Daily Harvest -- 12/2/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: USDA refocuses on healthy plants to secure global food supply
- As dozens of agricultural research advocates gather in Washington this week to discuss the need for more focus on research funding, USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) says it will provide more than $6.5 million in grants to improve plant health, production, and products.
Agri-Pulse: Farmers shopping for risk management programs
- (Audio) While most Americans are busy Christmas shopping right now, many farmers are also in the midst of shopping for a new farm program. The coverage selection period started Nov. 17 and ends March 31, 2015.
Agri-Pulse: Florida avocado producers to vote on marketing order in January
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that Florida avocado producers will vote from Jan. 12-27, 2015 on whether to continue their federal marketing order.
Reuters: Deadly pig virus jumps to Hawaii, animal feed tested
- Hawaii has identified its first outbreak of a deadly pig virus that emerged in the continental United States last year, confounding officials who are uncertain how the disease arrived over thousands of miles of ocean.
Hutch News: Farmer settles dispute over seeds
- The Kansas Wheat Alliance said Monday that it has accepted $10,000 to settle a claim against Weir, Kansas, farmer Paul Simpson for an alleged infringement of selling the Everest wheat variety without authorization.
Wall Street Journal: Lawmakers Divided over Renewing Tax Breaks
- Lawmakers divided about whether to renew a raft of expiring tax breaks appear increasingly likely to extend them only through 2014, a move that would leave businesses and individuals in limbo for 2015 and beyond.
Reuters: Genetic research could offer alternatives to GM crops
- Advances in understanding the genetic make-up of plants could ultimately help to produce more resilient, higher-yielding crops, the head of French seed company Limagrain said, with the potential to end the heated debate over genetic modification.
The Hill: Fuel manufacturer threatens to sue EPA over 2015 fuel mandate
- A top fuel manufacturer is threatening to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to meet deadlines on its 2015 proposal for the renewable fuel mandate.
Bloomberg: The American Oil Boom Won't Last Long at $65 Per Barrel
- After deciding to keep its production levels unchanged at 30 million barrels a day and triggering Friday’s nearly 10 percent selloff, the cartel proved it can still cause huge swings in oil prices‐even if it’s in the opposite direction that most of its members wanted to see.
Extreme Tech: Solar and wind power are now fully cost competitive with fossil fuels – is it time to switch over?
- Renewable energy production has boomed across the globe in recent years, driven by improvements to solar and wind turbines, increased economies of scale, and in some cases, significant government subsidies.
TH Online: Illinois plant introduces first-of-its-kind technology
- This corn-growing region of Illinois will claim home to a first-of-its-kind technology to extract zein, a highly valuable corn protein that will be used for food and pharmaceutical products.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Oregon Live: Coca-Cola entering the dairy business with release of new 'premium milk'
- Beginning in December, the company will debut Fairlife, a premium, filtered, lactose-free milk, Business Insider reported. Currently, Fairlife is only available in select markets, but will soon be available nationwide.
Los Angeles Times: Airline food getting healthier on most carriers, study says
- When you are traveling 550 mph at 35,000 feet in the air, your food choices are pretty limited. The good news is that the overall trend in airline food is improving, with one of the world’s largest carriers making huge strides toward healthier food over the last year.
Wall Street Journal: Chefs Push Lawmakers on Labeling Genetically Modified Food
- Some of the best-known chefs in the country are leaving the kitchen this week and heading to Capitol Hill to press for mandatory labels on genetically modified food.
New York Times: Americans Are Eating a Lot More Berries. Here’s Why.
- According to statistics published by the United States Department of Agriculture, per capita consumption of fresh raspberries grew 475 percent from 2000 to 2012, the most recent year for which data are available. Blueberry consumption is up 411 percent, and strawberries are up 60 percent.
New York Times: Prescribing Vegetables, Not Pills
- The Browns are among 50 low-income families with overweight or obese children enrolled in the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, or FVRx, at Harlem Hospital Center. Three other hospitals in New York also have been testing the program.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Ghana Web: Gov’t plans local rice sufficiency by 2018
- Government’s ambitious 2018 target for local rice farmers to fully meet domestic demand has been described as very feasible by the Ghana Grains Council, although it adds that such a feat will demand government’s total commitment.
Bloomberg Businessweek: Cotton Outlook Cut by Australia to Five-Year Low on Dryness
- Australia cut its forecast for cotton output by 19 percent to the smallest in five years after dryness reduced planting in the world’s third-biggest exporter.
New York Times: U.N. Cuts Food Aid to Refugees From Syria
- Facing what it described as a severe cash shortfall, the United Nations food aid organization said on Monday that it had been forced to suspend a voucher program that was helping to feed 1.7 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.
Christian Science Monitor: Why are the world's food aid programs running short of money?
- On Monday, the World Food Program announced that, due to a funding shortage, it was suspending food aid to more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees. The setback, which comes as winter approaches, is emblematic of a global crisis.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Minneapolis Star Tribune: The border war over cleaned-up Lake Hendricks
- Leaders of a Minnesota town on the upswing say their efforts to clean up their lake are now threatened by a giant 4,000-cow dairy farm.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
New York Times: Republicans Try to Balance Immigration Action While Avoiding a Shutdown
- Congressional Republicans returning to Washington on Monday found themselves facing a treacherous 10 days as they try to balance their desire to fight President Obama’s executive action on immigration with the political imperative not to shut down the government.
Fox News: Lawsuit claims ICE mounted campaign to ‘purge’ senior officials amid immigration changes
- A longtime federal immigration attorney claims Immigration and Customs Enforcement managers mounted a campaign of "humiliation" and "brutal scape-goating" to purge officials they didn't want, raising concerns from a top GOP lawmaker that the administration was trying to "force compliance" with its controversial policies.
Mergers and Acquisitions: ADM Closes $191M Specialty Food Deal
- Archer Daniels Midland Co. has purchased Specialty Commodities Inc. for $191 million. Special Commodities, headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota, originates, processes and distributes specialty ingredients, including natural and organic nuts, fruits, seeds, legumes and grains.
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