Daily Harvest -- 4/7/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: New case of hi-path bird flu found in Minnesota
- USDA has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) in a molting breeder replacement turkey flock in Kandiyohi County, Minnesota, the seventh confirmation in a commercial flock in the state.
Agri-Pulse: Clean Water rule advances to OMB for review
- The Obama administration has advanced a final Clean Water Act rule with revisions that the EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy promises will address a range of objections raised since it was first proposed a year ago.
Agri-Pulse: Industry Adjusting to Lower Farm Equipment Sales
- (Audio) Sales of farm tractors and combines are continuing their downward trend this year and the industry is starting to adjust after several good years in a row.
Wall Street Journal: Silicon Valley Firms Plant Roots in Farm Belt
- New technologies that promise to change how food is grown, transported and sold are attracting increased interest from the kinds of investors that have fueled Silicon Valley powerhouses.
Capital Ag Press: Washington House panel removes fertilizer from train bill
- House Democrats in Washington have stricken anhydrous ammonia, a widely used nitrogen fertilizer, from a bill motivated by the influx of rail tankers hauling Bakken crude oil to West Coast refineries.
Albuquerque Journal: Bill would allow hemp crops in New Mexico
- With the federal government loosening its grip on industrial hemp, there’s a resurgence of interest in growing it in New Mexico – and a bill on the governor’s desk to kick-start that.
Times-Herald: Georgia settles in food stamp lawsuit
- The Georgia Department of Human Services has agreed to a settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed by Georgians who were incorrectly denied food stamps.
GreenBiz: How can agriculture solve its $5.87 billion plastic problem?
- Whether it’s this small organic farm coaxing an impressive yield out of a few acres in Oregon or a large conventional operation somewhere else in the world, plastic is a huge part of modern agriculture — a multi-billion-dollar worldwide industry, according to Penn State Extension.
Agriculture.com: Plains Wheat Pain Mounts as Southern Farmers Fight Delays
- The winter wheat crop in parts of the Plains is falling in quality while farmers are seeing delays in the mid-South as corn-planting fights to move north into the Midwest, where another set of weather challenges and potential delays could keep progress at a snail's pace, according to Monday's USDA Crop Progress reports from around the nation's center.
Reuters: Exclusive: California used 70 million gallons of water in fracking in 2014
- California oil producers used 214 acre-feet of water, equivalent to nearly 70 million gallons, in the process of fracking for oil and gas in the state last year, less than previously projected, state officials told Reuters on Thursday.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Associated Press: US Wants Egg Executives Punished for Salmonella Outbreak
- A judge should consider the "widespread harm" done by a major 2010 salmonella outbreak and the food safety lapses that preceded it in sentencing two egg industry executives whose company was responsible, prosecutors said Monday.
Bloomberg Businessweek: How Buffalo Wild Wings Turned the Sports Bar Into a $1.5 Billion Juggernaut
- Smith, a 57-year-old accountant who’s partial to spicy garlic wings, has run Buffalo Wild Wings for almost 20 years. She says when she and her chief financial officer, Mary Twinem, pitched the company’s initial public offering in 2003, investors kept asking, “How can two women run a sports bar-and-grill?”
Kansas City Star: Coffee company in West Bottoms looking to grow
- The partners said their coffee beans are bought at above fair-trade market rates from farmers in such countries as Peru, Guatemala, Brazil and Ethiopia. Their website breaks down the details on the beans’ variety, altitude and certifications, as well as a little bit about the farmer.
Washington Post: Would GMO labeling requirement cost $500 more in groceries per family a year?
- Both sides largely agree that simply adding the wording would not drive up consumer costs. Companies regularly update their food packaging as they come up with new designs or marketing strategies. But those who oppose mandatory labeling say the requirement would drive up costs because it would change manufacturers’ and consumers’ behaviors.
CBS: 9 things fast food is doing right
- But for all the animosity, fast food is still a massive industry in the U.S. McDonald's (MCD), by far the heavyweight in the sector, reported sales of $27.4 billion last year. Sales were down slightly more than 2 percent from the previous year, though.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Des Moines Register: Branstad, Reynolds to lead trade missions
- Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Gov. Terry Branstad will lead trade missions to Brazil and South Korea beginning later this month.
Washington Post: India’s Modi pushes to streamline sale of farmland for development
- Day after day, dozens of farmers in this eastern Indian village squat under a tent, wave flags and shout “This land is ours” and “Go back” as ripe golden wheat rustles in the background.
Bloomberg: End of Milk Quotas, Strong Franc Are Bad Recipe for Swiss Cheese
- The European Union this month scrapped restrictions on how much milk dairy farmers can produce as the 28-nation bloc seeks to liberalize agricultural markets. The three-decades-old quotas indirectly limited cheesemaking by capping the supply of the fatty food’s main raw material.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Wall Street Journal: Opinion: California’s Green Drought
- The liberals who run California have long purported that their green policies are a free (organic) lunch, but the bills are coming due. Lo, Governor Jerry Brown has mandated a 25% statewide reduction in water use. Consider this rationing a surcharge for decades of environmental excess.
Reuters: Oregon governor expands drought declaration
- Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a drought emergency on Monday in three southern and central Oregon counties, expanding upon earlier drought declarations the Democrat made in March, as the state faces record low snowpack levels.
Des Moines Register: Report: Rural, urban Iowa share global warming views
- The lawsuit has created tensions between rural and urban counties. One rural state lawmaker last month suggested residents consider boycotting shopping, vacationing and other activities in Des Moines.
Bloomberg: What Americans Think About Climate Change in Seven Maps
- Researchers at Yale have unveiled a new interactive map that estimates public opinion on global warming right down to the county level.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
California Healthline: Bill Melds Health Reform Goal With Shift in California Workers' Comp System
- California's workers' compensation laws -- much like the health care system -- are built to help when something goes wrong. California employers send lots of money every year to workers' comp to "minimize the adverse impact of work-related injuries on California employees and employers."
Huffington Post: Cities, Counties Ask Appeals Court To Let Obama Immigration Programs Move Forward
- Leaders from more than 70 cities and counties, some going against their states, joined a legal brief filed Monday asking an appeals court to allow President Barack Obama's deportation relief policies to move forward.
Washington Times: Illegal immigrant children surge across border at highest rate since last summer’s peak
- The second wave of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children has begun, with more than 3,000 of them surging across the Mexican border into the U.S. last month — the highest rate since the peak of last summer’s crisis and a warning that another rough season could be ahead.
Agri-Pulse: Folio: 'Top Women in Media' honors Agri-Pulse's Sara Wyant
- Agri-Pulse founder and President Sara Wyant was named to the annual Folio: “Top Women in Media” recognition in the Entrepreneurs category. She will be recognized at a June awards ceremony at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.
Wall Street Journal: Monsanto, Bayer Join Venture-Capital Push
- Biotech seed producers Monsanto Co. and Bayer AG are among the companies that recently established or expanded investment units to fund new agricultural ventures. As a wave of entrepreneurial vigor sweeps the Farm Belt, the companies want to ensure they don’t miss out on cutting-edge tools for food formulation and pest prevention, the companies say.
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