Daily Harvest -- 11/23/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Open Mic with Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway
- (Audio) In this interview, Conaway calls for administrative changes in the farm bill to help cotton farmers, discusses how the threat of trade retaliation from COOL is already affecting commerce with Canada, and explains the committee’s work to review the nation’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Agri-Pulse: Lawmakers push USDA to fund hemp research
- A bipartisan group of lawmakers is appealing to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to award research funding for industrial hemp research.
Bismarck Tribune: Ag department searches for the beef
- The North Dakota Agriculture Department is launching a $15,000 marketing campaign aimed at returning animal agriculture to a position of strength in the state. The campaign will urge producers to diversify their operations through animal agriculture, as well as encourage consumers and industry to support growers.
Agri-Pulse: EPA RFS decision could come down this week
- As families prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday this week, the ethanol industry is preparing for the potential release of EPA’s volume obligations on the renewable fuel standard.
ABC News: Nevada says national nuclear dump could harm farm community
- Radioactive well-water contamination could threaten some 1,400 people in a rural farming community if federal regulators allow the nation's deadliest nuclear waste to be buried in the Nevada desert, state officials said in a report issued Friday.
Phys.org: Utilities see potential in drones to inspect lines, towers
- U.S. utilities see great potential in the use of remote-controlled drones to do the often-dangerous work of inspecting power lines and transmission towers but strict regulations have so far slowed adoption of the technology.
Washington Post: Despite oil bust, Texas prepares more students for oil jobs
- The oil industry is mired in its latest bust, with thousands of jobs evaporating like flares flaming out over natural gas wells. But in Texas, education officials are preparing more young people for the oil patch, showing the state’s unshakeable commitment to the energy sector despite the employment uncertainties.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Sugar, corn industries end legal fight
- The sugar industry and makers of high fructose corn syrup have settled a bitter court battle that had been raging for four and a half years.
USA Today: Chipotle E. coli outbreak spreads to 6 states
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Friday the E. coli outbreak affecting Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) has spread to six states, indicating the issue goes beyond the Northwest.
Franchise Herald: Tyson Foods to Close Two Prepared Foods Plants, Aims to Improve Overall Performance of its Prepared Foods Business
- Tyson Foods, Inc. has announced it plans to discontinue operations at two of its prepared foods plants that will affect approximately 880 jobs.
Wall Street Journal: Why Artisanal Food Makers Find It Hard to Digest Growth
- Many business owners say they’re struggling with issues of scale, scrambling to source enough ingredients to meet demand. Unlike big companies, it’s tough for a small operation to source ingredients all over the world to ensure that they have access to supplies year-round and can keep shelves stocked.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Former Ag secretaries promote Pacific trade pact
- Former agriculture secretaries who have served presidents going back nearly 35 years endorsed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying trade agreement should boost U.S. farm exports significantly.
MIT News: Study: Trade may not help a warming planet fight its farming failures
- A new study suggests that international trade will do little to alleviate climate-induced farming problems. Instead, countries will have to alter their own patterns of crop production to lessen farming problems — and even then, there will be significant net losses in production under the basic scenarios projected by climate scientists.
New York Times: Pacific Trade and Worker Rights
- (Opinion) The deal, the text of which was published earlier this month, could deliver on that promise, but much will depend on factors beyond Mr. Obama’s control, like how T.P.P. countries and future presidents carry out the pact.
Des Moines Register: Trans-Pacific Partnership could bring trade stability
- (Opinion) It’s too early to tell whether the deal will succeed in Congress, but one thing is already certain — its member nations are multibillion dollar customers for U.S. agriculture when it comes to beef, pork, poultry, eggs, dairy, corn, soybeans, wheat, tobacco and sugar.
Wall Street Journal: Wheat Futures Contracts Hurt by Full French Silos
- Snarled delivery system has consequences for French farmers struggling to compete against cheaper Ukrainian and Russian peers.
Washington Post: Indonesia, Malaysia form OPEC-like palm oil council
- Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s top two palm oil producers, signed an agreement Saturday to set up a council for palm oil producing countries in a bid to ensure price stability by managing production and stock in the global market.
The Independent: The controversial 'mega-dairies' that alarm campaigners and divide a struggling sector of British agriculture
- Despite opposition, huge confinement units housing thousands of cows all year round are popping up across the UK.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
U.S. News & World Report: Scientists say feeding fish soy, not fish, more sustainable; environmentalists not so sure
- South Dakota State University fisheries scientist Mike Brown has been developing a soy protein feed that's more tasty and digestible as a way to reduce the need to use wild-caught fish in food for farm-raised fish.
New York Times: Unilever Finds That Shrinking Its Footprint Is a Giant Task
- In broad terms, sustainability means meeting the needs of today while preserving resources for tomorrow. But selling more products means consuming more energy and more natural resources — not exactly the way to shrink an environmental footprint.
Sacramento Bee: Tensions, threats as California’s new groundwater law takes shape
- The groundwater pumps that ensure water soaks the vast fields of tomatoes, corn, alfalfa, cherries, almonds and walnuts, even when the ditches run dry, have helped make agriculture the single largest industry in Kings County, where crop values actually have grown by $753 million during California’s drought.
Seattle Times: Oregon and Washington delay crab season because of toxin
- Oregon and Washington have joined California in delaying the start of their commercial crab seasons after dangerous toxin levels were found in the crabs.
Wall Street Journal: Would a Legalized Horn Trade Save Rhinos?
- With poaching on the rise, ranchers in South Africa want to flood the market—but conservationists warn of corruption and cruelty.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Wall Street Journal: Obama Administration Asks Supreme Court to Reinstate Immigration Policy
- The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court Friday to reinstate its plan to give temporary relief from deportation to more than four million illegal immigrants, filing a speedy appeal with the hope of getting a ruling before the end of President Barack Obama’s second term.
The Desert Sun: Death in the Fields
- On some of the richest farmland in America, the hardest labor is performed in searing heat. Most every year, farmworkers die in 90 or 100 degree heat but are never counted as heat-related fatalities by California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
Washington Times: 51 farm workers file lawsuit over illegal recruitment fees
- Fort Myers-based Florida Rural Legal Services filed a lawsuit this week in Tampa federal court on behalf of 51 workers who picked strawberries two years ago for Fancy Farms in Plant City.
Agri-Pulse: Syngenta files countersuit against grain handlers in seed trait lawsuit
- In the latest twist of a long-running legal battle, biotech giant Syngenta says grain companies have only themselves to blame for the market share lost in China over shipments that contained unapproved corn varieties.
Wall Street Journal: Deere to Take Measure of Farm Slump
- As the farm-equipment industry sputters to the end of its worst sales year since 2009, Deere & Co. will soon provide clues to how much more pain is in store for the coming year.
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