Daily Harvest -- 10/29/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Crop insurers escape cut in last-minute House deal
- (Subscriber only) The crop insurance industry narrowly averted a $3 billion cut when House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway struck a deal with Republican leaders shortly before a final vote on a two-year budget bill.
Agri-Pulse: House Agriculture Committee examines implications of 'big data'
- The House Agriculture Committee heard from the private sector Wednesday on how it plans to safely use the big data American producers collect with farm equipment during their day-to-day operations.
Washington Post: Surprise: Jeb Bush wants ‘phase out’ of sugar subsidy
- Former Florida governor parts ways with rival Marco Rubio on issue important for many conservatives.
Washington Post: What does ‘meat raised without antibiotics’ mean — and why is it important?
- The term “antibiotic-free” meat is actually something of a misnomer. Despite the headlines stating such things as “Subway pledges to nix antibiotics in all its meat by 2025” and “Subway joins the fast-food, antibiotic-free meat club," the concern here really isn’t antibiotic drugs in meat you eat.
Entrepreneur: Why VCs Are Devouring Food Startups
- The food revolution has a new champion. Venture capitalists are stepping in with billions of dollars focused on agriculture and food ventures that reduce waste and use of chemicals, conserve resources, accelerate distribution and—at least theoretically—improve our health and the health of the planet.
Agri-Pulse: USDA invests $210 million to boost availability of higher ethanol blends at gas stations
- USDA said today that its Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is investing $210 million in 21 states to nearly double the number of gas station pumps nationwide that supply renewable fuels to American motorists.
Agri-Pulse: USDA helping to fund more higher ethanol blend pumps
- (Audio) The number of fuel pumps that offer higher ethanol blends will more than double, thanks to an investment announced Wednesday in Florida by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Agri-Pulse: Candidates attack budget deal, Carson disavows ethanol position
- During their third debate, the Republican presidential candidates attacked the congressional budget agreement as politics as usual, while Iowa frontrunner Ben Carson disavowed his previous support for subsidizing ethanol blender pumps.
New York Times: A Gas Discovery in Egypt Threatens to Upend Mideast Energy Diplomacy
- The Italian energy company Eni knew it was taking a big risk this summer when it spent $60 million on an exploratory rig and began drilling more than 100 miles off the coast of Egypt.
Washington Times: The architecture of abundance: Fred Upton
- (Opinion) The script has been flipped on our energy landscape, and it’s time for our energy laws to reflect our nation’s 21st century abundance.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Deal near on child nutrition, senators say
- The leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee said they were close to agreement on legislation that would reauthorize child nutrition programs, providing some permanence for higher school meal standards developed by the Obama administration.
Agri-Pulse: Global food security: Next steps
- (Opinion) Looking forward, what would it really take to totally wipe out global hunger?
Reuters: California considers adding meat to cancer-alert list
- California is examining new World Health Organization findings to determine whether to add red meat and foods like hot dogs, sausages and bacon to a cancer-alert list, setting the stage for a potential battle with the meat industry over warning labels.
Wall Street Journal: Smithfield Foods Profit Tumbles on Weak Pork Prices
- Smithfield Foods Inc. on Wednesday said profit fell 46% in its latest quarter, as the sector struggles with a sharp increase in U.S. hog supplies that has pressured the price of pork.
Reuters: Snacks maker Snyder's-Lance to buy Diamond Foods for $1.27 billion
- Snack food maker Snyder's-Lance Inc. said it will buy Diamond Foods Inc. for about $1.27 billion to expand in the "better-for-you" foods category, which includes baked potato chips and fat-free popcorn.
Wall Street Journal: Mondelez Profit Soars on Gain, Management Shift Unveiled
- Mondelez International Inc.’s quarterly profit jumped thanks to a one-time gain and a 3.7% increase in comparable sales. But it sold less chocolate and other snacks, underlining continued headwinds for the maker of Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Senate passes highway bill, PTC implementation extension
- The Senate has approved a short-term highway bill extension that included a delay in the mandated implementation of positive train control (PTC), averting a potential shutdown of rail networks across the country.
New York Times: EU Lawmakers Block Opt-Out From GMO Rules
- European Union lawmakers have rejected a draft law that would have allowed countries to ban certain genetically modified food and animal feed even if the produce was authorized by EU authorities.
Wall Street Journal: China’s Meat Lovers Have Serious Beef With WHO Cancer Study
- China, a country of carnivores, is outraged by the World Health Organization’s recent report claiming that red and processed meats have the potential to cause cancer. Industry organizations, companies and consumers are backing their bacon, claiming that the country’s meat products are safe and the option to eat them is the right one.
US News & World Report: In symbolic move, EU parliament votes against spending farm aid to profit bullfighting
- In a vote Wednesday that was high in symbolism but had little direct impact, the EU parliament approved an amendment to a budgetary report to say that EU money "should not be used for the financing of lethal bullfighting activities." It passed on a 438-199 vote with 50 abstentions.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Washington Post: Suspended USDA researcher alleges agency tried to block his research into harmful effects of pesticides on bees, butterflies
- A prominent Agriculture Department scientist is alleging that he was suspended after complaining that the agency was blocking his research into the harmful effects of pesticides on pollinators, such as bees and butterflies.
Washington Times: NY targets $20M to protect Hudson Valley farmland
- The grants can be used for permanent conservation easements in the Hudson Valley - from the Westchester area north to Washington County by the Vermont border. The Hudson Valley is a farm-rich region with spreading development.
Washington Post: Drought, other factors contribute to larger Texas wildfires
- Larger, more threatening wildfires are occurring at greater rates as Texas faces lingering drought, consistent development — driven by millions of new residents and the spread of outlying suburbs — and changes in how the state’s land is used.
Washington Post: Big effort to better understand bats takes wing in 31 states
- An effort spanning 31 states and 10 Canadian provinces has been working to better understand the ecological role that bats play, and the threats they face from climate change, habitat loss and wind energy development.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
KION News: Farm worker concerns ahead of El Niño
- With El Niño looming, and all the rain it’s expected to bring, new concerns about farm workers on the Central Coast. A local community advocacy says it’s worried about the conditions of their housing.
Better Farming: Union report examines migrant farm workers employment conditions
- The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Canada has released a new report with the goal of kick-starting fresh discussion on migrant farm workers’ employment conditions.
Wall Street Journal: Tyson Fires Two Meatpacking Workers After Video’s Release
- Tyson Foods Inc. fired two employees at a Mississippi meatpacking plant after an animal-rights group released video footage showing workers improperly shackling and slaughtering chickens.
Winston-Salem Journal: McCrory signs controversial immigration bill
- North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed legislation Wednesday that targets “sanctuary cities” and immigrant identification, turning back pleas from advocates to veto a bill that they say harms immigrants and businesses that rely on immigrant labor.
Agri-Pulse: Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research announces first projects
- The newly formed Foundation for Food and Agricultural held its first public meeting Wednesday, announcing two projects - one aimed at honoring emerging researchers and another that will create a rapid response program targeting new threats.
Wall Street Journal: Freeing Indians From Obama’s Grip: Rob Bishop
- (Opinion) Poor access to health care, drug and alcohol abuse, teen suicide, and a lack of job opportunities plague Indian reservations across the country. And the current administration is unshakeable in its belief that government knows what’s best for them.
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