Daily Harvest -- 12/8/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: It ain't over till it's over: Seed industry keeps close eye on omnibus funding bill
- (Audio) The American Seed Trade Association's Andy Levine is still hopeful that language establishing a voluntary food labeling law will make it into the omnibus budget bill being negotiated in Congress.
Agri-Pulse: Open mic with Jeff Swanhorst of AgriBank
- (Audio) The chief credit officer for AgriBank delivers straight answers to tough questions about the sufficiency of the new farm bill and crop insurance to help farmers manage risk; the outlook for farmland prices; and how lower commodity returns could force a shift in crop acreage. He says the industry has entered an ag efficiency cycle that will likely include further producer consolidation.
Agri-Pulse: Ag groups pleased with reversal of crop insurance cuts
- (Audio) The transportation bill saved the crop insurance program from cuts. But that doesn't mean the program is immune from future attacks.
Agri-Pulse: Global terrorism and relationships to food and energy
- (Opinion) While new technologies become an instrument of progress and economic growth, they can also become tools for oppression and criminal activity. Those who would challenge western systems of the rule of law domestically and internationally can now become interconnected by communications. Today there are very few areas of the world that are isolated from the geopolitics in the Middle-East.
New York Times: OPEC Won’t Cut Drilling, and Prices Plunge 5 Percent
- A variety of factors is behind the price drop, analysts say, including the surge in American and Iraqi oil production in recent years and a slowing in demand growth from China and other developing countries.
Wall Street Journal: Investors Bet Commodities Slump Will Push Many Into Default
- A fresh wave of selling hit energy-company bonds, reflecting a growing consensus that slumping commodity prices will push many heavily indebted firms into default.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: USDA tightens Process Verified oversight, disclosure
- The Agricultural Marketing Service is instituting a single management structure for the program and also will require that any marketing claims or verified processes be clearly defined in plain language on the USDA website. Goals include ensuring more uniform administration across commodities and making it easier for consumers to check marketing claims.
Associated Press: Deal reached in lawsuit over Oregon county's GMO law
- Two alfalfa farms farms in Jackson County have agreed not to appeal an earlier court ruling that upheld the voter-approved ban. In exchange, the county won't force growers who already planted genetically engineered alfalfa to quickly remove their crops.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: WTO sets $1.01B in COOL retaliation
- WTO announced the amount of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods authorized in the country-of-origin labeling dispute with Canada and Mexico, potentially starting the path toward congressional repeal of the controversial law.
Reuters: Asian stocks hit three-week lows on oil drop; Fed eyed
- A rout in oil prices knocked energy company shares lower and many investors moved to the sidelines before next week's meeting where the Federal Reserve is expected to raise U.S. interest rates.
Agri-Pulse: Lawmakers, ag interests react to COOL ruling; Canada promises quick retaliation
- U.S. lawmakers and ag industry stakeholders were quick to respond after the World Trade Organization authorized $1.01 billion in retaliation for damages resulting from the U.S. country-of-origin labeling law, and Canada pledged to quickly impose tariffs on U.S. exports.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Washington Post: In surprising finding, greenhouse-gas pollution dipped in 2015
- The projected dip of 0.6 percent compared to 2014 levels, if confirmed, marks the first decline in heat-trapping pollutants in a year when the world economy was not in recession, a new analysis shows. But scientists say the pause is likely temporary
National Law Review: Does Court of Appeals have Jurisdiction to Review the Clean Water Rule?
- Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will hear arguments today on whether it has jurisdiction to review the Administration's Clean Water, or Waters of the U.S., rule.
Associated Press: As toxic levels of uranium enter water in farm hubs, little warning to families drinking it
- Uranium, the stuff of nuclear fuel for power plants and atom bombs, increasingly is showing up in drinking water systems in major farming regions of the U.S. West — a naturally occurring but unexpected byproduct of irrigation, of drought, and of the overpumping of natural underground water reserves. An AP investigation in California's central farm valleys — along with the U.S. Central Plains, among the areas most affected — found authorities are doing little to inform the public at large of the growing risk.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Farmers in Australia turning to renewable energy
- With 400 solar panels installed to run his irrigation bore, New South Wales livestock and cotton farmer Andrew Gill is at the vanguard of farmers in Australia who are embracing renewable energy. It's a movement that has the backing of traditionally conservative farming organizations.
Agriculture.com: Q&A with Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works
- Stowe isn’t the most well-received person in a roomful of farmers. That's because the Des Moines Water Works is suing three Iowa County Boards of Supervisors that manage drainage districts with high concentration of nitrates. Those drainage districts feed into the Raccoon River, the primary water source for Des Moines, Iowa’s capital city.
Carbon farming gets a nod at Paris climate conference
- This week, world leaders are hashing out a binding agreement in Paris at the 2015 U.N. Climate Change Conference for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. And for the first time, they've made the capture of carbon in soil a formal part of the global response to the climate crisis.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Los Angeles Times: Why the White House rushed to correct Obama on his visa waiver mistake
- In his address to the nation Sunday, President Obama said he had ordered the Departments of State and Homeland Security to review "the visa waiver program under which the female terrorist in San Bernardino originally came to this country." He misspoke.
Choices: Agricultural Labor and Immigration Reform
- Florida strawberry growers perceive labor shortages as a major threat to their industry resulting from a failed immigration policy. Economic theory suggests that there would be a wage threshold above which legal domestic workers could be recruited to work in strawberry fields. It is not clear, however, the extent by which agricultural wage rates have to increase before a sufficient number of legal domestic workers could be recruited to hand harvest agricultural crops.
Agri-Pulse: Agri-Pulse welcomes Bill Tomson as contributing editor
- Tomson has covered agriculture and food issues for Politico. Before that, he was a reporter for Dow Jones and its flagship publication, the Wall Street Journal. He started his journalism career in the 1990s as a reporter with Knight-Ridder in Sao Paulo, Brazil, covering the country's dramatic expansion in soybean production.
Washington Post: A Fox commentator just called Obama a vulgar name. And got suspended for it.
- Fox News analyst Ralph Peters, a retired lieutenant colonel, is something of a human thesaurus for insults aimed at President Obama and his administration. “Inept,” “ineffective” and cowardly” are among the adjectives he’s used recently. That wasn't the word he used this time.
Associated Press: New agriculture exhibit planned for STL Science Center
- A new $7.3 million permanent exhibit meant to teach how food is produced is coming to the St. Louis Science Center.
Donald Trump: Ban all Muslim travel to U.S.
- His campaign said, "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
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