Daily Harvest -- 8/21/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Survey shows farm computer use continues to grow
- The majority of farmers and ranchers now have computer and Internet access, and the number of connected producers continues to grow, a new survey shows.
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack mourns firefighter deaths, pledges resources to suppress wildfire threat
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the government will use "every available resource" to combat the outbreak of wildfires plaguing the American West after three firefighters are killed.
Agri-Pulse: Opinion: Cuts to the Farm Safety Net Jeopardize a National Asset
- If ever we lose the hard-working independent family farms that take care of the nation's landscape while producing a diverse set of crops more reliably and efficiently than any farm sector in history, then, and only then will we truly understand the value they provide.
Wall Street Journal: Deere Watches for Thinner Harvest
- Deere – which is more exposed to farm incomes than most equipment makers, but has been relatively buoyant on the stock market – deserves credit for preparing well for the current downturn and setting expectations.
Wall Street Journal: Illinois Corn Crop Forecast 14% Lower Than 2014 Harvest
- Illinois’s corn crop is forecast to come in more than 14% lower than last year, in line with the most recent federal projections, according to an average of survey results collected by scouts on a closely watched crop tour.
Palm Beach Post: Mobile labs help Florida agriculture save billions of gallons of water
- Florida’s Mobile Irrigation Lab program helped agricultural operations save more than 12 million gallons of water in the last fiscal year, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Thursday.
Reuters: Scientists call for new review of herbicide, cite 'flawed' U.S. regulations
- U.S. regulators have relied on flawed and outdated research to allow expanded use of an herbicide linked to cancer, and new assessments should be urgently conducted, according to a column published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.
Agri-Pulse: America's Renewable Future meets with Donald Trump
- America’s Renewal Future is less than a year old, but it has already made an impact when it comes to educating presidential candidates about the importance of agriculture and renewable fuels.
Wall Street Journal: Employers Feel Pinch as Energy Boom Sputters
- Waynesburg in Greene County, Pa., traditionally one of the state’s poorest counties, saw a boom thanks to fracking—but now it is feeling the energy industry’s downturn.
Wall Street Journal: Refineries Could Push Oil Over the Edge
- As crude oil teeters on the edge of the $30s, it isn’t necessarily China or Saudi Arabia that will push prices over the edge. Rather, the final shove could come from the U.S.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Borlaug joins farmer moms to counter Hollywood anti-GMO campaign
- A group of self-proclaimed Moms for GMOs has released a letter they sent to celebrity advocates including Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Michelle Geller urging the actresses to rethink their support for mandatory labeling of products made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Wall Street Journal: More Foods Boast Non-GMO Labels—Even Those Without GMOs
- Exact data on how many products claim they are GMO-free isn’t available, but the number is growing.
Wall Street Journal: Coca-Cola Pledges to Disclose Financial Contributions to Health Groups, Researchers
- Coca-Cola Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Muhtar Kent promised in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that the beverage giant will start disclosing all of its financial contributions to health groups and academic researchers after coming under fire for an anti-obesity initiative.
ABC News: Popular foods taking on new hues without artificial dyes
- Food makers are purging their products of artificial dyes as people increasingly eschew anything in their food they don't feel is natural. But replicating the vivid colors Americans expect with ingredients like beets and carrots isn't always easy.
New York Times: Recalls of Organic Food on the Rise, Report Says
- New data collected by Stericycle, a company that handles recalls for businesses, shows a sharp jump in the number of recalls of organic food products.
Salt Lake Tribune: State: Skim Milk With No Added Vitamins Is 'Imitation'
- The Ocheesee Creamery in the Florida Panhandle produces all-natural skim milk from grass-fed cows with absolutely nothing added, yet the state says they have to call it "imitation."
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Wall Street Journal: Russia’s Food Inspectors Enforce Putin’s Decree to Destroy Embargoed Western Victuals
- At the end of July, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered authorities to fan out and destroy all items eluding a Western food embargo that his government enacted a year ago in response to sanctions over Ukraine.
New York Times: Canadian Maple Syrup ‘Rebels’ Clash With Law
- In 1990, the Quebec syrup federation became the only wholesale seller of the province’s production, and in 2004, it gained the power to decide who gets to make maple syrup and how much.
LA Times: Costco faces lawsuit over sale of prawns allegedly farmed by slave labor
- A Costco Wholesale Corp. customer sued the retailer on allegations that it knowingly sold frozen prawns that were the product of slave labor in Southeast Asia.
Yahoo News: Central America issues alert as severe drought hits agriculture
- Central American and Caribbean governments on Thursday issued an official alert as severe drought in the region damages the crops of some 1.6 million people.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Opinion: Cuts to the Farm Safety Net Jeopardize a National Asset
- When the well's dry, we shall know the worth of water, said Benjamin Franklin.
Washington Post: California land quickly sinking in drought costs farmers
- Land in Central California's agricultural region is sinking so quickly because of the state's historic drought that it is forcing farmers to spend millions of dollars upgrading irrigation canals and putting roads, bridges and other infrastructure at risk.
U.S. News and World Report: Study Sees Dying Wildlife, Bigger Fires if Drought Lasts
- A new report by the Public Policy Institute of California nonprofit think-tank paints a distressing picture of California for the next two years if the state's driest four years on record stretches further into the future.
LA Times: What's to blame for the California drought?
- A growing number of scientists have made the claim that climate change is at least partly responsible. Now researchers have estimated the extent to which humans are to blame: between 8% and 27%.
Washington Post: The world's forests are in major trouble, scientists report
- By threatening the world's forests, humans ultimately harm themselves.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
TIME: The Republican 2016 Field Takes a Hard Right on Immigration
- Santorum joined the growing legion of Republican White House hopefuls taking tougher—and perhaps unrealistic—approaches to immigration policy.
NPR: How Realistic Is Donald Trump's Immigration Plan?
- Donald Trump could write "Immigration Reform for Dummies." He makes a complex issue simple and sexy.
Capitol Press: Farmworker camp will likely remain open
- A 380-bed migrant farmworker camp in this small town west of Wenatchee likely will be kept going by the state and Chelan County for another two years.
Wall Street Journal: Smithfield Foods Names New Operating, Finance Chiefs
- Smithfield Foods Inc., the largest hog producer and pork processor in the U.S., on Thursday announced two executive changes as part of a reorganization announced earlier this year.
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