Daily Harvest -- 3/31/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: FSA official says another week signup should help
- (Audio) As of last week, the USDA reported, about 80 percent of producers have made their choice between the two safety net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill.
Forbes: Can this man feed the world? Billionaire Harry Stine's quest to reinvent agriculture - again
- Stine Seed does business with all of the heavyweights and has for more than three decades, primarily because it has something everybody else needs: the best-performing soybean seeds in the business.
Arizona Daily Star: Arizona pets, farm animals won't have separate rules
- Fearing abuse of farm animals, Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday killed legislation he said could open the door to lesser penalties for ranchers than pet owners.
Journal Star: Farm forecasters expect more soybeans planted, less corn
- Analysts are predicting farmers will be growing more soybean acres and shrinking the number of acres planted to corn for the second year in a row, largely due to low corn prices. How big the spread will be is yet to be seen.
The Washington Post: Amid bird flu outbreak, turkey farmers increase security
- Poultry producers in the nation’s top turkey state are taking extra steps to protect their flocks after a devastating strain of bird flu was confirmed at two Minnesota farms in as many days last week, a disease that had already slammed the doors shut on some key export markets.
Yahoo: US to pledge up to 28 percent emission cut in global treaty
- The United States will pledge Tuesday to cut its greenhouse gas emissions up to 28 percent as part of a global treaty aimed at preventing the worst effects of climate change, according to individuals briefed on the White House's plans.
Slate: Blue-Collar Solar
- Green, energy-saving technologies are essentially luxury products - but that’s changing, in part because the price of solar panels has plummeted significantly in recent years. And in part because smart companies are developing new business models that appeal to the rest of us.
Wall Street Journal: Hanergy is still a head scratcher
- For anybody who expected big numbers out of the world’s most valuable clean energy company, Hanergy Thin Film Power didn’t disappoint.
Forbes: Energy subsidy cuts finally providing relief for Egypt
- Egypt’s efforts to chip away at a daunting budget deficit have taken hold, with Cairo reporting that the government spent about 30% less on fuel subsidies during the first half of this fiscal year compared to the same period in 2014.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Dunkin' Donuts boosts cage-free egg sources
- Dunkin' Donuts announced today that 10 percent of all eggs sourced for its breakfast sandwiches in the U.S. will be from cage-free hens by the end of next year. Additionally, Dunkin' Donuts said it will source only gestation crate-free pork in the U.S. by 2022.
Agri-Pulse: The Vilsapp - Secretary Vilsack's high tech solution to labeling
- (Opinion) The March edition of the National Geographic Magazine, in its cover story entitled “The War on Science” notes that “there's no evidence that GMO's are harmful to human health,” while a recent Pew poll found that 90% of all scientists believe GMO's are safe but only 37% of the public.
The Washington Post: We don’t need labels on genetically modified foods
- (Opinion) Eighty-eight percent of scientists polled by the Pew Research Center in January said genetically modified food is generally safe to eat. Only 37 percent of the public shared that view.
NPR: Our food-safety system is a patchwork with big holes, critics say
- Walking through the warehouse of food processor Heartland Gourmet in Lincoln, Neb., shows how complicated the food safety system can be.
Time: Finally, some good news about kids and fast food
- Fast food is rarely the harbinger of good news, but here’s some: kids are eating less of it. According to a new report published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, the percentage of kids eating fast food on any given day has dropped, along with the number of calories they consume at certain fast-food joints.
LA Times: Navajo Nation sees tax on junk food as way to combat health problems
- On a weekday shopping trip to the only real grocery store for 30 miles, Ann Neagle paused before a bag of Red Delicious apples, $7 for a dozen, plus a new discount — the Navajo Nation lifted the 5% sales tax on fresh fruits and vegetables
New York Times: Red meat is not the enemy
- (Opinion) There are people in this country eating too much red meat. They should cut back. There are people eating too many carbs. They should cut back on those. There are also people eating too much fat, and the same advice applies to them, too. What’s getting harder to justify, though, is a focus on any one nutrient as a culprit for everyone.
The Des Moines Register: FBI: Plot to steal seed corn a national security threat
- Does protecting America's lucrative genetically modified seed corn industry warrant the use of national security laws intended to fight terrorists and government spies? The FBI says yes.
Wall Street Journal: No crying in the kitchen - Japan firm engineers tearless onions
- The Japanese food maker, whose researchers have been studying the chemistry of onions for more than a decade, on Monday said it has developed onions that produce an extremely low amount of enzymes which creates compounds that make so many cooks tear up when chopping the vegetables raw.
Wall Street Journal: Chinese food giant explores deals in U.S.
- Chinese food company Cofco Corp. is on a determined shopping spree.In a few short years, Cofco has spent a couple billion dollars quietly buying up Australian cane fields, French vineyards and soybean pastures in Brazil, helping it become one of the world’s largest food companies.
Wall Street Journal: Divisions in Congress hamper Pacific Trade Deal
- Wavering support in Congress has emerged as the biggest obstacle holding up completion of a 12-nation Pacific trade pact under negotiation for nearly a decade.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: US expands effort to improve at-risk species' habitat in SW
- USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) plan to expand an ecosystem-wide model to aid the Southwestern willow flycatcher and help Western landowners.
Politico: EPA's McCarthy - Keystone alone wouldn't be climate disaster
- EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Monday that building the Keystone XL pipeline alone would not be a disaster for the climate, as some opponents of the project contend.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Agri-Pulse: House Republicans raise concerns on E-Verify immigration push
- Legislation to make the E-Verify immigration system mandatory could split House Republicans unless it is accompanied by a bill to ensure farmers access to more legal foreign workers.
LA Times: Dairy farmers, in dire need of workers, feel helpless as immigration reform sours
- When Mike McMahon's Latino employees need to go to the bank, the pharmacy or the grocery store, he makes sure someone drives them to town, waits while they run errands, and then brings them safely back to his dairy farm.
U-T San Diego: Mexican growers offer 15 pct in Baja farm strike
- Export-oriented commercial farms in Mexico's Baja California state say they have offered farm workers a 15-percent wage increase to end a two-week-old strike.
New York Times: States are divided by the lines they draw on immigration
- As some states battle President Obama’s executive actions in court, others move to incorporate unauthorized newcomers by offering them licenses and other benefits.
The Washington Post: Access denied - Reporters say federal officials, data increasingly off limits
- When Stacey Singer, a health reporter for the Palm Beach Post in Florida, started seeking official comment about the little-reported tuberculosis outbreak in the Jackson area, the doors began closing.
Hartford Courant: More than 70 dead animals found at farm of pair charged with cruelty
- The melting snow has revealed the frozen carcasses of more than a dozen more dead goats at Butterfield Farm Co. in Cornwall, Connecticut, whose operators have been charged with animal cruelty. More than 70 dead animals have been found at the farm since the state Department of Agriculture seized 74 sickly goats from the property in January.
Wall Street Journal: DuPont board approves governance changes for Chemours spinoff
- DuPont Co. said its board approved changes to the planned corporate governance structure for the performance-chemicals business that it is spinning off.
Reuters: Exclusive - Fidelity moves to end DuPont proxy battle-sources
- Fidelity Investments, a major investor in DuPont, has put pressure on activist fund Trian Fund Management LP and the chemical conglomerate to reach a settlement in what it sees as a detrimental proxy fight, according to people close to the matter.
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