Daily Harvest -- 9/9/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack says USDA may tackle beef checkoff reform on its own
- (Subscriber only) Noting that three years of negotiations had produced very little in way of reforming the beef checkoff, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he might just handle it on his own.
Agri-Pulse: Veto recommended on bill aimed at gutting Waters of U.S. rule
- (Subscriber only) President Obama's senior advisers are recommending a veto should Congress approve a bill being pushed by House Republicans that would prohibit the EPA from implementing a proposed rule aimed at clarifying which waters of the U.S. are under its jurisdiction as part of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack updates Obama on farm bill, announces new conservation funds
- (Subscriber only) As USDA continues to roll out new Farm Bill programs, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that $328 million in conservation funding is being invested to help landowners protect and restore 32,000 acres of prime farmlands, 45,000 acres of grasslands and 52,000 acres of wetlands.
Agri-Pulse: Rockefeller, Thune introduce STB Reform Bill
- Senate Commerce Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller, D-W. VA., and Ranking Member John Thune, R-S.D., introduced legislation Monday afternoon to increase the efficiency of the Surface Transportation Board.
Agri-Pulse: GAO sees savings in crop insurance subsidies
- (Subscriber only) The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is recommending that Congress consider reducing the level of federal premium subsidies for revenue crop insurance programs, saying the government could save hundreds of millions of dollars a year “with limited costs to individual farmers.”
Agri-Pulse: Food vs. fuel debunked again: Corn prices fall, retail food prices stay steady
- The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) released a report today that further debunks the fictional food vs. fuel argument.
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack updates president on rail transportation concerns
- (Audio) Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack updated President Obama Monday on some issues, including concerns about lack of rail capacity to haul grain in light of record crops expected this fall.
Bloomberg: Wheat Harvest Forecast Cut by Australia as Farmers Need Rain
- Australia lowered its outlook for wheat production as dry weather in parts of the country’s east may curb yields in the world’s fifth-biggest exporter.
Reuters: U.S. soy, corn up for 2nd day on frost fears; wheat firms
- Chicago soybean and corn futures rose for a second consecutive session on Monday as agricultural markets drew support from forecasts for potentially unfavourable weather in parts of key growing regions in the United States.
WUIS: Monsanto To Settle GMO Wheat Cases
- Monsanto has agreed to settle some of the lawsuits brought by U.S. farmers who allege they lost money when an Oregon field was discovered to have been contaminated with an experimental genetically modified strain of wheat.
Des Moines Register: White House: Can railroads handle record fall harvest?
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Monday the White House is concerned about whether railroads will be able to haul a bumper crop of corn and soybeans this fall.
National Journal: It's Not Been Working on the Railroads
- Deregulation has been a popular theme in U.S. politics for decades, but a Surface Transportation Board hearing here last week on railcar shortages and service delays provided an example of how dependent rural America still is on a federal regulatory agency to push the railroads to provide vital services.
Washington Post: Congress returns with clear goal: to be ‘as boring as possible’
- Congressional lawmakers are scheduled to meet for less than half of September and not reconvene until after Election Day. With elections fast approaching, both parties are eager to get vulnerable incumbents out of Washington and back on the campaign trail.
The Hill: EPA tries again to explain water jurisdiction rule
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released seven pages of questions and answers Monday on its proposal to redefine which lakes and streams it can regulate.
The Guardian: Government increasingly divided over plan to scrap renewable energy target
- The government appears to be edging away from the closure of the renewable energy target (RET) scheme, with the education minister, Christopher Pyne, reportedly giving his full support to the scheme at a private meeting.
New York Times: Boom in Energy Spurs Industry in the Rust Belt
- The turnaround is part of a transformation spreading across the heartland of the nation, driven by a surge in domestic oil and gas production that is changing the economic calculus for old industries and downtrodden cities alike.
FOOD & NUTRITION
NorthJersey.com: Enjoy sweet corn now, while at its peak
- The last gasp of summer in the Garden State is filled with the sweet scent of corn. Beautiful, majestic sweet corn covers more than 7,000 acres of farmland in New Jersey.
Washington Post: Dirt, corn, twigs, soybeans and other fillers are appearing in coffee
- Cream and sugar may not be the only additives in your morning cup of coffee. Tough growing conditions and rising demand are leading some coffee producers to mix in wheat, soybean, brown sugar, rye, barley, acai seeds, corn, twigs and even dirt.
Denver Post: Colorado ballot decisions include personhood, GMO food, horse racing
- Colorado's fall election ballot was set Monday, as the Secretary of State's Office certified four issues for voters to decide, including the definition of a person, casino gambling in three counties, food labeling and open meetings.
Huffington Post: Can These GMO Foods Save the World?
- It would be somewhat of an understatement to say that genetically modified (GMO) foods have gotten a bit of a bad rap in recent years, on The Daily Meal, among other places. But from drought-resistant corn to virus-resistant squash, some can potentially have quite a positive impact on the world.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Pork groups urge tariff elimination in TPP
- Organizations representing hog farmers in the U.S., Australia, Chile and Mexico are calling on negotiators on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks to come up with a “comprehensive, high-quality” agreement that eliminates tariffs on nearly all products, including pork.
Bloomberg Businessweek: Forget Iron. Australian Miners Start Selling Cattle in China
- As China’s economy slows and the days of double-digit economic growth are over, companies that have been selling minerals to the Chinese are looking for the next big thing. For many Australian miners, the answer is cattle.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Reuters: Record California walnut crop seen, analyst "alarmed" at water use
- California is forecast to produce a record walnut crop this year despite the state's severe drought, and one analyst says some alarming water use practices have contributed to the robust yields.
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