Daily Harvest -- 2/4/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Lawmakers to consider splitting next farm bill, Conaway says
- The House Agriculture Committee will take another look at the idea of severing nutrition programs from the rest of the farm bill as part of its upcoming review of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, said the panel's chairman, Mike Conaway.
Agri-Pulse: Obama seeks 5% boost in EPA budget
- (Subscriber only) The Obama administration is asking Congress for $8.6 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for fiscal year 2016, which is $452 million, or 5 percent, more than its 2015 actual budget.
Agri-Pulse: EPA withdraws WOTUS-related Interpretive Rule
- Early this week, the Environmental Protection Agency officially withdrew its interpretive rule that defined normal farming practices for purposes of the Clean Water Act and as required by Congress in the 2015 Omnibus spending bill passed in December.
Agri-Pulse: A new era for Ag research?
- (Subscriber only) The board of the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR), created by the 2014 farm bill, is meeting for the second time this week in Washington, shortly after which it will seek an executive director.
Agri-Pulse: Crop insurance cuts in budget
- (Audio) The White House fiscal year 2016 budget proposal includes an 18% cut to the crop insurance budget, in the form of legislative changes that would reduce premium subsidies for some farmers and reform planting coverage.
The Hill: Oversight chairman takes aim at EPA
- The new chairman of the House Oversight Committee has big plans to root out what he sees as pervasive and growing problems in management and overregulation at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Reuters: Oregon adopts rules allowing industrial hemp crops
- Oregon farmers could plant the state's first industrial hemp crop this spring, a full year before businesses expect to start growing marijuana for recreational use, a state official said on Tuesday.
New York Times: Four U.S. lawmakers begin second effort at biofuels reform bill
- A group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers will begin their second attempt on Wednesday to introduce a bill that would reform the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program in the United States, targeting an end to ethanol fuel-blending mandates.
Wall Street Journal: ADM sees weaker profit margins in ethanol business
- Archer Daniels Midland Co. said its ethanol profit margins would be softer this year, reflecting a dramatic drop in crude-oil prices that has pressured margins for producers of the corn-based biofuel.
New York Times: Low energy prices offer opening for subsidy cuts
- In Saudi Arabia, drivers pay roughly 45 cents a gallon to fill up their cars, and in Venezuela even less. Energy is so inexpensive in Kuwait and Qatar that residents chill their enormous swimming pools in the summer and typically leave their air-conditioners on at full blast while they are away on vacation.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: White potato back on the menu for WIC recipients
- The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) says the white potato is now OK to be added to the official shopping list for USDA's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
Bloomberg: It’s pork over beef in America for the first time since 1952
- In the U.S., the country that made the hamburger a global icon of American fast-food cuisine, beef is about to fall another spot on the meat scale.
Seattle Times: Coke bets on super milk; more protein, less sugar
- Coke is coming out with premium milk that has more protein and less sugar than regular. And it's betting people will pay twice as much for it.
Food-X: An accelerator to grow the food movement
- In return for several months of mentorship, education, and access, many fledging companies are willing to trade a percentage of their equity for a quick infusion of cash from venture funders.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Politico: Marco Rubio uses subcommittee gavel to challenge Obama’s Cuba policy
- Marco Rubio wanted an answer: Would the United States limit its meetings with democracy activists as a condition for the Cuban government allowing an embassy in Havana?
Financial Times: China’s high agricultural stockpiles complicate reform efforts
- Chinese stockpiles of agricultural commodities have hit historically high levels, according to the country’s most senior agricultural adviser.
Financial Times: Egyptian cotton in decline as farmers at mercy of world market
- A byword for luxury, Egyptian cotton is famed the world over. In Egypt, the so-called “white gold” has been celebrated in songs and films, funded family weddings and allowed the settling of debts in the fertile Nile Delta.
Reuters: India looks set to harvest bumper wheat crop in 2015
- India looks likely to harvest a bumper wheat crop this year, its eighth in a row to exceed demand, possibly encouraging the government to allow exports from overflowing grain bins.
Wall Street Journal: Fonterra misses deadline on exports to U.S.
- Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd., the world’s biggest dairy exporter, has been tripped up by U.S. bureaucracy.
Reuters: Syngenta profit beats forecasts as price hikes cushion forex hit
- Syngenta AG, the world's largest maker of crop chemicals, has reported an unexpected rise in operating earnings and raised its dividend, as price increases partly offset the effect of declines in the Russian and Ukrainian currencies.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Proposed bill seeks conservation easement incentive permanence
- The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people love by strengthening land conservation across America, today welcomed introduction of the Conservation Easement Incentive Act in Congress.
Environment and Energy Daily: Obama answers critics, seeks to aid workers hurt by regs, market downturn
- Market trends coupled with increased government environmental scrutiny have sent thousands of coal industry workers to the unemployment office.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
New York Times: Senate Democrats Block Vote on Homeland Security Bill, Creating Confrontation
- Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked a Republican bill that would finance the Department of Homeland Security, objecting to a measure that would have gutted President Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration.
Harvest Public Media: Without immigration fix, many dairies struggle to find employees
- When Jon Slutsky’s dairy farm in Wellington, Colo. is fully staffed, it’s a moment to celebrate. A full roster of employees at Slutsky’s La Luna Dairy is rare these days.
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