Daily Harvest -- 2/7/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: State Farm Bureau presidents testify on agency overreach
- (Audio) Presidents of state Farm Bureaus testified at two congressional hearings focused on overreach of federal government agencies. Texas Farm Bureau President Ken Dierschke expressed concerns about a proposed EPA rule that would expand the Clean Water Act.
Associated Press: Research Money Small but Vital Part of Farm Bill
- All of the research funding from the last farm bill continues and grows in some areas, such as specialty crop research, including work on citrus diseases.
Associated Press: Obama launching program to boost rural exports
- Obama plans to announce the "Made in Rural America" initiative Friday at Michigan State University. The president is visiting the school to sign into law a sweeping farm bill that sets policy for agricultural programs and food stamps.
DTN: Crop Insurance Provisions in the New Farm Bill
- There is perception that crop insurance takes a cut. That's actually the opposite of what happened in crop-insurance programs. For the most part, those programs and options for producers are propped up.
The Economist: The farm bill: A trillion in the trough
- While Congress was gridlocked it was easy to forget how ugly the smooth functioning of government can be. After a delay of two years, a reminder came on February 4th when the Senate passed the farm bill, a strange piece of legislation which costs nearly a trillion dollars.
The Plain Dealer: A farm bill that conservatives and liberals can live with: editorial
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s editorial board says the recent passage of the first farm bill since 2008 is a welcome sign that compromise may no longer be taboo in Washington, D.C.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: GMO coalition launches campaign for a federal labeling solution
- In an attempt to prevent a patchwork of state genetically modified (“GMO”) food labeling rules, a coalition of agricultural, food manufacturer and consumer groups announced today it will advocate for a national labeling law.
Washington Post: Salmonella outbreaks expose weaknesses in USDA oversight
- Federal regulators and poultry companies are scrambling to find new ways to reduce salmonella contamination, which sickens a million Americans annually. And the Agriculture Department is planning to expand rules to limit salmonella on chicken parts, not just whole birds.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: USDA warns Olympics-goers: Don’t bring pests back with you!
- USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has a friendly reminder for Americans who plan to attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia: Don't bring any invasive species back with you.
Agri-Pulse: Senate approves Baucus to serve as ambassador to China
- The Senate approved the nomination today, with a 96-0 vote, of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., to serve as U.S. ambassador to China.
Agri-Pulse: Beef producers worry TPP may exclude 'sensitive' products
- Beef producers from the U.S., Australia, Canada and New Zealand issued a statement today expressing concern that some member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may seek to exclude some “sensitive products” from duty-free access.
Wall Street Journal: How Politics May Sink Trade Deals
- The iron rule of Washington is that TPA votes only succeed via ferocious and sustained White House lobbying. President George W. Bush spent two years speechifying, mobilizing, horse-trading, and unleashing his assembled business and administrative host on Congress to get TPA.
Washington Post: Yogurt wars: Schumer, Chobani press to get dairy product to Sochi Olympics
- Russia doesn’t allow the importation of American yogurt. Any yogurt. Still, with the Olympics coming, Chobani apparently wanted to try anyway.
Financial Times: Demand growth feeds dairy price surge
- Global dairy prices have jumped by almost a third in the past year on the back of growing demand from China, north Africa and Russia amid limited supplies.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Bloomberg: California Drought Impact Seen Spreading From Fires to Food Cost
- The drought that’s gripping California may soon have the rest of the country seeking relief. The emergency, which follows the state’s driest year on record, is likely to boost the prices of everything from broccoli to cauliflower nationwide.
Wall Street Journal: The Politics of Drought
- The House on Wednesday passed water legislation that promises a modicum of relief to parched California farms, but the bill is dead upon arrival in the Senate. President Obama has threatened to veto the measure, which the White House says would "undermine years of collaboration between local, State, and Federal stakeholders."
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
New York Times: Boehner Doubts Immigration Bill Will Pass in 2014
- The yearlong effort to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, which had the support of President Obama, Republican leaders and much of American business and labor, was seriously imperiled on Thursday when Speaker John A. Boehner conceded that it was unlikely he could pass a bill.
Politico: Immigration reform’s other hurdle
- The Republican divide on whether undocumented immigrants can become citizens is consuming most of the headlines. But there’s a trickier issue at play that ultimately could prove to be a bigger stumbling block for immigration reform: a guest-worker program for future immigrants.
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