Daily Harvest -- 3/25/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Importance of expanding rural broadband internet
- (Audio) The White House this week created a Broadband Opportunity Council made up of various government agencies charged with identifying regulatory barriers to rural broadband expansion and determining how to overcome them.
Agri-Pulse: Lawmakers, stakeholders clash on proposed WOTUS rule changes
- Senate Agriculture Committee members know that the proposed waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule will change - EPA chief Gina McCarthy has said so - but what they don't know is if those changes will help or hurt U.S. farmers and ranchers.
Agri-Pulse: House panel aims to clarify CFTC rules for hedgers
- During a subcommittee hearing today, Democrats and Republicans on the panel agreed that legislation for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) should allow end-users who are legitimate “commercial market participants” to avoid being inadvertently classified as financial entities because of their commercial activities.
Agri-Pulse: Lawmakers blast USDA handling of meat research center
- Republicans and Democrats slammed the Agriculture Department over allegations of abuse at a livestock research facility in Nebraska and accused agency officials of stonewalling lawmakers' requests for information.
Salt Lake Tribune: USDA proposes new definition of farming
- Congress charged the Agriculture Department last year with creating a new definition for what it means to be "actively engaged" in farming, the criteria to receive some subsidies. USDA proposed Tuesday that farms must document that their managers put in 500 hours of substantial management work annually or 25 percent of the time necessary for the success of the farming operation to qualify.
CNS News: Price of ground beef hits record in February: $4.238 per pound
- The average price of a pound of ground beef climbed to another record high in February, hitting $4.238 per pound, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Civil Eats: Study links widely used pesticides to antibiotic resistance
- This has not been a good week for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and other herbicides.
Echo Press: Family farms - backbone of agriculture
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reported that family-owned farms remain the backbone of the agriculture industry. The latest data from the Census of Agriculture farm typology report may help shine light on the question, “What is a family farm?”
Agri-Pulse: Could wind energy boom go bust without renewed tax breaks?
- (Subscriber only) Expect the Protection Tax Credit PTC) for wind energy that expired in December to be renewed this summer along with other tax breaks - but not until Congress has made its best - and ultimately futile -- effort to agree on comprehensive tax reform.
Washington Times: Lawmakers say next year for renewable energy legislation
- Key Vermont lawmakers are saying that with about six weeks to go in the this year’s Statehouse session, it’s likely legislation to retool the way Vermont sites solar, wind and other renewable energy projects will take until next year to see action.
The Guardian: Solar sails set course for a new journey into renewable energy
- Perry Carroll of The Solar Cloth Company explains why his flexible solar sail panels can generate energy not only at on sea but on millions of spaces on land
Wall Street Journal: In Nigeria, oil price’s slide deters theft
- Oil is so cheap these days that for people around here, it isn’t even worth stealing anymore.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Sustainability language supported at Dietary Guidelines public hearing
- Agricultural groups are fighting against the inclusion of environmental concerns into the scientific report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, but at a public hearing on the report, supporters of the provisions came out in full force calling for sustainability language to ultimately be included in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The Independent: Monsanto chief admits ‘hubris’ is to blame for public fears over GM
- The American company that produced the world’s first genetically modified crop has admitted for the first time that its “hubris” in promoting the technology contributed to a consumer backlash against genetically modified food.
The Washington Post: Is a soda tax the solution to America’s obesity problem?
- Obesity costs. A lot. The tab comes in obvious ways, like increased health care costs, and less obvious ways, like decreased fuel efficiency. And we’re all paying.
The Atlantic: Why the fast-food ban failed in South L.A.
- The national discourse about health and obesity has never been a particularly cordial conversation. In 2008, it hit a tendentious peak when a ban on new fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles brought the term "food apartheid" to the table.
Financial Times: 3G in talks over $40bn deal to acquire Kraft
- 3G Capital, the Brazilian private equity group that controls Burger King and Heinz, is in advanced talks to acquire Kraft Foods Group in a deal that could be worth as much as $40bn, according to a person close to the matter.
Wall Street Journal: The next welfare reform - food stamps
- (Opinion) Republicans need to start a national conversation about a program that grew nearly 69% between 2008 and 2013.
The Hill: Achieve global food security by investing in universities
- (Opinion) As Congress considers authorizing a global food security strategy, with the Obama administration’s ambitious whole-of-government Feed the Future as its centerpiece, building capacity must be at the forefront of the debate.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Wall Street Journal: Orange juice ends in bull market
- Orange-juice futures rose for the third day in a row, as surprising strength in Brazil’s currency upended what many traders saw as a surefire bet.
Reuters: U.S. delays on fast-track trade bill cloud Pacific pact-sources
- Delays in finalizing U.S. legislation to speed free trade deals through Congress are casting a cloud over a 12-nation trade pact many thought was near completion, officials close to the negotiations said.
Reuters: Japan, NZ agree U.S. fast-track bill vital for TPP talks: Amari
- Japan and New Zealand share the view that a fast-track trade bill in the United States is extremely important for the conclusion of a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, the Japanese economy minister said on Wednesday.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
New York Times: Feds reopen comment period for mountain caribou protections
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reopened for comment a proposed plan to change the protected status of a herd of caribou in northern Idaho and northeastern Washington from endangered to threatened.
Reuters: Montana officials end bighorn sheep hunting after die-off
- The die-off of bighorn sheep from pneumonia led Montana wildlife managers on Monday to take the unusual step of abruptly closing a hunting season tied to a wild herd near Yellowstone National Park whose seasonal mating rituals attract scores of wildlife watchers.
New York Times: World’s protected areas draw estimated 8 billion visitors annually
- A growing number of people around the world are choosing to spend vacations and weekends in nature. But until recently no one had ever tried to quantify just how many visit protected areas each year.
San Jose Mercury News: Drought - California agriculture can learn from Africa
- (Opinion) Over the past few years, this drought has left farms and livestock in California thirsty and farmers unsure of what to do. And it has forced the areas with the most overexploited groundwater basins to develop sustainable local water management plans.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Politico: States ask court to keep block on Obama immigration orders
- Governors and attorneys general representing 26 states Monday formally urged a federal appeals court not to stay a judge's injunction barring President Barack Obama from going forward with a series of immigration policy changes aimed at giving quasi-legal status and work permits to millions more illegal immigrants.
Wall Street Journal: Federal appeals court to hear arguments on immigration ruling
- A federal appellate court Tuesday agreed to hear an expedited appeal of a ruling by a federal judge in Texas that blocked President Barack Obama’s immigration actions.
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