Daily Harvest -- 4/28/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack: 'Enough is enough,' with spending cuts
- (Subscriber only) Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack expressed concerns today that continued cuts in USDA's operating budget is straining the ability of those who work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to keep doing their jobs well.
Agri-Pulse: USDA proposes amending "origin-of-livestock" rule in organic program
- USDA is proposing to amend the origin-of-livestock requirements under the department's organic regulations.
Agri-Pulse: USDA announces $285 million in support for rural schools payments
- USDA announced today that it would provide $285 million, authorized by the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, to support local schools and roads in 41 states and Puerto Rico.
Agri-Pulse: High path avian flu cases continue to multiply
- (Audio) Cases of high pathogenic avian flu continue to multiply almost too quickly to keep pace with. Iowa agriculture secretary announced another five probable cases at commercial chicken farms on Monday.
Detroit Free Press: Vilsack wants national debate on climate change, GMOs
- U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack won't say if he wants to be considered as a vice presidential candidate but has some clear ideas about what he thinks presidential candidates ought to be talking about.
Santa Cruz Sentinel: Bill under debate would limit farm antibiotics in Oregon
- For decades, farmers have routinely fed antibiotics to livestock to fatten up the animals and protect them from illnesses amplified by confined conditions.
Grist: California’s drought isn’t doomsday, but yes, it will change the state
- (Opinion) There’s a new report out on California’s climate change prospects from Risky Business (a group of climate realists organized by Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer) that makes a good jumping off point to examine how the drought will shape California’s future.
LA Times: Democrats reject Republican proposal to speed reservoir reviews
- Republican proposal to expedite the construction of new reservoirs stalled in an Assembly committee on Monday, just hours after a rally on the Capitol steps in support of the legislation.
U-T San Diego: Power player got energy deal
- A political insider who organized a tribute dinner for the departing president of the California Public Utilities Commission – and had backchannel dealings with his replacement – is now in business with Southern California Edison.
Scientific American: Strong Future Forecast for Renewable Energy
- In its forward-looking report for the year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts renewable energy will be the fastest-growing power source through 2040.
Boston Herald: State officials mark construction start for wind farm
- State officials are marking the beginning of local construction for what is expected to be the nation's first offshore wind farm.
Washington Times: Obama-backed green energy failures leave taxpayers with $2.2 billion tab
- Taxpayers are on the hook for more than $2.2 billion in expected costs from the federal government’s energy loan guarantee programs, according to a new audit Monday that suggests the controversial projects may not pay for themselves, as officials had promised.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Judge allows Vermont's GMO law to stand, but lawsuit to proceed
- U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss rejected the food industry's petition to stop Vermont's plan to require labeling on some genetically-modified foods, but has also decided not to dismiss the case - setting the stage for ongoing legal battles.
LA Times: Why lettuce is getting so expensive
- It’s all because of that wacky winter weather -- and despite what you might expect, the drought has nothing to do with it.
Hartford Courant: State Farmers Say New Food Safety Rules Will Be Costly
- New federal food safety rules designed to protect consumers from vomit-inducing illnesses could have the unintended consequence of driving some Connecticut farmers out of business, agricultural experts say.
New York Times: On Food Labels, Calorie Miscounts
- The method most commonly used to assess the number of calories in foods is flawed, overestimating the energy provided to the body by proteins, nuts and foods high in fiber by as much as 25 percent, some nutrition experts say.
Wall Street Journal: Texas Agriculture Chief: Don’t Mess With Our Deep-Fried Food
- Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, a professional rodeo rider who sports a white cowboy hat and six-shooter lapel pin, wants to overturn current state regulations that ban deep-fat frying and certain carbonated beverage sales in schools.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
ABC News: Russia Tightens Ban on European Food Imports
- Russia is set to tighten its ban on food imports from Europe by restricting re-exports of fruit and vegetables through European countries.
All Africa: Gambia Set to Sign MOU With Chinese Agriculture Firm
- The Government of The Gambia, and Zoeve Seed Company, an agricultural investment firm based in Chengdu, in China's Sichuan province, are closing on to seal a deal on the firm's interest to invest in agriculture in the country.
First Post: It's not all gloom and doom in agriculture: Innovation is leading the way for these farmers
- "Spray 50 parts per million of Gibberellic ralic acid, 6BA and 0050 grade potassium on leaves. Apply muriate of potash at the rate of 25 kg per acre." Almost every morning, Sanjeev Mane sends messages like these in Marathi to his 5,100 followers on Whatsapp in Maharashtra and the border areas.
The Guardian: Shell lobbied to undermine EU renewables targets, documents reveal
- Shell successfully lobbied to undermine European renewable energy targets ahead of a key agreement on emissions cuts reached in October last year, newly released documents reveal.
Reuters: Drought, expanding deserts and 'food for jihad' drive Mali's conflict
- Life has never been easy in Northern Mali – a desert region long plagued with violence – but today the biggest security threats are droughts caused by climate change.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
KALW: Dry farming: a technique for a water scarce future
- (Audio) Agriculture consumes about 80% of California’s water, which makes sense considering the state produces the most food in the nation, but some farmers think it can take less water. Learn how a handful of farmers are finding new ways to make every drop count.
Southeast Farm Press: Automated irrigation investment paying off on her family farm
- Farming in west Alabama and east Mississippi, Annie Dee considers irrigation an investment that’ll continue to pay dividends many years into the future.
Highlands Today: Rancher’s conservation efforts lauded
- Winner of several conservation awards, Jimmy Wohl, owner/operator of Rafter T Ranch in Florida, has thrown himself headlong into the fray of agriculture versus environmentalism, government regulation versus business. But the battleground has been changing, looking less and less like a fight and more and more like a committee meeting.
Progressive Farmer: Mandatory or voluntary runoff rules?
- Agriculture and environmental interests may agree that farmers need to do more to cut back nutrient runoff, but the path toward achieving those cutbacks continues to be a point of contention.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
The Week: The hidden divide at the heart of the GOP's immigration fight
- With a few words to Glenn Beck last week, Scott Walker busted open the conservative debate on immigration. The Wisconsin governor and possible presidential candidate called for a "legal immigration system that's based, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages."
KHQ Local News: Agriculture Drones in Idaho
- (Video) It normally takes Ron Bitner, the co-owner of Bitner Vineyards in Canyon County, days to check on his field of plants, but with a drone, it takes only two minutes.
NCPR: Family dairy farm strikes biggest deal yet with Fort Drum buffer program
- Planners at the military base at Fort Drum, N.Y., are concerned new development outside the base may conflict with the base's training mission, so the military pays property owners to keep their land undeveloped.
Genetic Literacy Project: Is organic farming anti-science? Organic dairy farmer’s appeal for co-existence
- (Opinion) When I take stock of our farm practices on our transitional organic dairy farm, I can say with emphasis that I firmly believe organic farming is as science-based and innovative as conventional farming, or more so, especially in three areas: sustainability, animal welfare and technology.
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