Daily Harvest -- 11/13/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Kansas City Fed report paints dim picture of farm economy
- (Subscriber only) The Kansas City Fed is painting a dreary picture of the farm economy in the Tenth Federal Reserve District, an area covering Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, the northern half of New Mexico and the western third of Missouri.
Des Moines Register: Merck to acquire Ames-based Harrisvaccines
- The purchase, which the firms expect to close this year, comes as Harrisvacines recently announced it will supply a vaccine to USDA to help prevent poultry from getting the deadly bird flu virus that battered Iowa and 14 other states this year.
Austin American-Statesman: Sid Miller proposing agriculture fee increases amid legislative outcry
- Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller rejected a request Wednesday from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to slow a plan to increase fees for the agriculture sector, gas stations and supermarkets, among other areas.
Bangor Daily News: Lawsuit against former agriculture commissioner settled for $40,000
- A lawsuit filed by a former dairy farmer against Maine’s former commissioner of agriculture has been settled for $40,000 in favor of the plaintiff, according to attorneys. The plaintiff argued he was wrongfully driven out of business in 2007 in retaliation for a disagreement the men had in 2004 and 2005 over federal crop subsidies.
The New Yorker: Can CRISPR Avoid the Monsanto Problem?
- CRISPR research has already begun to transform molecular biology. There have been bold new claims about its promise and powers nearly every day.
Wall Street Journal: The Hottest Energy Trade: A Ride Aboard the Colonial Pipeline
- Energy companies and trading firms are scrambling for space on the nation’s biggest refined-fuel pipeline, as U.S. infrastructure fails to keep pace with the oil boom.
Wall Street Journal: Hillary Clinton Unveils Plan to Aid Coal Communities Hit By Shift to Cleaner Energy
- Democratic front-runner’s $30 billion plan includes infrastructure spending, new-investment tax breaks in areas hit by coal’s decline.
Christian Science Monitor: How solar is turning American energy on its head
- It's early days, but solar power is beginning to show how it could recast the entire American power grid. Some power companies are worried. But in Vermont, they're giddy with excitement.
Science World Report: New Plasma Confinement State May be the Secret to Fusion Energy
- Scientists have discovered a new confinement state for plasma that could lead to the future of fusion energy. Researchers believe that this new finding could eventually be huge when it comes to creating more sustainable energy sources.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: When will we have enough?
- (Video) A recent display in Washington, D.C.'s Union Station is encouraging people to think about the future of food security.
NPR: Are Junk Food Habits Driving Obesity? A Tale Of Two Studies
- More than 36 percent of American adults and 17 percent of youth under 19 are obese, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And scientists still don't fully understand what got us here.
CBS News: Skepticism of artificial ingredients spurs companies to act
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is asking for your thoughts on how to define the term "natural" on food labels. The government opened a 90-day comment period, after increasing demands from people for more transparency about what we're eating.
U.S. News & World Report: 4 Most Surprising Players in the Food Delivery Game
- In what will surely be remembered as one of the single greatest achievements in modern history, Americans craving KFC will soon only need to leave the couch and take a short walk to their front door to get the chicken and biscuits they crave.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: European regulators affirm glyphosate safety
- European Union regulators have concluded that the widely used herbicide glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer, a ruling that runs counter to a controversial assessment issued recently by an arm of the World Health Organization.
Agri-Pulse: USDA FAS administrator talks TPP at NAFB
- (Audio) USDA Foreign Agricultural Service administrator, Phil Karsting, talks TPP at NAFB in Kansas City this week.
Agri-Pulse: Six ag groups explain why TPP is good for them
- (Audio) TPP was the major topic of discussion at NAFB this week.
Fortune: Obama Faces a Tough Road with TPP Trade Deal
- The mammoth Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal is by far the biggest thing left on President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda. But Obama has Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, labor unions, and even the tobacco industry standing in his way.
Ag Professional: Economist: Trans-Pacific Partnership would boost U.S agriculture
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service estimates that TPP will result in a 6.6 percent increase in agricultural trade by 2025. This increase will account for an additional $8.5 billion in the agricultural marketplace, assuming the complete elimination of existing agricultural tariffs by 2025.
Washington Post: Ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership
- (Opinion) The 12-nation agreement would benefit millions of people.
AgWeb: How Will End of China's One-Child Policy Affect Ag?
- Given that China is the biggest customer in the world for American soybeans, the announcement that China would lift its three-decade-old one child policy caught the attention of many in ag. After all, the end of this rule should lead to population growth in China and more demand for U.S. ag exports, right?
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: NRCS to roll out monarch butterfly conservation initiative
- USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will launch a $4 million initiative in 2016 to create and enhance habitat for monarch butterflies on private lands across 10 states.
Washington Post: Mexico hopes to see 3-4 times more monarch butterflies
- The number of monarch butterflies reaching their wintering grounds in central Mexico this year may be three to four times higher than the previous season, authorities said Thursday.
E&E News: How veterans are growing a crop of sustainable farms in the U.S.
- The Veteran Farmer Program, run by the non-profit Washington, D.C.-based Arcadia Center, trains current and former members of the military in how to start their own sustainable farms.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
New York Times: G.O.P. Candidates Target Immigration Policy as Litmus Test in Presidential Race
- The long-distance skirmishing illustrated the degree to which several Republican candidates see immigration as the most potent weapon in the presidential contest.
Washington Times: Sagging ag market costs some Iowa workers their plant jobs
- A farm equipment manufacturer has confirmed layoffs at its Shell Rock plant in northeastern Iowa.
Modern Farmer: Meet Stan Herd, the Man Who Turns Agriculture into Amazing Works of Art
- Growing up in the rural town of Protection, Kansas, Stan Herd dreamed of leaving his family’s farm that was homesteaded by his grandfather to lead the life of an artist. But his agrarian roots ended up emerging in his art in the most spectacular of ways.
Agriculture.com: Small Tractors See Sales Rise
- This past October was a good month for farm tractors under 40 hp. That category saw a 23.3% increase in sales compared to last year’s number for the month. That’s according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the trade organization for off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers.
LA Times: Sam Farr, Democratic congressman in Monterey County, retiring
- Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel), who announced Thursday he will not seek reelection, says he wants to focus on being a "full-time grandpa." Farr, 74, made his retirement announcement at a news conference in Salinas, saying it’s time to come home after more than two decades in Congress.
Columbia Journalism Review: Today’s federal agencies are ‘highly message-controlled.’ Here’s what that means for health reporting
- The paper’s efforts to expose the government’s weak enforcement program and the public’s vulnerability involved a pitched battle with federal officials. For several months, the USDA dodged questions, ignoring some queries and answering others that were not asked and going silent for long stretches.
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