Daily Harvest -- 3/5/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Senators introduce bill to ease regulations on hauling diesel fuel
- A group of senators introduced a bill today that would provide an exemption to agricultural service vehicles from hazardous material transportation laws for hauling diesel fuel. Current laws require any driver transporting more than 119 gallons of diesel fuel to obtain a hazardous materials endorsement on their Class A commercial driver's license (CDL).
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.
Agri-Pulse: Cotton acres expected lower this year
- (Audio) There was a lot of speculation at Commodity Classic about what farmers will be planting this spring and many are still undecided, but the National Cotton Council’s annual Cotton Planting Intentions Survey shows cotton acres are expected to be down 14.6 percent compared to last year.
Wall Street Journal: Antibiotics and the Meat Industry
- The food companies’ efforts largely are being driven by consumer pressure, rather than regulatory moves. Here’s what’s happening.
Grand Forks Herald: Contentious anti-corporate farming bill reaches North Dakota ag committee
- This week, the North Dakota House Agriculture Committee will take the bull by the horns in the contentious proposed changes to the state’s anti-corporate farming law.
Baking Business News: Regulations seen slowing down fast-moving plant biotech
- Plant scientists have the technology to introduce a variety of traits into many plant species through bioengineering, but the main hurdle remains regulation, said Thomas E. Clemente, Eugene W. Price Professor of Biotechnology in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at the University of Nebraska.
Brownfield: Nebraska farmland values slip three percent
- After five years of increases, average farmland values in Nebraska dropped three percent over the past year. That’s according to preliminary findings from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln 2015 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey.
Des Moines Register: Ag Summit: Candidates need more than a checklist
- Presidential candidates need to do more than just wear a seed-corn cap and get their eggs in the right baskets on farm issues to impress Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and other Iowa voters.
Bloomberg: Big Corn Butters Up the 2016 Presidential Hopefuls
- Support for ethanol, a political darling of the past decade, has withered as domestic production of oil and gas has boomed. Critics cite not only government subsidies for the industry but also studies showing that converting corn into ethanol is environmentally harmful.
Reuters: China tries to ditch its coal addiction, reduce energy intensity
- China will boost efforts this year to rid itself of a strong addiction to coal in a bid to reduce damaging pollution as well as cut the energy intensity of its economy, which is expected to grow at its lowest rate in 25 years.
Sacramento Bee: Pacific Ethanol reports record profit in 2014
- Continuing a comeback after a bankruptcy filing six years ago, Pacific Ethanol Inc. said Wednesday that it rang up a record profits in 2014.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: McDonald's to source only chicken treated without human antibiotics
- McDonald's, the world's largest fast food chain, today announced that it will only source chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine in all of their 14,000 U.S. restaurants within two years.
Agri-Pulse: New child nutrition rules must work for 'all districts,' Roberts says
- Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said he plans a bipartisan overhaul of federal nutrition requirements so that poor or rural school districts as well as wealthy, urban ones can meet the meal standards.
Agri-Pulse: Food safety increase 'tough to swallow,' FDA told
- The Food and Drug Administration's request for more money to start enforcing new food safety regulations on domestic and imported foods is getting a cool reception from the lawmakers who write the agency's budget.
Agri-Pulse: Conaway says Vilsack shares responsibility for 'flawed' dietary recommendations
- House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway and two of his subcommittee leaders wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell today expressing concerns about recommendations from a federal panel for the next set of Dietary Guidelines for Americans that Vilsack and Burwell will issue.
National Journal: Tom Vilsack Unveils Campaign to Combat Childhood Hunger
- While Republicans on Capitol Hill attempt to rein in food stamps and roll back some of the healthier-school-meals rules that have been put in place during the Obama administration, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is organizing a new effort to curb childhood hunger and improve nutrition in some of the poorest areas of the country.
Wall Street Journal: Antibiotic-Free Beef Is a Taller Order
- McDonald’s Corp.’s announcement that it will curb antibiotic use in its U.S. chicken products raises an obvious question: Where’s the antibiotic-free beef?
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Trade bill slowed amid Senate dispute
- The timetable for moving a fast-track trade negotiating bill may be slipping amid a disagreement between Senate Republicans and Democrats over the terms of the legislation.
Agri-Pulse: Thune worried about TPA 'getting lost' in Capitol Hill shuffle
- As Republicans work to accomplish their legislative agenda, a party leader is worried that a key trade measure will be overtaken by other political goals.
Washington Post: White House counts on Sen. Wyden to deliver on a trade deal
- Three weeks ago, Sen. Ron Wyden got an unlikely phone call. On the line was President Obama, who last year helped foil the Oregon Democrat’s plans to shepherd a modest tax bill through Congress.
Wall Street Journal: China to Show Hand on Growth Strategy
- As China’s leaders open the country’s biggest political event of the year, there will be no denying that the era of slower growth has arrived.
CBS Minnesota: Bill Would Boost Marketing Of Agriculture Exports To Cuba
- Seeking to fan agriculture exports to Cuba, a Minnesota House panel took initial steps Tuesday to spend state money on promoting the shipment of goods to the island nation amid improving relations with the United States.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Honey bee activists push for neonic ban ahead of White House report
- (Subscriber only) In anticipation of a federal plan to improve pollinator health, the Organic Consumers Association hosted a rally outside the White House today to encourage the Obama Administration to restrict or ban the use of certain pesticides in order to "save the bees."
Agri-Pulse: EPA chief defends budget at Senate Environment hearing
- (Subscriber only) EPA chief Gina McCarthy went before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today to defend her agency's $8.6 billion budget request, an appearance that one senator said she probably thinks of as a "dental appointment."
Irish Times: ‘Climate smart agriculture’ forum revealed by IIEA
- A forum designed to examine climate friendly practices and policies in agriculture has been launched by the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) and the RDS.
Toledo Blade: Ohio House panel to vote on farm-runoff bill
- Supporters of House Bill 61 argue the state should first extend a helping hand to a farmer before handing him a hefty fine if he illegally spreads manure and other fertilizers containing phosphorous and nitrogen when it is likely to wash off and feed Lake Erie algal blooms.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Bloomberg: Obama Sets Monday Deadline for Appealing Immigration Order
- The Obama administration said it will appeal a federal judge’s order blocking a controversial immigration program if he doesn’t lift it by Monday.
Denver Post: New immigration policies could put an added burden on Colorado
- With Congress headed toward a cease-fire in the immigration fight, the debate now shifts to states such as Colorado and what they're doing to prepare for the executive action issued last year by President Barack Obama.
Agri-Pulse: Get a head start on Ag Day with Agri-Pulse
- Help Agri-Pulse celebrate Ag Day in Washington, D.C. Please join Agri-Pulse on Tuesday, March 17 for a discussion on “Farm to Fork Politics: Unleashing Innovation in Agriculture.”
Washington Post: Top Vilsack adviser to run Hillary Clinton’s Iowa campaign
- Matt Paul, an operative with more than two decades of political experience in Iowa, will return to the Hawkeye State to oversee Clinton's campaign for the first-in-the-nation caucuses, said the Democrats, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the move.
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