Daily Harvest -- 8/21/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Farm Bureau focused on EPA issues
- (Audio) Congress still has another two weeks of summer break before heading back to Washington, for a total less than two weeks of working days prior to the election. American Farm Bureau Federation’s Mary Kay Thatcher says that rules out doing anything this session on immigration reform.
Wall Street Journal: Corn, Soybean Yields Shoot Higher
- So far, estimates of corn yields from states on the closely watched Pro Farmer tour mostly have exceeded U.S. Agriculture Department estimates, adding further pressure to corn prices that have dropped 15% this year and are trading near four-year lows.
The Hill: Beekeepers buzzing for new honey standards
- The honey producers and packagers say the new standards would prevent fake honey from creeping into the U.S. market and harming their businesses. They’re cheering a move by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that could do just that.
New York Times: Nestlé Moves Toward Humane Treatment of Animals at Its Suppliers
- Nestlé, one of the world’s largest food companies, is adopting animal welfare standards that will affect 7,300 of its suppliers around the globe, and their suppliers.
Wall Street Journal: Monsanto Expects 2014 U.S. Approval for New Soybean Seeds
- Monsanto Co. expects to begin selling new soybean seeds resistant to a broader range of herbicides in 2016 pending regulatory approvals in major agricultural countries, executives said on Wednesday.
Wall Street Journal: Fed Debates Early Rate Increases
- Federal Reserve officials debated at their July policy meeting whether they might need to raise interest rates sooner than expected in light of a strengthening recovery, but they were restrained by lingering doubts about whether the economy's gains would persist.
Des Moines Register: Iowa's support for renewable fuels confirmed with new poll
- Iowa's support for renewable fuels has been officially confirmed: 77 percent of registered voters surveyed said they support expanding the federal Renewable Fuel Standard to increase biodiesel in the fuel supply.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Washington Post: GMO labeling measure makes Colorado’s November ballot
- A proposal to require the labeling of genetically modified food qualified for Colorado’s November ballot, the secretary of state’s office announced Wednesday.
The New Yorker: The Problem with G.M.O. Labels
- Americans demand labels, at least in part, because they are afraid. And they are afraid because of the kinds of assertions made by people like Vandana Shiva, an Indian activist whom I profiled this week in the magazine. Shiva and her allies talk constantly about dangers of G.M.O.s that are not supported by facts.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Financial Times: Russian agriculture struggles to meet self-sufficiency challenge
- Since the Russian government banned food imports from western countries earlier this month in retaliation for sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, Moscow has been trying to persuade consumers that domestic produce is better and telling farmers that Russian agriculture’s time has come.
The Telegraph: Russia shuts down McDonald's branches in Moscow amid Ukraine row
- Closure of four McDonald's restaurants in Russian capital for unspecified sanitary violations widely seen as an anti-American measure in wake of mutual sanctions and diplomatic tussling over Ukraine
Vietnam.net: Genetically-modified corn allowed in Vietnam
- The first four genetically-modified (GM) maize varieties have been licensed for both human consumption and as animal feed in Vietnam.
Financial Times: CFTC and traders clash on cotton verdict
- A notorious episode of wild cotton price swings was “orderly”, a US regulator has said, a conclusion at odds with many traders’ views of the 2011 affair.
NPR: Specialty Food And Agriculture Startups Are Ripening In Greece
- The most touted have been tech startups like TaxiBeat, which produces a smartphone application to hail and rate taxi drivers. But Makryniotis says many more sustainable jobs could come in specialty agriculture.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: USDA seeks disaster funding to fight wildfires
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the release of a report compiled by the U.S. Forest Service, which says the cost of fighting forest fires increased over the last 20 years as the budgets for other forest programs, including those that can help prevent fire damage, have shrunk.
Los Angeles Times: California saw 163 new wildfires last week, most sparked by lightning
- The wildfires further stretched firefighting resources that have already been spread thin by fire activity across the state that has far exceeded what agencies experienced last year.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Associated Press: Obama Weighs Broader Move on Legal Immigration
- President Barack Obama is considering key changes in the nation's immigration system requested by tech, industry and powerful interest groups, in a move that could blunt Republicans' election-year criticism of the president's go-it-alone approach to immigration.
Los Angeles Times: Shorter fruit trees bred to cut farm labor costs
- Now researchers at UC Davis are breeding a solution – miniaturized stone fruit trees that produce the same yield as traditional trees but take the ladder out of the equation.
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