Daily Harvest -- 2/28/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack urges EPA caution in revising RFS
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the nation's ethanol producers that he's reached out to EPA chief Gina McCarthy and White House officials to make sure they understand the importance of their industry before going through with plans to cut the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
Agri-Pulse: Soy checkoff creates program to battle costly herbicide-resistant weeds
- University of Wisconsin researcher Vince Davis estimates herbicide-resistant weeds cost U.S. farmers two billion dollars each year. Only a problem this large and costly could bring together private industry, universities from across the country and farmer-led organizations to provide farmers with answers.
Agri-Pulse: Inspector general finds USDA ag data vulnerable
- A new report from USDA's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) finds the department's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) isn't doing a good enough job securing its data - a problem that could lead to high volatility in the agricultural commodity markets.
Agri-Pulse: Corn growers considering policy issues this week
- (Audio) As farmers from around the nation are gathered at the Commodity Classic in San Antonio, one of the issues off their plate is the farm bill, allowing them to focus on other issues like the RFS, regulation and water infrastructure, noted National Corn Growers Association board member Rob Elliott.
DTN: New Farm Bill Adds Complexity
- USDA is faced with trying to sort out some complicated changes to commodity programs quickly with fewer staff to help walk farmers through all the various decisions, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Krysta Harden said Thursday.
The Hill: House votes to overhaul federal reg process
- The House on Thursday approved legislation that would force federal agencies to be more transparent about pending regulations, and make them choose regulatory alternatives that impose the smallest cost possible on companies.
Wall Street Journal: Cattle Prices Jump to Record Highs
- (Subscriber only) Cattle prices are underpinned by tight supplies after years of drought in the central U.S., which forced ranchers to cull their herds. The supply squeeze is being exacerbated this year by a sharp drop in the cost of animal feed.
Washington Post: Poultry workers, industry take fight to Capitol Hill over proposal to speed processing lines
- Poultry workers, chicken industry lobbyists and food-safety advocates have been converging on Capitol Hill in recent weeks with dueling efforts to either boost or kill a proposal to overhaul the way the $60 billion-a-year poultry industry operates processing plants.
Reuters: DuPont Pioneer launches "Encirca" farm data services platform
- DuPont Pioneer, the agricultural seed unit of DuPont, said on Thursday it was launching a suite of "whole-farm decision" services aimed at boosting crop productivity, a line of business many in the agricultural sector are racing to offer.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Administration unveils proposal for new Nutrition Facts label
- The Obama administration today released a revamped version of the iconic Nutrition Facts label, which includes more prominent calorie information, more specific calorie-per-serving facts, and a new line for “added sugars.”
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Grains Council pushes stewardship for new biotech products
- U.S. Grains Council President Tom Sleight said he's asking corn farmers to strictly follow recommended stewardship guidelines for growing and selling Syngenta's Agrisure Duracade seed trait “to minimize the risk of export trade disruption.”
The Hill: Japan's leader refuses to set timetable for Asia-Pacific deal
- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday that no timetable should be attached to completion of a far-reaching Asia-Pacific trade agreement.
Financial Times: We cannot afford to stand on the sidelines of trade
- (Subscriber only) Vice President Joe Biden writes in this opinion piece that we have an opportunity to shape the path of global commerce to spread our values and benefit our people, and we should seize it.
Financial Times: Rain could be too late to save Brazil harvest
- (Subscriber only) After a January that ranked as one of the hottest and driest on record, heavy rains expected across the south of the country will be a welcome relief for the region’s farmers.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Opinion: Precision Agriculture
- The world is facing a double-barreled shotgun: population explosion and climate change, writes Marshall Matz in this opinion piece.
New York Times: Fertilizer Limits Sought Near Lake Erie to Fight Spread of Algae
- A United States-Canadian agency called on Wednesday for swift and sweeping limits on the use of fertilizer around Lake Erie to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering the water and creating a vast blanket of algae each summer, threatening fisheries, tourism and even drinking water.
Wall Street Journal: Lawmaker Turns Spotlight on Bugs and Birds in Oklahoma
- (Subscriber only) Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., turned a House investigative spotlight on Oklahoma's Lesser Prairie Chickens and American Burying Beetles. The bird, the bug and the Endangered Species Act have been a 10-year headache for farmers, builders and drillers in Oklahoma, where Mr. Lankford is seeking the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Sen Tom Coburn.
Washington Post: Desperately dry Southern California to get deluged Friday, most since 2011
- Experiencing its driest year on record, large parts of California need well over 15 inches of rain to emerge from severe drought. A vigorous storm crashing into its central coast Friday will supply some much-needed rain, but perhaps too much at once.
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