Daily Harvest -- 5/15/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: House panel OKs CFTC reauthorization, but challenges loom
- The House Agriculture Committee approved a CFTC reauthorization bill that would roll back some Dodd-Frank regulations and seeks to end a dispute with the European Union over U.S. rules, but the panel's top Democrat predicted the measure wouldn't become law.
Agri-Pulse: Land grants take on larger role in drone research
- A new center for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) research led by several land grant universities and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will help ensure that “this nation continues to lead when it comes to aviation and aerospace,” said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., during a press conference today.
Wall Street Journal: Farmland Prices Flat Year Over Year in Parts of Midwest
- Farmland prices were flat to lower in much of the central U.S. in the first quarter, further evidence that a three-year slump in grain prices is crimping farm incomes and denting the agricultural economy, according to Federal Reserve reports Thursday.
Wall Street Journal: Drones Boom Raises New Question: Who Owns Your Airspace?
- Communities across the country are grappling with a surge in drone use that’s raising safety and privacy concerns—and thorny legal questions—about a slice of sky officials have largely disregarded.
Seattle Times: Bird flu found on South Dakota egg-laying chicken farm
- An eastern South Dakota farm with 1.3 million egg-laying chickens is the first in the chicken-production business in the state to be infected with a deadly flu virus despite efforts to prevent it, state and farm officials said Thursday.
Reuters: Monsanto's Syngenta gambit hinges on sale of seed businesses: sources
- U.S. seeds giant Monsanto (MON.N) is trying to line up buyers for assets worth up to $8 billion to appease competition authorities before making a fresh takeover approach for Swiss Syngenta, possibly within three weeks, industry sources said.
KCCI: Your favorite frozen veggies could be from this Iowa farm
- You've all likely seen Birds Eye veggies in the frozen food aisle at your grocery store. But soon some of those may be coming from an Iowa field.
The Hill: Energy production and species conservation working hand in hand
- Opinion: As companies who work every day to provide the energy we all rely upon, while protecting the environment we all care about, America’s independent oil and natural gas producers take great pride in the efforts they are making to support species conservation across the country.
Fortune: Duke Energy pleads guilty to environmental crimes in North Carolina
- Duke Energy Corp pleaded guilty on Thursday to environmental crimes over a North Carolina power plant’s coal ash spill into a river and management of coal ash basins in the state, U.S. prosecutors said.
Burlington Free Press: Energy bill shifts focus to renewables, electricity
- The Senate gave preliminary approval Wednesday to an energy bill that requires utility companies for the first time to provide renewable electricity to their customers and to devise programs to help customers use less fossil fuel.
EcoWatch: 7 Senators Push for Federal Energy Standard of 30% Renewables by 2020
- Just because you know doing something is a long shot doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. That’s the attitude of seven Democratic senators who introduced a bill in Congress this week that would set a federal Renewable Energy Standard (RES).
Wall Street Journal: Paying for Ethanol at the Pump and on the Plate
- Opinion: The federal government’s corn-ethanol mandate requires that a percentage of the nation’s corn crop be blended into gasoline each year as ethanol. Every year the percentage required increases, diverting more of the nation’s corn supply into ethanol fuel. This harms the broader U.S. economy.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Opinion: Biotech Oranges as a Potential Solution to Citrus Greening
- Ross Korves: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved an Environmental Use Permit (EUP) application under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) for Southern Gardens Citrus (SGC) to conduct large scale tests of citrus plants with a protein derived from spinach that appears to help control the disease.
Wall Street Journal: When E. Coli Becomes a Business Opportunity
- Dozens of companies are sprouting to help U.S. food makers tackle a wave of new federal safety regulations and intensified enforcement of the nation’s food laws.
Associated Press: USDA Creates New Government Certification for GMO-Free
- The Agriculture Department has developed a new government certification and labeling for foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients.
Washington Post: Corporate irresponsibility over GMOs
- Opinion: This milestone in the history of fast-food scruples (and of advertising) is also a noteworthy cultural development: the systematic incorporation of anti-scientific attitudes into corporate branding strategies.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Fast-track trade bill clears key Senate hurdle
- With significant Democratic backing, the Senate moved forward on legislation to fast-track new trade agreements that the Obama administration is negotiating with the Pacific Rim and the European Union.
USA Today: Senate agrees to debate 'fast track' trade bill
- A supermajority of U.S. senators voted Thursday to begin debate on legislation to renew expired trade promotion authority, a measure that has become top priority for President Obama and congressional Republicans.
The Economic Times: PM Modi's China visit: India-China sign 24 key agreements, including one on railways
- India and China today signed a record 24 agreements in key sectors, including in railways and education, on day two of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first visit to the communist neighbour.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: USDA invests $6.5 Million to help conserve water from Ogallala Aquifer
- USDA today announced $6.5 million in funding to help farmers and ranchers conserve billions of gallons of water and improve water quality in the Ogallala Aquifer region. Funding will be targeted to seven priority areas to support their primary water source and strengthen rural economies, the department said in a news release.
The Guardian: iForest: Apple gets into forest conservation in China and the US
- The electronics giant is buying forests in the US and working with NGOs in China to improve forestry management in its supply chain and tackle deforestation.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Fox News: House GOP strips immigration language from defense bill
- House conservatives on Thursday voted down a nonbinding provision aimed at helping young immigrants without permanent legal status enlist in the military, angering some fellow Republicans and handing Democrats a political issue heading into an election year.
NJ.com: Christie on immigration: 2,000-mile border fence 'too expensive'
- For weeks now, Christie has repeatedly staked out an approach to immigration reform focused on employers of illegal labor, rather than the immigrants themselves, and did so again at a town hall meeting on Thursday.
Dallas Business Journal: Kubota Tractor Corp. relocating U.S. headquarters to Grapevine from California
- In another corporate exodus from Torrance, California, to North Texas,, Kubota Tractor Corp. and Kubota Credit Corp. announced Thursday that they will move their headquarters to Grapevine from the Los Angeles-area city.
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