Daily Harvest -- 2/26/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: USDA proposes new rule to expand crop insurance for fruits, vegetables
- USDA is proposing changes that could lead to the expansion of crop insurance to additional crops, including many fruit and vegetables.
LA Times: Port labor deal may be too late for California citrus, almond growers
- An end to labor strife at West Coast ports should speed up cargo operations, but it may be too late to help California's drought-weary nut and citrus farmers
Wall Street Journal: FCC’s net neutrality rules expected to unleash court challenges
- The FCC’s plan for regulating how Internet providers treat traffic on their networks is expected to unleash court challenges and put pressure on Congress to settle the legal morass through legislation.
Agri-Pulse: Ethanol industry urges Congress to reject Big Oil's attacks
- (Subscriber only) The U.S. ethanol industry had a spectacular year in 2014. But unless Congress and the driving public recognize the tremendous potential of biofuels and reject Big Oil's continuing attacks, the United States could lose its leadership position.
Wall Street Journal: How orphan wells leave states holding the cleanup bag
- Wyoming has to deal with abandoned wells seized from would-be mogul and his Gazmo device. Other states are in similar situations.
Wall Street Journal: Forecasting China’s oil buying grows harder
- China has snapped up oil at low prices to build up its stockpiles, buying that has made it even more difficult to assess actual demand from one of the biggest crude importers.
Bloomberg: Gasoline plunge wipes out profits for U.S. ethanol makers
- Ethanol producers are cutting output after getting squeezed by the biggest drop in gasoline prices since 2008.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Lawmakers offer new bills to expand Farm to School program
- In an effort to expand production and consumption of locally-grown foods in schools, lawmakers introduced new legislation today that would enhance USDA's Farm to School program.
Agri-Pulse: USDA to speed up new labeling rule for tenderized meat
- Special safety labels for mechanically tenderized meat are likely to take effect as soon as 2016, two years earlier than expected, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told lawmakers. He was pushed to deliver recommendations for overhauling the country-of-origin labeling law.
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack assures lawmakers dietary guidelines will focus on nutrition
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack assured lawmakers he would be personally involved in writing the government's new dietary guidelines and indicated he would keep them narrowly focused on nutrition.
Agri-Pulse: House Ag Committee kicks off 'long' review of SNAP
- House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway said today's committee hearing on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is just (the start of a long) review of the largest initiative in the nation's safety net against hunger.
ABC News: Vilsack: Smart phones could tell consumers what's in food
- Vilsack told members of Congress on Wednesday that consumers could just use their phones to scan special bar codes or other symbols on food packages in the grocery store.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Senate hearing postponed as TPA talks continue
- The Senate Finance Committee postponed a trade hearing set for Thursday, a sign that talks are progressing on a bill to provide President Obama with the negotiating authority needed to complete a Pacific Rim trade deal.
Agri-Pulse: Making the constitutional case for Trade Promotion Authority
- (Opinion) As a member of North Dakota's state legislature, I take my constitutional duties seriously. Serving in office requires me to take an oath: I solemnly swear to support the U.S. Constitution, as well as my state's constitution.
New York Times: European leaders seek tighter cooperation on energy
- The European Union authorities vowed on Wednesday to accelerate efforts to knit together their diverse energy systems amid deepening tensions with Russia, a major supplier of the bloc’s natural gas.
Wall Street Journal: Brazil truckers jar soybean markets
- A widespread work stoppage by Brazilian truckers is roiling global soybean markets, boosting prices that had been deflated for months by soaring production.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: EPA's McCarthy mum on WOTUS definition
- (Subscriber only) EPA chief Gina McCarthy had few, if any, definitive answers on the impending Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule today at a House Energy and Commerce Committee's hearing on the agency's budget for fiscal 2016.
Agri-Pulse: How USDA is helping farmers prepare for climate change
- (Audio) USDA is helping farmers prepare to deal with climate change, according to Director of the office Bill Hohenstein.
Wall Street Journal: US House approves bill to step up fight against toxic algae
- Members of Congress have called for more aggressive federal action to prevent toxic algae from contaminating the Great Lakes and other waterways around the nation, such as an outbreak on Lake Erie last summer that left more than 400,000 people without safe tap water for two days.
Phys.org: Isolated wetlands have significant impact on water quality
- Geographically isolated wetlands play an outsized role in providing clean water and other environmental benefits even though they may lack the regulatory protections of other wetlands, according to an article by Indiana University researchers and colleagues.
New York Times: Food waste is becoming serious economic and environmental issue, report says
- With millions of households across the country struggling to have enough to eat, food waste is increasingly being seen as a serious environmental and economic issue.
Reuters: Gray wolves, once decimated by eradication campaign, rebound in Oregon
- Oregon's once decimated gray wolf population has rebounded to at least 77 animals, and the wolves are now pairing off and breeding across a wide region, state officials with the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife said on Wednesday.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
ABC News: GOP may need House dems to help resolve DHS funding impasse
- For all the talk of Republican House Speaker John Boehner being trapped by the quarrel over funding the Homeland Security Department, he holds a potential escape key, if he's willing to use it: cooperative Democrats.
U-T San Diego: Homeland Security bill moves in Senate while House in limbo
- The Senate is moving forward on legislation to fund the Homeland Security Department, but the House is in limbo two days away from a partial agency shutdown as conservatives angrily reject the Senate plan.
Wall Street Journal: Barack Obama warns federal officials could disregard his immigration measures
- President Barack Obama on Wednesday warned that some officials within the federal bureaucracy could disregard his executive actions shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation.
Wall Street Journal: Former DHS secretaries urge republicans to fund the department
- Two former secretaries of Homeland Security, both Republicans, urged GOP lawmakers to set aside their anger about President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration and provide funding for the department.
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