Daily Harvest -- 4/23/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: ADM Crop Risk Services plans to use drones to improve crop insurance claims
- Coming next year to a field near you: unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can scout your fields for damages and expedite potential crop insurance claims.
Agri-Pulse: Mandatory Price Reporting reauthorization begins with House Ag hearing
- As a Sept. 30 deadline approaches, industry representatives are unanimously calling for reauthorization of the mandatory price reporting (MPR) program they say is critical to meat producers and packers.
Agri-Pulse: House Democrats fail to protect Clean Water rule
- House Democratic appropriators failed to slow down a Republican effort to block the Obama administration from re-defining the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.
SFGate: Schumer: Ease dairy insurance rules amid drop in milk prices
- The Democrat says Wednesday that he wants the U.S. Department of Agriculture to change the rules on dairy farm insurance to allow farmers to spread their premium payments over 12 months. Currently, dairy insurance rules require a 25 percent payment in February and the full balance due in June.
Agriculture.com: More Farmers Locking in Interest Rates as Loan Volume Climbs – Fed
- The continued erosion of grain prices has farm loans on the rise again in the nation's midsection, according to a report released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Bank officials say they don't expect overall credit conditions to fall much in the near term, but continued stagnation in farm incomes could change that in the longer term.
Agriculture.com: Bird Flu: 3.8 Million Birds to Be Destroyed – What Now?
- Handling a depopulation and disinfection on a layer site is more complex than a turkey site due to product movement (eggs) and the volume of birds. Around 2 million birds (mostly turkeys) have been depopulated thus far, but compare that figure to the almost 4 million birds at this one layer operation, and you’ll see the issue.
Wall Street Journal: Coal Companies Get Reprieve on Pension Costs
- Crushing liabilities and collapsing coal prices have prompted the administrators of an ailing pension fund that covers about 100,000 coal-industry workers and retirees to scale back plans for a big increase in contributions from member companies.
New York Times: U.S. and South Korea Reach Revised Nuclear Deal
- After four and a half years of low-key yet highly sensitive negotiations, the United States and South Korea announced a revised treaty on Wednesday that continues to deny — but not permanently rule out — South Korea the right to enrich uranium or reprocess spent nuclear fuel, even for peaceful purposes.
Christian Science Monitor: Why energy is front and center in EU-US trade talks
- When negotiations between the United States and the European Union began on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in 2013, a top priority for the Europeans was inclusion of a chapter specifically covering raw materials and energy.
FOOD & NUTRITION
LA Times: 'Lunch lady' lobby joins GOP to fight Obama's school lunch rules
- In the farm-to-fork-crazed city of Portland, Ore., campus gardens supply public school cafeterias and food service workers seek out chicken free of antibiotics. But the school system's nutritional director finds there's one advocate for healthy food whose demands she just can't meet — Michelle Obama.
Slate: The Logical Failures of Food Fads
- (Opinion) Whatever diet it happens to be, the first question I ask is: “For the love of God, what’s going on?” I mean that literally. Because despite a veneer of scientific rhetoric, food fads are ultimately about devotion to dogma; religion, not science.
Wall Street Journal: McDonald’s Reports Steeper Profit Drop
- McDonald’s Corp. said its sales continue to struggle as new Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook rolls out his effort to win back customers in the U.S.-a task he says won’t be easy.
Capitol Press: McDonald’s hints at turnaround plan
- McDonald’s has already announced several changes in the U.S. including a simplified grilled chicken recipe and curbing the use of antibiotics in raising chicken.
Wall Street Journal: Chipotle Spooks Investors with Slower-Than-Expected Growth
- Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. dropped more than 7% Wednesday after the company reported disappointing sales.
Vox: Why California's drought hasn't sent food prices soaring
- You'd think that the California's four-year drought and severe water crisis would have a devastating impact on our produce, but that hasn't really happened — certainly not yet.
Wired: This Indoor Farm Can Bring Fresh Produce to Food Deserts
- Considering how widespread the water crisis is, and the fact that agriculture is responsible for 80 percent of the country’s water consumption, the crucial question to be asking now—particularly on Earth Day—is what can be done to fundamentally change the way our food gets made?
Daily Nebraskan: Monsanto head argues future of agriculture will solve global food supply concern
- Although the world’s population is increasing rapidly, the executive vice president and chief technology officer of Monsanto says feeding the people of the future won’t be a problem.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Senate committee OKs fast-track trade bill
- The Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to fast-track new trade agreements as the panel's leaders fought off bipartisan efforts to impose restrictions on negotiators, including requirements to prevent currency manipulation.
Agri-Pulse: US disappointed by EU's new plan to allow biotech crop bans
- United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman and other national leaders expressed concern today regarding a proposal from the European Union that would allow its member states to opt out of imports of genetically engineered food and feed.
Agri-Pulse: Senators introduce bill to facilitate ag exports to Cuba
- Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and John Boozman, R-Ark., introduced a bill today that would allow banks to finance agricultural exports sent to Cuba, helping to open up Cuban markets to American farmers and ranchers.
Agri-Pulse: US farmers stand to benefit from trade with Cuba
- (Audio) Rice, wheat and cattle producers are among those that stand to benefit from normalized trade with Cuba.
SciDevNet: UN urged to demand free access to crop data
- A petition has been filed urging the UN to create a legal framework requiring governments to make data from the genetic sequencing of plants freely available.
Reuters: Jeb Bush knocks Hillary Clinton over Asia trade talks stance
- Republican Jeb Bush on Wednesday bashed Democratic 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton for voicing reservations about overseas trade talks, a rare issue on which the White House enjoys support from Republicans, with many Democrats opposed.
Topeka Capital Journal: Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas agriculture secretary call for Cuba trade expansion
- In U.S. Senate testimony Tuesday, a former chairman of the Kansas Wheat Commission joined Sen. Pat Roberts in calling on Congress to expand agricultural trade with Cuba.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Reuters: Bees may get hooked on nicotine-linked pesticides
- Bees may be getting hooked on nectar laced with widely used nicotine-related chemicals in pesticides they cannot even taste, in the same way humans are addicted to cigarettes, new research has found.
The Hill: Renew the conservation fund
- (Opinion) Rarely does Congress pass a law that is applauded by Republicans and Democrats alike, benefits every American and doesn’t require the expenditure of a single dime of tax revenue.
Pensacola News Journal: MeterHero offering Floridians cash for conservation
- In honor of Earth Day, the Florida Clean Water Network and MeterHero are encouraging Floridians to conserve water and energy.
Wall Street Journal: High Costs Put Cracks in Glass-Recycling Programs
- In many parts of the country, glass—the original recyclable—is becoming too expensive to handle, placing a growing burden on towns and businesses. Some cities, including Harrisburg, Pa., and Charleston, W. Va., consider it more cost-effective to have residents throw glass bottles in the trash than to recycle them.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Agri-Pulse: Grain Standards Act reauthorization will include port dispute safeguards
- A bill that the House Agriculture Committee is developing to reauthorize grain inspections will include a safeguard against trade disruptions during labor disputes.
Wall Street Journal: Sysco Files Memo Opposing FTC Block of US Foods Merger
- Sysco Corp. has filed a memorandum opposing the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to block its proposed $3.5 billion merger with US Foods.
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