Daily Harvest -- 12/4/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Senate sends long-term highway bill to Obama for signature
- The Senate gave final congressional approval Thursday night to a five-year, $305 billion highway bill on an 83-16 vote, hours after the House passed the measure. Now the president's signature is the only thing standing in the way of the first long-term bill in a decade.
Agri-Pulse: Repeal of $3 billion crop insurance cut clears Congress
- The Senate cleared a long-term transportation bill late Thursday after soundly rejecting a last-ditch effort to restore a $3 billion cut to the crop insurance program.
Agri-Pulse: USDA sets enrollment period for ARC, PLC programs
- Agricultural producers who chose coverage from the safety net programs established by the 2014 farm bill - known as Agriculture Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage - can begin visiting Farm Service Agency county offices starting Dec. 7 to sign contracts or enroll in coverage for 2016.
Agri-Pulse: John Block on Politics of the Day
- (Audio) The politics of the day on one hand make me smile, and on the other hand make me scratch my head.
Agri-Pulse: APHIS OK's Monsanto corn with increased ear biomass
- USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has given Monsanto the go-ahead to market corn genetically engineered for increased ear biomass.
New York Times: Mixed Verdict for Former Chief of Massey Energy After Coal Mine Blast
- Donald L. Blankenship, whose leadership of the Massey Energy Company was widely criticized after 29 workers were killed in the Upper Big Branch mine in 2010, was convicted Thursday of conspiring to violate federal safety standards, becoming the most prominent American coal executive ever convicted of a crime related to mining deaths.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Google nearly doubles bet on renewable energy
- Google is nearly doubling the amount of renewable energy feeding its massive data centers that enable more than 1 billion people to search for information, watch video clips and communicate virtually anytime they want.
BBC News: How can we store more energy from the sun and the wind?
- Storage methods currently being used around the world include batteries, flywheels, geothermal plants, compressed air and hydrogen - even ice. But the most popular method is hydro power - water pumped to the top of a mountain and then released to power turbines at the bottom.
TIME: Former EPA Chief: Paris Can Ignite a Clean-Energy Revolution
- (Opinion) President Barack Obama deserves credit for bringing an ambitious commitment to Paris and a real plan to back it up. Cleaner, more efficient, cars and trucks. Less pollution from dirty smokestacks. More clean, renewable energy.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: GMO bill dead for this year, Senate negotiators say
- (Subscriber only) Senators who have been trying to negotiate a compromise bill to block state GMO labeling laws say the issue is dead for this year.
Press Democrat: California Supreme Court OKs organic labeling lawsuits
- Federal law does not bar consumers from filing lawsuits under California law alleging food products are falsely labeled "organic," the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
Des Moines Register: Are Food Frauds Fooling You?
- A lot of products on grocers' shelves woo you with savvy marketing claims designed to make you believe they're healthy for you. Take time to analyze those products' list of ingredients – they may not be so good for you after all.
ABC News: Restaurant group sues NYC over new salt-warning labels
- The National Restaurant Association's suit came just two days after the rule took effect, compelling chain eateries to put a salt-shaker icon on menu items that top the recommended daily limit of 2,300 milligrams of sodium — about a teaspoon.
Munchies: The First Certified-Organic Fast Food Chain Is a Chicken Sandwich Joint
- The first organic fast food restaurant is an unlikely one in that it is almost solely focused on fried chicken—not exactly the first thing to come to mind when thinking “organic.”
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: US groups prepared for WTO release of COOL retaliation
- (Audio) December 7th is the date the U.S. will learn what the WTO is going to do about retaliation measures for COOL.
Al Jazeera: Heavy rains leave at least 269 dead in India
- At least 269 people have been killed as another bout of torrential rain brought disruption to the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, including India's fourth largest city, Chennai.
Reuters: China's Xi pledges $60 billion for development in Africa
- China's President Xi Jinping told African presidents on Friday at a summit that his country would provide $60 billion over three years to fund development on the continent.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Penn State University News: Dicamba drift affects non-target plants and pollinators
- Dicamba herbicide drift onto plants growing adjacent to farm fields causes significant delays in flowering, as well as reduced flowering, of those plants, and results in decreased visitation by honey bees, according to researchers at Penn State and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.
LA Times: 91% of migratory birds face peril on their journeys, study says
- A new study that compared the routes of 1,451 migratory bird species with the protections afforded them in different countries around the world has found that 91% of them have inadequate protected areas for at least part of their annual cycles.
Washington Post: Agency seeks monitoring of mercury pollution in Great Lakes
- The U.S. and Canada should more closely monitor atmospheric pollution from as far away as Asia that may be causing mercury levels to rise in some Great Lakes fish, an advisory agency said Thursday.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
LA Times: Pesticides as bad for kids' lungs as cigarette smoke, study says
- Chronic exposure to pesticides can damage children's lung function by about as much as secondhand cigarette smoke does, according to a study of farmworker children in the Salinas Valley.
Washington Post: Labor Secretary Perez endorses Hillary Clinton for president
- Perez, who plans to formally endorse Clinton in Iowa on Friday, will also hit the campaign trail on her behalf.
WoodTV.com: Farm faces federal lawsuit for labor exploitation
- A Van Buren County farm in Michigan is facing a federal lawsuit after a handful of seasonal agricultural workers claimed the farm owner didn’t pay them for weeks in a row and treated them unfairly.
Bloomberg BNA: Monsanto ‘Roundup' Cases Proceed in Calif. Courts
- Another federal suit is percolating over claims that Monsanto's Roundup herbicide causes cancer, but will likely face a dismissal motion like that filed by the company in three other pending cases.
Inforum: Rosmann: Current agricultural recession may increase need for farm mediation services
- If mediation does not succeed in resolving a farm dispute, usually the next steps are binding arbitration, in which the parties agree to accept an arbitrator's recommended solution, or a lawsuit.
Roanoke.com: Co-op seeks new direction for Roanoke urban farm
- Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op is suspending its grand experiment in urban farming and food education after three growing seasons.
Wall Street Journal: In Silicon Valley, a 3,778-Acre Ranch Lists for Nearly $30 Million
- An approximately 3,778-acre ranch in Silicon Valley that goes back to the days when the area was best-known for its fruit orchards rather than its technology startups has come on the market with an asking price of $29.68 million.
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