Daily Harvest -- 4/22/2016
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse Daybreak for April 22, 2016
- (Audio) Kerry to sign Paris climate agreement on Earth Day (today); EPA advisers wary of EPA reliance on pesticide study; Roberts eyes ‘breakthrough’ on biotech labeling; Sixth Circuit keeps grip on WOTUS case; pork leaders think candidates will come around on TPP; and key lawmakers back dairy industry on TPP.
Agri-Pulse: Washington Week in Review: April 21, 2016: House Ag Appropriations and Senate Energy Bill
- (Video) The House Ag Appropriations bill moved to full committee this week, and after months of negotiations, the Senate was able to move an energy bill. Agri-Pulse's Phil Brasher and Spencer Chase have more.
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack: Hill opposition won't slow GIPSA rule
- (Subscriber only) The USDA continues to move aggressively to finish work on a rule that would establish new regulations under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration on poultry and livestock marketing practices despite efforts on Capitol Hill to block it, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.
Agri-Pulse: USDA invests $22 million in fight to stamp out citrus greening
- USDA will grant $22 million for research on citrus greening disease - the pathogen that has devastated citrus production in Florida.
Civil Eats: What does Student Loan Forgiveness Have to Do with Farming? Everything.
- About 63 percent of farmland is on the cusp of being passed on or sold in the next five years. But in many cases, that land ends up in the hands of banks, equity firms, and large corporate farms, instead of young or beginning farmers.
Reuters: SunEdison Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection
- SunEdison Inc., once the fastest-growing U.S. renewable energy company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday after a short-lived but aggressive binge of debt-fueled acquisitions proved unsustainable.
Wall Street Journal: As Oil Jobs Dry Up, Workers Turn to Solar Sector
- Plunging oil and gas has generated more than 84,000 pink slips in Texas, but many rig hands, roustabouts, pipe fitters and some engineers are finding a surprising alternative in the utility-scale solar farms rising from the desert near the border with New Mexico.
Wall Street Journal: First U.S. Gas Shipment En Route to Europe
- A tanker from Louisiana loaded with U.S. natural gas is en route to Portugal, the first shipment in a trade relationship that could shake up the European market.
Associated Press: What to Consider Before Investing in 'Sustainable' Funds
- With Earth Day falling on April 22, it's perhaps time to ask how green your portfolio is, or how green you want it to be. The country's overall investment portfolio is moving more that way.
FOOD & NUTRITION
CNN: Clinton 'very supportive' of Philadelphia soda tax
- Hillary Clinton said Wednesday she is “very supportive” of a plan by the mayor of Philadelphia to tax soda in order to pay for universal pre-school.
Washington Post: Why a top animal science expert is worried about the milk industry
- "What they've done is basically the equivalent of taking a car, putting it in neutral, and then dropping a brick on the accelerator until it blows up," said Temple Grandin. "These cows are constantly in the red zone."
Washington Post: What we eat has bigger consequences for the planet than we ever thought
- A new study has found that ambitious shifts away from animal products could cut agricultural land use by about 2.5 million square miles and slash billions of tons of carbon emissions over time.
Eater: Starbucks' First South Africa Location Draws Crowds on Opening Day
- People reportedly lined up starting at 6 a.m. to await the opening of the store in the affluent suburb of Rosebank, which has been in the works since Starbucks formed a partnership with a local company back in the summer of 2015.
Santa Fe New Mexican: Lawsuit against natural cigarette maker moved to New Mexico
- Three men from California, New York and Florida are suing the maker of American Spirit cigarettes, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., and its parent company, Reynolds American Inc., for “deliberately” misleading smokers into believing that their products are “natural” and healthier than other tobacco products.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack to promote TPP overseas
- (Audio) Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is headed to Japan this weekend to lead a U.S. delegation at a meeting of global agriculture ministers.
LA Times: Why hundreds of people are dying over cattle in East Africa
- Cattle can mean everything in South Sudan. They are wealth, status, survival, the price of a bride and the ability to marry and have children. Thousands of men poured across the border on foot into Ethiopia’s Gambella region, killing 182 people, including women and children last week to steal 2,000 head of cattle.
ABC News: Cuba cuts some food prices, responding to public complaints
- The Cuban government has announced that it is cutting prices of some basic foods by 20 percent in state-run stores after widespread complaints that state employees earning about $25 a month couldn’t afford rice and cooking oil.
Wall Street Journal: Venezuela Plans Electricity Outages to Save Energy
- President Nicolás Maduro’s government said on Thursday that it would cut electrical power by four hours a day for 40 days across much of Venezuela to save energy, even though the country is already reeling from frequent blackouts.
San Diego Union-Tribune: 24 dead in Mexico petrochemical plant blast, 8 still missing
- The death toll from an explosion that ripped through a petrochemical plant on Mexico's southern Gulf coast is now 24, state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos reported. The blast forced evacuations of nearby areas as it sent a toxin-filled cloud billowing into the air and injuring more than 100 workers.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Anti-WOTUS measure fails in Senate
- Senate Democrats again successfully protected the Obama administration's embattled Clean Water Act rule, defeating a GOP attempt to stop the measure the measure from being implemented should it survive court challenges.
Agri-Pulse: USDA highlights water quality projects on Earth Day
- Friday is Earth Day and USDA is using the occasion to spotlight scores of projects designed to improve water quality in 33 states across the country.
New York Times: Leaders Roll Up Sleeves on Climate, but Experts Say Plans Don’t Pack a Wallop
- President Obama’s domestic climate program was essential in helping him lobby other countries to reach a deal, but it was thrown into turmoil in February when the Supreme Court temporarily shelved his Clean Power Plan.
Modern Farmer: Will Climate Change Actually Help Crops? (Spoiler: Maybe)
- This study is not saying climate change will be good for crops, but it is demanding that we look at all possible effects of climate change, and take note that this is all much more complex than “the planet is heating up.”
LA Times: Invasive wild pigs nearly wiped out in San Diego County
- Feral pigs that scientists once feared could pose a serious threat to fragile ecosystems in San Diego County's backcountry have been all but eradicated by government-contracted hunters and years of devastating drought that have slowed breeding.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Agri-Pulse: Farm Bureau 'waving flag' on labor shortage
- The head of the American Farm Bureau Federation says agricultural producers across the country need to "wave a flag" to alert government officials to a possible crisis caused by delays in processing visas for foreign workers who tend and harvest America's food crops.
Capital Press: Farm groups side with Obama on immigration order appeal
- Two farms and two farm labor organizations on the West Coast are among 63 businesses and groups that have joined the Obama administration’s appeal seeking to uphold the president’s controversial order on immigration.
LA Times: They're here illegally, and they're sick of Trump. Here's their answer
- At a recent fair at the Long Beach Convention Center, more than 3,000 immigrants got free help filling out citizenship applications and practiced casting ballots.
Agri-Pulse: Florida biotech advocate gets CAST communications honor
- Kevin M. Folta, a University of Florida molecular biologist who specializes in better strawberries but who became the target of anti-biotech crusaders for articulating the benefits of biotechnology, is the 2016 winner of the annual Borlaug CAST Communications Award given by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST).
Mother Jones: Inside the Country's Most Controversial Company
- I normally cover the agrichemical industry from afar, but on a recent afternoon, I found myself plunged into the industry's very bosom: Monsanto's global R&D center in suburban St. Louis.
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