Daily Harvest -- 11/14/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Lawsuit seeks documents from USDA Inspector General beef checkoff probe
- (Subscriber only) A group called the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) has filed a federal lawsuit charging that the USDA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) is unlawfully holding back records regarding the OIG's 2011 through 2014 investigation into the national beef checkoff program.
Agri-Pulse: Thune keeps open mind on gas tax hike to fund highway bill
- The Republican senator who's expected to be the next chair of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee says he's not ruling out a hike in the federal gasoline tax as a way of funding a national highway bill.
Agri-Pulse: Ag groups and companies address big data privacy concerns
- (Audio) A coalition of major farm organizations and agricultural technology providers has announced an agreement on data privacy and security principles for producer users.
Agri-Pulse: Opinion: Feed the Future: A bipartisan opportunity
- Marshall Matz: The “Feed the Future” initiative is aimed at improving agriculture productivity and economic development around the world. Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the both the House and Senate to make this discretionary program permanent.
Wall Street Journal: Farmland Prices Drop in Parts of Midwest
- Farmland values declined across much of the Midwest in the third quarter, continuing a slowdown driven by two years of lower U.S. crop prices, according to Federal Reserve reports on Thursday.
The Hill: House GOP elects leadership team
- Buoyed by a GOP wave election, Ohio Republican Rep. John Boehner on Thursday cruised to another two years as Speaker of the House.
Bloomberg: Cotton Tumbles to 5-Year Low on Record World Stockpiles
- Cotton stockpiles are swelling so large that there will be enough in global warehouses to make about 23 billion pairs of jeans, or three for every person on the planet. The glut sent prices to a five-year low today.
Wall Street Journal: China’s Yili, U.S. Dairy Farmers of America to Build Milk-Powder Plant
- China’s Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co. is setting up a milk-powder factory in Kansas with Dairy Farmers of America Inc., building out its year-old strategic alliance with the U.S. cooperative as part of a trend of Chinese dairies expanding abroad.
NBC: Keystone XL Pipeline: Lame-Duck Congress Fast-Tracks Legislation
- The tortuous six-year fight over a controversial proposal to funnel oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast took another turn this week after both houses of the lame-duck Congress moved to vote on the Keystone XL pipeline.
Financial Times: Mexico insures against a further oil price fall
- Mexico has spent nearly $800m to insure against a further fall in oil prices next year, locking in sale prices of the commodity that funds a third of federal revenue.
Wall Street Journal: Plans for Brookhaven Solar Farm Power Debate
- The town of Brookhaven in Long Island’s Suffolk County is caught up in New York’s ongoing love affair with solar energy farms.
FOOD & NUTRITION
NPR: Want To Grow These Apples? You'll Have To Join The Club
- An increasing number of these new apples are "club apples" — varieties that are not just patented, but also trademarked and controlled in such a way that only a select "club" of farmers can sell them. To understand the new trend, start with the hottest apple variety of recent years: Honeycrisp.
Capital Press: McDonald’s not interested in GMO potatoes
- McDonald's has turned down genetically modified potatoes, but its developer seeks to sell them through alternate channels.
Reuters: School lunches may be better than lunch packed at home
- In a study of three rural Virginia elementary schools, both packed and school lunches almost entirely met nutrition standards, but those packed at home tended to have more calories, fat and saturated fat.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: USTR cites 'milestone week' for U.S. trade
- (Subscriber only) U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman says this has been a "milestone week" for U.S. trade.
Wall Street Journal: Australia, China See Opportunity in Free-Trade Pact
- A free-trade pact between Australia and China likely to be signed within days is expected to provide new sources of growth for Australia, which is struggling to counter a rapidly slowing mining boom, while aiding China’s push for a broader role in regional trade agreements.
Washington Post: Port problems endanger apple exports
- Labor woes at major West Coast sea ports have slowed the export of a record crop of Washington apples and endangered big Christmas season shipments of the fruit to Central American nations.
Los Angeles Times: Editorial: Congress needs to fast track the 'fast-track' bill
- That's all the more reason for the U.S. to approve the “fast-track” authority that provides a workable framework for such agreements while still giving lawmakers the chance to block bad trade pacts.
The Hill: GAO: Labor laws shirked in nations with US trade pacts
- The Department of Labor must better police labor laws in countries where the U.S. has free trade agreements, the Government Accountability Office says.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Washington Post: GOP debates its immigration strategy as Obama prepares executive action
- Congressional Republicans have split into competing factions over how to respond to President Obama’s expected moves to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, which are likely to include protecting millions from being deported.
Roll Call: Reid to Obama: Wait on Immigration Move
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday he would like President Barack Obama to wait for Congress to pass legislation funding the government before he takes executive action giving deportation relief to undocumented immigrants.
The Hill: Steve King warns of 'constitutional crisis'
- The United States will be plunged in a “constitutional crisis” if President Obama takes unilateral action to delay deportations, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Thursday.
Reuters: Urban farming covers an area the size of Europe, more growth needed – study
- City dwellers are growing their own food on a much greater scale than previously thought, farming an area the size of the European Union, according to the first comprehensive study on the global scale of urban agriculture.
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