Daily Harvest -- 8/10/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Patches of blue growing in rural America
- Political pundits mistakenly characterize rural America as politically one-dimensional, but those who do fail to understand important demographic changes that can impact the 2016 elections.
Agri-Pulse: Presidential candidates will be in Iowa this week
- (Audio) There were a lot of issues discussed in the Republican presidential debates last week on Fox, but agriculture was not one of them. The closest any candidate got to mentioning agriculture was when Ben Carson talked about a proportionate tax system.
Wall Street Journal: To Feed Billions, Farms Are About Data as Much as Dirt
- Mark Bryant is a farmer in Ohio with 12,000 acres, on which he raises corn, soybeans and soft red winter wheat. He is rarely on a tractor, because that isn’t how farms work anymore.
Des Moines Register: Ag forecast bleak unless commodity prices rebound
- Stubbornly low commodity prices are sending a nervous ripple throughout the farm economy in Iowa and across the Corn Belt, as many growers struggle to lock in a profit given the prospect of bumper corn and soybean crops this fall.
New York Times: Exposing Abuse on the Factory Farm
- Editorial Board: While most Americans enjoy eating meat, it is hard to stomach the often sadistic treatment of factory-farmed cows, pigs and chickens.
Agri-Pulse: USDA announces funding for 264 renewable energy projects
- USDA today announced $63 million in loans and grants for 264 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide that the department is supporting through its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
Denver Post: Alternative-energy stock funds have grown up
- Even as the tumble in oil prices pummels the industry, one small — and perhaps surprising — group of energy stock funds has held up better than its peers: those investing in solar, wind and other alternative-energy sources.
Business Insider: Energy companies could learn a lot from the airlines
- If you’ve studied psychology, and specifically behavioral finance, you might be familiar with the concept of adversity quotient (AQ), which measures how well someone is able to face and cope with, well, adversity. It looks at how we use the tools given to us in order to survive and recover from setbacks.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Lower gasoline prices still pinching the ethanol industry
- U.S. ethanol plants are producing more fuel, selling it at lower prices and taking a hit on profits.
FOOD & NUTRITION
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why some farmers are deciding to go GMO-free
- Clearly the world of farming is still dominated by seeds that have been genetically altered to help them deal with drought, insects and weeds. But there’s anecdotal evidence suggesting that more farmers are considering the path Beyers has chosen.
New York Times: Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets
- Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new “science-based” solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.
Quartz: Astronauts are about to eat the first food grown in space
- The first food grown and harvested in space—a crop of red lettuce—is about to be eaten by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The lettuce was grown for 15 months with a system called Veg-01, which uses red, blue, and green LED lights to grow plants in a small space.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: South African import bans continue to pork, poultry producers' dismay
- South Africa is keeping its door shut to American poultry and pork imports, frustrating U.S. producers who say it isn't living up to the requirements of a preferential trade law.
USA Today: Anger, protests as Russia destroys tons of banned food
- The destruction of more than 350 tons of food by the government this week angered Russians in a nation where some are struggling to feed themselves and many recall the norm of food shortages just a generation ago.
Wall Street Journal: In China, Fast-Food Fight Turns to Delivery
- China’s rapidly diversifying Internet giants are taking on Western food chains at their own game—door-to-door delivery—and finding a huge appetite among urban consumers.
Reuters: Dairy farmers milk politics of Pacific trade pact
- New Zealand dairy farmers have a message for their Canadian counterparts, who worry that a Pacific trade deal will throw them on the mercy of world markets and devastate their industry: It's not so bad.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
New York Times: A Once-Flourishing Pima Cotton Industry Withers in an Arid California
- Farmers here have fallowed acres of Pima cotton by the thousands, threatening the region’s unlikely reign as the world’s biggest producer of the specialty cotton, also called Supima.
Los Angeles Times: EPA orders more air quality tests for homes near Superfund sites
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a new round of air quality tests for a South Bay neighborhood after detecting a variety of contaminants inside homes near two federal cleanup sites.
Los Angeles Times: Innovation is blooming at water-wise urban farms
- As California moves through its fourth summer of drought, cutting back on water use means shorter showers, fuller dishwashers and drier lawns for most people living in urban areas.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
CBS News: The growing demand for "fair food"
- There are still about a million migrant farm workers in the U.S. The population of towns like Immokalee, Fla., swells every winter when migrants and their families move here looking for work.
New York Times: California Effort to Issue Driver’s Licenses to Immigrants Receives Surge of Applicants
- When Alberto Fraire drives past a police car these days, he no longer worries about steep fines, or perhaps being hauled to jail and tangling with the immigration system. When California began issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants this year, he was one of the first in line.
Associated Press: After 190 years, NY's Erie Canal a relic with a hefty cost
- Long ago eclipsed by railroads and interstates, the waterway has for many years been a historical curiosity that's seen waning use by recreational and commercial vessels.
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