Daily Harvest -- 3/20/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Shippers, administration in talks to overhaul food aid
- (Subscriber only) The Obama administration is negotiating with the shipping industry to allow more U.S. food aid to be purchased overseas rather than from American producers.
Agri-Pulse: House Ag Committee passes bill relieving pesticide permit rule
- The House Agriculture Committee today approved the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2015, which would clarify congressional intent regarding pesticide regulation near waters of the United States.
Agri-Pulse: House Ag Chair at National Ag Day Luncheon
- (Audio) House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway of Texas spoke at the National Ag Day luncheon on Wednesday. He stressed the need for agriculture to have a safety net, now and in the future.
Associated Press: States to test new ways to send food stamp recipients to work as Congress eyes cuts
- Ten states will test new ways to get food stamp recipients back to work, using Agriculture Department grants aimed at helping some of the 46 million Americans who receive benefits move off the rolls.
Reuters: Mexico's Pemex launches ethanol biofuel program to cut emissions
- Pemex is set to launch its first-ever sales of gasoline mixed with cleaner-burning ethanol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Mexican state-run oil company said on Thursday.
Wall Street Journal: EU Leaders Move to Break Down Barriers in Energy Markets
- European Union leaders said Thursday they would move to break down barriers in the bloc’s energy market and endorsed stronger regulation of national gas-supply contracts, most notably with Russia.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Maine legislators attempt to clear way for GMO labeling law
- A bill introduced in Maine's legislature today would require all foods distributed in the state to include a “GMO” label if genetically modified organisms were used to produce the final product.
Agri-Pulse: USDA partners with University of Kentucky to reduce child hunger in rural areas
- The USDA will be embarking on a new partnership with the University of Kentucky to reduce child hunger in poor, rural areas of the state and up to 15 other states as well.
Christian Science Monitor: Monsanto mounts an aggressive GMO PR campaign
- Monsanto and other opponents of the GMO labeling movement have launched a charm offensive, enlisting science figures like Bill Nye and Neil de Grasse Tyson. But the debate over GMOs isn't just about GMOs.
Modern Farmer: Brave Farmer Battles State Department Of Agriculture Over Raw Milk
- In northern Minnesota, a libertarian/foodie battle has been raging on a small but vital scale. Although Farmer David Berglund has been selling raw milk to appreciative Minnesotans for decades, the local department of agriculture has recently taken him to court.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Reuters: Japan says difficult to reach Japan-U.S. trade deal without TPA
- Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari said on Friday it would be difficult to reach an agreement in two-way trade talks between Japan and the United States unless U.S. lawmakers fast-tracked trade promotion legislation.
Reuters: Britain gives Zimbabwe $72 million to help rural farmers
- Britain has given Zimbabwe $72 million to help increase food production by rural farmers over the next four years, as the southern African country faces the prospect of poorer harvests this year due to inadequate rains.
Bloomberg: Japan Pork Group Proposes Halving Tariffs for TPP Agreement
- Japan, the world’s largest pork importer, can accept a 50 percent reduction in import tariffs to help pave the way for the nation to reach an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a producer group said.
BBC: Online farm payment system abandoned after 'performance problems'
- A multi-million pound government IT system to process EU subsidy payments for farmers has been largely abandoned following "performance problems".
Los Angeles Times: Tensions high amid crippling protests by farmworkers in Baja
- Farmworkers in Baja California vowed to continue a strike that threatens the region’s harvest after negotiations broke down late Wednesday and authorities refused to release dozens of laborers arrested during protests that degenerated into rock-throwing and looting.
Reuters: New farmers take root in South Africa's old tribal lands
- New farmers are turning the soil to profit in South Africa's old tribal homelands as Pretoria speeds the transfer of land from whites to blacks.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: California Gov. Brown unveils $1 billion drought-relief plan
- California Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders in Sacramento today unveiled a $1 billion plan to help the state deal with a devastating drought now moving into its fourth year.
KJRH: Wild hogs damage Oklahoma farm land, state and federal organizations work to control population
- Farmers are reporting wild hogs destroying crops and farm land at an increasing rate. Langston University is reporting feral swine being present in all 77 Oklahoma counties.
Reuters: No relief in sight for Western drought in NOAA spring outlook
- Drought pressures will increase in California and western areas of the United States this spring even as the dry season begins, the government’s Climate Prediction Center said on Thursday.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Wall Street Journal: U.S., Texas Meet in Court Over Timeline of Executive Action on Immigration
- The U.S. government and Texas squared off in federal court Thursday over whether the administration misled the court about when it planned to start implementing President Barack Obama’s November executive action on immigration.
Associated Press: Judge: Sanctions Possible in Obama Immigration Court Case
- A federal judge who has blocked President Barack Obama's immigration executive action suggested on Thursday that he could order sanctions against the Justice Department if he rules it misled him about when exactly the administration began implementing one of the measures.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Alaska fishermen consider ending tax, leaving marketing group that has boosted their earnings
- A growing number of restaurant customers and grocery store shoppers in the country are asking for Alaska's Copper River sockeye salmon by name.
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