Daily Harvest -- 2/9/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Washington Week Ahead: Vilsack, Clean Water Act and tax extenders
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack heads to Capitol Hill this week to field questions on his implementation of the farm bill at a time when farmers nationwide are struggling over high-stakes decisions about subsidy programs the legislation created.
Agri-Pulse: USDA Dept. Secretary Krysta Harden - 2/8/2015
- USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden says it is critical for the government to provide a reasonable safety net for farmers, but that all programs- including crop insurance and conservation - must be scrutinized as part of the annual budget process.
Agri-Pulse: California dairy co-ops ask for federal milk marketing order
- (Subscriber only) California's three largest dairy cooperatives are asking USDA to allow milk producers in the state to begin operating under a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO), which provides dairy prices for milk based on market prices.
Wall Street Journal: West Coast Port Employers Suspend Some Operations Amid Labor Dispute
- Terminal operators at ports up and down the West Coast say they will temporarily suspend some operations for the weekend, citing “ongoing union slowdowns” that have allegedly “brought the ports almost to a standstill.”
Reuters: Weather worries U.S. cattle producers as they slowly expand herds
- Now a combination of record-high cattle prices and cheap grain has prompted ranchers to start adding back cattle earlier than expected. But the rebuilding will still be long and slow.
Associated Press: Farmers File More Than 360 Corn Lawsuits Against Syngenta
- Farmers and farm businesses in 20 states have now filed more than 360 lawsuits against agricultural chemicals-maker Syngenta, and hundreds more may be coming as a federal judge organizes the complex case so they can move forward.
Clean Technica: Solar Shingles: Renewable Energy Solution With Curb Appeal
- For those who can afford them, solar shingles provide an attractive option for routing solar-delivered electricity into a home.
Forbes: How The Energy Revolution Will Transform How We Live and Work
- Revolutions used to be few and far between. James Watt’s steam engine, developed in 1781, set the stage for the first industrial revolution. But it wasn’t until a century later that the widespread adoption of electricity and the internal combustion engine brought about the second industrial revolution.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Drop in oil price squeezes ethanol producers
- Some producers of corn-based ethanol made record profits in 2014, but that’s over. Industry executives now are talking about breaking even or staying slightly profitable.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: NCBA concerned about 2015 dietary guidelines
- (Audio) The beef cattle industry is keeping a close eye on the latest proposed dietary guidelines due out this year.
Los Angeles Times: The food movement has only just begun
- Farm-to-table as a concept has gained such popularity, it's tempting to presume that it's making a real difference in the livelihood of small-scale food producers.
Associated Press: Pope emphasizes right to food in address to 500 experts
- Pope Francis emphasized the right to food as fundamental in a video address Saturday to 500 experts starting work on a wide-ranging document aimed at raising awareness and proposing solutions to issues including hunger, obesity and food waste.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Wall Street Journal: Drought Drives Up Brazil’s Supermarket Produce Prices
- Brazil’s drought is hitting the produce aisles of São Paulo supermarkets, where higher prices are crimping consumers’ wallets and fueling already-high inflation.
Reuters: Growing U.S. hog herd, flat Chinese demand slams pork prices
- A strong dollar has made U.S. pork more costly than meat from competing countries, which has led to a slowdown in exports, especially to China. And cargo slow-downs due to a labor dispute at West Coast ports has left stocks of pork products piling up.
Reuters: As U.S. food sales to Cuba slow, farmers seek end to embargo
- U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba fell below $300 million last year for the first time since 2003 as the communist-led island's financial woes continued and it purchased food on credit elsewhere, a trade group said on Friday.
New York Times: Supermarket Chain Denies Venezuela’s Charges of Food Hoarding
- The head of a supermarket chain taken over by the Venezuelan government rejected on Sunday charges that the company was hoarding foodstuffs to destabilize the economy, arguing that its warehouse had only three days’ supply of basic goods.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Mapping changes could put wetlands at risk, USDA told
- The Agriculture Department could put critical wildlife habitat at risk across the upper Midwest by changing the way it maps wetlands in four states, according to conservation groups and an association of state wildlife agencies.
Wall Street Journal: Cuomo announces $376K for New York farmland protection
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the funding on Friday. It will go to seven counties and six towns to help them develop local zoning plans that encourage farming. The plans will identify and protect areas that are deemed to be best suited for farming.
Los Angeles Times: Patch of California emerges from drought, experts say
- After years of historically low rain totals and record-setting temperatures, California’s drought situation is looking ... less awful.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Workers thrilled, employers underwhelmed by skilled immigration changes
- Waits for work-based permanent residence could become easier — if not any shorter — under recent Obama administration changes overshadowed by more controversial steps for immigrants without legal status.
The Post and Courier: Still stuck on immigration
- Last month the House passed an appropriations bill with amendments that would negate some of the presidential orders on immigration. But Senate Democrats blocked that legislation last week.
Agri-Pulse: House appropriator Nunnelee dies
- Mississippi Rep. Alan Nunnelee, a member of the House Appropriations subcommittee that writes spending bills for the Agriculture Department and Food and Drug Administration, died Friday after a long battle with brain cancer. He was 56.
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