Daily Harvest -- 10/8/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Monsanto earnings fall; company announces job cuts
- Monsanto reported a 15.5 percent drop in net income for the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31 to $2.314 billion, citing a decline in commodity prices and restructuring charges. The seed giant also announced job cuts and forecast a drop in earnings for FY 2016.
DTN Progressive Farmer: USDA: 6.8% Sequester Cut
- Farmers will take a 6.8% cut in their farm-program payments because of federal sequestration rules, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday at a House Agriculture Committee hearing on dietary guidelines.
Modern Farmer: The World’s First Robot Farm Requires No (Human) Farmers At All
- Indoor farming, hyper-futuristic and spotless high-tech farms, have long been pegged as a possible future of farming. They're low-profile, easy on the environment, and can be made to produce massive quantities of food, especially quick-growing crops like lettuces, very easily.
Tampa Bay Times: Hernando High students learning to use drones to address issues in agriculture
- Beware the insect or fungus that might try to infest a field of crops that a group Hernando High School students might one day be monitoring. The students are participating in a new program that can potentially stop the invaders before they get started.
Washington Post: Most crops in Delaware, Maryland survive nor’easter
- Farmers on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and in Delaware say most crops survived last week’s heavy rainfall.
Washington Post: The race to save sweet basil
- The problem is the resurgence of an old disease — basil downy mildew, which was thought consigned to history, not to mention another continent (Africa) — before it reemerged in Florida eight years ago.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: California governor signs bill calling for big boosts in renewable power, energy efficiency
- Gov. Jerry Brown has signed an ambitious measure to combat climate change by increasing California's renewable electricity use to 50 percent and doubling energy efficiency in existing buildings by 2030.
Wall Street Journal: Canadian Oil Sands Adopts Poison Pill in Wake of Hostile Suncor Bid
- Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. on Wednesday adopted a so-called poison pill antitakeover measure with a 20% trigger, two days after Suncor Energy Inc. launched a hostile bid for the oil-sands company.
Wall Street Journal: SunEdison, Shares Fizzling, Promises a New Strategy
- SunEdison Inc., the big solar-power developer whose stock has fallen abruptly out of favor with investors, tried to woo them back Wednesday with promises to revamp its business strategy.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Cabinet secretaries assure Congress Dietary Guidelines will stay on track
- A House Agriculture Committee hearing Wednesday offered little information about the specifics of the upcoming Dietary Guidelines for Americans, but did provide new information on topics that won't be addressed in the document that will set U.S. food policy for the next five years.
Modern Farmer: The War on School Lunch
- In 2014, the National School Lunch Program provided five billion lunches to 30 million children. The federal government shelled out $11.6 billion to make that happen. Feeding our children, in other words, is big business.
New York Times: Schools Report Varying Results in Their Efforts to Comply With Nutrition Guidelines
- Although a number of studies have shown that the revised menus are working to reduce obesity, the new school lunch regulations have criticized by Republican lawmakers and school officials who say the healthier meals are not appetizing to children and are also driving up costs for schools forced to purchase new equipment and fresh produce.
New York Times: What Does ‘Organic’ Mean for Baby Formula?
- The main ingredients in many of the organic formulas on the market aren’t dairy, but highly processed, refined sweeteners (often listed as organic glucose syrup solids) and synthetic preservatives.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Administration enlisting agriculture to help sell TPP to Congress
- (Audio) The Obama administration is enlisting the help of the agriculture community to sell TPP to congress.
Agri-Pulse: Clinton announces opposition to Pacific trade pact
- Hillary Clinton announced her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, siding with her main challenger for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was critical of the deal long before it was finalized.
ABC News: Vietnam Seems Big Winner in US-Anchored Pacific Trade Deal
- An ambitious Pacific Rim trade deal anchored by the U.S. promises to boost the economies of its 12 participating countries by opening their markets to one another, but not all the gains will be spread evenly.
Reuters: Big palm oil's pledge to preserve forests vexes Indonesia
- The Indonesian government is asking major palm oil companies to row back on the historic “no deforestation” pledges they made at last year’s United Nations climate change summit, officials and company sources say.
Reuters: Rich countries two-thirds of way to $100 billion climate finance goal: report
- The world’s richest countries spurred $61.8 billion in public and private funds in 2014 to help poor countries combat and adapt to climate change, nearly two-thirds of a key international goal to raise $100 billion a year starting in 2020, according to a report released on Wednesday.
Quartz: French farmer: Without migrants, European agriculture will not survive
- French nostalgia for life on the farm runs deep, but few actually want to toil in the fields. France’s storied farming culture endures in large part thanks to migrant workers.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
New York Times: Stuff Happens to the Environment, Like Climate Change
- (Opinion) The next eight years will be critical for the world’s climate and ecosystems, and if you vote for a climate skeptic for president, you’d better talk to your kids first, because you will have to answer to them later.
Daily Progress: Endangered Species Act List Won't Add American Eels
- American eels will not be listed under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday, a victory for fishermen of the increasingly valuable species.
Modern Farmer: This New Technology Treats Manure So Well You Can Drink It
- Agriculture already consumes 70 percent of the world’s water supplies, but the pressure on farmers to become better conservationists has never been greater.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Reading Eagle: Pennsylvania's agriculture industry facing worker challenge
- Pennsylvania's farmers are aging rapidly, while the state's agriculture and related food industries are changing and growing. What it all means is that the industry is on the cusp of an economic boom that could fizzle if it can't find enough qualified workers.
The Oklahoman: Grocer's move is a loss for prison farm workers
- (Opinion) The prisoners working on behalf of Whole Foods gained skills that could translate into job opportunities outside prison, earning some pay in the process – 74 cents to $4 a day, and bonuses.
Capitol Public Radio: Sunpreme: The Grape That Could Revolutionize The Raisin Industry
- Grapes, including raisins, are the third largest crop in California grossing almost $6 billion in 2014. Harvesting the labor-intensive crop takes thousands of workers. But a new raisin grape variety bred in Central California could severely decrease that need for workers.
Wall Street Journal: DuPont’s Interim Boss Edward Breen Is a Breakup Expert
- Edward D. Breen, the new temporary leader of DuPont Co., knows a lot about breaking up big businesses, a skill he could put to use at the chemicals conglomerate that has fought off calls for a split for most of this year.
Wall Street Journal: Cargill Earnings Bounce Back into the Black
- Agricultural conglomerate Cargill Inc. said its fiscal first-quarter earnings rose 20% from a year earlier, as the company also bounced back from posting its first loss in 14 years in its previous quarter.
Modern Farmer: At Sky High Farm, Everything That’s Grown Goes to Food Banks
- Dan Colen continues to make provocative art while also giving back to New Yorkers through his farm, which has produced thousands of pounds of vegetables and meat that's donated to the city's food banks.
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