Daily Harvest -- 5/18/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Washington Week Ahead: COOL decision due; McConnell, Ryan see fast-track passage
- Trade issues will dominate the attention of farm-state lawmakersthe World Trade Organization releases its final ruling on U.S. country-of-origin labeling, and the Senate resumes debate on its fast-track trade bill.
Agri-Pulse: Open Mic with Senator Heidi Heitkamp, ND
- (Audio) In this interview Senator Heitkamp shares her thoughts food labeling and outlines senate debate over Trade Promotion Authority for President Obama. While trade dominates the legislative agenda this week, Heitkamp hopes for timely action on the highway trust fund, the export-import bank and national security issues.
Agri-Pulse: Corn supply and demand outlook
- (Audio) USDA’s first supply demand forecast to estimate the 2015 crop year is forecasting US corn production to drop over half a billion bushels over last year’s crop.
Agri-Pulse: Washington Week in Review: Senate clears a path forward on TPA, CFTC reauthorization wheels begin turning
- (Video) Agri-Pulse's Philip Brasher and Spencer Chase discuss a busy week for Trade Promotion Authority on Capitol Hill and the beginning of a process to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Des Moines Register: Ames company to begin testing bird flu vaccine
- An Iowa biotech firm is expected to begin testing as soon as next week a vaccine that could protect poultry from the avian flu virus that has resulted in the deaths of millions of birds.
Associated Press: 2 Million More Minnesota Chickens to Be Destroyed Due to Flu
- One of the nation's largest egg producers says it will destroy 2 million egg-laying hens in Minnesota due to a deadly bird flu virus.
Los Angeles Times: Bird flu hits hard in egg-producing Iowa; 25 million hens may be lost
- Just past the checkpoint sat Rose Acre Farms, a family-owned egg-laying facility that is one of dozens of poultry farms hit hard by the worst avian influenza outbreak in U.S. history.
Seed World: Monsanto Expected to Approach BASF in Bid for Syngenta Takeover
- Reuters is reporting that Monsanto “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,” according to industry sources.
International Business Times: Legal Marijuana Cultivation Is Driving A Technology 'Revolution' In Industrial Agriculture
- A growing number of startup companies in North America are designing technologies and products specifically for growing cannabis. Their innovations could help transform the broader industrial agriculture sector, observers say.
Des Moines Register: Urban beekeepers key to growing pollinators populations
- An avid gardener, West Des Moines resident Ryan Lens has found himself doing work that typically comes from honeybees — he hand pollinates his family’s flowers, vegetables and apple trees.
Wall Street Journal: Court Ruling Raises Questions for Energy Partnerships
- A recent court ruling is sending tremors through the booming business of forming energy partnerships, after a judge suggested that a company involved in these deals hadn’t looked out for the partnership’s interests.
Des Moines Register: Santorum talks ethanol and helping working families
- One of the things that's helped rural small towns and farmers, particularly in Iowa, is the Renewable Fuel Standard, Santorum said.
Lawrence Journal-World: Some Kansas environmental groups disappointed with clean energy compromise
- A bill that does away with the state's clean energy requirements for electric utilities and replaces them with a voluntary goal is now on its way to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback for his signature.
The Press Democrat: Homeowners face dizzying new choices to fund energy, water improvements
- Sonoma County homeowners seeking to add a solar energy system, replace that old furnace or install artificial turf soon will have an array of options to fund the improvements.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Wall Street Journal: Target Puts Some Food Suppliers on the Back Burner
- Several top suppliers summoned to Target Corp.’s headquarters early this year left digesting some difficult news: Their brands were no longer special.
Huffington Post: Think People On Food Stamps Are Eating More Lobster Than You? Think Again
- In Maine and Wisconsin, lawmakers are pushing legislation to restrict SNAP benefits to foods deemed healthy. The Wisconsin State Assembly approved legislation this week to ban junk food and also "crab, lobster, shrimp, or any other shellfish." The bill's sponsor cited "anecdotal and perceived abuses."
Huffington Post: 6 Foods That Can Make You Happier
- If you’re in need of a little more glee, here are six research-backed “better mood foods” to build into your eating repertoire.
Reuters: Mozart-loving chickens may answer quest for healthier nugget
- In barns filled with classical music and lighting that changes to match the hues outside, rows of chickens are fed a diet rich in probiotics, a regimen designed to remove the need for the drugs and chemicals that have tainted the global food chain.
USA Today: GMO food bans pander to ignorance: Our view
- Editorial Board: And now, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, most Americans believe that food altered by genetically modified organisms — GMOs — is harmful. Based on the misinformation, companies are beginning to ban food that contains GMOs.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: House panel readies COOL repeal
- A bill to repeal the country-of-origin labeling law for beef and pork could start moving in the House as soon as next week.
Wall Street Journal: Country-of-Origin Meat Labels Face WTO Decision
- A fight over U.S. meat labels is poised to enter a contentious new round when the World Trade Organization decides, as soon as Monday, whether country-of-origin labels discriminate against livestock from Canada and Mexico.
Yahoo: ADM Grows Sweetener Business in China with Agreement to Purchase Meiweiyuan Biotechnology
- Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) announced today that it has reached an agreement to purchase Meiweiyuan Biotechnology Co., a privately held sweetener manufacturer near the city of Wuhan, in the central Chinese province of Hubei.
Wall Street Journal: Beijing to Unveil South America Investments
- Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang is set to bring greater financial support to South America this week, part of Beijing’s broader effort to reassure developing countries that have been hit by China’s declining demand for raw materials.
Voice of America: Tanzanian Farmers Criticize G-7 Initiative to Boost Agriculture
- Thirty-eight-old Mariam Salmin Mziraya struggles to fight off the wave of fear that has gripped Razaba. The anxiety centers on a looming eviction that would pave the way for a large scale agribusiness.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Colorado governor issues executive order for greater sage-grouse conservation
- In the race to avoid an Endangered Species Act listing for the greater sage-grouse, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has issued an executive order that gives farmers and ranchers the opportunity to get paid for their conservation efforts through a habitat exchange market.
Agri-Pulse: House acts to de-list prairie chicken, bar grouse listing
- The House voted to remove the lesser prairie chicken from the list of threatened species to give time for a regional conservation plan to restore the bird's Plains habitat.
Wall Street Journal: Slaking California’s Thirst—if Politics Allows
- Israel solved its water woes in five years by desalination. A CEO explains why it took him 10 years to build a single plant near San Diego.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Time: Republican Candidates Dodge Immigration Questions
- The GOP wanted to talk differently about immigration in 2016. Instead they're trying to avoid talking about it at all.
Fox News: Immigration courts reportedly have 445,000 pending cases
- The already backlogged federal immigration courts have reportedly reached an all-time high with more than 445,000 pending cases.
Associated Press: States Saying ‘No’ to Cities Seeking to Regulate Businesses
- Alarmed about cities trying to outlaw plastic bags, the director of the Missouri Grocers Association decided to do something about it. So Dan Shaul turned to his state legislator—himself—and guided a bill to passage barring local governments from banning the bags.
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