Daily Harvest -- 12/16/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Midwest, South split new GOP seats on Senate Ag panel
- Four newly elected Republican senators, including Iowa's Joni Ernst and Nebraska's Ben Sasse, will be joining the Senate Agriculture Committee for the new Congress.
Agri-Pulse: Economist provides grain outlook update
- (Audio) Agricultural economist Dan Basse gave his outlook at the American Seed Trade Association’s CSS 2014 & Seed Expo last week where he said it’s been a historic year for grain crop production. World producers are starting to pick up on some of the traits that America is using, he noted.
Wall Street Journal: Cow Economy Faces a Pinch
- U.S. Department of Agriculture officials think some of the 2014 downturn is because overseas breeder herds have stabilized, but basic economics are at play, too: U.S. cattle prices have been high, and the strong dollar relative to the Russian ruble and other currencies has reduced foreign customers’ buying power.
Politico: Will cheap oil kill Keystone?
- Greens who want President Barack Obama to kill the Keystone XL pipeline are adding a new weapon to their arsenal of protests and lawsuits — the world’s glut of cheap oil.
The Economist: As the oil price plunges, gloom and ill-will, oddly, abound
- Exporters, oil-company shareholders and industry suppliers are all contemplating a future of oil at $60 a barrel—or below. So too are all the people who lent money to them. Markets are pricing in the pain and pessimism immediately, while seeming to discount the future gains to energy users.
The Hill: North American energy leaders agree to data exchanges
- The top energy officials in the United States, Canada and Mexico met Monday to agree to new measures to share and better integrate data on North America’s energy.
Midwest Producer: Kansas, Nebraska attorneys general challenge EPA ethanol emissions model
- The attorneys general in Kansas and Nebraska have asked a federal appeals court to block new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations they say discourage the use of ethanol by requiring states to adopt conclusions about ethanol emissions not backed by scientific facts.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: NSAC says FDA food safety proposals need more work
- The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) says the FDA's revised proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) are “a significant improvement” over the original proposals but still fall short in a number of critical areas.
NPR: Congress To Nutritionists: Don't Talk About The Environment
- A government-appointed group of top nutrition experts, assigned to lay the scientific groundwork for a new version of the nation's dietary guidelines, decided earlier this year to collect data on the environmental implication of different food choices.
Bellingham Herald: Maui group wins ability to intervene in GMO case
- The authors of a new Maui law banning the cultivation of genetically modified organisms won standing on Monday to intervene in a federal lawsuit challenging the measure.
Wall Street Journal: Republican Governors Push to Reshape Welfare Programs
- A large number of Republican governors are pushing to reshape social-welfare programs with drug testing or other requirements, arguing that the new rules better prepare recipients for employment and assure taxpayers that the benefit money is well spent.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: China approves Syngenta’s corn seed trait after months of resistance
- Chinese officials informed a wide variety of U.S. seed industry officials that they approved Syngenta's seed trait Viptera, according to sources contacted by Agri-Pulse. However, industry officials were reluctant to officially announce the agreement until they received official notification of the approval.
Wall Street Journal: Biotech Seed Makers Try to Defuse Trade Uncertainties
- The U.S. agricultural industry is crafting a framework for launching new biotech seeds in an attempt to avoid the types of trade disruptions blamed for hundreds of millions of dollars in losses over the past year.
Reuters: Crop prices dent French farm income in 2014
- Lower prices for grains, fruit and vegetables in France will keep farm income below its long-term average this year in the European Union's biggest agricultural producer, the farm ministry said on Monday.
Washington Post: Japan runs short of butter as dairy farms dwindle
- As the Christmas Eve cake rush approaches, grocery stores are limiting customers to a maximum of two packages of butter each. Last week the government announced its latest plan for “emergency imports” to ease shortages of the spread.
Bloomberg: Abe’s Free-Trade, Farm Reform Efforts Seen Bolstered by Victory
- Shinzo Abe’s re-election victory allows him to accelerate agricultural reforms and push ahead with a free-trade deal unpopular with farmers, according to analysts including one of the Japanese prime minister’s former advisers.
Bloomberg: Japan Culls Chickens, Restricts Shipments on Bird Flu Outbreak
- Japan began culling about 4,000 chickens in a farm on the southern island of Kyushu after discovering the nation’s first outbreak of bird flu in eight months, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Wall Street Journal: China’s Hard Line on Biotech Burns U.S. Hay
- China’s tough new stance on imports of genetically modified crops is shaking up a little-noticed U.S. industry: hay.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Los Angeles Times: Government is being a drip on the drought
- There are two things very annoying about the deluges that have been drenching California. And neither involves nature. Both involve government.
The Hill: GOP accuses feds of bad science in endangered species studies
- Congressional Republicans are accusing the Obama administration of using a flawed and opaque peer review process when determining whether species are endangered and should be protected.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Washington Post: Obama braces for immigration battle with GOP
- President Obama is bracing for a political and legal battle with Republicans next year over his executive actions on immigration, but as he seeks to rally support against the anticipated assault, a lingering frustration among some Latinos could mean renewed pressure on him to do even more to protect illegal immigrants.
NTV: New Investigation Unit Aims to Stop Cattle Theft in Kansas
- Kansas Department of Agriculture along with the Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt are increasing the state's efforts to combat cattle theft.
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