Daily Harvest -- 5/6/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Senate begins grain inspection reauthorization process
- The Senate Agriculture Committee today took action to address the expiring U.S. Grain Standards Act, hoping to reauthorize it before a Sept. 30 deadline.
Agri-Pulse: Corn farmers make swift planting progress
- (Audio) A week ago, corn planting was running behind schedule, but farmers took advantage of the great weather last week and are now 17 percent ahead of the five-year average.
Associated Press: US gives farmers approval to spray crops from drones
- A drone large enough to carry tanks of fertilizers and pesticides has won rare approval from federal authorities to spray crops in the United States, officials said Tuesday.
MPR News: Broccoli and big ag share space on Red River Valley farm
- Organic and conventional farmers sometimes struggle to coexist — particularly on the same land. They often find themselves at odds over using genetically modified crops and pesticides. But on the Kragnes' Red River Valley farm, father and son have figured out a way to make their very different approaches to farming coexist.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Syngenta deal would bulk up Monsanto in crop chemicals
- After spending a couple of decades diversifying away from crop chemicals, Monsanto may be about to expand that business in a big way.
Journal Star: USDA: Little economic benefit in country of origin meat labeling
- Country-of-origin labeling does not provide much in the way of “measurable economic benefits” for American consumers, and it costs producers, packers, and retailers in the United States $2.6 billion a year for all covered commodities, USDA’s chief economist said in a 198-page report sent to Congress.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Minnesota lawmakers move to help farmers whose flocks have been hit by bird flu outbreak
- Minnesota lawmakers moved quickly on Monday to help turkey farmers beset by a deadly and growing outbreak of bird flu, putting together a patchwork of loan programs and emergency response funding to cover farmers' losses.
Tahlequah Daily Press: 'Right to Farm' headed to vote
- With its overwhelming support in the Republican controlled Oklahoma Legislature, House Joint Resolution 1012, known as the “Right to Farm Bill,” is headed to a vote of the people next year.
WTVD: New video claims to show animal cruelty at North Carolina farm
- New video obtained exclusively by ABC11 that purports to show animal cruelty at a Robeson County poultry farm perfectly shows what could be lost if a new bill in the North Carolina legislature becomes law.
Associated Press: Energy Rich US States Move to Quash Local Limits on Drilling
- Lawmakers in Texas and energy producing states across the nation are rushing to stop local communities from imposing limits on oil and gas drilling despite growing public concern about the health and environmental toll of such activities in urban areas.
Lincoln Journal Star: Wind energy development bill blocked
- A proposal to stimulate development of wind energy projects in Nebraska with a $75 million package of enhanced state tax credits was trapped by a filibuster Tuesday and removed from the 2015 legislative agenda.
Wichita Eagle: Kansas wind industry backs governor’s, lawmakers’ compromise renewable-energy plan
- Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative leaders unveiled a plan Monday to end a state mandate that requires utility companies to get one-fifth of their power from renewable sources by 2020.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: USDA to award $3.3 million to farmers markets that accept food stamps
- USDA announced it will offer up to $3.3 million in grant funding to farmers markets and direct marketing farms that are willing to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as payment for the fresh fruits, vegetables and other goods they sell locally.
Agri-Pulse: Food Security at the Heart of Soy Growth Plan
- Wade Cowan: Judging by acreage and harvest trends over the past twenty years, there can be no doubt that soybeans-once considered to be a rotational crop for corn-centric operations-are now at the heart of an American farm renaissance. Most American soybean producers have seen greater success in recent years than at any time in their careers.
Agri-Pulse: Milk prices drive down Land O'Lakes first quarter net earnings
- Land O'Lakes, Inc. announced first quarter financial results, reporting quarterly net sales of $3.8 billion and net earnings attributable to Land O'Lakes of $99.4 million for the period ending March 31, 2015 - down from $125 million in 2014.
Time: Here Is What’s Going On With All Your Favorite Fast Food Chains
- The fast-food business may never have been in more flux than it is now. Higher food costs and increased competition are hitting the whole industry, while erstwhile mainstays (and not just McDonald’s) are dealing with ever-more-fickle consumers and new trends toward healthier fare.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Reid threatens to delay fast-track trade bill
- Senate Republicans insist they will move forward with passing a fast-track trade bill despite Democratic threats to slow it down.
Washington Post: Hoping to highlight good works, Clintons find controversy instead
- An Exxon Mobil spokesman said this week that the company has decided not to be involved in the Clinton Global Initiative this year. Other sponsors, including Monsanto, are reevaluating their partnerships.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Senate hearing exposes divide over EPA climate plan, states' rights
- (Subscriber only) Senate Republicans launched a frontal assault Tuesday on the EPA's Clean Power Plan to limit CO2 emissions from coal power plants, calling the plan an (unlawful power grab) that would have disastrous consequences.
Agri-Pulse: As fire season nears, Congress mulls 'fire borrowing' reform
- This year's fire season will be worse than average for Western and North-Central states due to particularly dry conditions and a meager snowpack, Forest Service (FS) Chief Tom Tidwell told senators Tuesday during an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.
Los Angeles Times: Emergency 25% cut in California cities' water use approved
- In the face of a severe drought, the State Water Resources Control Board approved an emergency conservation plan Tuesday night that would cut urban water use by 25% -- a historic first for the state.
Agriculture.com: How the White House Is Selling Climate Change to Farmers
- Among climate scientists, the debate over manmade climate change is more like a giant head-nodding session. Over 10,000 peer-reviewed studies that find it’s occurring and 97% of climate scientists who concur have a way of doing that. Ask farmers, though, and it’s clear there’s doubt and outright rejection of manmade climate change.
Boston Globe: California fell far short of water-saving target in March
- State water regulators say Californians conserved little water in March and local officials were not aggressive in cracking down on waste.
Des Moines Register: Gore: Iowa could shape dialogue on climate change
- Iowa could have a critical role in shaping the national conversation about climate change ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Al Gore said Tuesday in Cedar Rapids.
Wall Street Journal: Whole Foods Calls the Shots for Startups
- Whole Foods may not dominate specialty-foods retailing the way it once did, but for startups targeting Americans’ growing hunger for natural and organic fare, it remains the ultimate gatekeeper.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
National Journal: Here’s What Immigration Groups Want From Hillary Clinton
- A path to citizenship is just the tip of the iceberg. Immigration groups want Clinton to preserve her predecessor's executive actions if she's elected.
Chicago Tribune: Food writer dies: Josh Ozersky had 'vulnerability and boisterous excess'
- Ozersky, whose prose reflected the pleasures and excesses of his eating adventures, was found at a hotel on the Near North Side, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.
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