Daily Harvest -- 12/10/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Spending bill sets stage for battles over WOTUS, school nutrition
- The massive $1 trillion fiscal 2015 spending bill that congressional leaders have agreed on sets the stage for fights next year over the Clean Water Act, school nutrition, the beef checkoff and country-of-origin labeling.
Wall Street Journal: Organic-Farming Boom Stretches Certification System
- The $35 billion organic-food industry has nearly tripled in size in the past decade, challenging the Agriculture Department’s ability to monitor the more than 25,000 farms and other organizations that sell organic crops and livestock.
Politico: Budget bill shows GOP's new muscle
- Capping weeks of backroom talks, House Republicans filed a $1.1 trillion year-end spending bill Tuesday night— a giant package that’s both a last marker for this Congress and first step toward GOP control in the next.
Des Moines Register: Drop in corn, soybean prices could lure growers to organic
- Organic crops could become more attractive to farmers as low corn and soybean prices prompts them to look for ways to boost their bottom line.
Reuters: North Dakota to require every barrel of crude oil be filtered
- North Dakota is poised to impose the strictest oil standards in its history on Tuesday, requiring every barrel of crude to be filtered for dangerous types of natural gas in an effort to make crude-by-rail transport safer.
Topeka Capital-Journal: Kansas A.G. Schmidt asks for federal court review of EPA ethanol requirement
- The Environmental Protection Agency used scientifically flawed methods in a new regulation that could harm ethanol production, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s Office said this week, announcing that the state’s top lawyer is now asking a federal court to review the agency’s requirement.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Nutrition programs get House subcommittee focus
- Incoming House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway is setting up a separate subcommittee to oversee federal nutrition programs, confirming that food stamps and other feeding programs will be a major focus in the next Congress.
Reuters: More students at poor U.S. schools get free meals in federal initiative
- Over half of the nation's high-poverty schools are taking advantage of a new federal initiative intended to make it easier for U.S. children to eat nutritious cafeteria meals for free, federal officials said on Tuesday.
Reuters: Big U.S. school districts plan switch to antibiotic-free chicken
- Six of the largest U.S. school districts are switching to antibiotic-free chicken, officials said on Tuesday, pressuring the world's top meat companies to adjust production practices in the latest push against drugs used on farms.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Japan still an issue with TPP but may be progress
- (Audio) Trans Pacific Partnership officials are meeting this week in Washington as agricultural groups continue to express concerns about Japan’s demands in the negotiations. Chandler Goule of the National Farmers Union says NFU has always been opposed to having Japan in the partnership.
New York Times: Investors Recruited to Restore Farmland in Latin America
- Conservation groups announced plans on Sunday to restore degraded land across Latin America with financing from private investment funds.
Washington Post: U.S.-Mexico sugar deal means higher prices for consumers
- In late October, U.S.-Mexican negotiations produced a preliminary deal under which the United States would refrain from imposing tariffs if Mexico’s industry accepted price and quantity controls on its exports; the expectation that U.S. supplies will tighten accordingly has driven up prices.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: House passes California drought relief bill
- The House of Representatives today passed a bill that its Republican backers say would bring some relief to drought-plagued California while Democratic opponents say it would weaken environmental laws and possibly ignite a water war between the northern and southern parts of the state.
Agri-Pulse: Exports: A Path to Greater Sustainability?
- Bruce Knight: Recently, at a dairy sustainability meeting, I was intrigued by a presentation Roger Cady of Elanco gave that suggested that exports could play a critical role in increasing food security and sustainability as the world's population swells to 9.5 billion over the next 35 years.
Los Angeles Times: Blizzard on its way to California, forecasters say
- California is already facing heavy rain, strong winds and flooding with a major storm expected to hit late Wednesday. Now there's a blizzard warning.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
USA Today: Obama defends immigration action, challenges Congress
- President Barack Obama spoke here Tuesday in an effort to enlist support for his executive action last month to defer the deportations of up to 4 million immigrants living in the country illegally.
Washington Post: USAID head Raj Shah may step down
- Rajiv “Raj” Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development who coordinated the United States’ international response to the Ebola crisis, is said to be leaving his post, and chatter has it that the announcement could come this week.
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