Daily Harvest -- 9/21/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Washington Week Ahead: Francis, Xi to dominate D.C. as budget deadline looms
- Pope Francis and Chinese President Xi Jinping will capture Washington's attention this week even as Republican congressional leaders struggle to ensure there won't be a government shutdown on Oct. 1.
Agri-Pulse: Open Mic with Dan Knutson, EVP and CEO of Land O' Lakes
- (Audio) In this interview, Knutson explains how the two-step merger of United Suppliers with Land O’ Lakes' Winfield business is a “merger of equals” combining the technology and resources of both companies to grow farm productivity despite lower returns and a maze of regulatory hurdles, like WOTUS.
Agri-Pulse: Senate Ag leaders ask USDA for bird flu readiness details
- Senate Agriculture Committee leaders are asking USDA for more information regarding the department's efforts to prepare for a possible return this fall of the bird flu outbreak that decimated Midwest chicken and turkey farms earlier this year.
Agri-Pulse: USDA releases battle plan for possible bird flu return
- USDA today released a preparedness and response plan to combat future outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which decimated commercial chicken and turkey flocks in the Midwest earlier this year.
Agri-Pulse: Organic farm sales surge 72 percent from 2008, USDA reports
- Sales of organic farm products are booming. The 2014 Organic Survey, released today by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), shows that 14,093 certified and exempt organic farms in the United States sold a total of $5.5 billion in organic products in 2014, up 72 percent since 2008.
Agri-Pulse: Permanent bonus depreciation reported to the full house
- (Audio) Late last week, the House Ways and Means committee reported several bills, one of which would make 50 percent bonus depreciation a permanent part of the tax code rather than a temporary provision.
Washington Post: Pentagon bets heavily on sun, wind with major energy projects
- By late next year, some 136,000 of the glass panels will be installed on an empty corner of a Navy base, covering an area the size of 280 football fields. And yet, by the time it’s completed, it will not be the Navy’s largest solar array.
Rutland Herald: In energy rush, farmland needs protection
- (Opinion) Today our land use polices relative to solar and wild energy are in considerable conflict, says Roger Allbee, the former Vermont secretary of agriculture.
Clean Technica: Energy Storage ‘Revolutionizes’ Solar Technology & Beats Natural Gas, Says Abengoa
- Concentrating solar power technology has had its doubters, but throw in a big dose of energy storage and now you’re cooking with gas, so to speak, according to Fred Redell, the managing director of global solar giant Abengoa.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Washington Post: Why the healthy school lunch program is in trouble. Before/after photos of what students ate.
- In 2012 before the USDA mandate went into effect, researchers visited two elementary schools and took digital pictures of students’ trays before and after they ate. They then quantified what was eaten and what was thrown away, finding that vegetables largely went uneaten and into the trash.
NPR: How America's Wealth Gap Shows Up On Our Dinner Plates
- The wealth gap in America manifests itself not just in our pocketbooks but also in our bellies: The poor are eating less nutritious food than everyone else, according to a new review of 25 SNAP studies published between 2003 and 2014.
New York Times: F.D.A. Nominee Califf’s Ties to Drug Makers Worry Some
- Robert Califf has deeper ties to the pharmaceutical industry than any F.D.A. commissioner in recent memory, and some public health advocates question whether his background could tilt him in the direction of an industry he would be in charge of supervising.
New York Times: The (Fake) Meat Revolution
- (Opinion) Veggie burgers used to seem like a blend of tofu and cardboard, but in the last few years food scientists have come up with first-rate faux chicken strips and beef crumbles that could end up being cheaper than real meat.
Washington Post: Peanut executive in salmonella case faces sentencing
- A year after a federal jury convicted him of crimes behind a salmonella outbreak blamed for killing nine people and sickening hundreds more, former peanut executive Stewart Parnell returns to court facing possible imprisonment for the rest of his life.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Ag firms cleared to open facilities in Cuba
- American agricultural exporters can start opening offices and storage facilities in Cuba, under a series of steps finalized by the Obama administration to ease restrictions on business and travel.
Agri-Pulse: Lawmakers urge Obama to press Xi on China's biotech delay
- Lawmakers are joining farm groups and the biotechnology industry in urging President Obama to push Chinese President Xi Jinping next week to accelerate import approvals for genetically engineered commodities.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Opinion: Agriculture's Green Revolution 2.0 focused on soil
- With the global population expected to hit 9.5 billion by 2050, feeding a hungry world is once again inching upward on a jam-packed list of world crises.
Christian Science Monitor: Volkswagen admits to cheating consumers, environment
- Volkswagen admitted to intentionally cheating the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act standards in over 500,000 of their diesel-powered cars.
Arizona Daily Star: Congress must renew the Land & Water Conservation Fund
- (Opinion) Outdoor recreation is responsible for more than 100,000 Arizona jobs and generates $787 million in state and local tax revenue a year, but rarely do we stop to think about how these recreational spaces came to be.
Idaho Statesman: Congress must reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund
- (Opinion) Two third-generation ranchers from Idaho and Montana argue “the Land and Water Conservation Fund is worth rolling up our sleeves and working together for.”
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
The Salinas Californian: United Farm Workers claims victory in labor battle
- Organized labor claimed a victory in a decades-long fight with one of the nation's largest fruit growers when a judge ruled that the company interfered with its employees' vote on whether to reject union representation.
The Western Producer: Oilfield slowdown not creating farm worker flood
- Producers are looking for workers with experience with livestock, equipment operation, in a feed mill, truck driving and welding. But are finding little interest from laid off oilfield workers.
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack names Karla Thieman as USDA chief of staff
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the appointment of Karla Thieman as chief of staff for USDA. The position was recently vacated by Brian Baenig, who moved to the Biotechnology Industry Organization as vice president of its Food and Agriculture Section.
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