Daily Harvest -- 10/20/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: FAA plans to register unmanned drones
- Faced with more and more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) violating U.S. airspace and interfering with fire and rescue operations, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta today announced that they plan to move ahead with registering all UAVs.
New York Times: Taking on the Superbugs
- As fears grow of a future in which antibiotics are powerless against rampaging infections in humans, experts are stepping up the call to act on what they say is a large part of the problem: overuse of the drugs on farm animals.
Des Moines Register: New school ag programs complement rural community
- This year, eighth-graders have access to a general agriculture exploratory class. High school students in the program will take animal science, agronomy and Introduction to Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resource, or AFNR, classes.
Bloomberg View: Rubio's Energy Plan Fights Market Forces
- (Opinion) Instead of making carbon emissions costly, as Obama would do, at no small short-term cost to jobs and the economy, Rubio called for doing more to develop them -- in Alaska, offshore, in every state. In other words: Drill, baby, drill. He barely mentioned climate change, which he acknowledges is real and caused by humans at least in part.
Forbes: Renewable Energy Is About To Boom In Africa, And We Need To Pay Attention To It
- (Opinion) Two out of every three people in sub-Saharan Africa live without electricity, according to the US government’s Power Africa statistics. It’s a daunting problem to solve, but there is a silver lining: how quickly that number is going to drop as renewable energy — particularly solar — becomes more prevalent and accessible on the continent.
FOOD & NUTRITION
New York Times: A Dangerous Cycle in Food Production
- From coffee to cocoa, and almonds to blueberries, some of the world’s most nutritionally and economically vital food crops are vulnerable to declines caused by catastrophic die-offs of the bees whose pollination is key to their life cycle.
New York Times: The Fats You Don’t Need to Fear, and the Carbs That You Do
- The nutritional pickle so many Americans are now in is largely a result of “an oversimplification of dietary recommendations that created a fat phobia,” said Dr. Frank B. Hu of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
New York Times: What a Big Tax on Soft Drinks Can Do
- (Opinion) A big tax on sugary drinks in Mexico appears to be driving down sales of soda, especially among poor people who typically suffer high rates of obesity and diabetes. The Mexican example should help persuade lawmakers in the United States to consider comparably stiff taxes.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Clock is ticking on Positive Train Control
- (Audio) Work continues on Capitol Hill to push back a looming deadline of implementation of Positive Train Control, which is currently set to be required by law at the end of the year.
New York Times: In Mauritius, Gourmet Rice Points to a Brighter Future
- While Mighty Rice, as it is called, was developed by cross-pollination in Bangladesh, its slick black-and-white packaging exalts the volcanic soil and rain-fed streams of Mauritius — marketing the benefits of the place it is grown as much as the food.
ABC News: UN Says Food Needs Increasing in Southern Africa
- Poor harvests across much of southern Africa mean that nearly 30 million people will struggle to get adequate nutrition in the months ahead, the United Nations said Monday.
The Straits Times: Hazy New Year: Southeast Asia Set to Suffer for Months as Indonesia Fails to Douse Fires
- Indonesian forest fires that have caused choking smoke to drift across South-east Asia are spreading to new areas and are unlikely to be put out until next year, experts and officials said on Monday (Oct 19).
New York Times: French Secularism and School Lunch
- (Opinion) In March, Gilles Platret, the mayor of Chalon-sur-Saône, said the town’s public schools could no longer offer a pork-free option at lunch. The ban took effect after the town’s municipal council endorsed it last month.
TIME: Syrian Seeds First to Be Withdrawn from Arctic ‘Doomsday Vault’
- Seeds kept in a “doomsday vault” in the Arctic have been withdrawn for the first time and sent to Morocco and Lebanon so that Syrian agricultural researchers can continue their work.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Food, ag firms pledge to combat climate change
- Many of the nation's top agriculture, food and biofuel companies have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as the White House tries to build a case for an international climate agreement.
U.S. News & World Report: Saving 'sang': New label aims to conserve wild ginseng, spur more domestic use of pricy plant
- As wild populations continue to be thinned out by poaching, habitat loss and an overabundance of deer, backers of a new labeling program are encouraging landowners to cultivate ginseng where it grows natively — on shady hillsides in the eastern U.S. — and to get it certified as "forest grown."
The Missoulian: USDA to help Montana farmers improve honeybee populations
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture will help farmers in six states improve food sources for honeybees on private lands as populations continue to fall.
LA Times: Editorial: In Huntington Beach, a desalination plant that makes sense
- (Opinion) Water security for California will depend on a portfolio of approaches that includes reclaiming wastewater, capturing storm water and continuing to emphasize conservation. But under certain conditions, it makes sense for desalination to be part of that portfolio, especially in areas dependent on imported water.
LA Times: Can rare wolves and sawmill jobs both survive on an Alaska island? A battle heats up
- Just two decades ago, Prince of Wales was home to about 300 wolves. Now, state officials estimate that as few as 50 remain — about one wolf for every person working in the sawmill.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Bloomberg: Coffee Rots as Farm Workers Quit to Build Colombian Highways
- Colombian coffee growers face soaring labor costs and harvesting delays as pickers leave for better-paid construction jobs.
Hartford Courant: Weighing The Risks Of Roundup In GMO Debate
- (Opinion) The controversy amped up earlier this year when the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a World Health Organization agency, declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen.
The Packer: California governor signs piece-rate law
- A new California law will result in payment of an estimated $200 million to piece-rate workers for rest and meal breaks they were not previously paid for. It benefits fruit pickers, cable installers, drivers and others paid by piece rate.
Ag Web: Best-Kept Farm Bill Secrets
- When exploring insurance options, consider these three provisions tucked in the farm bill: the Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion, the pilot insurance policy called Margin Protection, and the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection expanded insurance policy.
Bon Appetit: Paleo, Vegetarian, or Teetotaling? What the Presidential Candidates' Food Habits Say About Them
- Some presidential candidates have caught on. In a world where food obsessions are mainstream, opening up about their personal gustatory journeys is another way to shape image: to present themselves as down-to-earth, health-conscious, bold, or open-minded.
Wall Street Journal: Deal for Waggoner Ranch Expected Before End of the Year
- A sprawling, 510,000-acre cattle ranch in oil-rich West Texas is likely to be under contract by the end of the year in what could be one of the biggest such sales in recent history. Brokers say 11 written offers have been received on the property now listed for $725 million.
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