Daily Harvest -- 4/4/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack releases farm bill implementation progress report
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released several implementation dates for farm bill programs today, but timing for Commodity Title program rules is still vague.
Agri-Pulse: House Budget Committee advances FY 2015 budget plan with SNAP cuts
- The House Budget Committee approved, on a 22-16 party-line vote, a fiscal year 2015 budget proposal late Wednesday that aims to reduce federal spending by $5.1 trillion over 10 years and includes spending cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and mandatory agricultural outlays, as well as policy recommendations on EPA regulations.
Agri-Pulse: Senate Finance Committee approves tax extenders bill
- The Senate Finance Committee approved, by voice vote, legislation Thursday to renew various expired tax provisions, known as “tax extenders,” and to provide assistance for biodiesel, cellulosic biofuel and other renewable fuels.
Agri-Pulse: Stabenow appointed to chair of Senate Finance subcommittee
- Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., announced today that she has been appointed to serve as chair of the Senate Finance Committee's Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness.
Agri-Pulse: MF Global to make final restitution payments
- The trustee for MF Global announced that the company will begin making final distributions to its customers to restore lost funds of over $1 billion sustained by customers of MF Global when the company failed in 2011, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Agri-Pulse: Farm equipment makers’ report cites industry rule in U.S. economy
- U.S. farm equipment makers are reminding lawmakers of how important their industry is to the country's economy, and asking them to keep some figures in mind when they consider legislation and trade pacts that affect agriculture.
Agri-Pulse: Industrial hemp in the farm bill
- (Audio) The farm bill for first time passed an amendment that defines industrial hemp and allows states to conduct pilot program research projects at the university level and state departments of agriculture. This can only happen in the ten states where hemp is already legal.
Washington Post: GAO rules that Agriculture Department acted improperly in awarding air tankers contract
- In exchange for dropping a bid protest and threats of lawsuits, Neptune would be awarded a huge, noncompetitive contract by the U.S. Forest Service, worth as much as a half-billion dollars.
NPR: 'Hot' Oregon Blueberry Fight Prompts Farm Bill Changes
- The National Employment Law Project, which supports the original hot goods clause, worries that the new law requiring inter-agency consultation could "gum up the process" and prevent migrant and seasonal workers from being paid before they return to their home countries at the end of the growing season.
Bloomberg: Wheat Crops See Worst Damage in 5 Years on Drought-Freeze
- With drought already sapping soil moisture across the Great Plains, the biggest growing region, a polar vortex in early 2014 draped fields in a deep freeze, killing more plants than normal.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Associated Press: Engineered salmon may be a tough sell
- The Obama administration has stalled for more than four years on deciding whether to approve a fast-growing salmon that would be the first genetically modified animal approved for human consumption.
New York Times: In Vietnam, Pizza From Farm to Table
- While Mr. Masuko began making cheese to serve his pizza restaurant, he now also has a separate cheese export business that sells 10 varieties, including camembert and mimolette, to upscale hotels and restaurants in Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore and Japan. It accounts for 15 percent of his total revenue.
New York Times: Pointing Fingers Over Bulging Bellies
- Earl Butz is just the first of many in a BBC documentary who are implicated in the program as having had a hand in foisting unhealthy foods on us, whether manipulatively or just as collateral damage
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Reuters: United States steps up pressure on Japan to make good on trade promises
- The United States pressed Japan on Thursday to open its farm and auto markets to overseas competition and said it could not expect special treatment in a Pacific trade pact covering one-third of global imports and exports.
Wall Street Journal: Lawmakers Worried About Fate of Pacific Trade Pact
- Lawmakers who shape U.S. trade policy expressed fears Thursday that a multiyear bid to create a trans-Pacific trade pact may go the way of other moribund trade negotiations.
Financial Times: US attacks Japan’s stance on Trans-Pacific Partnership
- The US has accused Japan of blocking progress on a trade deal between 12 countries on the Pacific Rim by not allowing open access to its markets for agricultural products and motor vehicles.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: EPA awards $12.7 million to help small drinking water and wastewater systems
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will award $12.7 million in grants to help small drinking and wastewater systems (serving fewer than 10,000 people) and to private well owners.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
National Journal: Top Republican Warns Against Executive Action on Deportations
- House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte warned that unilateral executive action on immigration enforcement by the Obama administration will make it even harder for comprehensive immigration reform to pass Congress.
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