Daily Harvest -- 3/24/2016
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse Daybreak for March 24, 2016
- (Audio) President Obama returns from South America; Rep. Collin Peterson reassured by General Mills on GMO labeling; Pork producers push USDA to defend their “Pork. The Other White Meat” slogan; House proposes to block grant, cut SNAP in budget; and Mexico demands tuna retaliation.
Agri-Pulse: Grassley wants bigger review of ChemChina-Syngenta deal
- U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, wants a thorough governmental review of ChemChina's expected $43 billion purchase of Syngenta, citing concerns about U.S. food security.
Agri-Pulse: NPPC meets with USDA to discuss HSUS lawsuit
- (Audio) The National Pork Producers Council pushed the Obama administration Wednesday to continue to fight a case brought by the Humane Society of the United States, rather than seek a settlement.
Agri-Pulse: Farm policy is essential to maintaining ag production in the U.S.
- (Opinion) If there is one place that, in recent years, overwhelmingly demonstrates the need and importance of U.S. farm policy, it is California.
Agri-Pulse: John Block on Ag Day
- (Audio) Agri-Pulse had a panel of speakers talking about one of our industry’s biggest challenges: how should we communicate about our industry today? Very few people know anything about the business of producing food.
Agri-Pulse: APHIS backs two new lines of GE corn
- Two new lines of genetically engineered (GE) corn will not be regulated, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced today.
DTN Progressive Farmer: The Pollen Predicament
- Non-GE growers have a small bag of tricks to choose from when protecting their corn – buying certified seed, using buffers, planting later, etc. – but pollen drift isn't always under their control.
New York Times: As Coal Prospects Decline, a Colorado Town Reconsiders Marijuana
- With cannabis sales soaring to nearly $1 billion across Colorado, and big states such as California poised to embrace legalization, wary towns like Hotchkiss, Colorado, are looking at the economics of growing marijuana.
Associated Press: Solar incentives sunset as states grapple with tight budgets
- Thousands of homeowners and small businesses in New Mexico — the second sunniest state in the nation — have invested nearly $250,000 in roof-top solar and related labor thanks to a program fueled by tax credits. But that plug is about to be pulled.
New York Times: Fight to Keep Alternative Energy Local Stymies an Industry
- Several companies are hoping to build high-voltage transmission lines to transport renewable energy from wind farms and hydroelectric plants to more populous regions of the country.
Washington Post: D.C. regulators green-light Pepco-Exelon merger, creating largest utility in the nation
- In a stunning reversal of fortune, $6.8 billion deal on life support comes roaring back.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Groups pushing for strong grass-fed standard
- USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service pulled the plug on a voluntary grass-fed beef labeling claim in January, and a group of stakeholders want to see something similar reinstated by the department.
CNN Money: Starbucks plans to donate 100% of unsold food in America
- The company said Tuesday that it will aim to contribute "100%" of its leftover food from its 7,000-plus U.S. locations by this time next year thanks in part to a new partnership with Feeding America, which has a national network of food banks.
Wall Street Journal: Wal-Mart Spills Some Milk
- The world’s largest retailer announced last week that it would build its own dairy processing plant in Indiana to provide private-label milk to approximately 600 stores - a move that sent Dean Foods stock tumbling.
Wall Street Journal: Before Chocolate Bunnies: An Easter Season History of Cocoa
- A combination of drought, violence, disease and pollution has caused the price of cocoa beans to rise by an eye-watering 40% since 2012—without having the slightest effect on global demand.
Reuters: UK's Premier Foods spurns McCormick's $700 million takeover approach
- Britain's Premier Foods has rejected a second takeover approach from U.S. peer McCormick & Co., saying the roughly $700 million equity price tag undervalued the maker of Mr. Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: French beef industry awaits mad cow test results
- French livestock officials are awaiting test results on tissue samples from a cow suspected of having bovine spongiform encephalopathy. If confirmed, it would be the country’s first case of BSE since 2004.
Wall Street Journal: How China’s Slump Has Left This Dairy Awash With Milk
- For dairy companies, China used to be a land of milk and honey. Now there is too little demand and too much supply – problems that may keep weighing on state-run dairy processor Mengniu Dairy.
Wall Street Journal: Platts Kingsman Increases 2015-16 Sugar Deficit Forecast
- Droughts in the world’s largest sugar producing regions have curbed yields more than expected, Platts Kingsman said Wednesday, with demand for the sweetener expected to outstrip new supply by 7.6 million metric tons this season, a 2.5 million-ton increase over its previous estimates.
Washington Post: Climate change might be good news for French wine — until it isn’t
- Earlier harvest means higher wine quality, but not if the planet keeps warming.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Inhofe ‘warns’ EPA to move with caution on neonics
- EPA should "proceed with the utmost caution" in conducting risk assessments of neonicotinoid insecticides, Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a letter today.
New York Times: After Oregon Standoff, Birding Is Back
- (Opinion) On March 14, I received the green light to visit the refuge, which was still closed to the public at the time, but is now open, save for the headquarters area where the occupiers lived.
Washington Post: Crews bringing wildfires in Kansas, Oklahoma under control
- A wildfire that has burned nearly 110 square miles in rural Kansas and Oklahoma still poses a threat, but conditions are improving in the two counties most affected, authorities said.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Yakima Herald: Farm Workers Clinic building its first optometry facility
- Next on the agenda is the renovation of the former Yakima Valley Community College building just west of the new clinic, which will be turned into a conference room and teaching kitchen where Farm Workers dietitians can provide healthy cooking classes for patients.
Vermont NPR: Children Of Migrant Workers Face Unique Pressures In Vermont
- It’s been over 10 years since migrant workers began arriving on Vermont’s dairy farms. Most of the workers have been young men who work for a few years and then return home to Mexico, but some – especially those with U.S. born children – would like to stay.
Washington Post: The half-century-old law that Cuba uses to export discontent
- (Opinion) Under the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, adopted after negotiations with Cuba to end a migration crisis 22 years ago, rafters intercepted by the Coast Guard may be returned to Cuba, but those who make it to U.S. shores can stay.
Times Union: Higher pay respects farmers
- (Opinion) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15 by mid-2021 statewide. Some say this will hurt our farmers, but the opposite is true.
Wall Street Journal: Monsanto Executive David Friedberg Shifting to Advisory Role
- Monsanto Co. named a longtime manager of its seed business to head the company’s ambitious push into computerized farming services, as the unit’s prior leader steps down to focus on ventures, such as a quinoa-focused restaurant and agricultural robots.
Food Business News: Keurig Green Mountain Snags Pinnacle Food’s CEO
- Robert Gamgort has been named CEO of Keurig Green Mountain Inc., replacing Brian Kelley, who will become vice-chairman of the board. Gamgort is currently the CEO of Pinnacle Foods Inc., a position he plans to abdicate at the end of April.
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