Daily Harvest -- 11/19/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Democrat getting tired of House Ag SNAP hearings
- (Subscriber only) At the beginning of his chairmanship of the House Agriculture Committee, Mike Conaway promised a “soup to nuts” review of USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which accounts for the lion's share of the department's budget. At a committee hearing Wednesday, several panel Democrats seemed to have had enough.
Agri-Pulse: GMO labeling fix could slip into spending bill
- (Subscriber only) House appropriators are open to using the government-wide fiscal 2016 spending bill to block Vermont and other states from requiring the labeling of foods with biotech ingredients.
Des Moines Register: How can there be such hunger in Iowa?
- (Opinion) Thanksgiving is coming but the hunger grows. Iowa has the richest soils on Earth, but the bounty fails to reach the poor. The Department of Agriculture estimates 49 million Americans live in food insecure households.
Modern Farmer: Here’s My Beef with Farmers Who Claim Organic When They Are Not
- (Opinion) A few years ago I bought an application for organic certification. It costs $75 and comes in a box. I spent about two years working on it and realized there was no way that we were actually going to keep up with the record-keeping.
Dallas Business Journal: NextEra counteroffer for Oncor puts Energy Future, Hunt plan on ice
- Florida powerhouse NextEra Energy has re-entered the battle for Energy Future Holdings subsidiary Oncor — a surprise move that will delay and possibly derail a play for Oncor by Dallas billionaire Ray L. Hunt.
Lowell Sun: AG says state can meet energy needs without new pipelines
- Additional natural gas pipeline capacity is not the best solution to meet Massachusetts' longer-term energy demand needs, according to study produced by Attorney General Maura Healey's office and released on Wednesday.
Houston Chronicle: Dallas Fed leader says energy companies have bigger worries than a rate hike
- Energy companies bracing for a longer-than-expected period of anemic crude prices have more pressing worries than whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year, the new head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said Wednesday in his first policy remarks.
The Guardian: UK to close all coal power plants in switch to gas and nuclear
- The UK will close all coal-fired power plants by 2025, the first major country to do so, but will fill the capacity gap largely with new gas and nuclear plants rather than cleaner alternatives.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Pizza chains, grocers gain support for relaxing menu labeling rules
- Supermarkets, pizza chains and convenience store have banded together to try to take the bite out of new menu labeling regulations before they take effect.
Washington Post: America needs a national sugar tax
- (Opinion) Obesity-related heart disease and diabetes are among the most common American afflictions, and in many cases the misery is wholly preventable. Relatively small decreases in the projected obesity rate over the next couple of decades could produce billions of dollars in savings on treatment, too. Any rational government would respond strongly.
Washington Post: Schools are trying to curb obesity. Why are their sports leagues promoting fast food?
- Facing rising costs and operating on thin margins, scholastic athletic organizations have become increasingly dependent on revenue from corporate sponsors. Among the most eager financial contributors are purveyors of food and drink products widely pointed to by health experts as contributing to the country’s obesity epidemic.
Wall Street Journal: Mismeasuring Poverty
- (Opinion) A new American Enterprise Institute study found a serious flaw common to evaluations of government-assistance programs and tax policies on families: reliance on a government survey of income that vastly understates the government assistance flowing to poor households.
Wall Street Journal: ConAgra Split: Second Helpings Don’t Help
- (Opinion) ConAgra Foods is splitting in two, but it isn’t clear that two ConAgras will be better than one.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Bloomberg: China’s Hunger to Join GMO Club Revealed in Syngenta Move
- A successful bid by state-owned China National Chemical Corp., or ChemChina, to buy Syngenta could help China combat weeds and insects with less labor as farm workers.
Wall Street Journal: Australia Blocks Farm Sale on Security Grounds
- Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s new government blocked the sale of one of the world’s biggest cattle farms to Chinese and other foreign investors on security grounds, raising concern over Australia’s approach to protecting strategic industries.
Wall Street Journal: India’s Sugar Mills Likely to Miss Government Export Target
- Indian sugar mills have signed contracts to export around 200,000 tons of the sweetener in recent weeks, but are likely to fall short of government targets to ship more overseas without further incentives, industry officials say.
Reuters: Greek Farmers, Police Clash During Tax Hikes Protest
- Police fired tear gas at dozens of Greek farmers in Athens who pelted them with oranges and tried to storm parliament during a protest against planned tax increases on Wednesday.
Washington Post: Russia to Ban Ukrainian Food Imports From January
- The move announced Wednesday by Alexei Ulyukayev, the economic development minister, could deal a considerable blow to the economy of Ukraine, which is already struggling from the fight with Russia-backed separatists in its eastern regions.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Senators in favor of WOTUS receive letters from ag groups
- (Audio) Agricultural organizations this week sent a letter to members of the Senate about EPA’s Clean Water Rule, also known as WOTUS.
E&E News: USDA chief played major backstage role on hot-button rule
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was a key player behind the scenes over the past two years as the Obama administration tried to keep its contentious Waters of the U.S. rule afloat in the face of swelling opposition from rural America.
Washington Times: Colorado Unveils Plan to Manage Water Amid Drought, Demand
- On Thursday, Colorado will release its first-ever plan to cope with increasing competition for that water as the West grows drier.
LA Times: What's behind a bid to shift dollars from the bullet train to water projects
- Grab billions from Gov. Jerry Brown's bullet train project and spend it on generating more water. Build some dams. Many Californians have been shouting for that.
Science Daily: Fungus causes emerging snake disease found in Eastern US
- Researchers working for the U.S. Geological Survey have identified the fungal culprit behind an often deadly skin infection in snakes in the eastern U.S.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Huffington Post: 21 Organizations Fighting for Labor Rights in the Food System
- From farmworkers to restaurant servers, the food system employs millions of laborers around the world to pick, package, transport, deliver, and cook our food every day. Of the 3 billion workers in the world's labor force, about 40 percent are employed in agriculture alone, according to the International Labor Organization of the United Nations (ILO).
Calgary Herald: Lakritz: A harvest of victory for Alberta's farm workers
- (Opinion) Sometimes, the simplest words are the most eloquent. That was the case Tuesday, when Labour Minister Lori Sigurdson, announcing the introduction of Bill 6, the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act, said simply that it is the right thing to do.
Reuters: Monsanto sees higher corn prices as boost to business
- Monsanto Co expects corn prices to rise next year, which will help the seeds and agrochemical company reach its earnings forecast, executives said on Wednesday.
Financial Times: Cargill shakes up senior management
- Cargill, the world's biggest agricultural merchant, has announced a shake-up of its senior management structure, replacing a sprawling two-tier system with a single executive team.
MarketWatch: Bob Evans Farms taps restaurant-industry veteran Saed Mohseni as new CEO
- Bob Evans Farms Inc. is tapping as its new chief executive Saed Mohseni, a restaurant-industry veteran who said in an interview he would like to make Bob Evans a national brand.
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