Daily Harvest -- 2/17/2016
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Grand Forks Herald: Groups start organizing promotional efforts on corporate farming vote
- The 2015 North Dakota Legislature passed a bill exempting dairy- and hog-farming operations from the state’s ban on corporate-owned farms. The bill was the subject of a referral petition drive spearheaded by North Dakota Farmers Union. Voters will have the final say June 7.
L.A. Times: Proposal would shift bullet train funding for use on new water projects
- The state’s powerful agriculture industry and its political allies are gathering signatures for a November ballot initiative that would grab bond money earmarked for California’s bullet train and use it instead for new water projects.
Agri-Pulse: RFA chief criticizes EPA's recent use of waiver to set mandate level
- (Audio) Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen told RFA members at the group's annual meeting in New Orleans on Tuesday that the state of their industry is strong despite a variety of challenges.
Agri-Pulse: Fracking takes hits from quakes, new regulations, bankruptcies
- Last weekend, the third-strongest earthquake ever recorded in Oklahoma reinforced state and national concerns that the surge in oil industry horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing is causing the earth to move.
Houston Chronicle: Valero sues EPA over ethanol standard
- Valero Energy, the San Antonio-based refining giant, has filed the latest lawsuit against EPA, claiming that the government’s renewable fuel program unfairly favors some refineries over others in rules around the blending of ethanol into the fuel supply.
FOOD & NUTRITION
AP: USDA rules would increase food stamp access to healthy foods
- The Agriculture Department unveiled new rules on Tuesday that would force retailers who accept food stamps to stock a wider variety of healthy foods or face the loss of business as consumers shop elsewhere.
AP: Maple Syrup Producers Question Foods Labeled Maple
- Last week, industry groups from Vermont to Michigan sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration protesting food labeled as maple that doesn't contain the real thing or just a minuscule amount of it.
AP: Whole Foods Recalling Specialty Cheese Sold in NY, Florida
- The chain is recalling "Pecorino Aged Cheese in Walnut Leaves" sold in West Palm Beach, Florida, and the Bowery section of New York City because it may be contaminated with listeria, a bacteria that can be fatal to young, old or frail people and cause stillbirths.
L.A. Weekly: Local bananas return to Santa Monica market after decades
- Andy Sheaffer's current banana crop has been five years in the making, and the Ventura County farmer admits he was going to give up on the project if it didn’t work out this season.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
McClatchy: US Chamber of Commerce gives Cuban trade minister a standing ovation
- The nation's top official for foreign investment used a historic speech before American business leaders Tuesday to urge them to pressure lawmakers to end U.S. economic sanctions against his country, warning that their firms are losing ground to foreign competitors.
Reuters: RPT-Asia watches as GMO legal challenge threatens Philippines food supply
- A legal challenge to rules on genetically modified organisms is threatening to spark a food crisis in the country and could cloud the outlook for GM technology around Asia.
Canadian Press: Prairie farmers calling for return of the Canadian Wheat Board
- A group of producers from parts of Manitoba and Saskatchewan wants the federal government to bring back the board and its single desk for selling wheat and barley.
Farmers Weekly (England): Farmers needed to help rural dementia project
- Researchers from Plymouth University are looking to speak to farmers who have a family member suffering from dementia.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Christian Science Monitor: Fresh water crisis: Four billion people face water scarcity, says study
- Authors of a report published Friday in the journal Science Advances say previous studies have underestimated the severity of water scarcity around the world.
Des Moines Register: Scalia's death could affect agriculture cases
- In the wake of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the remaining eight Supreme Court justices are determining which cases to take up, including a challenge by the American Farm Bureau Federation to the EPA's plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.
Portland Tribune: Bill would ratify removal of wolves from endangered species list
- A bill to ratify removing wolves from Oregon’s endangered species list came under sharp questioning Tuesday in a key Senate committee.
The Guardian: WHO paves way for use of genetically modified mosquitoes to combat Zika
- New and potentially controversial techniques including releasing genetically modified or irradiated mosquitoes could be deployed to hamper the spread of the Zika virus, according to a statement from the World Health Organization today.
Seattle Times: Pot products recalled in Colorado for pesticides, but not in Washington state
- Despite fining two marijuana growers and suspending the licenses of two others for using unapproved pesticides, Washington state hasn't recalled any products for pesticides during the 18 months that legal pot sales have been allowed.
ScienceDaily: Better water management could halve the global food gap
- For the first time, scientists investigated systematically the worldwide potential to produce more food with the same amount of water by optimizing rain use and irrigation.
TechInsider: Google's secretive moonshot lab once tried to create automated vertical farms
- At the TED2016 conference in Vancouver, Astro Teller — the head of Alphabet's X unit (formerly Google X) — revealed that the lab once tried to create an automated vertical farming system.
TWCNews: Farmers Support Proposed Adams Manure Pit
- Recently, Adams, N.Y., farmer Mike Hill announced plans to build a multi-million-gallon manure pit on his land. It's meant to help the efficiency of his business, and it would be a spot to store manure until conditions are ideal to spread it for crops. But at a meeting two weeks ago to discuss it, hundreds of people showed up to oppose it.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
WGCU: Silvia's Story: A Farmworker's Illness Brings Exposure Questions
- Genelle Grant has been working with farm worker families for more than 23 years in Southwest Florida. She directs the GRACE or Guatemalan Rural Adult and Children's Education Project to prevent human trafficking. Today she tells the story of a woman who used to work in the fields whose severe health issues bring farm worker safety into question.
Springfield (Ill.) News-Sun: Champaign County forms new group to connect farmers, businesses
- The local Ohio State University Extension Office and the Champaign Co. Chamber of Commerce are collaborating to better connect local agribusiness and business leaders. The two have created the Champaign County Ag Association, which will hold its first meeting March 4 in Urbana.
Washington Post: Scientists just found another key threat to global food security
- In a new study in Nature Communications, a group of researchers concluded that the world’s grasslands are going to need a lot more phosphorus — an important nutrient for plants — if they’re going to produce enough grass to meet future food demands.
AP: Kansas officials battle misgivings about American Royal deal
- Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's administration worked Tuesday to counter Kansas legislators' misgivings about an effort to lure the annual American Royal horse and livestock exhibition to the state from the Missouri side of the Kansas City metropolitan area.
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