Daily Harvest -- 3/10/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Washington Week Ahead: Lawmakers looking at climate change, water rights, budget
- Lawmakers will turn their attention to an array of issues this week including climate change, water rights, the proposed fiscal year 2015 budget, support for Ukraine, and what Republicans describe as an overreach of the Obama administration.
Agri-Pulse: With new farm bill, patience will be a virtue
- Farmers and ranchers will have a multitude of decisions facing them this year - if they want to participate in programs offered in the new farm bill. However, experts involved in writing and implementing the “Agricultural Act of 2014” advised producers to take their time and learn as much as possible before enrolling in any of the new programs.
Agri-Pulse: Open Mic with David Morgan, President of Syngenta Seeds
- (Audio) Morgan talks about the "asynchronous" process of biotech approval by China and why that is hurting grain and oilseed producers in major exporting countries. He outlines Syngenta's new relationship with Gavilon Grain and the proposed release of a new insect resistance trait this year.
Agri-Pulse: Waiting for WRRDA
- (Audio) The Water Reform and Resources Development Act (WRRDA) hit a bottleneck this year. National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Mark Barbre said WRRDA is a big issue for NCGA that the organization has been fighting for the last twenty years.
New York Times: Farm Bill Reflects Shifting American Menu and a Senator’s Persistent Tilling
- The farm bill signed by President Obama last month was at first glance the usual boon for soybean growers, catfish farmers and their ilk. But closer examination reveals that the nation’s agriculture policy is increasingly more whole grain than white bread.
Wall Street Journal: Cheat and Eat Food Stamps
- One of the farm bill's ballyhooed reforms was closing the "heat and eat" loophole, which allows states to leverage federal funds from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (Liheap) to raise food-stamp eligibility and payments.
Washington Post: Big Potato suffers a big setback; it’s on the losing side of federal assistance — again
- The National Potato Council has been pushing for years to get equity for the humble white potato in a key federal food-assistance program. And when the revisions to the program were published in the Federal Register this past Tuesday, it was on the losing side — again.
Des Moines Register: Broadband Internet: Challenges remain to connecting rural Iowa
- Gov. Terry Branstad’s push for legislation this year could answer the clamor for better connectivity from McCallsburg and small towns like it across rural Iowa.
Associated Press: Bigger Pig Pens Create Challenges for Farmers
- The switch from gestation stalls is not as simple as many consumers believe, however. It's expensive, there are debates over pen designs and it takes time to train pigs to use feeders and other equipment.
FOOD & NUTRITION
New York Times: The Fat Drug
- Recently, a group of medical investigators have begun to wonder whether antibiotics might cause the same growth promotion in humans. New evidence shows that America’s obesity epidemic may be connected to our high consumption of these drugs.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: U.S. officials not optimistic on trade deal before Obama Asia trip
- U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack both say the U.S. is working hard to reach a deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) before President Obama's trip to Asia in April but obstacles remain to the trade agreement.
Wall Street Journal: Asian Demand for Milk Shakes Up Market
- Asia's growing thirst for milk is spilling over into the U.S. market, pushing up prices for consumers and pressuring profits for some food makers.
Reuters: Canada orders railways to boost grain shipments to ease logjam
- Canada's government took the drastic step on Friday of forcing the country's two major rail companies to each ship at least 500,000 tons of grain per week to ease a massive backlog that is hurting farmers.
Reuters: U.S. readies for more 'extremely tough' trade talks with Japan
- The United States is finding talks with Japan on opening its agricultural market "extremely tough", a senior U.S. trade official said on Friday, as the two countries prepared for another round of bilateral negotiations.
Wall Street Journal: China Seeks Its Own GMO-Food Path
- China is trying to get in the GMO market, but is keener to develop its own technologies to meet rising agriculture demand, the country’s agriculture minister said at the national parliament.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
New York Times: Meat Makes the Planet Thirsty
- In this op-ed, James McWilliams writes that beef turns out to have an overall water footprint of roughly four million gallons per ton produced. By contrast, the water footprint for “sugar crops” like sugar beets is about 52,000 gallons per ton.
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