Daily Harvest -- 6/18/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Committee OKs bills for cotton futures, forest projects
- The House Agriculture Committee advanced bills that would allow new futures contracts for foreign-produced cotton and accelerate approvals for thinning trees on federal lands.
Reuters: FAA expects to clear U.S. commercial drones within a year
- U.S. commercial drone operations could take flight on a large scale by this time next year, as federal regulators finalize rules allowing widespread unmanned aerial system use by companies, according to congressional testimony on Wednesday.
TIME: Foster Farms Suspends Five Employees After Graphic Video Uncovers Animal Abuse
- Poultry producer Foster Farms suspended five employees Wednesday after an undercover video appeared to show inhumane treatment of chickens at the company’s Fresno slaughterhouse.
New York Times: Bird Flu Sends Egg Prices Up, but Slowing Demand Prevents Shortages
- USDA predicts that egg production this year will be down by roughly 341 million dozen, or about 4 percent from last year, but no run on the grocery store has been apparent, at least not by consumers.
Seattle Times: Despite cold-shortened season, US maple syrup production up
- Colder-than-normal temperatures shortened the Northeast’s maple sugaring season this year, but overall syrup production in the U.S. managed to stay strong, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
Agri-Pulse: Back and forth over RFS intensifies
- Industry officials on both sides of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) argument held dueling calls Wednesday afternoon to tell reporters why the EPA's management of the statute has them crying foul.
Agri-Pulse: Corn farmers and ethanol producers urging strong turnout for EPA hearing
- Corn farmers and ethanol industry representatives are pushing for a strong turnout at the EPA public hearing next week on the proposed volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Washington Post: Judge demands explanation for lengthy delay on energy lease
- A federal judge is pressing U.S. officials to explain why it's taken three decades to decide on a proposal to drill for natural gas just outside Glacier National Park in an area considered sacred by some Indian tribes in Montana and Canada.
Des Moines Register: Wind energy can power Iowa's economic future
- (Opinion) The winds of change are blowing in Iowa. Within two decades, wind energy here could power the equivalent of more than 6.3 million homes.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Budget writers protect meat in diet guidelines
- House appropriators are seeking to ensure the Obama administration doesn't use environmental factors in writing the federal dietary guidelines for meat consumption.
Wall Street Journal: The School Lunch Program With an Unappetizing Report Card
- (Opinion) Nearly five years after passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, mounting evidence suggests that the law may not be achieving either end.
ABC News: McDonald's to Shrink in US, 1st Time in Decades
- The burger chain that put "supersize" into the American vernacular is slimming down: For the first time in more than 40 years, and perhaps ever, McDonald's says its number of restaurants in the U.S. is shrinking.
Washington Post: Memory problems? Could be all that trans fat you’re eating
- More bad news about trans fats: A study published in PLOS ONE on Wednesday links worsened memory function to higher consumption of trans fatty acids.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: New vote set to break deadlock on fast-track trade bill
- The House is set to break an impasse over the fast-track trade bill after GOP congressional leaders reached agreement to separately enact an extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance programs.
Agri-Pulse: US will seek WTO arbitration over COOL retaliation
- The U.S. will seek World Trade Organization arbitration over Canada's request for retaliation stemming from a country-of-origin labeling (COOL) dispute, the Canadian government confirmed today in a release.
The Guardian: MRSA superbug found in supermarket pork raises alarm over farming risks
- Pork sold by several leading British supermarkets has been found to be contaminated with a strain of the superbug MRSA that has been linked to the overuse of powerful antibiotics on factory farms.
Wall Street Journal: An Inside Look at Nestlé’s Struggle to Recall 400 Million Packets of Noodles
- A steady flow of delivery trucks rolled into Nestlé SA’s distribution center in northern India this week, disgorging thousands of instant-noodle packets that had been pulled from store shelves after Indian authorities found high lead levels in some samples.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: During National Pollinator Week, groups ask stores to stop selling neonics
- More than 50 beekeeper, environmental and consumer groups are marking National Pollinator Week by sending letters to top garden retailers including True Value and Ace Hardware, urging them to stop selling neonicotinoid pesticides, which the groups link to bee deaths.
Agri-Pulse: USDA to label more biobased products after report finds $369 billion in industry
- An economic impact analysis released Wednesday by the USDA's BioPreferred Program found that U.S. biobased products, such as biofuels and renewable chemicals, contribute $369 billion and 4 million jobs to the country's economy.
U.S. News & World Report: What's blamed for California's drought? Dry spell bolsters opposition to immigration, beef
- The state's historic four-year dry spell has brought with it a flurry of finger-pointing. Now advocates, noting how California's water shortage ranks as the top public concern, are invoking the drought to bolster their own causes.
Washington Post: New NASA data show how the world is running out of water
- Twenty-one of the 37 largest underground aquifers have passed their tipping points of sustainability, according to new satellite data that demonstrates how humans are taxing the world's groundwater supply.
ABC News: Scientists Fly Drones to Map Sagebrush for Wildfire Strategy
- Scientists have deployed drones over western Idaho to map a little-known landscape as part of an effort to reduce wildfire risks and protect sage grouse and other wildlife across the West.
LA Times: Just a handful of wild bee species do most of the pollination work
- On average, only 2% of wild bee species were responsible for 80% of the pollination visits witnessed by researchers around the world, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
LA Times: Immigration reform: Let the states lead the way
- (Opinion) One-size-fits-all national immigration laws aren't working. Federal reform efforts have repeatedly failed, so why not let states take a crack at it?
Agri-Pulse: Jeb Bush visits Iowa with talk of reform, regulatory relief
- After formally announcing his candidacy for president of the United States on Monday in Florida and visiting New Hampshire on Tuesday, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush traveled to two Iowa towns on Wednesday to explain why he wants to win voters hearts and minds.
Wall Street Journal: GOP’s Rand Paul Calls For 14.5% Flat Tax
- Sen. Rand Paul is pledging to “blow up the tax code and start over” with a federal flat tax of 14.5%, as he seeks to boost his support among conservatives in the Republican presidential field.
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