Daily Harvest -- 9/29/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Open Mic with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack
- (Audio) Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the USDA is ready for what promises to be a challenging task for FSA staff and the nation’s crop farmers. Vilsack has a wish list for the upcoming lame duck session of congress and says ongoing trade talks with the Japanese have implications far beyond the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Agri-Pulse: Holder: Talk, little action on agribusiness concentration
- (Subscriber only) Attorney General Eric Holder will leave office after six years with a legacy highlighted by civil rights and voting rights enforcement but with an antitrust record that disappointed
Agri-Pulse: USDA announces new peanut revenue policy
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a new peanut revenue policy available to eligible peanut producers.
Agri-Pulse: USDA stumped in probe into unauthorized GE wheat found in Oregon
- After a 16-month investigation, USDA says it's been unable to determine how unapproved genetically-engineered wheat made its way into a farm field in Oregon last year.
Agri-Pulse: Hogs and Pigs report numbers higher than expected
- The U.S. hog and pig inventory totaled 65.4 million as of Sept. 1, down 2 percent from a year earlier but up 6 percent from three months earlier, USDA said today in a quarterly report.
Des Moines Register: Rent squeeze could push some farmers out of business
- Rapidly declining corn and soybean prices are sparking difficult discussions across Iowa about how much growers should pay to rent farmland next year, experts say.
New York Times: USDA to Start Program to Support Local and Organic Farming
- The United States Department of Agriculture plans to announce Monday that it will spend $52 million to support local and regional food systems like farmers’ markets and food hubs and to spur research on organic farming.
Bloomberg Businessweek: Next-Generation GMO Seeds Wait for Weed Killer to Win Over EPA
- The seeds in Dow’s Enlist system—genetically modified corn and soybeans—won approval for commercial use last week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The fate of the product lies with the Environmental Protection Agency, which must approve Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide before the system can be successfully marketed.
Wall Street Journal: FarmNet helps NY farmers overcome challenges
- The 28-year-old nonprofit program funded primarily by the state's Department of Agriculture and Markets gives farm families free, confidential consulting services to help them improve their finances and overcome an array of challenges.
Missourian: Farmers: Failure to override veto jeopardizes future of Missouri dairies
- The Missouri legislature's failure to override the veto of an agriculture bill could jeopardize the future of dairy farms in the state, dairy farmers say.
Washington Post: Hemp crop from detained seeds harvested in Ky.
- Some of the imported hemp seeds detained by U.S. customs officials in the spring turned into 10-foot-tall plants that were harvested Tuesday on a research plot in Kentucky, where marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin has gained a foothold as a potential cash crop.
New York Times: Benefits of Joining the Herd
- While New York has been a haven for dairy cooperatives, the Adirondack Grazers Cooperative is something much less common in the state — a co-op for grass-fed beef. Its members inhabit farms from the Adirondacks south to the Pennsylvania border and east into Vermont.
High Plains Journal: APH Adjustment Option uncertainty has caused uneasiness
- As wheat farmers plant their 2014 fall crop they are doing so with some angst because of uncertainty about one of their risk tools.
NPR: Tiny Spanish Island Nears Its Goal: 100 Percent Renewable Energy
- The ancient island off the west coast of Africa is now a model for the future, within months of running on 100 percent renewable energy, which consists of a mix of wind and hydro-power.
Financial Times: Japan renewable energy curb could spark nuclear restart
- Two Japanese utilities, responsible for about a fifth of the nation’s power, say they have had their fill of renewable energy, in a move that could add pressure on community leaders to allow idled nuclear reactors back on line.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Almanza named deputy under secretary for food safety at USDA
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has named USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator Al Almanza to a newly created position as deputy undersecretary for food safety.
Los Angeles Times: Gov. Brown signs bills to promote 'farm to fork' in California
- Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday he has signed a group of bills aimed at promoting the “farm to fork” movement in California that seeks to bring fresh produce and other foods closer to consumers, including many not served by grocery stores.
Washington Post: School lunches go high-tech with new service
- Beginning this school year, parents of students at a dozen area schools can order customized lunches for their children with the click of a mouse.
Washington Post: Americans throw out more food than plastic, paper, metal, and glass
- In 1980, food waste accounted for less than 10 percent of total waste; today, it makes up well over a fifth of the country's garbage. Americans, as it is, now throw out more food than plastic, paper, metal, or glass—and by a long shot.
The Hill: First lady to children: ‘Don’t be mad’ over healthier school lunches
- First lady Michelle Obama said it was "natural" that kids are "grumbling" over new requirements for schools to fill vending machines and lunch lines with healthier food, but that it would not deter her from improving child nutrition.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Texas lawmakers request GAO study on South American beef imports
- (Subscriber only) A bipartisan group of 27 Texas legislators is requesting that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) review the APHIS site-visit review process after an agency proposal that could allow importation of meat from a region not yet free of foot-and-mouth disease.
Wall Street Journal: Despite Bold Japan Trade Pledges, U.S. Still Wonders: ‘Where’s the Beef?’
- Mr. Abe has made TPP a pillar of reforms he is promoting to revive his country’s long-stalled economy. But Americans have repeatedly complained that Japan’s negotiators have failed to back up Mr. Abe’s words with concrete proposals.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Secretary Kerry helps launch Climate-Smart Ag alliance
- (Audio) Secretary of State John Kerry helped launch the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture last week to promote greater international engagement on ways agriculture can help reduce the impact on climate change.
New York Times: The Head-Scratching Case of the Vanishing Bees
- With so many theories in play, several federal agencies weighed in last year, with a joint study that effectively checked the “all of the above” box. A mélange of the various factors was behind the colonies’ devastation, the agencies’ report said, putting no more weight on one cause than on any other.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Washington Post: Ban sought on children working on tobacco farms
- Thirty-five House Democrats are urging the Obama administration to prohibit children from working on tobacco farms, citing concerns about ill health effects.
Washington Post: Joni Ernst’s Iowa campaign makes quick work of the ‘war on women’
- She, nourished by a cinnamon roll, is preparing for a bus tour taking her Senate candidacy to all of Iowa’s 99 counties, and she seems to love campaigning even more than bacon, not that any proper Iowa farm girl — her description of herself — would publicly rank bacon second to anything.
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