Daily Harvest -- 4/9/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Organic stakeholders sue USDA over alleged 'power grab'
- A group of 15 stakeholders in the organic industry have filed a lawsuit in San Francisco alleging the Department of Agriculture violated federal rulemaking processes and took power away from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).
Agri-Pulse: Avian flu found in Minnesota for the ninth time this year
- USDA has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial turkey flock in Meeker County, Minnesota, marking the ninth outbreak of HPAI in the state.
Washington Post: Water, ag, environmental groups talk drought with Gov. Brown
- Gov. Jerry Brown has met with top officials from water agencies, agricultural interests and environmental groups about California’s worsening drought.
Western Farm Press: 8 facts about almonds, agriculture, and the drought
- California almond production represents less than 12 percent of the state's total irrigated farmland and uses 8 percent of the state's agricultural water.
Bloomberg: Betting the Farm
- It's a high-stakes decision that requires them to predict whether they're at greater risk from acts of God or acts of man. Illinois farmer J. Gordon Bidner says he needed "two crystal balls" to figure it out.
Forbes: Shell Takes The Leap In Beat-Up Energy Sector, Pays $70 Billion For BG Group
- The months-long battering of the oil & gas sector is nearly at the one-year mark, and despite much talk of cash piles being hoarded for the sake of bottom fishing there has been little bargain-hunting in evidence.
Wall Street Journal: Shell’s Move Could Prompt Wave of Energy Sector Mergers
- Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s nearly $70 billion offer for Britain’s BG Group PLC may be the starting gun for a wave of oil deals that analysts and bankers have been predicting since crude prices started to slump in June.
The Guardian: New energy storage plant could 'revolutionise' renewable sector
- Flywheel plant being built in Ireland with potentially unlimited storage capability could solve the problem of clean energy supply shortfalls when there is insufficient sun or wind.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: National Research Council presents suggestions for sustainable animal ag
- Reinvigorating animal agricultural research is essential to sustainably addressing the global challenge of food security, according to a report issued by a National Research Council committee, part of the National Academies of Sciences.
Agri-Pulse: FDA to expand farm exemption for some food safety rules
- The Food and Drug Administration is proposing to exempt some small farms that sell directly to consumers from new food safety rules.
NPR: The Navajo Nation's Tax On Junk Food Splits Reservation
- This month, the Navajo Nation did something that no other tribe has successfully done and only Berkeley, Calif. has passed something similar: taxing junk food and soda.
The Hill: With GMOs, a right to know vs. an obligation to understand
- Should labeling regulations be guided by the preponderance of scientific evidence or by the concerns of the most cautious and skeptical of consumers? Milk provides a 20-year lesson of how this might work.
Yahoo News: Talking turkey: How bird flu outbreaks are playing out
- A deadly strain of bird flu has reached the Midwest, killing or requiring hundreds of thousands of turkeys to be euthanized. Some questions and answers about the outbreak.
Los Angeles Times: Despite the drought, produce prices are staying stable -- why?
- California's drought has driven the prices of some fruits and vegetables up substantially, but others are actually cheaper than they were a year ago. In fact, the U.S. Agriculture Department’s forecast for produce prices predicts modest increases of 2% to 3%.
Washington Post: Blue Bell expands recall of ice cream made at Oklahoma plant
- Blue Bell Creameries has expanded its recall of products made at an Oklahoma plant after pints of banana pudding ice cream tested positive for listeriosis.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Study: 'Advanced developing countries' abusing WTO farm-subsidy limits
- (Subscriber only) A new study commissioned by U.S. commodity groups concludes that several so-called “advanced developing countries” have ramped up their subsidies to corn, wheat and rice producers in excess of their commitments to the World Trade Organization, creating unfair conditions for global commerce.
Agri-Pulse: USDA official seeing strong support for TPA in ag
- (Audio) USDA officials have been on the road around the country meeting with agricultural stakeholders this year to talk about the importance of Trade Promotion Authority for the president.
Reuters: Chinese citizens sue government over transparency on Monsanto herbicide
- Three Chinese citizens are taking China's Ministry of Agriculture to court in a bid to make public a toxicology report supporting the approval of Monsanto's popular weedkiller, Roundup, 27 years ago.
Yahoo News: Canada expands turkey farm quarantine to stem bird flu
- Canadian health officials broadened a quarantine around two turkey farms to nine Wednesday, after H5 bird flu was detected in one of them.
Reuters: Head of Japan's powerful farming lobby to resign in August
- The head of Japan's powerful farming lobby group said on Thursday he will resign, amid a push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to liberalize the agricultural sector and secure an Asia-Pacific regional free trade agreement.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
The Hill: Drought crisis presents big test for House GOP’s No. 2
- Before he’s even considered for the Speaker’s job, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will have to deftly navigate a growing crisis in his own backyard: the Golden State’s devastating drought.
New York Times: Pesticides Linked to Honeybee Deaths Pose More Risks, European Group Says
- An influential European scientific body said on Wednesday that a group of pesticides believed to contribute to mass deaths of honeybees is probably more damaging to ecosystems than previously thought and questioned whether the substances had a place in sustainable agriculture.
Foreign Policy: How Canada Could Cash In on California’s Drought
- America's water-rich neighbor to the north is seeing green in the Golden State's dry rivers and dead crops.
Associated Press: Dayton proposes more money to reimburse farmers for buffers
- In an effort to ease concerns about his plan to create 50-foot buffer zones along Minnesota waterways, Gov. Mark Dayton started lining up more money this week to reimburse farmers.
Farm Futures: When does nitrate become a risk for humans?
- Gary Baise: The scientists believed there are sufficient criticisms to the scientific foundation of the present EPA drinking water standard. They raise a number of questions as to whether the nitrate intake by humans can be raised in drinking water and whether there would be a potential adverse health effect.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Agri-Pulse: Judge says government lawyers misled him on immigration actions
- A Texas federal judge who blocked the Obama administration's executive actions on immigration is refusing to stay the decision and accused government lawyers of misleading him about when the orders were first implemented.
The News-Herald: Ohio lawmakers proposed agritourism bill would protect farmers
- If passed, farmers will have greater access to liability insurance to launch an agritourism component on their farm, and farms with agritourism already might begin paying lower costs, Kern said.
Bleacher Report: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Eats 10 Lbs. of Food Per Day, 821 Lbs. of Cod Per Year
- For those who want to look like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, be prepared to put down 10 pounds of food on a daily basis. And you better like cod.
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