Daily Harvest -- 11/18/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Reuters: Once 'King,' Cotton Farming on a Long Decline in U.S. South
- U.S. farmers this year planted the fewest acres of cotton since 1983, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. In the southern states of Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas, once the heart of cotton country, growers expect to harvest some of their smallest crops since the year after the U.S. Civil War ended.
Nature: Safety upgrade found for gene-editing technique
- A genome-editing method that could allow researchers to rapidly engineer entire populations has had an important upgrade. A US team has added safeguards to reduce the chances that such ‘gene drives’ will escape the laboratory, and found a way to erase the genetic mutations after they have spread.
Des Moines Register: Analyst: Bakken pipeline a boon for Midwest grain farmers
- A dramatic increase in railroad shipments of North Dakota crude oil has made it more difficult to ship grain by rail, which is costing farmers money in the Upper Midwest, a commodity market analyst told the Iowa Utilities Board on Tuesday.
Agri-Pulse: As Paris talks near, report shows U.S. gains from climate-control regs
- (Subscriber only) Introducing a November report on climate change issues, Nobel Prize-winning economist Kenneth Arrow concludes that trillion-dollar benefits from climate control regulations 'dwarf the higher energy costs of United States emissions control.'
Agri-Pulse: Biodiesel advocates storm the Hill
- (Audio) Nearly 100 biodiesel leaders from across the country were on the Hill this week to talk with lawmakers.
Yahoo News: EPA intends tougher downwind air-pollution rule in 23 states
- The Environmental Protection Agency proposed tougher new limits on Tuesday on smokestack emissions from nearly two-dozen states that burden downwind areas with air pollution from power plants they can't control.
New York Times: Plan to Close Nuclear Plant in Upstate New York Rattles Its Neighbors
- The side-by-side plants have been the primary sources of high-paying jobs in a region that has struggled after the shuttering of factories that once employed thousands of workers. So the announcement this month of a plan to shut one of them done has shaken the local population.
ABC News: Closing Arguments Presented in Ex-Coal CEO's Criminal Trial
- Ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship made a habit of violating mine safety laws, a government attorney said Tuesday, but a defense lawyer said the prosecution has presented no evidence that Blankenship was involved in a criminal conspiracy.
Wall Street Journal: How Exporting U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas Will Transform the Politics of Global Energy
- (Opinion) The U.S. energy trade has been in the news often recently, with questions such as whether industry will be allowed to send oil overseas or import it via a certain pipeline from Canada.
Wall Street Journal: Ohio Power Companies, Consumers Spar Over Who Pays for Spare Electricity
- American Electric Power Co. and FirstEnergy Corp. say they don’t make enough money selling the power from seven old, coal-fired generating stations and one nuclear plant in their home state of Ohio. They have set off a firestorm of criticism by proposing that consumers and businesses in the state should cover the cost of operating the plants.
The Australian: Regulator rejects BP’s plans for Bight drilling
- Oil giant BP has had its environmental plan for $1 billion of Great Australian Bight oil exploration returned by Australian regulators, who say it fails to meet requirements.
Associated Press: Hungary plans to start expansion of nuclear plant in 2018
- The Hungarian official in charge of expanding the country's only nuclear power plant says the construction of two new reactors should start in 2018.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Washington Post: Date labels on food are less about safety than about quality
- With the holidays around the corner, you’re probably making your shopping list for the big feast. While checking your cupboards for supplies, you find a bag of stuffing mix with a “best by” date of Nov. 1, 2015. Is it still safe to use on Thanksgiving?
LA Times: $1-billion Ballast Point deal continues heady year for beer industry mergers
- Constellation Brands, the third-largest beer company in the U.S., with Corona, Modelo and Pacifico in its portfolio, has purchased San Diego's Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits for $1 billion.
Wall Street Journal: Chinese Sea Salt May Contain Small Plastic Particles, Study Says
- Chinese consumers are no strangers to food scares. But even if they decide to live a vegan life to avoid heavy metals in fish or antibiotics in chicken, they can hardly escape from an everyday necessity: salt.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
New York Times: Mennonite Farmers Prepare to Leave Mexico, and Competition for Water
- Underground reservoirs have been drained by thirsty crops, like corn, that are the mainstay of the Mennonites’ success, they say. Competition for groundwater — which officials have warned could run out in 20 years — has strained relations between the pacifist, Low German-speaking Mennonites and other farmers and, on occasion, incited violence.
The Guardian: Coles limits baby formula to two tins a customer because of shortage
- Australian supermarket giant Coles has imposed tighter buying bans on baby formula amid a shortage blamed on Chinese consumers. Last week, Coles was limiting customers to four tins, but on Tuesday it said the limit had been reduced to two.
New York Times: TIAA-CREF, U.S. Investment Giant, Accused of Land Grabs in Brazil
- The American financial giant and its Brazilian partners have plowed hundreds of millions of dollars into farmland deals in the cerrado, a huge region on the edge of the Amazon rain forest where wooded savannas are being razed to make way for agricultural expansion, fueling environmental concerns.
New York Times: Saving the World, Startup-Style
- During the past decade, there has been a quiet revolution in the way many scholars and advocates think about aid. We can call it the post-theory approach.
The Globe and Mail: Alberta's updated safety laws to protect farm workers
- The Alberta government is about to update its workplace legislation to protect workers on farms and ranches, which are currently exempt from some laws governing safety.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
LA Times: There are six quintillion gallons of water hiding in the Earth's crust
- A new report found there are six quintillion gallons of groundwater in the upper 1.2 miles of the Earth's crust, but just 5.6% of it is less than 50 years old. That's about enough water to cover a stop sign across the continents, if it was pumped out of the ground.
Des Moines Register: 'No net loss of wetlands' because of Bakken pipeline, official says
- Monica Howard, director of environmental services for Energy Transfer Partners, testified . She there would be "no net loss of wetlands" as a result of the proposed Bakken pipeline and there will be "very robust" post-construction monitoring to ensure restoration of lands in Iowa where the pipeline is constructed.
Des Moines Register: Q&A: Ex-EPA official sizes up Iowa water quality efforts
- Ken Kopocis, the Environmental Protection Agency’s former deputy assistant administrator for water, said the regulator is keeping close watch on efforts to reduce runoff from farms and other sources into the Mississippi River.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Wall Street Journal: Cubans Flood Mexico in Bid to Reach U.S.
- Migrants from Cuba, sensing fragility of their special access to legal status in the U.S., are heading to Mexico with the aim of getting to Texas quickly.
WMNF: In Florida harvest most farmworkers will be migrants
- In Florida, peak harvest season for many of the state’s most important fruits and vegetables is approaching — during the fall, winter and spring; that means a spike in demand for seasonal farmworkers. Many of them are migrants.
Reuters: U.S. service employees union, with 2 million members, endorses Clinton
- U.S. Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton on Tuesday won the endorsement of the two-million-member SEIU labor union as she seeks her party's nomination for the November 2016 election.
Wall Street Journal: Monsanto Weighs Potential Deals
- Monsanto Co. is discussing “every possible possibility” for consolidation in the seed-and-pesticide business, the company’s president said, as rivals weigh potential deals in the $100 billion industry.
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