Daily Harvest News Service
Daily Harvest -- 2/5/2016
Here's your daily summary of top news from 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.


Agri-Pulse Daybreak for Feb. 5: GMO labeling, biotech overhaul, Conaway has hand in GOP agenda
Link - Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, says he's hearing from a lot of companies that want to see Congress act on labeling.

Washington Week in Review: Feb. 4, 2016: Cotton confusion and energy bill
Link - (Video) This week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced he doesn't have the authority to grant a wish of the cotton industry and many lawmakers by declaring cottonseed as an oilseed under certain farm bill programs. Agri-Pulse's Phil Brasher and Spencer Chase have more.

Agri-Pulse: Conaway disappointed in Vilsack's cottonseed decision
Link - (Audio) The House Ag chairman discusses his views on the secretary's decision not to treat it as an oilseed.

Omaha World-Herald: Ricketts’ property tax plan could have saved farmers money if it had been in place a decade ago
Link - A World-Herald analysis shows that the governor's proposal to cap annual valuation hikes for ag land at 3 percent would have would have left ag land valued at a small fraction of its market value during that period.

Washington Post: Judge weighs fate of $380 million left over in 2010 Native American farm suit
Link - A change to a landmark civil rights settlement of bias claims could create the largest Native American philanthropy. Native American farmers asked a federal judge Thursday to fix the "monumental" failure of a landmark civil rights settlement that has left $380 million — more than half the total — unclaimed after the U.S. government agreed to pay the farmers for years of official discrimination.


Agri-Pulse: Democrats block energy bill in fight for Flint aid
Link - Democrats stalled a bipartisan energy bill in the Senate, demanding that Republicans agree to include aid for the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Washington Post: One statistic shows just how dramatically our energy system is changing
Link - Coal only accounted for 34 percent of U.S. electricity last year, versus 39 percent just a year earlier and 50 percent in 2005. Meanwhile, natural gas — buoyed by cheap prices brought on by the shale gas boom — produced nearly as much electricity.


Agri-Pulse: New poultry safety standards may prevent 50,000 annual illnesses, USDA says
Link - Industry groups were not upset about new safety standards for chicken and turkey products that USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said would help prevent an estimated 50,000 illnesses a year.

Feedstuffs: FSIS finalizes new pathogen standards for poultry
Link - FSIS implemented performance standards for whole chickens in 1996 but has since learned that salmonella levels increase as chicken is further processed into parts.

Washington Post: The food movement is small? Not from where we sit, it isn’t.
Link - (Opinion) Organic farmer and food expert disagree with a previous column. "As two people who talk to consumers, farmers and retailers every day about food buying choices, we can tell you that the level of awareness and concern for the food we are eating is higher than it has ever been — and shows in changing attitudes and in changing habits, too."

AP: GMO Labeling Law Worries Food Groups
Link - The food industry is pressuring Congress to act before the state of Vermont requires food labels for genetically modified ingredients.


Philippine Star: Maguindanao farmers lose crops due to drought
Link - Farmers in 17 of Maguindanao's 36 towns lost their rice and corn crops to the now two-month dry spell, feared to cause widespread hunger without downpours until summer.

The Guardian: AGL pulls out of coal seam gas across Australia, cheering farmers
Link - AGL is pulling out of coal seam gas in Australia, ceasing its exploration and winding down or selling its operational gas fields. Farmers and residents who have been fighting coal seam gas have told Guardian Australia they are "ecstatic" with the decision.

Agrimoney: South Africa faces record imports of wheat, as well as corn
Link - South Africa faces record imports of wheat, as well as of corn, as it seeks to underpin food supplies in the face of "one of the worst droughts on record" - which has left the country looking at a 25% slump in output this year.


Agri-Pulse: USDA allots $150 Million for Conservation Stewardship Program
Link - USDA says $150 million in funding is available for agricultural producers through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the department's largest conservation program that helps producers voluntarily improve the health and productivity of private and tribal working lands.

WPTZ: Secretary of agriculture agrees to tighten rules for small Vt. farmers
Link - Reversing course, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross will tighten standards on smaller farms across the Missisquoi Bay Watershed to try to stem the flow of nutrient runoff that has fouled areas of Lake Champlain.

Des Moines Register: Water Works lawsuit started overdue discussion
Link - (Opinion) Letter-writer thanks Des Moines Water Works for the water quality lawsuit, not because they may be right, but because the discussion is now out in the open.


Monterey Herald: Peninsula Open Space Trust plans to help young farmers on San Mateo County coast
Link - A Bay Area conservation group that has spent much of the past 38 years saving land for parks and wildlife is launching a new effort to help a different species: Peninsula Open Space Trust plans to help young farmers on San Mateo County coast.

Times-News (Hendersonville, N.C.): Cider industry growing; guest worker program gets mixed reviews
Link - A panel including apple growers examined the pros and cons of the federal H-2A guest worker program, which provides visas for seasonal agricultural labor from other countries.

International Business Times: Why Did Bernie Sanders Vote Against Immigration Reform?
Link - Clinton attacks him during debate for position on immigration reform. He said he voted against the bill because the guest worker visa quotas in it would drive down wages for low-income workers.

The Nation: The two-tier employment system you haven’t heard of
Link - According to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the guestworker labor force provides US employers jobs on the cheap, offering less in wages and virtually nothing in terms of labor rights or benefits.


The Times (Ottawa, Ill.): Lower crop prices forcing farmers to delay equipment investments
Link - Dale Mellot, who has been in the agriculture equipment sales business for 42 years, said he has never seen such a slump in farm machinery sales as it has been for the last couple of years.

Bloomberg : Monsanto to focus on technology as Syngenta merger slips away
Link - Monsanto Co. wanted Syngenta so badly it pursued the pesticide producer for four years and made three separate takeover offers. Yet losing out to a Chinese bidder could be the best outcome for the seed company.

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