Daily Harvest -- 4/2/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Kraft, Mondelez charged with manipulating wheat market
- The Commodity Futures Trading Commission alleges that Kraft Foods and Mondelez made a $5.4 million profit by manipulating the wheat market to drive down prices.
Agri-Pulse: Some surprised by USDA prospective plantings numbers
- (Audio) Some analysts were surprised by the numbers that came up in the USDA prospective planting forecast out this week, according to Randy Martinson with Progressive Ag.
Agri-Pulse: Opinion – Using Glyphosate politics to scare people is wrong
- The anti-biotech activist Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield Farms CEO and recent White House nominee to a trade advisory committee, seems to enjoy highlighting bad news. Even when it's bogus.
Agri-Pulse: EPA approves Enlist herbicide for use in more states
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its approval of Dow AgroSciences' Enlist Duo herbicide, a blend of glyphosate and 2,4-D choline, for use in additional states.
Agri-Pulse: California mandates statewide water reductions
- California is mandating cities and towns across the state to reduce water usage by 25 percent, as well as requiring increased reporting from agricultural water users.
Agri-Pulse: Last arsenic-based animal drug being pulled from market
- The last arsenic-based animal drug is being pulled from the market under pressure from the Food and Drug Administration.
Financial Times: Commodities – Cereal excess
- Towering like a missile above the Illinois prairie town of Monticello, the galvanised metal silo that Topflight Grain Co-operative has just added to its storage complex can hold an awful lot of corn: 19,000 tonnes.
U.S. & World Report: Monsanto 2Q profit slips; farmers dodge falling corn prices, sales of biotech corn seeds fall
- Monsanto reported lower-than-expected earnings as slumping corn prices push farmers toward other crops, crimping sales of the company's best-selling biotech corn seeds.
Des Moines Register: Iowa farmland values drop 15 percent over two years
- After peaking two years ago, Iowa farmland values have tumbled about 15 percent, a new report shows, and are likely to continue dropping, given weakness in corn and soybean prices.
The Washington Post: Renewable energy is growing very, very fast. It’s just still not fast enough.
- The global shift toward renewable energy is not only continuing apace — it may be picking up speed.
Forbes: Solar power to become cheapest source of energy in many regions by 2025, German experts say
- Solar power still amounts for a small share of net electricity generation around the world. In the USA, for instance, as of December 2014 it was responsible for just 0.45% of the total electricity produced.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: USDA invests $31.5 million to help SNAP participants buy more fruits, vegetables
- USDA is awarding $31.5 million in funding to local, state, and national organizations to support programs that help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increase their purchase of fruits and vegetables.
Agri-Pulse: See how bacon is made in 'Ultimate Guide to Bacon' video
- Bacon has been called meat candy, the gateway meat for vegetarians and the perfect food. To honor bacon's role as a cultural icon, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) has developed a new Ultimate Guide to Bacon, featuring a video tour of a bacon processing plant and companion brochure with bacon facts, history and more.
Yahoo: Next-generation GMOs – Pink pineapples and purple tomatoes
- Cancer-fighting pink pineapples, heart-healthy purple tomatoes and less fatty vegetable oils may someday be on grocery shelves alongside more traditional products.
Tree Hugger: Farm to table social network aims to grow healthy relationships between farmers and consumers
- With a solar-powered smart farm monitoring system, a farm-to-table social network, and a mobile app, Kakaxi wants to help bring transparency to the food production chain.
Wall Street Journal: McDonald’s joins trend in raising pay
- McDonald’s Corp. plans to raise wages by more than 10% for workers at U.S. restaurants it operates—fresh evidence of the rising wage pressure in the American labor market.
Wall Street Journal: The states can do a better job of fighting hunger
- (Opinion) According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, the official poverty rate in my state is 12%, the same as it was in 1960. Yet Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack states unequivocally that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program works just fine.
The Hill: House Dem calls for tax on sugary drinks
- Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) has introduced legislation to tax caloric sweeteners in beverages as a means of reducing obesity and other health conditions in the U.S.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Wall Street Journal: EU milk policy threat to New Zealand farmers
- Europe’s abolition of milk quotas added to the pressure on global dairy prices, creating a new headache for New Zealand’s farmers at a time when many are struggling to break even.
The Hill: National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson - Free-trade lemmings are perilously close to the cliff
- (Opinion) Our elected officials in Washington – both Republicans and Democrats – are wandering the halls of Congress like lemmings in a sort of “free trade trance,” and if they don’t come to their senses soon, we’ll all pay the price.
Huffington Post: Global food industry reluctant leaders of smallholder farming revolution
- (Opinion) In recent years the global food and beverage industry has surpassed development agencies and donor governments when it comes to improving the productivity and income of smallholder farmers in developing countries.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Northern long-eared bat gains protection as 'threatened' species
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said it is listing the northern long-eared bat as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, securing certain regulatory protections for the mammal and triggering charges of government overreach from some agricultural groups and politicians.
NPR: Scary times for California farmers as snowpack hits record lows
- The water outlook in drought-racked California just got a lot worse: Snowpack levels across the entire Sierra Nevada are now the lowest in recorded history — just 6 percent of the long-term average.
Phys.org: Fish play a role in seed dispersal over large distances
- Fish can play a role in seed dispersal over large distances. Heavy seeds in particular pass undamaged through the mouths and intestines of fish and may end up being dispersed for miles, both in an upstream and downstream direction.
The Washington Post: The small no-till farm in upstate New York that wants to ‘fix a broken food system’
- On a frigid October morning in White Sulphur Springs in upstate New York, the ground on a small farm is planted with spinach, flat leaf parsley, and winter herbs that will grow slowly during the darkest parts of the winter and more quickly during the warmer and longer days of the spring and summer.
New York Times: ADM announces plan to fight deforestation
- Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world’s largest commodities suppliers, has joined the growing number of major agriculture and food companies promising to take steps to conserve forests that are threatened by the global demand for commodities like palm oil and soy.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
New York Times: The scrambled states of immigration
- (Opinion) A country that has abandoned all efforts at creating a saner immigration policy has gotten the result it deserves: not one policy but lots of little ones, acting at cross purposes and nullifying one another. Not unity but cacophony, a national incoherence — one well illustrated in a recent report in The Times on the various ways the states, forsaken by Congress, are adjusting to the millions of unauthorized immigrants living outside the law.
Bloomberg: Immigrants are too wary to even learn about Obama's immigration plan
- Daniel Jimenez’s job at the United Farm Workers Foundation is to promote the biggest reprieve for undocumented immigrants in a generation to as many as possible.
Agri-Pulse: Meet the Lawmaker Interview with Dan Newhouse, 4th District Washington State
- (Video) One of the newest members of the House Ag Committee, Dan Newhouse uses his experience as a former director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture to represent his constituents in Washington's 4th District. this edition of Meet the Lawmaker, Newhouse, who is also a farmer, talks about his goals in Congress and why farmers and ranchers need to stay involved in government.
Agri-Pulse: Agri-business lobbying firm The Keys Group adds Dunlap to staff
- Mike Dunlap, previously a senior staff member at the House Agriculture Committee, joined the government affairs team of The Keys Group on March 30, announced Chandler Keys, principal of the agri-business lobbying firm based in Washington, D.C.
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