Daily Harvest -- 7/24/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: House votes to bar GMO labeling
- In a landmark step for agricultural biotechnology, the House voted 275-150 to block state GMO labeling laws and to set rules for marketing foods as non-biotech.
Agri-Pulse: Highway bill could include COOL showdown
- Senate Agriculture Committee leaders remain at odds over the path forward for the country-of-origin labeling law for meat, and their debate could get tangled up in a highway bill the Senate is considering.
Agri-Pulse: Syngenta earnings report fuels more debate over Monsanto buy-out offer
- Syngenta's 2015 half-year earnings report released today showed lower earnings and sales from a year ago, but analysts say the results are better than expected in a tough environment of low crop prices.
Agri-Pulse: USDA approves Dow's Enlist cotton
- USDA today announced its decision to deregulate Dow AgroSciences' genetically engineered (GE) Enlist cotton trait in the United States. The department has now completed its regulatory review process for all of Dow's Enlist traits - corn, soybeans and cotton.
Agri-Pulse: USDA expands crop insurance for fruit, nut producers
- Building on provisions contained in the 2014 farm bill, USDA plans to expand crop insurance options for fruit and nut producers next year. Both the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) and the Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion will be available to cover fresh fruit and nuts in select counties beginning with the 2016 crop year.
Agri-Pulse: Most farmers meet conservation compliance deadline
- (Audio) Conservation compliance went well this first year, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who told the House Agriculture Committee this week that 98 percent of farmers filed their compliance forms by June 1, as required.
Associated Press: Union Pacific's 2Q profit falls 7 percent as volume declines
- A sharp decline in coal shipments drove down Union Pacific's second-quarter profit by 7 percent, and executives predicted that the railroad would fall short of expectations for the year because the challenging conditions will continue.
Agri-Pulse: RFS opponents call for reform action at House hearing
- Lawmakers and several witnesses argued today that it may be time to consider adjustments to the Renewable Fuel Standard, the cornerstone policy of the renewable fuels industry and the burr under the saddle of oil companies for the past decade.
WCF Courier: Grassley defends extending tax credits for renewable energy
- It’s been a big week for renewable fuels, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley after the Senate Finance Committee voted 23-3 to approve extending tax credits for wind energy, biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol.
Forbes: What Utilities Want To See From Energy Entrepreneurs
- Energy startups can increase their chance of success by ensuring they offer a profit incentive to utilities, John Rowe, former CEO and chairman emeritus of Exelon said Wednesday in Chicago.
New York Times: Britain Plans to Cut Subsidies for Renewable Energy
- The British government on Wednesday announced plans to curb the costs of subsidies for renewable forms of energy like solar power, arguing that the industry could survive without the support.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Battle over GMO labeling shifts to Senate
- The food industry's campaign to stop states from requiring labels on genetically engineered products faces an uncertain future in the Senate following a landmark, bipartisan victory in the House.
Washington Post: Eggs are no longer the cheapest source of animal protein
- Anyone who hasn't noticed that eggs are getting more expensive these days either doesn't buy eggs or doesn't bother to look at prices when buying groceries.
New York Times: Navigating a Bureaucratic Maze to Renew Food Stamp Benefits
- Even as New York City has embarked on a campaign to increase access to food stamps in recent months, Mr. Shorter’s plight illustrates the barriers that remain for those who are already enrolled.
Fortune: The winners and losers of New York's new $15 fast-food minimum wage
- Labor leaders are celebrating the decision to raise New York’s minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 per hour, but economists say the results for low-income workers will be mixed.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Reuters: Thai CP Foods to buy $680 mln Russian poultry firm in overseas drive
- Thailand's largest meat and animal feed producer, Charoen Pokphand Foods Pcl, will buy a Russian poultry business from Dutch firm Agro-Invest Brinky B.V. for $680 million in cash, tapping into strong demand in Russia to offset flagging sales at home.
Washington Post: GOP-controlled Senate panel votes to lift Cuba travel ban
- A GOP-controlled Senate panel has voted to lift a decades-long ban on travel to Cuba, giving a boost to President Barack Obama’s moves to ease travel restrictions and open up relations with the Castro-governed nation.
Associated Press: French farmers block Alpine roads over low meat, milk prices
- Angry French farmers relented Thursday after a day of protesting low milk and meat prices by blocking roads to Mont Saint-Michel and the Alps — but warned that other agricultural protests are on the horizon.
New Zimbabwe: Evicted farm workers pile pressure on Mugabe aide
- Farm workers who were evicted by President Robert Mugabe’s aide after he forcibly took over the farm from a white commercial farmer have joined their former employer to up the pressure on the new owner, arguing they are living under inhumane conditions without access to water.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Washington Post: Chesapeake Bay report card: Progress on cleanup but challenges ahead
- Government officials leading a multi-state cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay pledged on Thursday to continue their efforts to reduce pollution in the watershed but acknowledged the difficulty of meeting their environmental targets for 2017.
The New Yorker: Can Desalination Counter the Drought?
- The state has eight hundred and forty miles of coastline adjoining the world’s largest ocean—an oversupply of brine at a time when drought has left fallow more than half a million acres of farmland, claimed some twenty thousand jobs, and cost the economy billions of dollars.
Business Insider: California's drought is 'a harbinger of the coming global water crisis'
- The four-year California drought is causing unparalleled devastation to the region. Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch think it’s going to get a lot worse.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Reuters: U.S. House bars funding for 'sanctuary' cities for immigrants
- The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to deny funding to cities that do not report undocumented immigrants to federal authorities, setting off outcry from the White House and immigration advocates.
Bloomberg: Dow Chemical Tops Profit Forecasts as Plastics Set Record
- Dow Chemical Co., the largest U.S. chemical maker by revenue, reported second-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates as the plastics business posted record profit on lower costs for oil and natural gas.
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