Daily Harvest -- 5/28/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Obama issues Clean Water Act rule
- The Obama administration issued a final rule re-defining what streams, ponds, wetlands and other features will be regulated under the Clean Water Act.
Agri-Pulse: Ag groups, lawmakers fuming at release of final WOTUS rule
- Agriculture groups and farm-state lawmakers reacted with sharp criticism today after the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers released the final rule redefining which waters of the U.S. can be regulated under the Clean Water Act.
Agri-Pulse: WOTUS rule sets up Senate fight
- The Obama administration's release of its final Clean Water Act rule sets the stage for a battle with Congress in coming weeks that could divide Senate Democrats.
Agri-Pulse: Final rule may not be final word on WOTUS
- (Audio) EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers released the final waters of the U.S. rule, but the issue is far from over. Members of Congress still want the agencies to go back to the drawing board and start over.
Politico: Inside the war on coal
- The industry and its supporters use “war on coal” as shorthand for a ferocious assault by a hostile White House, but the real war on coal is not primarily an Obama war, or even a Washington war. It’s a guerrilla war.
Des Moines Register: Carbon fees would lead to clean-energy economy
- (Opinion) With the latest NASA studies warning about sweeping environmental changes from the ever-increasing emission of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels, it's time for action.
Wall Street Journal: Norway Oil Fund Would Exit Coal-Exposed Firms Under Deal in Parliament
- Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund, the world’s biggest, would shed its holdings in companies and utilities that have heavy exposure to coal in a move to reduce climate risk, according to a deal reached in the parliament Wednesday.
Wall Street Journal: Natural Gas Divided Between Oversupply and Speculators’ Maneuvering
- Natural gas prices fell slightly Wednesday in seesaw trading divided between oversupply concerns and speculators maneuvering around the June contract’s expiration.
Wall Street Journal: Japan’s Solar Farms Take to the Water
- At a time when major electronics makers are using idled semiconductor clean rooms to grow high-quality vegetables, it should come as no surprise to see Japanese farmers floating solar panels on reservoirs that are used to water rice fields.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Sacramento Bee: Davis requires milk, water to be first option with kids’ meals
- An ordinance passed unanimously by the Davis City Council Tuesday night states that any restaurant in the city serving a kid’s meal with a beverage must suggest milk or water as the first choice to families.
Reuters: Western U.S. drought might raise food prices: Reuters/Ipsos poll
- An overwhelming majority of U.S. residents think the drought that has hit agriculture in the West will lead to increased food prices, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.
Seattle PI: U.S. pavilion seeks to be catalyst in food security discussion
- Inside the pavilions, nations are seeking to raise awareness around such issues as food security, hunger and food waste. Food, it turns out, is a strong diplomatic tool in its own right.
Washington Post: Six of the nation’s largest school districts dump polystyrene trays
- Six of the largest U.S. school districts have pooled their collective purchasing power to make significant changes to school lunch, and they’re starting by jettisoning the polystyrene tray.
Washington Post: Why entrepreneurs are suddenly finding the beauty in ugly produce
- Campaigns aimed at reducing food waste are bringing misshapen fruits and vegetables, previously reserved for hogs, compost piles and landfills, to the forefront of our minds, if not quite to our grocery shelves.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
KTVZ: Cattlemen: Trade deal good for Oregon agriculture
- Will Wise, CEO of the Oregon Beef Council, said, "The Trans-Pacific Partnership will deal with some extremely high tariffs facing Oregon beef exports." Currently, Oregon beef with a destination of Japan faces a 38.5 percent tariff.
Des Moines Register: Protestors call on Congressman Young to vote against TPP
- Iowa activists gathered outside U.S. Congressman David Young's downtown Des Moines office Wednesday, calling on him to publicly oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Reuters: Flattened by erratic rain, Pakistani farmers ditch crop farming
- Farmers from districts southeast of Islamabad said that delayed or excessive rains, coupled with heavy hailstorms, have nearly flattened their wheat and mustard crops.
New York Times: U.N. Reports About 200 Million Fewer Hungry People Than in 1990
- The number of hungry people globally has declined from about one billion 25 years ago to about 795 million today, or about one person out of every nine, despite a surge in population growth, the United Nations reported Wednesday.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agriculture.com: Making Conservation Convenient
- The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service rolled out an online portal Wednesday that could save farmers unnecessary trips to town and allow NRCS technicians more time in the field.
Daily Progress: Conservation farming: Local operations taking advantage of state grants
- While some efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed have proven to be controversial, such as the implementation of stormwater fees for residents in some municipalities, proactive initiatives have been underway in Albemarle County, Virginia and throughout the region.
Progressive Farmer: Minnesota Buffer Bill Vetoed
- New state rules that require buffer zones along waterways in Minnesota will have to wait until a special session of the Minnesota Legislature after Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the bill containing those rules along with other provisions.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Business Insider: Obama administration will not seek Supreme Court stay on immigration block
- Despite a setback to President Barack Obama's immigration action in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, the U.S. Justice Department will not ask the Supreme Court to stay the injunction, a Department spokesman said.
Washington Post: Why that new immigration decision could be bad news for Republicans
- A federal appeals court decision to block the Obama Administration’s plan to offer an estimated 4 million undocumented immigrants some relief from the threat of deportation has largely been discussed as a blow to immigrant groups, a restraint on Obama’s executive authority and, most often, another potential setback to his legacy.
New York Times: Immigration Overhaul May Be in Limbo Until Late in Obama’s Term
- President Obama’s overhaul of the nation’s immigration system, which he announced in a prime-time speech to the nation last November, may remain under a cloud of legal uncertainty until months before he leaves office in 2017, legal experts and administration officials said Wednesday.
Reuters: Storms kill 15 in Texas, Oklahoma; Houston flooded
- Torrential rains have killed at least 15 people in Texas and Oklahoma, including three in Houston where floods turned streets into rivers and led to about 1,000 calls for help in the fourth-most populous U.S. city, officials said on Tuesday.
Washington Post: Officials break ground on federal bioscience lab in Kansas
- A $1.25 billion animal research facility in Kansas will fill a vital role in protecting the nation’s food supply while also providing a boost to the state’s economy, federal officials said Wednesday at a groundbreaking ceremony for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.
LA Times: First William Shatner, now Moby: Celebrities' ideas for tackling California drought
- Now musician Moby is calling on Gov. Jerry Brown for more action on water conservation. In an interview with Forbes, Moby said he began researching water issues and agriculture last year and had even replaced his lawn with mulch.
In yesterday’s Daily Harvest email, a story’s description misspelled USDA livestock economist Shayle Shagam's name.
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