Daily Harvest -- 5/22/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Senate Ag Committee approves grain standards bill
- The Senate Agriculture Committee today unanimously approved a bill reauthorizing the Grain Standards Act, including provisions that would ensure export grain inspections continue during labor disputes.
Wall Street Journal: Egg Prices Jump as Bird Flu Spreads
- The financial toll of the worst U.S. bird-flu outbreak in history is soaring, forcing some poultry companies to suspend operations and boosting prices for eggs and turkeys as supplies tighten.
Reuters: Iowa bird-flu farms fall short on containment measures
- Measures to control the worst bird flu outbreak in U.S. history are not being enforced at several farms at its epicenter in northwestern Iowa, potentially increasing the risks that the disease could spread further, spot checks by Reuters show.
Washington Post: California water cuts move to those with century-old rights
- California farmers who hold rights to water that date back as far as the Gold Rush are bracing for their first state-ordered conservation in decades, as a record drought prompts some of the deepest cuts yet in the country’s most productive agricultural state.
Agriculture.com: Late Planting Nerves Flaring Up Around the Corn Belt
- This weekend marks the unofficial start to summer. But, the way Mother Nature's acting, she's not quite ready for "swimsuit season."
Washington Post: US stocks notch record as rising oil boosts energy sector
- The stock market eked out another record close on Thursday as rising oil prices boosted energy stocks.
Charlotte Observer: Green energy finds a defender in former Duke Energy chief
- Duke, which has burnished its solar-energy credentials recently with a $500 million expansion in North Carolina, can’t seem to avoid connections to a bill that appalls green energy advocates.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Newsweek: GMO Scientists Could Save the World From Hunger, If We Let Them
- In 2012, a new tool called CRISPR-Cas9 was invented that revolutionizes how scientists can examine—and manipulate—plant genetic processes. It is highly specific, allowing scientists to zero in on a single gene and turn it on or off, remove it or exchange it for a different gene.
Science Daily: Field study shows how a GM crop can have diminishing success at fighting off insect pest
- A new study finds the toxin in a widely used genetically modified (GM) crop is having little impact on the crop pest corn earworm -- which is consistent with predictions made almost 20 years ago that were largely ignored.
LA Times: If we're going to eat cattle, let them eat grass
- (Opinion) The real problem, however, isn't cattle. It's industrial feedlots, where more than 70% of U.S. cattle eventually live.
Fortune: Commercial farming...in your subdivision?
- At a time when Americans want local produce, one farmer is raising fruits and vegetables in spare lots in the suburbs of Orange County, Calif. Could he be a model for others?
Wall Street Journal: From Pharma to Farmer: FDA Wants Sales Data on Antibiotics for Livestock
- In what some are calling a long overdue move, the FDA has proposed a rule that would require drug makers to report the amount of antibiotics that are sold for use in different types of food-producing livestock.
Wall Street Journal: More Food Industry Fines as the Feds Up Their Game
- (Video) How does ConAgra Foods' agreement to pay a record fine pertaining to a recent salmonella outbreak indicate the effects of stepped-up food safety law enforcement?
Reuters: Mexico weighs U.S. meat product sanctions after WTO ruling
- Mexico said on Thursday it would decide within about 15 days what sanctions to impose on U.S. meat products if the U.S. Congress does not comply with a World Trade Organization ruling on labeling.
TIME: 61% of Your Calories Are From Highly Processed Food: Study
- Almost 1,000 calories a day of Americans’ diets come solely from highly processed foods, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Senate takes 'major step forward' on trade bill
- The fast-track trade bill cleared another hurdle as the Senate voted to move ahead on the legislation, 62-38, after dramatic floor discussions between GOP leaders and key Democrats.
Bloomberg: Agriculture and Cattle Ranching Threatening Global Rainforests
- The Brazilian city of Altamira used to be in the middle of Amazon forest. Not anymore, not after decades of deforestation.
UK Reuters: EU concerned about farming impact on its wildlife
- Around half of wild birds have a secure status as EU programs to protect endangered species have boosted numbers, but some of their habitats are cause for major concern largely because of intensive farming, an EU report found on Wednesday.
Wall Street Journal: Japan Takes Food Spat With South Korea to WTO
- Japan brought a complaint against South Korea on Thursday at the World Trade Organization over import restrictions on Japanese food that Tokyo says violate international trade rules.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Roberts says EPA 'stacked the deck' on WOTUS comments
- Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., used a nomination hearing today to sound off on what he said were EPA's "questionable activities" surrounding the proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.
Agri-Pulse: Seed trade industry provides input for pollinator strategy
- (Audio) Reaction from the agriculture industry to the pollinator strategy released by the White House this week has been very positive.
New York Times: Puffy, Feathered Sticking Point of a $612 Billion House Bill
- A Republican maneuver on a $612 billion military bill to block the Interior Department from adding the bird to the endangered species list has set off a major congressional skirmish that has spilled over into Western states and among environmental groups.
New York Times: Obama Set to Strengthen Federal Role in Clean Water Regulation
- The Obama administration is expected in the coming days to announce a major clean water regulation that would restore the federal government’s authority to limit pollution in the nation’s rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands.
Mashable: Data farming. Literally.
- With new solar-powered information-gathering stations, Keith Larrabee can process the soil water concentrations on his 1,000 acre nut orchard, every 15 minutes.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
New York Times: Republicans Continue to Lurch Right on Immigration
- Staring at startling exit polls after a beating by President Obama in 2012, Republicans vowed they were finally ready to do something about immigration reform or risk further alienating Hispanic voters.
Agri-Pulse: Land O'Lakes hires Dana Brooks in industry relations post
- Dana Brooks, formerly the director of government affairs for Elanco Animal Health, has been hired by Land O'Lakes Inc. as its senior director of state affairs and industry relations.
Wall Street Journal: Farm Bust Puts Deere in the Headlights
- Analysts see Deere’s revenue this fiscal year falling to $27.3 billion—a drop of 22% compared with two years earlier. Caterpillar’s sales are off, too, but by just half as much over the same period.
Des Moines Register: Iowa cancels bird exhibits at all state, county fairs
- Iowa will join Minnesota, New York and other states in banning chickens, turkeys and other poultry from state and county fairs to prevent the spread of bird flu — a deadly, fast-spreading disease that has killed millions of birds in Iowa.
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