Daily Harvest -- 5/18/2016
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse Daybreak for May 18, 2016
- (Audio) Conaway says Trump could improve EPA’s WOTUS rule, is looking forward to meeting with Trump; Vilsack to make the case for TPP in Colorado; Senate appropriators eye Cuba office; House fails to pass Zika pesticide bill; and hearing to focus on military veterans that are taking up life on the farm.
Agri-Pulse: Ag Appropriations advances in the Senate
- (Audio) The fiscal 2017 Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill is headed to the full committee, where it will be considered on Thursday.
New York Times: Farms That Rise to the Challenge
- AeroFarms, which expects to operate 25 vertical, urban farming operations of 45,000 to 60,000 square feet worldwide, uses a closed-loop irrigation system that allows food to be grown with 95 percent less water than conventionally cultivated vegetables.
Associated Press: Biologist: Rabbits and Skunks Can Pass Bird Flu to Ducks
- A government wildlife researcher has found that rabbits and skunks can become infected with the bird flu virus and shed it enough to infect ducks — offering scientists one more clue about how bird flu may move in the environment and spread between farms, USDA said.
Modern Farmer: This Gnarly, Mutant Corn Plant Could Have Serious Implications on Yields
- For the roughly 7.4 billion people on earth who aren’t geneticists but do eat food, this research means its possible to breed corn plants with bigger ears and more kernels – yield increases of nearly 50 percent compared to control plants.
Washington Post: Cold snap damages wine grape crops in Minnesota, Wisconsin
- Vintners in southern Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota are reeling from a weekend cold snap that ruined huge swaths of their grapes.
Agri-Pulse: Lawmakers battle over ozone standards, air quality and the economy
- (Subscriber only) Obama administration efforts to limit smog-causing ozone and other air pollutants could hit another congressional roadblock this week as the full House Energy and Commerce Committee marks up the Republican-backed Ozone Standards Implementation Act.
Wall Street Journal: Shale Drillers’ Key to Survival: Efficiency
- Amid the abandoned worker camps, idled drilling rigs and empty field-office parking lots of western North Dakota, a shale industry reshaped by the oil-price collapse is beginning to emerge.
Wall Street Journal: Stone Energy Says Bankruptcy Filing a Possibility
- Stone Energy Corp., an oil and gas company based in Lafayette, La., is working to negotiate a restructuring deal that could include a prepackaged bankruptcy, the company said after skipping a payment to bondholders.
Financial Times: Work begins on Trans Adriatic gas pipeline
- Construction has officially begun on an important link in the so-called Southern Gas Corridor, a $45 billon mega-project to supply natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe and reduce reliance on Russian imports.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: NAS study backs safety of GMO foods
- (Subscriber only) In a sweeping new study of agricultural biotechnology, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine affirmed the safety of genetically engineered crops that are now on the market, rejecting claims that have linked GMOs to cancer and other maladies.
Wall Street Journal: A Cheese Glut Is Overtaking America
- America has built up a glut of cheese so big that every person in the country would need to eat an extra 3 pounds this year to work it off.
Wall Street Journal: Soda Industry Fails to Stop San Francisco Law Targeting Sugar
- San Francisco is set to become the first U.S. city to require health warnings on advertisements for soda and other sugar-added drinks after the beverage industry failed Tuesday to get a court order to stop it.
Civil Eats: Can the USDA Force Convenience Stores to Provide Healthier Food for SNAP Users?
- Stricter SNAP eligibility rules could improve the selection in small neighborhood stores. Or it could prompt those stores to opt out of the program all together.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: USDA raises cane sugar imports to deal with demand for non-GMO product
- USDA announced today that it is allowing an extra 200,000 short tons of cane sugar imports to satisfy the demand of food companies that are shunning beet sugar because it is produced mostly from genetically modified seeds.
Wall Street Journal: Monsanto Cancels Plan to Sell GMO Seed in Argentina
- Monsanto Co.’s dispute with Argentina over royalty payments for seeds escalated on Tuesday as the agricultural giant canceled plans to launch new biotech soybeans in the Latin American country and said it may withdraw other seeds already sold there.
Reuters: Tanzania Orders Drought-Hit Herders to Leave National Parks
- Drought-afflicted herders have been ordered to remove their cattle from Tanzania's national parks, where they had moved in a bid to find new food sources, the Tanzanian government said late on Monday.
Reuters: Syngenta Offer Deadline Extended as Regulators Probe Deal
- The deadline for shareholders in Swiss pesticides maker Syngenta to accept a $43 billion takeover bid from state-owned ChemChina has been extended to allow for some outstanding regulatory approvals, the company said on Tuesday.
Reuters: Unusual Heat Bakes Sri Lanka's Chicken Industry
- Across Sri Lanka, small- and medium-scale chicken producers – often with between 1,000 and 25,000 birds – are struggling to keep their birds alive in the face of temperatures 2 degrees to 5 degrees Celsius above normal over the last two months.
Reuters: EU milk prices set to continue falling this year - French makers
- Milk prices in the European Union will continue to fall this year, with no improvement seen until 2017, as overproduction in the north of the bloc continues to weigh, French milk producers said on Tuesday.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack says Congress should step up to put out wildfires
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the Forest Service and the Interior Department have "done just about everything we can do" to properly fund the forest management that prevents catastrophic fires - now it's Congress' turn to step up to the plate.
Modern Farmer: Farming Is The Biggest Source Of Aerosol Pollution—But It Doesn’t Have To Be
- A new study checked out sources worldwide, and the verdict is in: the number one creator of aerosols—particulate pollution—is agriculture.
EurekAlert: Paris climate agreement cannot be met without emissions reduction target for agriculture
- The authors warn that emission reductions in other sectors such as energy and transport will be insufficient to meet the new climate agreement. They argue that agriculture must also play its part.
Reuters: Skeptical Trump Says Would Renegotiate Global Climate Deal
- Republican presidential contender Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would renegotiate America’s role in the U.N. global climate accord, spelling potential doom for an agreement many view as a last chance to turn the tide on global warming.
New York Times: A Boon for Soil, and for the Environment
- Agriculture is often cast as an environmental villain, its pesticides tainting water, its hunger for land driving deforestation. But a growing number of experts, environmentalists and farmers are seeing their fields as a powerful weapon in the fight to slow climate change.
Des Moines Register: Bob Krause: Tie federal farm aid to conservation
- To address water pollution in Iowa, U.S. Senate candidate Bob Krause believes federal farm aid should be more strongly tied to conservation measures.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Food Safety News: Food safety initiative puts farmworkers front and center
- Farmworkers are often the first ones to see problems that could contaminate the crops — an essential first link in the food safety chain that extends from the fields all the way to the stores or markets where we buy our food.
Bakersfield Now: Hundreds of farmworkers protest at blueberry field in Kern County
- More than 400 farmworkers protested Tuesday for better working conditions and higher wages at a blueberry field east of McFarland.
Associated Press: Overtime Pay May Become Reality for More US Workers
- More than 4 million U.S. workers will become newly eligible for overtime pay under rules to be issued Wednesday by the Obama administration.
Associated Press: Agrihoods take root: a housing trend rooted in agriculture
- Feeding off the continuing interest in eating fresh, local food, developers are ditching golf courses and designing communities around farms, offering residents a taste of the pastoral life — and tasty produce, too.
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