Daily Harvest -- 3/13/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Lessons learned from the Iowa Ag Summit
- (Subscriber only) Nine men who just might want to be president of the U.S. flocked to Des Moines Saturday to answer questions posed by Iowa farmer and agribusiness leader Bruce Rastetter.
Agri-Pulse: EPA administrator to speak at NFU convention - 3/13/2015
- (Audio) Members of the National Farmers Union will hear from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Monday at their annual meeting in Wichita. Her main topic will be the agency’s proposed “waters of the United States” rule, which NFU’s Chandler Goule says they agree needs to be clarified, but not necessarily ditched.
Agri-Pulse: Opinion: Budget time on Capitol Hill -- Farm bill to be re-opened?
- Ferd Hoefner: The budget resolution, to be taken up in the House and Senate Budget Committees next week, could potentially re-open the farm bill. This possibility increases the relevance of the new higher farm bill costs projected by CBO.
Wall Street Journal: Anti-GMO, Biotech Factions Clash at Food Summit
- The increasingly polarized debate prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to convene Thursday a two-day summit on “agricultural coexistence” that seeks to mend some farmland fence-posts.
Wall Street Journal: Senate Republicans’ Budget Targets Medicaid, Food Stamps
- The Senate Republican budget slated for release next week is expected to generate savings by turning more responsibility for Medicaid and food-stamp programs over to states, GOP lawmakers and aides said Thursday.
Los Angeles Times: Ports dispute to have a small effect on economy
- The short-term economic impact of the recent labor standoff at West Coast ports will be small, according to a new economic forecast, but the ports face a long-term struggle to remain competitive in the rapidly changing realm of global trade.
USA Today: End the ethanol mandate: Our view
- The RFS is a mandate that Americans put billions of gallons of corn-based ethanol into their gas tanks each year even though they don't want it and it makes no practical sense.
NPR: Nicaragua's Renewable Energy Revolution Picks Up Steam
- Nicaragua produces no oil, but is a land of fierce winds, tropical sun and rumbling volcanoes. In other words, it's a renewable energy paradise — and today the Central American nation is moving quickly to become a green energy powerhouse.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Senators urge USDA, HHS to keep lean meat in Dietary Guidelines
- A cohort of mostly GOP Senators is calling on USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services to make sure lean meat is included in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Agri-Pulse: Senate appropriators take aim at FDA menu labeling rule
- Republicans on the Senate committee responsible for writing the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) budget attacked the agency's new menu labeling rule, which they claim is overly broad in its regulation of supermarket delis and other non-restaurant food outlets.
Associated Press: Kevin Bacon and Eggs; Actor Stars in Egg Industry Campaign
- The egg industry is ordering up a side of Kevin Bacon. The American Egg Board says it plans to launch a print and online ad campaign this week featuring the "Footloose" actor and puns using his last name. The group says it's the first time it's using a Hollywood celebrity in a major campaign.
Washington Post: The yogurt files: French dairy bosses caught colluding
- A ruling Thursday by France’s competition authority makes for rich reading, detailing a web of secret meetings, hand-written charts and phone exchanges over six years to fix prices on many of the yogurt-related goods on French supermarket shelves.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Reuters: U.S. exports at risk as bird flu hits heart of poultry country
- Mexico, the biggest buyer of U.S. chicken, and other major countries imposed new import restrictions on Thursday after a virulent form of bird flu was found at the heart of America’s poultry region.
Bloomberg: Mumbai’s Beef Ban Sat for 20 Years Before Vegetarian Modi Acted
- Residents of India’s financial capital could be forgiven for wondering how they suddenly face five years in prison for eating beef.
EU Observer: EU's new GMO law leaves questions unanswered
- A new directive on cultivation of genetically-modified crops (GMOs) in Europe breaks an old deadlock between the European Commission, member states, and producers. But it leaves open political and legal questions.
Washington Post: Gaza exports first produce to Israel since Hamas takeover
- Israeli authorities allowed the import of Gaza produce on Thursday for the first time since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007, a move that will aid the Palestinian strip’s battered economy and help pious Jews observe a biblical farming sabbatical.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Environment and Energy Daily: Hoeven, farm groups see 'conflict of interest' in conservationists' work for USDA
- Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), a self-described "avid sportsman," told Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing last month that Ducks Unlimited, among other wildlife groups, was causing concerns in his state's farm communities.
Bloomberg: Palm Oil King Goes From Forest Foe to Buddy in Deal With Critics
- The sprawling palm oil industry is the destroyer of rainforests and tormentor of endangered species across Southeast Asia, to hear environmental groups tell it. And if there’s one executive who embodies this contentious $50 billion business, it’s Singaporean commodities magnate Kuok Khoon Hong.
Washington Post: US judge rejects Nevadans’ bid to dispose of excess mustangs
- A federal judge on Thursday threw out a lawsuit filed by a coalition of rural Nevada counties that wanted to force the government to sell or otherwise dispose of tens of thousands of mustangs in U.S. holding facilities.
Michigan Live: Manure run-off from Kalamazoo County farm contained, environmental assessment ongoing
- It appears snowmelt tainted by manure spread on a farm field in southeastern Kalamazoo County reached a nearby creek, but authorities say a preliminary investigation has shown no immediate harm to fish or wetlands or threat to humans.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Wall Street Journal: Government Challenges Court Ruling Blocking Obama’s Immigration Actions
- The Obama administration asked a U.S. appellate court Thursday to let it move ahead with new immigration measures while it appeals a ruling by a federal judge in Texas that blocked them.
Time: How Mexican Immigration to the U.S. Has Evolved
- As a Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress, historian Julia Young is currently researching a new book on Mexican immigration to the U.S. during the 1920s. She sat down with Jason Steinhauer to discuss the history of this migration and the similarities and differences to immigration today.
Ames Tribune: Anti-GMO activist rails against corporate ag at ISU
- A controversial leader in the global movement against genetically modified foods slammed the Midwest’s industrial agricultural paradigm, and research planned at Iowa State University on GM bananas during a lecture Wednesday evening on campus.
Washington Post: At PETA’s shelter, most animals are put down. PETA calls them mercy killings.
- But that same facility also euthanized more than 80 percent of the animals in its care last year, a rate so shockingly high that Virginia lawmakers passed a bill in February — nearly unanimously — to define a private animal shelter as a place where the primary mission is to find permanent homes for animals in this life, not send them on to the next.
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