Daily Harvest -- 4/29/2016
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse Daybreak for April 29, 2016
- Lawmakers are stampeding for the exits, so to speak, for a week-long break. But just before shutting down last night, the Senate cleared legislation that declares the bison the national mammal. Also: McConnell calls outlook for TPP ‘bleak’; Senate panel clears WRDA; salmonella down in poultry; could Trump loss spark immigration reform?; Scuse leading trade mission to Ukraine and Romania.
Agri-Pulse: Meet the Lawmaker: Chellie Pingree, Maine's 1st District
- One of four Democrats on the House appropriations subcommittee that funds USDA, Rep. Chellie Pingree is in a unique position to shape farm policy. The organic farmer talks with Agri-Pulse in this video.
Agri-Pulse: 2018 Farm Bill-simplifying rural development
- Over the years, rural development programs have multiplied and morphed to the point where it's difficult for farmers, small businesses, entrepreneurs and rural communities to determine which programs are appropriate for the projects they need help with. The 2018 Farm Bill offers a great opportunity to consolidate and simplify programs to improve transparency and make them more user-friendly as well as easier to administer.
Agri-Pulse: WRDA bill zips through Senate EPW committee
- A $9.3 billion bill authorizing improvements to the nation's navigation and drinking water infrastructure easily cleared the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Agri-Pulse: House Ag panel examines 'unintended consequences' of Dodd-Frank
- Not one lawmaker or witness at a House Agriculture subcommittee hearing Thursday said capital and margin rules weren't necessary to protect futures and swaps markets from bad players and volatility, but there was plenty of discussion on how these rules could negatively affect end-users -- namely farmers.
Agri-Pulse: How would an ag economist handle the current farm economy?
- (Audio) The nation's largest farm organization doesn't see the current farm economic picture as a crisis, but it does think that one could be looming on the horizon.
Agri-Pulse: Murkowski says low-price environment is time for energy reform
- Senate Energy Committee chair Lisa Murkowski called for her colleagues in Congress to take advantage of the current low-price environment surrounding oil and gas development and pass reforms to boost energy production and provide economic benefits across the country.
The Hill: Dems block energy spending bill for second day
- For the second straight day, Senate Democrats blocked consideration of an energy and water spending package due to a proposed amendment dealing with the Iran nuclear agreement.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Philadelphia Inquirer: Harvard study: Soda tax would make Phila. healthier
- Harvard University researchers are projecting major health benefits if Mayor Kenney's proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is enacted.
The Guardian: 'The state stole my raise': workers sue Alabama over 'racist' wage law
- Fast-food workers from Birmingham, Alabama, are suing their state legislature after it passed a law that put a stop to their expected pay raise.
Fortune: Whole Foods Just Won Its Big Legal Battle With PETA
- Whole Foods Market won the dismissal of a lawsuit by a well-known animal rights group that accused the grocery chain of deceiving consumers into believing the meat it sells is raised more humanely than normal, resulting in overcharges.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Syngenta inches closer to ChemChina deal
- “I firmly believe that this is a transaction truly in the interests of all stakeholders,” said Michel Demaré, Chairman of the Board, in a speech to shareholders regarding ChemChina's offer.
L.A. Times: Senate finally confirms new U.S. ambassador to Mexico
- Ending a long standoff mired in presidential campaign politics, the Senate moved Thursday to confirm veteran diplomat Roberta Jacobson as U.S. ambassador to Mexico, filling a crucial diplomatic post that has been vacant for nine months.
Bloomberg: Farmers Reliant on EU Subsidy May Want Brexit Anyway
- For Britain’s farmers, leaving the protective custody of the European Union would mean a kind of freedom they haven’t experienced in decades. It’s just not clear if the change would be profitable.
Horticulture Week: Producer hopeful on glyphosate
- Monsanto business manager Gary Philpotts remains "hopeful" that the £70m-a-year UK consumer glyphosate market, dominated by Monsanto product Roundup, can be saved despite an EU MEP environment committee recommendation to the European Commission to ban use in homes, public gardens and amenity.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Ars Technica: Researchers evolve new toxin to target agricultural pests
- Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crops have been one of the most successful applications of genetic engineering in agriculture. The crops carry a gene that encodes a bacterial protein that kills insects that ingest it. While it's possible to spray crops with the Bt toxin instead, farms that rely on Bt GMO crops are more profitable, have higher productivity, and use less pesticides.
Wisconsin Public Radio: New wetlands law signed
- (Audio) Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 459 into law, which changes how property on navigable water and wetlands is regulated. Discussion about the details of the law and some of the concerns that advocacy groups have.
Insurance Journal: Climate Change and The Conservative Republican
- (Opinion) 47 percent of conservative Republicans think global warming is happening, up from 28 percent two years ago, a poll by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication shows.
Cody (Wyo.) Enterprise: Billboard financier hopes to spark grizzly delist discussion
- In letters about two feet tall, the right side of the billboard reads “Wolf. Griz. Delist. Hunt.” On the left side is a hunter resting on the body of a gigantic grizzly.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Indy Week (Raleigh-Durham): Migrant Workers Sue Sen. Brent Jackson, His Son, and His Farm for Labor Violations
- Seven former workers at Jackson Farming Company, the Sampson County farm owned by State Senator Brent Jackson, have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the farm, Jackson, and his son Rodney alleging gross violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act, and are seeking unpaid wages and damages.
The Californian: UC Davis researchers breeding new strawberry varieties
- Currently, 68 different varieties are being grown on a quarter acre of Tom Ramirez's farm in Prunedale as a test-growing site for potential new varieties being developed by researchers for the University of California, Davis.
Seattle Times: City 'recalibrating' trash-snooping after judge's ruling
- This was after King County Superior Court Judge Beth Andrus on Wednesday ruled “unconstitutional and void” the enforcement of the ordinance allowing garbage collectors to look through people’s trash to make sure it doesn’t contain too many food scraps.
Tampa Bay Times: Farm to Fable: Fla. Ag Commissioner ponders curbing food misrepresentation
- Adam Putnam on Wednesday said the state needs to better understand the definition of "Fresh from Florida," and more thoroughly police the claims restaurateurs make to customers.
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