Daily Harvest -- 4/30/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Organic Standards meeting gets off to rocky start
- (Subscriber only) The semiannual meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) opened haltingly Tuesday, delayed for 30 minutes by a protest over policy changes and, moments later, a procedural effort to remove the USDA official charged with running the meeting.
Agri-Pulse: Honey Bee health hearing
- (Audio) Combatting pests and diseases of pollinators was the topic of a House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture Research hearing this week. The main topic of the hearing was the varroa mite.
Agri-Pulse: USDA funding for small farms includes grass-fed beef certification
- USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced resource allocations Tuesday tailored for small and midsized farmers and ranchers. They include $7 million in university research awards, $8.8 million for technical assistance programs, and a marketing certification program for small grass-fed beef producers.
National Journal: The Number of U.S. Farmers Markets Has Nearly Doubled in the Last Five Years
- In the last five years, the number of farmers markets across the country has nearly doubled, from 4,685 in 2008 to 8,144 in 2013, according to the Agriculture Department. In 1994, there were only about 1,755 farmers markets in the United States.
Washington Post: How Vermont plans to defend the nation’s first GMO law
- Any day now, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) is expected to make history by signing that bill into law as he has suggested, making his the first state to require genetically modified food to be labeled as such. Then, maybe not too long after that, expect the state to be sued over it.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack says sanitary issues delaying TTIP
- Disagreements over sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS) are delaying U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Bloomberg: China to Surpass Japan as Top Corn Buyer: Chart of Day
- China, which lost its self-sufficiency in corn about five years ago, is on a dietary shift that will make it the world’s largest import market by 2021, overtaking Japan, South Korea and Mexico.
New York Times: China’s Ravaged Farmlands
- A report issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land and Resources last week was another reminder of just how bad things are: One-fifth of China’s farmland is polluted. And the area of polluted soil is increasing sharply.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Associated Press: Challenge to Chesapeake Cleanup Tests EPA Power
- Maryland is joining three other jurisdictions in supporting the Obama administration's plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed, seeking to counter an election-year legal challenge by farmers and 21 attorneys general that could shape future U.S. environmental policy.
Tulsa World: Oklahoma farmers asked to avoid plowing fields
- The president of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts is urging farmers to think twice before plowing their fields this spring and consider alternatives to cultivating the soil.
Des Moines Register: Corporate America pledges to boost sustainability in agriculture
- More than a dozen companies, including Walmart, Monsanto and Kellogg, agreed Tuesday to focus on increasing sustainability in agriculture as the planet will need to feed another 2 billion people by the middle of this century.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
New York Times: After Deriding G.O.P. on Immigration Bill, Boehner Shifts His Aim to Obama
- A week after mocking his Republican troops over their resistance to an immigration bill, Speaker John A. Boehner returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday with a different message: Any movement on an overhaul will depend on a new White House attitude toward Republicans in Congress.
Roll Call: Immigration Overhaul Shows Signs of Life in GOP
- It began with a tiny leak earlier this month — sources telling the Wall Street Journal that Speaker John A. Boehner, behind closed doors, said he’s “hell bent” on tackling immigration this year.
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