Daily Harvest -- 7/21/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: House Democrats set attacks on GMO bill
- Critics of a GMO regulation bill are proposing amendments that would add restrictions or exemptions to the legislation and allow farmers to claim government compensation for some damages from herbicide drift or contamination by genetically engineered crops.
Agri-Pulse: NPPC calls for 'swift' COOL repeal, while NFU digs in its heels
- Stakeholders are voicing their opinions on country-of-origin labeling (COOL) as Senate agriculture leaders try to find a consensus on a path forward for the labeling requirements battered by an international trade dispute.
Agri-Pulse: USDA sees no plant pest risk in Monsanto GE corn product
- USDA says a preliminary assessment finds that a Monsanto corn product genetically engineered for increased ear biomass determined the product is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk and is being considered for deregulation, or commercial approval.
Washington Post: Why the Agriculture Department is giving out tens of millions of dollars for Internet access
- La Valle, like many rural communities in America, have been passed over by the country's major communications providers, leaving the small town to fend for itself.
Associated Press: USDA secretary not ready to declare bird flu outbreak over
- U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Monday that he’s not ready to declare the Midwest bird flu outbreak over even though no new cases of the H5N2 virus have been detected over for over a month.
Reuters: Iowa chicks sent as far away as Brazil to evade deadly bird flu
- Less than 24 hours after a deadly infection of bird flu was confirmed at a turkey farm north of Des Moines, Iowa, Bud Wood packed about 3,500 rare baby chicks into boxes and put them in the back of a truck.
Dairy Herd Management: Dairy fighting back, through satire
- Dairy farmers tired of social media and video attacks on their lives and livelihoods are launching a counterattack this week, using an unlikely communications vehicle.
Agri-Pulse: Senators urge EPA to boost biodiesel volumes
- A bipartisan group of 36 senators is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase the proposed volumes it set for biodiesel production under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
Agri-Pulse: EPA administrator urges public comment on RFS standards
- (Audio) The head of the EPA is urging stakeholders to comment on the proposed volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
City Lab: The Environmentalist Case Against 100% Renewable Energy Plans
- But it’s not entirely clear that a U.S. energy grid based on 100 percent renewables is the best way to achieve a zero-carbon future. On the contrary, there’s a strong environmentalist case for approaching that goal with caution.
Ottawa Citizen: Watson: A strategy for energy and everything else
- The premiers last week issued a 35-page document on the subject that has been widely and justly criticized for its vacuity. That it was the product of several years’ work helps explain the vacuity but also reduces hope for sensible policy.
Deutsche Welle: What ever happened with Europe's fracking boom?
- The Netherlands has banned fracking until 2020. Over the past several years, a number of other European countries declared a ban on exploiting new natural gas deposits. So, is the apparent European shale gas boom over?
Ethanol Producer Magazine: New corn traits yield homegrown enzymes for ethanol
- Ethanol plants are constantly looking for opportunities to increase efficiency. Sourcing alpha amylase enzyme directly from area corn growers and working with them to enhance grain quality is not only helping Plymouth Energy be more efficient, it’s helping make ethanol more sustainable.
FOOD & NUTRITION
NPR: Why The Pig Is The Most Loved And Most Loathed Animal On The Plate
- Enormously useful as they are, swine have not been universally adored. The history of pigs is a tale of love and loathing. As long as pigs have existed, people have weighed their hunger for meat against worries about how the animals lived and what they ate. And today, we have just as much reason to worry about how pigs are living.
Los Angeles Times: John Oliver blasts food waste in America on 'Last Week Tonight'
- John Oliver had a lot to say about food being wasted in America, devoting a 17-minute segment to the topic Sunday night on "Last Week Tonight."
Associated Press: Rocker Neil Young Offers Support to Vermont Food Label Law
- Rocker Neil Young is lending his support to the state's efforts to label foods containing genetically modified ingredients.
Los Angeles Times: Is fast food better for you than a sit-down restaurant meal? Study suggests yes
- If you believe sitting down to a meal at a restaurant is better for you than ordering takeout or grabbing fast food, the results of a new research study may surprise you.
Huffington Post: Actually, All Food Is Full Of Chemicals
- As a new AsapScience video explains, all foods have chemicals in them. So when companies are calling their foods "chemical-free," it's pretty meaningless. So too is that ubiquotous maxim of health nuts everywhere: "If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it."
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Reuters: Peru loses WTO appeal over agricultural import levy
- Peru lost its appeal on Monday in a trade dispute over its agricultural import levy, a case brought to the World Trade Organisation by sugar exporter Guatemala two years ago.
Quartz: Mugabe is asking back the white farmers he chased away
- Mugabe’s people have hinted strongly, for the first time, that farmers can return–at least some of them. This will be some 15 years after the Zimbabwe government began seizing their land.
Reuters: Australia says agrees deal with China to export live cattle
- Australia has agreed a deal with China to export live cattle to the Asian country, the country's Agricultural Minister said on Monday.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Sage grouse conservation touted in report, boosted in Montana
- USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) says it's joining the state of Montana in a plan to streamline protections for the greater sage-grouse - a bird currently up for federal endangered species protections.
NPR: Drought-Stricken California Farmers Look To Tap Urban Wastewater
- Many California farmers are in a tight spot this summer, because their normal water supplies have dried up with the state's extreme drought. In the state's Central Valley, that's driving some farmers to get creative: They're looking at buying water from cities – not freshwater, but water that's already gone down the drain.
Washington Post: All that record-breaking rain in California still isn’t enough to dent the drought
- West Coast weather was turned upside down this weekend when Southern California saw more rain in one day than it saw in all of January — one of the region’s wettest months on average. But even with the historic summer rainfall, California’s multi-year drought will likely endure past its next rainy season for much of the state.
Associated Press: California proposes historic $1.5M fine for taking water
- California regulators on Monday proposed a first-of-its-kind, $1.5 million fine for a group of Central Valley farmers accused of illegally taking water during the drought.
Fox 5: Lawmakers want programs to curb Great Lakes farm pollution
- Two members of Congress from Michigan plan to introduce legislation encouraging Great Lakes states to develop programs that reduce risk of pollution that causes harmful algae blooms.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin dairy farmers push for immigration reform
- Wisconsin dairy farmers are pushing for immigration reform, saying they need a federal labor policy that guarantees they will have enough employees to maintain and expand their businesses.
Modern Farmer: Tired of Waiting for Feds, California Bill Addresses Illegal Farmworkers Issue
- A similar bill was proposed in California three years ago, but it died as both immigrant rights groups and labor unions opposed it. They instead hoped for a national approach to immigration reform, rather than state-by-state measures.
Fox 59: Indiana crops continue to worsen, U.S. Senate hopefuls back continued crop insurance funding
- In a new report out Monday, the USDA said 26 percent of the state’s corn is in poor or very poor condition and 28 percent for soybeans.
Associated Press: State University of New York announces farm initiative
- Some New York state college students will have the chance to live and work on a farm while studying agriculture, food sciences and other related fields.
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