Daily Harvest News Service
Daily Harvest -- 12/16/2013
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Agri-Pulse: Washington Week Ahead: Senate to focus on budget plan; farm bill talks set to continue
Link - The Senate is expected this week to begin debate on a two-year budget bill (H.J. Res. 59) that aims to avert another government shutdown in January, as while as provide some sequestration relief to federal agencies.  

Agri-Pulse: Top farm bill conferees set to meet after House approves one-month extension
Link - Top farm bill conferees are expected to meet Friday, after the House quickly approved legislation (H.R. 3695) Thursday, by voice vote, to extend the current farm bill through Jan. 31. The bill is considered dead in the water in the Senate.

Agri-Pulse: Open Mic with Paul Hammes, Union Pacific RR
Link - (Audio) Hammes is Vice President and General Manager for Agricultural Shipping at the Union Pacific Railroad. He discusses the current business climate for rail carriers and the relationship of the railroad to agribusiness. He also comments on the pending Water Resources Legislation.

Agri-Pulse: Dairy cliff may not be that steep
Link - (Audio) As Congress remains at an impasse on passing a farm bill, the media is focused on the so-called “dairy cliff.” American Farm Bureau Federation’s Mary Kay Thatcher said the press is exaggerating the reality of what would happen to milk prices without new legislation.

Washington Post: Agriculture the most promising market for drones
Link - Idaho farmer Robert Blair isn’t waiting around for federal aviation officials to work out rules for drones. He and a friend built their own, outfitting it with cameras and using it to monitor his 1,500 acres.

Radio Iowa: Economists downplay impact of EPA’s RFS proposal
Link - Two Midwestern economists say the EPA’s proposed reduction in ethanol production in 2014 will contribute to a “slow down” in what’s been a booming ag economy, but it won’t drive the farm economy into negative territory.

Washington Post: Dems hatch new strategy to pressure GOP on unemployment insurance
Link - Once Congress returns, they will refuse to support the reauthorization of the farm bill — which will almost certainly need Dem support to pass the House — unless Republicans agree to restart unemployment benefits with the farm bill’s savings.


The Hill: Tsunami of food regs will hit in 2014
Link - The coming year figures to be pivotal for food safety issues, as the Obama administration works to complete a host of regulations to shore up a system seen as exposing the American public to too many health risks.


Agri-Pulse: Vilsack to Attend U.S.-China Trade Conference in Beijing
Link - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to China later this month as part of the U.S. delegation to the 24th session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT).

Wall Street Journal: Congressional Negotiators Reach Deal on Fast-Track Trade Bill, Aides Say
Link - House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement on legislation to speed congressional approval of foreign trade pacts, including a major Asia-Pacific agreement the administration hopes to complete early next year.

USA Today: Agriculture spies target seed technology, feds say
Link - A corporate agriculture espionage case announced Thursday by federal prosecutors offered a glimpse into how at least seven Chinese men allegedly traveled across the Midwest to steal millions of dollars in seed technology.


Agri-Pulse: Opinion: The Power of Productivity
Link - Can we really feed more than 9.5 billion people expected to share planet Earth in 2050? Bruce Knight, principal of Strategic Conservation Solutions writes: I believe we can, but only if we prepare now by maximizing productivity. Sustainable intensification is the way to do that.


Agri-Pulse: Farmworkers need better labor protections, report says
Link - Enhanced labor protections in the law and regulations as well as stronger enforcement are needed to improve working conditions for the nation's farmworkers, according to a report released Thursday by Farmworker Justice.

New York Times: Immigration Advocates Undeterred as House Departs Without Action
Link - As the Republican-controlled House of Representatives wrapped up its work for the year on Thursday with no progress on immigration, leaders from both parties said they would return to the issue early in the new year.


Houston Chronicle: An assault on farming by Luddites
Link - Steve Forbes writes that American agriculture is a big deal. It is science-driven, profitable, more environmentally attuned than ever and in a real sense, feeding the world. Yet unlike other key drivers of the economy in the U.S. or Texas, outside of this industry, no one appears to notice it.

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