Daily Harvest -- 3/12/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Congress urged to boost funding for U.S. ports, waterways
- Waterways Council Inc. (WCI) is concerned about what President Barack Obama's spending plans may do to the nation's already fragile inland waterways system.
Agri-Pulse: USDA undercharging some areas for crop insurance, GAO says
- Farmers in drought-prone areas of the Plains and other high-risk regions often aren't being charged enough for crop insurance, according to congressional auditors.
Agri-Pulse: Farm Bureau files brief in California egg law case
- The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) filed a friend-of-the-court brief today supporting the six states challenging California's egg law that places hen cage size restrictions on any shell eggs sold in the state.
Agri-Pulse: Avian influenza hits Arkansas, third state in Mississippi flyway
- A highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza has spread to Arkansas, the third state where the virus has been reported in the Mississippi flyway this month, all on turkey farms.
Associated Press: Most wrongful-death lawsuits settled in listeria outbreak
- A Denver judge has wrapped up most of the wrongful-death lawsuits stemming from a 2011 listeria outbreak traced to a cantaloupe farm that killed more than 30 people and sickened more than 140 others.
Wall Street Journal: Latest Flap on Egg Farms: Whether to Go ‘Cage-Free’
- Should egg-laying chickens roam free or live in roomy cages?
Agri-Pulse: Biofuels supporters defend RFS against calls for reform
- (Audio) The American Petroleum Institute strengthened its call to repeal or reform the Renewable Fuel Standard this week, calling it unworkable and renewing food versus fuel argument, which National Corn Growers Association’s First Vice President Rob Elliott says are obviously incorrect.
Agri-Pulse: Break in RFS alliance stirs debate on biofuels
- In competing news conferences today, producers of corn ethanol attacked, while the petroleum industry defended, a proposal to reopen the legislation that created the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
Des Moines Register: Advanced biofuels groups challenge ethanol mandate
- Producers of advanced biofuels made from nonedible plants, waste and other materials are calling on Congress to overhaul the country's biofuels mandate, angering makers of corn-based ethanol who worry it could irrevocably damage the renewable fuels industry.
Bloomberg: How Big Oil Is Profiting From the Slump
- Europe’s largest oil companies are gaining support from an unlikely source as they confront the industry’s worst slump since the financial crisis: lower oil prices.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Bloomberg: Tyson Foods Falls After Report of Suspected Bird Flu in Arkansas
- Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. chicken producer, fell the most in nine months after a report that a suspected case of bird flu had been found in the company’s home state of Arkansas.
Bloomberg: What McDonald's New Stance on Antibiotics Really Means
- Playing catch-up with fast-food rivals, the chain has told producers it won't buy animals treated at any stage with antibiotics important to human medicine
Wall Street Journal: Free-Range? Cage-Free? Organic?
- Claims on egg packaging have grown so complicated that even the most-discerning shoppers are sometimes befuddled.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Wall Street Journal: African Farmers Put Hope in Beer
- Ugandan farmer Ephraim Opusi had managed to make ends meet growing corn on his 5-acre plot in the hilly Kumi district in eastern Uganda. But now that he cultivates white sorghum, a grain used in beer brewing, Mr. Opusi has struggled to feed his six children.
Reuters: New Zealand firms see slump in China demand for infant formula after poison threat
- Chinese demand for New Zealand infant formula has fallen after a threat by suspected environmental activists to contaminate the product with an agricultural poison, the head of an exporter group said on Wednesday.
Bloomberg: Cotton Posts Longest Slump in 16 Months as China Demand Wanes
- Swelling global cotton stockpiles drove prices to the longest slump in 16 months as demand slows in China, the world’s top consumer.
Bloomberg: Land Claim Risks Halting South Africa Renewable Energy Project
- A land claim brought against South Africa’s largest sugar farmer threatens to stop a 1.1 billion rand ($90 million) renewable-energy project that will produce electricity by burning leftover cane leaves and tops.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Associated Press: Des Moines water supplier to sue counties over nitrates
- The Des Moines Water Works board has voted to sue three northern Iowa counties in an effort to hold them responsible for the high nitrate levels in rivers the utility uses for source water.
The Hill: Climate change threatening coffee, EPA chief warns
- The morning coffee that so many depend on to get through the day is at risk due to climate change, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency warned Wednesday.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Sierra Sun Times: California 2015 Farm Employment: Drought Impact Adds Uncertainty to Hiring Outlook
- Even though reduced crop production caused by water shortages may reduce on-farm employment in California, farmers and farm labor contractors say they expect continued trouble in filling agricultural jobs this spring and summer.
Forbes: Spousal Immigration Processing Times Cause Frustration
- One of the most frustrating aspects of immigration is how long it takes to get approved. This is particularly so in spousal sponsorship cases. For example, let’s say an American marries a Canadian. Where do they stand in terms of processing times for their cases?
The Hill: Lawmaker lampoons federal spending with help from 'The Bachelor'
- The lawmaker’s latest target is a USDA grant that he says would “help gardeners, landscapers, producers, and marketers combat a plant disease that threatens the $400 million garden rose industry.” According to his series, “Notably, major industry growers and breeders benefiting from the grant were able to muster $4.6 million in matching funds.”
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