Daily Harvest -- 4/1/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Committees demand EPA records on Clean Water rule
- Three House committees are demanding documents and emails from the Environmental Protection Agency on its handling of the proposed rule for re-defining the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.
Agri-Pulse: USDA sees corn acres down 2%, soy planted area up 1%
- U.S farmers will plant about 89.2 million acres with corn this year, down 2 percent from last year, while increasing soybean acreage by 1 percent, to a record high of 84.6 million acres, USDA said today, citing a survey of farmer intentions in early March.
Reuters: EPA will require weed-resistance restrictions on glyphosate herbicide
- U.S. regulators will put new restrictions on the world's most widely used herbicide to help address the rapid expansion of weeds resistant to the chemical, Reuters has learned.
Bloomberg: West Texas cotton acres seen falling as much as 15% on price sag
- Farmers in West Texas, the main U.S. growing region, will cut cotton acreage this season as a drop in prices spurs them to sow alternative crops, according to the state’s biggest producer group.
Bloomberg: Moonshine, hogs and drought fuel sorghum boom across U.S. plains
- Across the Great Plains, U.S. farmers are turning to a little-known grain called sorghum for relief from a two-year slump in agriculture prices.
Wall Street Journal: Oil prices slip as U.S.-Iran nuclear talks continue past deadline
- Oil prices fell in volatile trade on Wednesday as investors tracked the U.S.-Iran nuclear talks and a buildup in U.S. oil supplies.
LA Times: Renewable energy investment heats up worldwide
- Global investment in renewable power and fuels reached $270.2 billion last year, nearly 17% higher than in 2013, according to a new study on renewable energy investment from the United Nations Environment Programme.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Lawmakers urge USDA, HHS to use 'sound science' for Dietary Guidelines
- Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., and 70 House colleagues are urging Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to make sure the final Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) are based on sound nutritional science and stick within the bounds of the charter authorized by Congress.
Agri-Pulse: USDA provides $19 million in food safety grants
- USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced funding awards totaling nearly $19 million to 36 universities that are conducting projects related to safety in the food supply.
Wall Street Journal: Program to Put ‘Kids Eat Right’ Logo on Kraft Singles Ending
- Kraft Foods Group Inc. and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics are abandoning plans to apply the academy’s “Kids Eat Right” logo on Kraft’s Singles cheese products, the food company said.
Wall Street Journal: Cal-Maine foods sales rise 11% on strength in specialty eggs
- Cal-Maine Foods Inc. reported that sales grew 11% in the third quarter due to increased demand, especially for specialty eggs, in the holiday period.
Alaska Dispatch: The federal Food Safety Modernization Act is bad for Alaska
- (Opinion) The Food Safety Modernization Act, also known as FSMA, is detrimental to local food production and a threat to the most basic of freedoms: our ability to choose what we feed our family.
LA Times: L.A. street vendor protest - 'We are not criminals'
- Saying they are increasingly targeted by police, dozens of street vendors and their allies protested Tuesday outside the LAPD headquarters for a moratorium on ticketing or harassment of those who sell food and wares on the streets.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
New York Times: American Farmer Among the Winners in Sanctions-Hit Russia
- Kansas-born farmer Justus Walker is prospering in Russia — one year after the U.S. and European Union began imposing sanctions against his adopted country over its aggression in Ukraine.
Truth-Out: Grabbing Africa's seeds - USAID, EU and Gates Foundation back agribusiness seed takeover
- (Opinion) A battle is currently being waged over Africa's seed systems. After decades of neglect and weak investment in African agriculture, there is renewed interest in funding African agriculture.
Financial Times: Japan calls on Obama to step up personal involvement in TPP deal
- Japan’s economy minister has called on US President Barack Obama to ramp up his lobbying of Democrats to secure congressional authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as the mammoth trade deal approaches a make-or-break deadline in the next few months.
Reuters: U.S. expects Congress to pass fast-track trade bill within next month
- The United States expects the trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation, which is seen as an important step to speed free trade deals, will be passed by the Congress over the next month, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.
Wall Street Journal: To beef up beef ban Indian police collect cow mug shots, mull cattle I.D. cards
- Tasked with protecting the state’s cattle from slaughter, police in Maharashtra have devised a cunning plan: register each cow and bullock and keep mug shots of the beasts on file in case any of them go missing.
Wall Street Journal: In Indonesia, beer to go, slurpees to stay
- Convenience stores in Indonesia will soon be less convenient for some when they’re forced to stop selling alcohol under a regulation from the trade ministry. The regulation states that it is needed “to protect public morals and culture and to improve the control and supervision of alcohol production, distribution and sales.”
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: USDA earmarks $332 million for conservation easements
- One of USDA's voluntary conservation programs for producers - the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) - will provide $332 million in financial and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers and other private landowners who enroll acreage in conservation easements by May 15.
Agri-Pulse: Funding announced for conservation easements
- (Audio) USDA has announced the availability of $332 million in financial and technical assistance under the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, which NRCS Chief Jason Weller says is designed to protect farmland, ranchland, wetland and grasslands.
New York Times: Obama’s strategy on climate change, part of global deal, is revealed
- The White House on Tuesday introduced President Obama’s blueprint for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by nearly a third over the next decade.
New York Times: Water Pricing, Not Engineering, Will Ease Looming Water Shortages
- (Opinion) Authorities in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, recently announced that if current drought conditions persisted, they would be forced to restrict water availability for the city of 20 million to only two days per week. The economic and social implications of such a decision are staggering.
Wall Street Journal: Why U.S. Territories Are Most Vulnerable to Climate Change
- (Opinion) We know that climate change poses significant risks across the contiguous U.S., from rising sea levels along our coasts, to extreme heat in our agricultural heartland, to more severe droughts and wildfires in the Southwest.
University of Wisconsin – Madison News: For soybean growers, hidden cost of climate change tops $11 billion
- Even during a good year, soybean farmers nationwide are, in essence, taking a loss. That's because changes in weather patterns have been eating into their profits and taking quite a bite: $11 billion over the past 20 years.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Huffington Post: Honoring Cesar Chavez's birthday by supporting the farm workers for whom he gave his life
- Countless communities across America honor civil rights and farm labor leader Cesar Chavez on his March 31 birthday with annual commemorations. It's an official holiday in California and several other states. All manner of public places have been named for him.
LA Times: L.A. County supervisors vote 5-0 to study raising the minimum wage
- The movement to substantially increase the local minimum wage won a significant boost Tuesday when the county Board of Supervisors voted to follow the city of Los Angeles in studying the idea.
Des Moines Register: Deere completes sale of insurance business
- A West Des Moines insurance company has completed its acquisition of Deere & Co.'s crop insurance division.
The Washington Post: How America’s most famous farmer can appeal to left, right and center
- You’ve heard of Joel Salatin, right? The self-proclaimed heretic who runs Polyface Farm in the Shenandoah Valley? The eco-friendly, avant-garde Old MacDonald featured in Michael Pollan’s 2006 bestseller, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” and the 2008 documentary “Food, Inc.”?
LA Times: Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy takes on the U.S. government again
- Decked out in a buffalo-hide hat, bolo tie and Western boots, Nevada rancher and states' rights rabble-rouser Cliven Bundy stood near the Capitol building Tuesday, addressing a throng of supporters and one lone counter-protester.
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