Daily Harvest -- 6/4/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: CFTC extension runs into stiff Democratic opposition
- A House Republican bid to roll back some Dodd-Frank regulations through reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is running into a wall of Democratic opposition.
Agri-Pulse: USDA extends deadline for organic checkoff proposals
- USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is giving the public an extra 30 days to submit alternative or partial proposals for a new industry-funded promotion, research and information order for organic products - otherwise known as an organic check-off program. The new deadline for submission is July 20.
Agri-Pulse: Avian influenza outbreak slowing; vaccination questions loom
- A disease that's affected almost 45 million of America's chickens, turkeys and wild birds appears to be slowing, leading industry and government officials to discuss steps to prevent a similar outbreak in the fall.
LA Times: Nevada ranchers defy drought closures, graze cattle on federal land
- In recent years, the Bureau of Land Management has ordered closures on certain grazing lands, citing the long-term damage scientists say grazing can cause when land is stressed by drought.
Wall Street Journal: North Carolina Adopts Law Banning Secret Filming of Livestock’s Treatment
- North Carolina lawmakers passed a law Wednesday trying to prevent animal-rights activists from surreptitiously filming alleged abuses of animals on farms and ranches, overriding a veto issued by the state’s governor on Friday.
Billings Gazette: Corn, soybean prices see no major price drops from bird flu
- Corn and soybean producers are keeping a close eye on the bird flu outbreak, concerned that the loss of nearly 45 million birds might reduce demand for poultry feed made with the grains and send prices lower.
Wall Street Journal: Strawberry Farm Takes Dispute With Selling Agent to Bankruptcy Court
- The fight between a California strawberry grower and the middleman that gets its berries to Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores keeps getting juicier.
The Hill: Agriculture secretary defends Obama's ethanol record
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is defending President Obama's support for the ethanol industry, saying a new plan to build more blender pumps around the country is proof the administration supports biofuels.
EE News: ENR to pursue 'broader Western water package' – Murkowski
- Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) made it clear that any legislation she moves will reach beyond just California, where record-low snowpack has left reservoirs with only about a year's worth of water.
Grand Forks Herald: Anti-tar sands march along banks of the Mississippi expected to draw thousands
- A busy week in the future of oil in America will culminate in the largest anti-tar sands event ever to take place in the Midwest on Saturday along the banks of the Mississippi River, organizers say.
Wall Street Journal: Fund Managers Cut Oil Bets Ahead of OPEC Meeting
- The number of bets taken by hedge funds and other big investors on the global oil benchmark Brent—comprising bets on both rising and falling prices—has fallen to just over 320,000, the equivalent of 320 million barrels of oil, its lowest level in nine months.
Wall Street Journal: Amazon Is Urged to Come Clean on Energy Use
- Nineteen Amazon Web Services customers signed a letter to AWS chief Andy Jassy, asking him to release details about the company’s “energy and carbon footprints and progress toward renewable energy goals.”
FOOD & NUTRITION
Seattle Times: Largest organic grocer now Costco, analysts say
- Costco Wholesale seems to have quietly surpassed Whole Foods to become the biggest organic grocer as it courts a younger demographic, according to one investment bank.
LA Times: Wine with your Taco Bell Sriracha Quesarito? The chain is testing alcohol options
- Taco Bell is where you might end up post-midnight, drunk on vodka Redbulls, but some new additions to the menu could get you into the Mexican fast food chain before dark.
Washington Post: No shell game: Va.’s big egg industry produced 764 million
- Virginia egg production totaled 765 million eggs in 2014, an increase of 6 percent from the previous year.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Lawmakers look to challenge China's soaring farm spending
- (Subscriber only) China, Brazil and India have dramatically increased their spending on farmers, and some lawmakers say it's time for the United States to consider bringing cases against them at the World Trade Organization.
Agri-Pulse: Trade Ambassador Vetter talks trade at World Pork Expo
- (Audio) U.S. Agricultural Trade Ambassador Darci Vetter was in Iowa this week at the World Pork Expo, where she talked about the importance of getting TPA for the president so pending trade deals, including TPP, can move forward.
Nasdaq: U.S. Trade Gap Shrinks by 19%, Most in Six Years
- The U.S. trade deficit fell sharply in April as the effects of a West Coast port slowdown faded, easing one of the biggest drags on the economy during the opening months of the year.
Wall Street Journal: Potato Logistics: U.S. Agriculture Producers Eye Southeast Asia
- As the Southeast Asian economy expands, the market for American products has grown. But U.S. agriculture producers face unique logistical challenges in delivering those goods to consumers in those markets, especially with demand growing so quickly.
Politico: White House’s secret weapon on trade: Nancy Pelosi
- Administration officials have been so impressed by Nancy Pelosi’s approach to negotiations over giving President Barack Obama “fast-track” trade authority that they’ve started to consider a crazy possibility: She could even vote for it herself.
The Hill: WikiLeaks offers $100K bounty for trade text
- WikiLeaks is offering $100,000 for the text of President Obama's trans-Pacific trade deal. The transparency organization released a video on Tuesday asking for donations to crowdsource the funds.
Washington Post: Maggi, India’s favorite instant noodles, is facing a ban. The middle class is calling it betrayal.
- After a week of controversy over excessive lead and monosodium glutamate in packets of Maggi "2-minute noodles," the Delhi government on Wednesday banned the brand for 15 days and asked the Swiss manufacturer Nestle to remove the product from stores.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
New York Times: Fear of almonds
- (Opinion) Almonds are not the enemy, and the water-use problem is not going to be fixed by Americans cutting back on them.
Wall Street Journal: El Niño Clouds Prospects for Southeast Asian Crops
- Unusually dry weather in parts of Southeast Asia in recent weeks has raised the prospect that food crops across the region could be severely harmed this summer by the return of the El Niño weather phenomenon.
Washington Examiner: Poll: Climate change dead last for Iowa GOP caucus-goers
- Climate change ranked last on a list of 20 concerns likely Iowa Republican voters want presidential candidates to talk about, according to a poll released Tuesday.
Yahoo News: California's largest lake threatened by urban water transfer
- An air of decline and strange beauty permeates the Salton Sea: The lake is shrinking — and on the verge of getting much smaller as more water goes to coastal cities.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
LA Times: Agreement may unravel on wage hike ending Baja farmworkers strike
- Violent protests gave way to celebrations last month when the Mexican federal government — in a last-ditch effort to end the Baja California farmworker strike — tentatively agreed to boost wages by footing part of the increased payroll costs.
Wall Street Journal: Drone Data Gatekeeper: A New Role for CIOs
- North Carolina legislators passed a bill in 2013 that gives the state’s CIO authority over government use and procurement of drones for specific missions.
Chicago Tribune: World's tallest cow dies on northern Illinois farm
- Pat Hanson's 13-year-old, 6-foot-4 cow Blosom, died on her farm near Orangeville after two veterinarians said there was nothing they could do to save her.
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