Daily Harvest -- 5/15/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Report: USDA didn’t follow guidelines in staffing decisions
- A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report says USDA's service agencies did not follow government guidelines in making staffing decisions.
Agri-Pulse: EPA extends comment period on proposed pesticide worker protections
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending the comment period for its proposed changes to the agricultural Worker Protection Standard, which dictates pesticide handling safety standards. EPA first announced changes to the standards in February.
Agri-Pulse: Democrat Senators push for new RFS and tax credits for biodiesel
- Biodiesel producers joined a group of Democrat senators at a press conference Wednesday, calling for Congress and the Obama Administration to restore the biodiesel tax incentive and change the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed requirements for the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
Agri-Pulse: Senators make case for biodiesel certainty
- (Audio) The biodiesel industry is facing an uncertain future according to a group of senators led by North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp.
Wall Street Journal: Drop in Food Stamp Enrollment Picks Up Steam
- The number of Americans receiving food stamps is now falling at a faster clip, with more than 1.2 million people moving out of the program between October and February, according to federal data.
Reuters: Trains for grains scarce on the U.S. Plains
- In the northern U.S. Plains, where there are no commercially navigable rivers, the U.S. rail system long has served as the lone, dependable way for farms to move grain hundreds of miles to reach ports and sell around the world.
Des Moines Register: DuPont CEO asks Congress, White House to keep ethanol mandate
- The top executive with seed and chemical maker DuPont said Tuesday that Congress and the Obama administration must preserve a law requiring ethanol to be blended into the gasoline supply.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Washington Post: Big Agriculture wants to reach millennials, but it started a food fight in the process
- Late last week, hundreds of farmers -- or at least their representative trade groups -- gathered in a yawning Crystal City ballroom in Northern Virginia to figure out what to do about Kids These Days. "Cracking the Millennial Code," the Animal Agriculture Alliance had titled its 2014 conference.
The Atlantic: Want to Know If Your Food Is Genetically Modified?
- The push to label GMOs is the subject of a burgeoning, passionate national movement. There are currently 84 bills on GMO labeling in 29 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as well as dueling bills in Congress.
Time: 80% of Meat Labels Could Be Meaningless, Exclusive Report Says
- Proof of "humanely raised" or "sustainably produced" claims on meat and poultry lacks transparency, says forthcoming report.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Wall Street Journal: Claims That U.S. Soybeans Cause Infertility Stoke China’s GMO Battle
- If there’s any wonder why China is taking it slow with genetically modified food, two separate developments this week will tell you why.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Sewage sludge a threat?
- A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study shows the application of sewage sludge as fertilizer on farm fields can leave traces of prescription drugs and household chemicals long after the biosolid has been applied to the soil.
Agri-Pulse: April storms brought little relief to western drought
- (Subscriber only) While the northern half of the U.S. West saw a mix of rain and snow from April storms, the drought-plagued southern half, including California, got little relief, USDA's latest assessment shows.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Reuters: American Kids Are In Serious Danger Working On Big Tobacco Farms: Report
- U.S. children working in domestic tobacco fields regularly suffer from breathing problems, nausea and other ailments, an international rights group said in a report on Wednesday, urging the industry to develop tougher protections for its youngest workers.
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