Daily Harvest -- 7/15/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Packing Political Punch: Farmers crave comfort and clout in new coalitions
- Many agricultural and rural leaders are taking a hard look at the demographics in America and seeing fewer farms, fewer farmers and fewer rural congressional districts. Still, they remain convinced that this does not mean that farmers and ranchers will lose their political punch – if they can think differently about coalition building, political action committee (PAC) strategies, and communication efforts.
Agri-Pulse: Corn, soybean crop ratings well above year ago
- The U.S. corn crop, the nation's biggest, continues to improve, with the fields in the best condition for this time of the growing season in years.
Agri-Pulse: Legal questions regarding FAA regulation of drones
- (Audio) The commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, may continue to be delayed, as a recent report determined the FAA is unlikely to meet the September 2015 deadline set by Congress for integrating commercial drones into airspace.
Kansas City Star: Players in Farm Bill lobbying are clear, but their spending isn’t
- After a months-long investigation, Harvest Public Media and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found that in all, at least 600 groups lobbied on the Farm Bill and associated issues during the drafting process, between 2012 and the first part of 2014.
National Journal: Farmers Used Facebook to Harvest Votes for Cochran
- Add this to the shock and awe that surrounds the come-from-behind victory of Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss, in his primary runoff: the fact that farmers can still matter in an election and that farmers and their families communicate through Facebook and other social media much more than political analysts realized.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Associated Press: School officials try healthier cafeteria options
- Bean burgers, peanut butter substitutes and pre-sliced vegetable packets were on the menu Monday as school lunchroom managers from around the country sampled offerings in a hunt for fare that will meet stricter health mandates — without turning off sometimes-finicky students.
Politico: White House asked to stay away from school nutrition summit
- So while the specifics might look like a food fight, behind the clash are all the big forces that shape major political battles — money, lobbying muscle, big personalities — and an ideological split over the size and role of the federal government, especially when it comes to kids.
Wall Street Journal: Which States Are Considering Labels for GMO Foods?
- The movement to require food companies to label products that were genetically engineered is heating up in the U.S. this year. Thirty-five bills have been introduced in 20 states on the issue, and ballot initiatives are set in Colorado and Oregon.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Reuters: Germany's fear of 'chlorine chicken' complicates U.S. trade talks
- European concerns about the threat to food and the environment have found their strongest voice in Germany, amplified by the country's influential Green party and anger at reports of U.S. spying.
The Japan Times: Reform of state-run firms one of TPP’s biggest hurdles
- Emerging economies are at odds with developed countries in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, clashing over the reform of their state-run firms to ensure a fair playing field for foreign capital.
Los Angeles Times: Here's why you have to refrigerate eggs in the U.S. but not in Europe
- Europeans store their eggs at room temperature, while Americans refrigerate them. This is something that inspires some American tourists on their return home to adapt a more Continental attitude to the storage of eggs. Bad idea.
Associated Press: North Korea pushes farmers for more
- Leader Kim Jong Un has succeeded in establishing his country as a nuclear power, and even sent a satellite into orbit. Now, with prolonged international sanctions and largesse from former communist allies mostly gone, Kim is calling on farmers to win him another battle. In 2012, and again this year, he promised the nation it would never face famine again.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Wall Street Journal: California Expected to Set Mandatory Water Curbs
- California is poised to institute mandatory statewide water restrictions for the first time, as the impact of a three-year drought continues to spread across the Golden State.
Bloomberg: Strong El Nino Seen Unlikely by Australia as Pacific Cools
- The odds of a strong El Nino, which brings drought to the Asia-Pacific region and heavy rains to South America, are increasingly unlikely after the tropical Pacific Ocean cooled, according to Australia’s weather bureau.
The Hill: Feds move to protect blue butterflies
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced Monday it is considering designating a critical habitat for the endangered Mount Charleston blue butterfly. This comes after the FWS added the blue butterfly to the Endangered Species List last October.
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