Daily Harvest -- 6/19/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Lawmakers seek to stop bird flu, improve USDA animal care
- Lawmakers are taking steps to stop the spread of the bird flu that has ravaged Midwest farms and to ensure improvements in the care of livestock in federal research facilities.
Agri-Pulse: Senate refers interior, environment spending bill to Democrats' chagrin
- Senate Republicans advanced a fiscal 2016 spending bill for the EPA and Interior Department including provisions that block some key environmental regulations and endangered species listings.
Agri-Pulse: GAO cites Farm Service Agency mismanagement in flop of MIDAS program
- Poor performance and uncertainty about future plans were the key factors that led to USDA's decision to halt a long-delayed and overbudgeted Information technology program known as MIDAS, the General Accountability Office said today in a report.
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack stresses need for continued research funding
- (Audio) The House Appropriations Committee recommended spending cuts for USDA in areas such as research and conservation. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asked the seed industry for help in getting the message to lawmakers about the importance of agricultural research.
Associated Press: Kansas exempts more farm vehicles from regulations
- Kansas is making it easier for a farmer to use his regularly registered vehicles for agricultural operations, while still giving him regulatory exemptions he enjoys on vehicles registered only for farm use.
Kansas City Star: Minnesota records 13 straight days with no new bird flu
- Minnesota recorded its 13th straight day with no new cases of bird flu on Thursday as the focus on recovery continues.
Associated Press: Branstad: Bird flu could leave 1,500 unemployed by August
- More than 1,500 Iowa workers are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the bird flu outbreak and the cost to the state's egg industry alone will exceed $1 billion, Gov. Terry Branstad said Thursday in a letter seeking a major disaster declaration from President Barack Obama.
The Hill: FCC moves forward with broadband Internet subsidy for the poor
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday voted to formally consider a plan that would expand a subsidy program for low-income Americans to include Internet service.
The Bismarck Tribune: Ag Commissioner suggests coalition for animal agriculture
- North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner is suggesting a coalition to help increased animal agriculture in the state.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: DOE gives Danforth Center $8 million for sorghum study
- The U.S. Department of Energy awarded $8 million to the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center to study sorghum for use as a biofuel crop.
CNBC: Is this a revolution in energy storage?
- When it comes to renewables like solar and wind, the challenges facing energy storage are manifold, because while these sources are good for the planet, they do not promise a constant stream of power.
The Hill: GOP bill would repeal federal ethanol mandate
- A new Republican bill introduced Tuesday would completely repeal the federal mandate to blend ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: House panel's review of Pompeo GMO labeling bill largely positive
- Most lawmakers present at a House hearing on labeling of biotech foods today expressed support for a bill that would codify a national, voluntary standard for labeling such foods and preempt state GMO [genetically modified organism] labeling laws.
Agri-Pulse: House Ag panel lawmakers express support for amended Pompeo GMO label bill
- A bipartisan group of 30 lawmakers from the House Agriculture Committee have written the leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to express their support for the latest version of legislation that would preempt state efforts to require labeling of food products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Associated Press: 'Freedom' fries: Texas repeals ban on deep fryers in public school kitchens, despite backlash
- It's about freedom, not the fries. So says new Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who announced Thursday that the state is repealing a decade-old ban on deep fryers in public schools — an unappetizing reversal to national health advocates, school nutritionists and even his predecessor in the post.
Kansas City Star: Grocers: Vermont GMO law could lead to fines of $10M a day
- Vermont's first-in-the-nation law requiring the labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms could cost the nation's grocers up to $10 million a day in fines, according to a letter from an industry organization that is suing the block the law.
Los Angeles Times: Why eggs have gotten more expensive in California
- Egg prices in the state have skyrocketed this spring, partly as a result of the drop in production, though they are also being affected by a devastating outbreak of avian influenza in the Midwest.
Munchies: British Dairy Farmers Are Starting a Raw Cheese Revolution
- Cheese made with raw milk is unequivocal in taste. It’s nothing like the hard, plastic-wrapped blocks you buy in the supermarket. A traditional but largely forgotten product, it’s one that seems almost reckless to attempt to make a living from, given the trying nature of the dairy industry. And yet in Suffolk, producers are crafting cheese with unpasteurised milk.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Obama's trade agenda back on track
- A bill that would clear the way for President Obama to wrap up a 12-nation Pacific Rim trade deal could be headed to his desk by the end of next week after bipartisan talks broke a House impasse.
Agri-Pulse: House breaks impasse, passes fast-track trade bill
- The House approved a fast-track trade bill, 218-208, breaking a weeklong impasse.
Associated Press: Russia won't lift EU food embargo if sanctions stay
- Moscow will lift its embargo on European and U.S. foods only when the West scraps its sanctions against Russia, a top Russian official said Thursday.
Reuters: Asian palm oil, rice yet to price in severe El Nino: Russell
- El Nino brings drier conditions to Southeast Asia, India and Australia, and a severe event can hurt output of agricultural commodities, such as palm oil, rice, rubber, wheat and cotton.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Pope Francis gives measured 'thumbs up' for biotechnology
- Pope Francis, in an encyclical letter that appeals to the world's leaders to take steps to heal the environmental damage caused by human activity and alleviate the likely impacts of climate change, says it is right to rejoice in scientific advances such as robotics and biotechnology but asserts that they must be applied for the common good.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Washington Post: Hillary Clinton champions more than just immigration to court Latino voters
- The Democratic presidential front-runner's message was clear: To win over the fast-growing bloc of Latino voters in the 2016 election, Clinton will champion not only on comprehensive immigration reform, but also a broad suite of family issues.
Agri-Pulse: Dean Kleckner, former Farm Bureau president, dies at 82
- Dean Kleckner, an Iowa farmer who was president of the American Farm Bureau Federation from 1986 until 2000, died June 15 in Wayzata, Minnesota, from complications of Alzheimer's Disease. He was 82.
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