Daily Harvest -- 3/28/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Rogers plans to block funding for EPA's 'Waters of the U.S.' rule
- (Subscriber only) House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said Thursday that he would move to block funding to implement EPA's proposed rule on determining which bodies of water and wetland are protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Agri-Pulse: CropLife America says EPA’s proposed water rule creates burdens for agriculture
- CropLife America (CLA) said it is concerned about the impact the EPA's proposed new rule under the Clean Water Act (CWA) would have on crop-production products and agriculture.
Agri-Pulse: Role of oil industry in rail delays
- (Audio) The worst of winter is over but it will be some time before the railroads get caught up on transportation backlogs caused by the weather and increased demand to haul crude oil from North Dakota. Senator John Thune, R-S.D., said he’s keeping the pressure on the railroad companies to meet the needs of all their customers.
Reuters: U.S. EPA head defends proposed cuts in biofuel target for 2014
- U.S. energy markets cannot absorb the levels of biofuels required by law to be blended into the fuel supply in 2014, Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthy said on Thursday, defending a controversial proposal to slash the target for this year.
Des Moines Register: Iowa farmland values fall 5.4 percent
- Iowa farmland values dropped 5.4 percent during the past six months, according to a report released today, marking the end of a five-year run that saw land prices surge to record highs.
The Hill: Health group rips 'irresponsible' poultry decision
- A health organization is accusing the Obama administration of allowing "trade to trump food safety" by opening the U.S. market to Korean poultry, despite a recent outbreak of the bird flu there and other health inspection violations.
Argus Leader: Rail bottleneck for grain, ethanol shippers
- Bumper corn, soybean and wheat crops last year, expansion of North Dakota's Bakken oil field, and a long, cold winter that affected the size and speed of the trains railroads could operate have joined to create a persistent bottleneck in rail shipping of ethanol and grain.
New York Times: New Mexico Is Reaping a Bounty in Pecans as Other States Struggle
- While the lack of rainfall has left many ranchers and farmers reeling — and has earned the Rio Grande the nickname “Rio Sand” — pecan growers here have been able to thrive.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Cornell University: People unwilling to swallow soda tax, size restrictions
- Those hoping to dilute Americans’ taste for soda, energy drinks, sweetened tea, and other sugary beverages should take their quest to school lunchrooms rather than legislative chambers, according to a recent study by media and health policy experts.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Congress approves legislation to assist Ukraine
- The Senate and the House approved legislation today that seeks to address the Ukraine crisis by offering financial assistance to the country and by imposing various sanctions against Russia.
Wall Street Journal: Chinese, Mideast Funds to Invest in Russian Agricultural Venture
- (Subscriber only) Russia's state-sponsored private equity group said Thursday it has persuaded Chinese and Middle Eastern sovereign-wealth funds to invest in a Russian agricultural venture, as the country seeks to show it can still draw foreign investment while under the shadow of Western sanctions.
Reuters: Canadian farmers load U.S.-bound grain trucks to beat backlog
- Truckloads of Canadian canola and wheat are flowing briskly into U.S. crushing plants and elevators, as Canada's farmers seek to get round an unprecedented backlog of crops destined for ports.
Wall Street Journal: Ukrainian Grain Harvest Seen Shrinking Due to Turmoil
- (Subscriber only) Ukrainian farmers and local government officials are expressing concern that this year's spring grain planted area and the country's grain harvest will be smaller as the political turmoil in the country is leading to a lack of financing and rising costs for imported fuel and fertilizers.
Wall Street Journal: China Soybean, Rubber Importers Renege on Deals
- (Subscriber only) Chinese importers of soybeans and rubber are backing out of deals, adding to a wide range of evidence showing rising financial stress in the world's second-biggest economy.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Fish and Wildlife Service lists the lesser prairie-chicken under the ESA
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) today announced its final listing of the lesser prairie-chicken as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Wall Street Journal: Climate Forecast: Muting the Alarm
- The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will shortly publish the second part of its latest report, on the likely impact of climate change.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
NBC News: Border Gridlock: 'Alien Commuters' Travel Hours to U.S. Farm Jobs
- Only a handful of the harvesters, farmworker advocates say, are hired by means of guest worker visas. The vast majority, like the Cortezes, are so-called “alien commuters” — they have green cards granting residency in the United States, but because they make poverty wages or have undocumented family members, they live in Mexico.
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