Daily Harvest -- 6/26/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Fight over future of meat labeling centers on a few words
- This congressional struggle over the future of country-of-origin labeling of meat hinges on the same issue it always has: What does it mean to be a product of the United States?
Agri-Pulse: Washington Week in Review: June 26, 2015: Trade bills head to Obama's desk
- (Video) The trade legislation that has been working its way through both chambers of Congress for months achieved final passage this week, clearing a path for President Barack Obama's signature and the finalization of major pending trade agreements. Agri-Pulse's Phil Brasher and Spencer Chase discuss TPA, TAA, and a timeline for TPP in this week's video.
Reuters: U.S. May turkey slaughter drops as bird flu decimates flocks: USDA
- The U.S. turkey slaughter in May tumbled 12 percent from the prior month, government data on Thursday showed, as the country's worst-ever case of bird flu decimated flocks in top producer Minnesota and surrounding states.
Associated Press: Flag smut disease detected in Kansas wheat for first time
- Agricultural officials are contacting Kansas farmers with fields infected with flag smut disease in an effort to contain its spread. It is the first time it has been detected in Kansas since the 1930s.
Washington Post: Where America’s worst roads are — and how much they’re costing us
- The shoddy state of the nation's roads cost the average driver $515 in extra operation and maintenance costs on their car, according to the latest analysis from TRIP, a national transportation research group.
Agri-Pulse: Big turnout for EPA public hearing on RFS standards
- (Audio) Over 250 stakeholders in the Renewable Fuel Standard testified at a public hearing in Kansas City on Thursday, most of them corn farmers and ethanol producers who say the EPA is setting standards lower than the law requires.
Reuters: New Mexico coal plant owners settle with U.S. EPA over pollution
- Owners of Four Corners, a coal-fired power plant in New Mexico, will install $160 million in technology to reduce air pollution under a settlement announced on Wednesday by the U.S. government.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Opinion: Farmers Markets - Health, Access and Community
- In the early 1980s I sold produce from my brother's family farm at farmers markets in Boston. Then, there were maybe 15 farmers markets in Massachusetts. Today, there are 310 summer and winter farmers markets. Today, farmers markets have exploded nation-wide, driven in part by the enormous demand for healthy, fresh, local food.
Agri-Pulse: House Ag members consider USDA-run non-GMO certification program
- The chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research, says that the success of USDA's marketing programs indicate a proposed non-GMO certification program could be a viable solution for consumers wanting to avoid genetically engineered food products.
Wall Street Journal: Sen. Stabenow Calls for Voluntary Country-of-Origin Labels on Meat
- With Canada and Mexico threatening retaliatory action against the U.S. for requiring country-of-origin labels on meat sold in the U.S., a key Senate Democrat is pushing for a voluntary label that still allows domestic beef and pork to be identified as a “Product of the U.S.”
Wall Street Journal: Can Aussie Wine Rule Again?
- The common theme that arises from this game is that for a region to qualify as truly great it has to have a cool climate. What one doesn’t equate with greatness is desert and heat, which is where Australian wine—or rather the perception of Australian wine—falls down.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: House clears bill renewing trade assistance, preferences
- The House cleared away another key trade item off President Obama's to-do list, providing final congressional approval to an extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance programs.
Wall Street Journal: McDonald’s Aims to Sell Taiwan Stores, Expand China Franchise Business
- McDonald’s Corp. is aiming to sell its stores in Taiwan to a franchise operator and expand its franchise business in China, a spokesman said Thursday, as the company tries to turn around its fortunes in Asia and cut costs globally.
New York Times: In China, Stomachs Turn at News of 40-Year-Old Meat Peddled by Traders
- On Tuesday, countless people were forced to ponder the benefits of vegetarianism after news reports emerged that unscrupulous meat traders had been peddling tons of beef, pork and chicken wings that in some cases had been frozen for 40 years.
The Topeka Capital-Journal: Sen. Pat Roberts: 'Retaliation is coming' from Canada and Mexico on trade
- Sounding a bleak tone, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts told a Senate committee Thursday that Congress must act quickly in repealing country-of-origin labeling or face dire retaliation.
Bloomberg: Wall Street May Save Billions on Swaps in Regulator Squabble
- A quarrel among regulators could add up to billions in savings for Wall Street banks. At stake is a proposed rule that has dragged on for years that could require firms like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley to set aside tens of billions of dollars in collateral when trading swaps with their own affiliates.
Chicago Tribune: Colleges see opportunity in US-Cuba opening
- As Cuba and the United States begin to normalize relations, interest is keen on both sides to strike academic partnerships as well.
New York Times: Indian Beef Workers Fight to Bring Back the Bull Market
- A grim video has been circulating among farmers across the sunbaked plains of Maharashtra, a vast Indian state, traveling from one cellphone to the next via WhatsApp. In the video, a man stands with his two trusty bulls at a cattle market. A crowd surrounds him, transfixed by his emphatic lamentations.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: House Republicans introduce new drought relief bill
- House Republicans today introduced a bill that they say would rebalance the water needs of drought-plagued California between protected fish species and the farm communities and cities and towns that are running dry.
The Columbian: Farmers stressed about stink bugs
- The same mild temperatures that sabotaged the region's snowpack were a boon to these bugs, reducing their mortality during the coldest months and generating plenty of early spring bounty for forage.
New York Times: Troubled Delta System Is California’s Water Battleground
- Fighting over water is a tradition in California, but nowhere are the lines of dispute more sharply drawn than here in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that is the hub of the state’s water system.
Chicago Tribune: North Carolina experiencing drought for 1st time in 2 years
- Officials at the State Climate Office at N.C. State University say North Carolina is experiencing drought for the first time in at least two years.
New York Times: World’s Aquifers Losing Replenishment Race, Researchers Say
- From the Arabian Peninsula to northern India to California’s Central Valley, nearly a third of the world’s 37 largest aquifers are being drained faster than they are being replenished, according to a recent study led by scientists at the University of California, Irvine. The aquifers are concentrated in food-producing regions that support up to two billion people.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Albuquerque Journal: Court: Farm, ranch laborers eligible for workers’ comp
- The New Mexico Court of Appeals says excluding farm and ranch workers from the Workers Compensation Act violated the equal protection clause of the state constitution, sending two consolidated cases in which claims by injured workers had been denied back to the Workers Compensation Administration.
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