Daily Harvest -- 8/12/2013
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Audio Open Mic with Bill Wykes
- Wykes, a soybean farmer and the past chair of the Illinois Soybean Association, is concerned about regulatory and trade issues facing biotechnology and has encouraged the ISA to host a symposium on the dynamics of international biotechnology.
Agri-Pulse: The Farm Bill, As Metaphor!
- Chuck Fluharty, Founding Director of the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI), writes that the House Farm Bill action highlighted vast disagreements about conflicting visions and values. He highlights three pieces recently written by different public intellectuals, whose views traverse the political spectrum, regarding the current state of “the American Dream.”
Des Moines Register: The Register's Editorial: Subsidy checks still arrive after Grim Reaper's harvest
- House Republicans are pushing for steep funding cuts and talk repeatedly about reports of widespread fraud and abuse of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called food stamps. Iowa’s Rep. Steve King, for example, said he heard about someone who bailed himself out of jail with a SNAP debit card and about tattoo parlors that take the cards as payment.
Wall Street Journal: Food-Stamp Use Rises; Some 15% Get Benefits
- Food-stamp use rose 2.4% in the U.S. in May from a year earlier, with more than 15% of the U.S. population receiving benefits. One of the federal government’s biggest social welfare programs, which expanded when the economy convulsed, isn’t shrinking back alongside the recovery.
New York Times: Unemployed? No Food Stamps for You
- The New York Times’ David Firestone writes that Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, wants to cut $4 billion from SNAP a year, double an earlier cut, by removing up to 4 million people from the food stamp program.
Marshalltown Times Republican: Grassley hopeful for Farm Bill passage
- After a congressional break this month, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, feels lawmakers will eventually pass a Farm Bill when they return to Washington, D.C.
Washington Post: Farms are gigantic now. Even the “family-owned” ones.
- Even while the average size of farms is going up, there are more small farms than ever, especially in small states with farmland preservation programs like Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It’s the mid-sized farm, between 100 and 500 acres, that’s disappearing.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: New beef sustainability study
- (Audio) The results of new beef industry sustainability assessment released last week, funded the beef checkoff, analyzed the inputs and outputs needed to produce a pound of beef and found that overall sustainability improved by five percent over six years.
Wall Street Journal: A Corn Boom Starts to Wilt
- The boom in corn prices that helped propel the U.S. farm economy is fading amid expectations for a record-high harvest. Prices are down more than 40% from last year's all-time highs, to their lowest point in nearly three years.
Financial Times: A food ban can save a politician in a spiritual vacuum
- (Subscriber only) This week, with national elections just a month away, Bild, Germany’s largest tabloid, claimed that the country’s third-biggest party literally wants to ban meat. The Greens have proposed that cafeterias introduce one “Veggie Day” every week.
Bloomberg: Wheat Recovers From 2012 Low Before USDA Global Crop Outlook
- Wheat rallied from the lowest level since 2012 on expectations global supplies may be smaller than previously forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture before the agency updates its estimates today.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Government argues against bid for court to block COOL
- Government lawyers late Friday asked a U.S. District Court here to refuse to issue an order blocking USDA’s implementation of mandatory country-of-origin labeling.
The Hill: Asia-Pacific trade deal in 'end game' stage
- U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said that the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are on their final approach with the aim of wrapping up work by year's end, which he characterized as "ambitious but doable."
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Des Moines Register: The Register's Editorial: Iowa's water quality disconnect
- Iowa agricultural interests should work just as hard the rest of the year after the fair ends to demonstrate their dedication to clean water and soil conservation. Unfortunately, just the opposite is happening.
Sacramento Bee: Businesses soon may meet California air rules by paying someone else to slash emissions
- Under standards being drawn up by the California Air Resources Board, companies that have to meet the state's greenhouse-gas standards will be able to satisfy part of their burden by purchasing "offsets" – credits that are generated when carbon emissions are slashed by others.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
LA Times: Immigration reform creates odd political alliances
- Liberal organizations are working alongside GOP operatives, faith groups and high-tech companies to sway Republicans in Congress to overhaul immigration policies. And a lot of money is being spent to do so.
New York Times: On Fate of Wild Horses, Stars and Indians Spar
- Bill Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico, and the actor Robert Redford, a staunch conservationist, found themselves on a collision course with the Navajo Nation, the country's largest federally recognized tribe, whose president released a letter to Congress on Aug. 2 asserting his support for horse slaughtering.
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