Daily Harvest -- 3/4/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: USDA won't commit to COOL revisions
- The Obama administration won't commit to providing Congress with recommendations for overhauling the country-of-origin labeling law for meat.
Agri-Pulse: House clears DHS funding, ending stalemate
- The House voted to fund the Department of Homeland Security through the rest of fiscal 2015, ending an attempt by conservatives to use the agency's spending bill to block President Obama's executive actions on immigration.
Agri-Pulse: Yoho introduces bill targeting foreign sugar subsidies
- Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., reintroduced a bill Friday that encourages the administration to target foreign sugar subsidies. Under the “Zero-for-Zero” plan, U.S. sugar policy would also be rolled back in exchange for the elimination of foreign programs, which Yoho says are distorting world prices and inhibiting a free market.
Agri-Pulse: Rural water systems need $140 billion for fixes and feds aren't flush
- Rural communities will need $140 billion in drinking water and wastewater system upgrades in the coming decades, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
Bloomberg: Inside the Powerful Lobby Fighting for Your Right to Eat Pizza
- Groups advocate for restaurants and frozen foods, franchise associations, and chains. Beef, dairy, corn, potatoes, and apples all have their champions. But there is nothing quite like the pizza lobby, a rare coalition of competitors who have banded together to advocate for a specific dish.
Argus Leader: Big livestock bill endorsed by ag committee
- A South Dakota Senate panel has endorsed a bill that would make it easier to site large livestock operations in the state.
USA Today: Report: Agriculture in N.Y. is booming industry
- Agriculture contributed $37 billion to New York's economy in 2012, up 22% from 2007, a report released Tuesday found.
Politico: The real Iowa kingmaker
- Bruce Rastetter, an agribusiness mogul who’s made a fortune in pork, ethanol and farm real estate, has long worked behind the scenes to help bankroll conservatives across the country, but Saturday is a public coming out party of sorts for Rastetter as he hosts the first-ever Iowa Agriculture Summit.
Agri-Pulse: California, Middle East lead the way as solar power soars globally
- (Subscriber only) With oil prices around $50 a barrel, half last summer's peak, is it game over for renewables? Not according to the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD).
The Hill: Ethanol industry lobbies up
- Pro-ethanol group Fuels America has signed with a pair of high-profile lobbyists from both parties as part of its effort to defend the federal ethanol blending mandate.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Addressing the labeling issue
- (Audio) Labeling to address the presence or absence of genetically modified food ingredients was a big topic of discussion at Commodity Classic last week.
New York Times: Three States and Two Tribes to Get $27 Million to Fight Childhood Hunger
- The Obama administration, as part of a broader push to address persistent poverty and childhood hunger in rural areas, said Tuesday that it would provide millions of dollars in grants to help several economically distressed communities.
Wall Street Journal: Hog, Cattle Prices Slide as Meat Demand Cools
- U.S. hog prices tumbled to nearly a two-week low Tuesday, pressured by rising supplies and unexpectedly weak demand of pork products.
Huffington Post: Distorting Nutrition Facts to Generate Buzz
- In mid-February, the government released a scientific report that will shape its 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Think of it as America's basic nutrition policy. Most people who read the report would have viewed it as a snore; not much has changed.
New York Times: Efficiency in the Kitchen to Reduce Food Waste
- San Francisco may have been the first city to make its citizens compost food, but Seattle is the first to punish people with a fine if they don’t.
Wall Street Journal: Micro-Grocers Revive the Corner Store, Cater to Food-Obsessed Urbanites
- Known for relaxed but attentive service and a tiny but carefully considered selection of products, the stores want to feel like an extension of their customers’ own kitchens.
Chicago Tribune: Dairy Queen celebrates 75 years with free ice cream
- On March 16, Dairy Queen will celebrate is 75th anniversary with Free Cone Day. On that Monday (which is also the 75th day of the calendar year), all guests will receive a free small vanilla soft-serve cone.
Washington Post: Proof he’s the Science Guy: Bill Nye is changing his mind about GMOs
- Nye’s sudden about-face on GMOs might strike some people as suspicious, especially since it came after he visited a corporation that many food and environmental activists detest and that has practically become synonymous with GMOs. But Nye is telling us that, irrespective of the corporation’s business practices, he changed his mind after learning more about the science.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Ag innovation: Squeezed between lawsuits and a biotech hard place
- Ask just about any farmer leader if they support science and innovation in agriculture and the answer will usually be a resounding “yes.” But ask them about how to commercialize new seed traits and avoid sending those products to unapproved international markets, there's little consensus.
Wall Street Journal: Traders To Blame For Spike in Rice Prices, Says Official
- Markups by traders not a supply shortage were the primary cause of a recent spike in rice prices in Indonesia, a government official has said, downplaying the widespread effect of the increase.
The Economist: I had a farm in Africa
- Now the government proposes to prevent foreigners from buying farmland as well as to restrict the size and number of farms that citizens may own. Foreigners would still be allowed to take out long-term leases on farmland, but not buy more.
Reuters: China urges banks to speed up agriculture sector loans
- China urged its banks to speed up lending to agriculture, the country's banking regulator said on Tuesday, in an effort to bolster a sector that employs almost one third of its 1.4 billion people, but remains in desperate need of funding.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
The Hill: White House threatens veto of EPA ‘secret science’ bill
- The White House on Tuesday threatened to veto a pair of Republican bills aimed at changing the way the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses science to justify regulations.
Reuters: California halts 12 injection wells over water concerns
- California oil drilling regulators on Tuesday ordered operators of 12 underground injection wells in Kern County to halt injections out of fear that they could contaminate drinking water supplies.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Agri-Pulse: House panel OKs mandatory E-Verify over farmer opposition
- The House Judiciary Committee has advanced a bill that would force employers to use the E-Verify system to ensure their workers can legally work in the United States, a requirement that could snag farmworkers across the country.
The State: Chicken killers leave at least 300,000 dead, millions in damage to SC farms
- Attacks the past two weeks on at least 16 farms across several rural South Carolina counties killed an estimated 300,000 chickens and cost the owners roughly $1.7 million.
Bloomberg: Fighter Pilot Is Winner as Drones Fly Over Idaho Crops
- Steve Edgar, a fighter pilot who operated wartime drones in Iraq and Afghanistan, is back home in Idaho. Now, he plans to use unmanned aircraft for a more peaceful purpose: Improving farmer crop yields.
Albany Democrat-Herald: Putting the chicken before the egg
- Students from Levi Fredrikson’s small scale sustainable livestock course have spent the last two weeks becoming experts on caring for chickens since 10 of them arrived about two weeks ago.
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