Daily Harvest -- 4/13/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Washington Week Ahead: GOP launches assault on regulations; TPA bill expected
- Now, the real work begins. Congressional Republicans this week will start moving the appropriations bills that give them their best shot at picking apart President Obama's regulatory agenda.
Agri-Pulse: Open Mic with Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell
- (Audio) The Kentucky Republican sees opportunity to work with the Obama administration on Trade Promotion Authority and cyber-security legislation, but expects push back over regulations that GOP leaders will try to repeal through a series of policy riders on appropriations bills.
Agri-Pulse: Farm antibiotic usage on rise as FDA implements curbs
- Usage of medically important antibiotics in food animals rose 3 percent from 2012 through 2013, the Food and Drug Administration says in its latest annual report on sales of the drugs.
CBS St. Louis: Missouri Governor Signs Bills to Help Dairy, Agriculture
- Gov. Jay Nixon signed bills Friday aimed at boosting Missouri’s dairy and $12.5 billion-a-year agriculture industries through insurance subsidies, scholarships, eased restrictions during parts of the year and other provisions meant to help crop and livestock farmers.
CBS Minnesota: Bird Flu Outbreak Confirmed At 13th Minnesota Turkey Farm
- A bird flu outbreak that has puzzled scientists spread to three more Midwest turkey farms, bringing the number of farms infected to 23 and raising the death toll to more than 1.2 million birds killed by the disease or by authorities scrambling to contain it.
Wall Street Journal: How the Hottest Biotech Sprouted in Iowa
- This state leads the nation in hogs and corn, not biotechnology drugs. But one small firm here is drawing notice for its cutting-edge research on Ebola and cancer, despite being far removed from the drug industry’s usual hubs.
Agri-Pulse: EPA agrees to deadlines for release of RFS volume requirements
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it will issue its proposed Renewable Fuel Standard volume requirements for 2015 by June 1, and a final rule governing the volumes for 2014 and 2015 by Nov. 30.
The Hill: EPA settles lawsuit over ethanol mandate
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has settled an oil industry lawsuit and agreed to set the ethanol blending mandates for this year and last year by Nov. 30.
Denver Post: Colorado's big coal-burning utilities take a turn to renewable energy
- Most of the electricity produced in Colorado still comes from burning coal, but even the state's two largest coal burners are adding more renewable energy.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: House members urge sound science for dietary guidelines
- (Audio) Members of the House recently weighed in on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report, which they believe goes beyond nutrition in its recommendations.
CNBC: Food will get cheaper for Americans, and here's why
- As a strong U.S. dollar and bountiful harvest expectations weigh on agricultural commodities, wheat futures have fallen 11 percent this year while live cattle futures are down 10 percent.
Wall Street Journal: Why Food Prices Are Drought-Resistant
- California’s drought is raising concerns about whether fresh produce grown in the Golden State could run short, potentially raising prices nationwide. The reality is that there was little jump in produce prices last year, and consumers should expect only slight increases in 2015.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: USDA expands beef and pork trade with Mexico and Peru
- USDA announced that it recently reached agreements with Mexico and Peru that will provide more customers for U.S. beef and pork producers.
New York Times: Obama Meets Raúl Castro, Making History
- President Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba met here Saturday in the first face-to-face discussion between the leaders of the two countries in a half-century.
Reuters: China super-rice grower blames weather, fungus for harvest failure
- China's super-rice grower, Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture Co Ltd, blamed abnormal weather and disease for large crop failures in the rice growing province of Anhui last year.
Reuters: Years after the famine, here’s how North Koreans really get by
- “Communist” and “collectivized” are utterly outdated labels for a North Korean economy that now heavily relies on thriving, person-to-person market exchanges in which individuals buy and sell private property for the purpose of generating profit.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Associated Press: Feds to Consider Endangered Species Listing for Spotted Owl
- Federal biologists will consider increasing Endangered Species Act protections for the northern spotted owl, reflecting the bird's continued slide toward extinction despite steep logging cutbacks in the Northwest forests where it lives.
New York Times: For Drinking Water in Drought, California Looks Warily to Sea
- A $1 billion desalination plant to supply booming San Diego County is under construction here and due to open as early as November, providing a major test of whether California cities will be able to resort to the ocean to solve their water woes.
Wall Street Journal: California’s Farm-Water Scapegoat
- Perhaps the only issue on which Bay Area liberals and conservatives down California’s coastline agree is that farmers use too much water and should be rationed. The fortunate in Silicon Valley and Marin County need a tutorial in Golden State water allocation.
Des Moines Register: Data shows nitrates higher but improving in Iowa rivers
- Nitrate levels in Iowa's major rivers have increased more than threefold since the 1950s, but have stabilized — and even slightly declined — in recent decades, according to an in-depth review of available research.
Des Moines Register: Buffer strips key to reducing nitrates in Iowa water
- But scientists discovered perforated plastic tiling underneath the land was helping nitrate-laced water bypass the cleaning power of the riparian buffer, said Tom Isenhart, an associate professor of natural resources, ecology and management at Iowa State University.
Kansas City Star: Farms face steep water cuts in water districts deemed urban
- A San Diego municipal water agency appealed to the state to revise proposed water cutbacks because most of its users are farmers and they fear abundant avocado and citrus crops will dry up.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Appeal-Democrat: Ag at large: State board updates farm labor policy
- The California agency that governs labor relations for farm workers has just set policy that shores up its fundamental purpose, ensuring the right of workers to decide if they want to join a union or not.
Argus Leader: South Dakota dairy operators want immigration reform
- At the Turner County Dairy west of Sioux Falls, finding employees to milk 1,600 cows three times a day isn't a problem. But dairy owners and industry advocates say if something doesn't change with the country's immigration policy and visa programs, America's food production system will be in trouble.
USA Today: Rubio's changing immigration stance could be liability
- Sen. Marco Rubio's changing stance on immigration has alienated advocates on both sides of the debate, and analysts say the contentious issue could trip up the Florida Republican in his bid to become the first Latino president.
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