber companies and the federal government.
Vermont farmers ready for new runoff rules
- Valley News: Dairy farmer Corey Chapman wasn’t surprised when he heard Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin’s proposals to clean up the state’s waterways in the governor’s inaugural address last month.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Obama to begin new immigration plan rollout Feb. 18
- LA Times: Applications will start being accepted Feb. 18 for temporary deportation relief for immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children as part of protections under President Obama's new immigration plan
Farm Bureau fights minimum wage hike, supports more conservation
- NCPR: New York’s largest lobbying group for agriculture briefed reporters on its priorities yesterday. Those priorities include getting more New York grown produce into New York City and fighting a minimum wage hike.
Workshop aims to aid women in agriculture
- The Toledo Blade: Women in agriculture who would like to take a more active role in business operations may sign up for Annie’s Project, a multi-part risk-management course offered by the Ohio State University Extension.
De Blasio and the groundhog
- Wall Street Journal: For decades, Groundhog Day at the Staten Island Zoo has given an oft-forgotten borough its moment in the spotlight.
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