Daily Harvest -- 12/18/2013
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Senate poised to approve two-year budget bill to avoid shutdown
- The Senate is expected to approve a two-year budget bill (H.J. Res. 59) on Wednesday that seeks to avoid another government shutdown in January while providing some sequestration relief to federal agencies.
Agri-Pulse: Three representatives announce they will not run for re-election
- Three representatives, including Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, announced today that they will not run for re-election in 2014.
Wall Street Journal: U.S. Lawmakers Discuss $8 Billion Cut to Food-Stamp Funding
- Lawmakers crafting a new, five-year farm bill are discussing a reduction in food-stamp funding of roughly $8 billion over 10 years, according to sources familiar with the conversations.
The Hill: Farm bill deal close, Stabenow says
- Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) told reporters that a framework agreement is "close" and is on track to be announced shortly after Jan. 1.
Politico: Congressman horse trades for Humane Society
- The Kentucky Republican hasn’t been shy about mentioning the connection with his wife’s employer, even noting in statements on the House floor that the Humane Society — among other organizations — supports his legislative initiatives.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Bloomberg Businessweek: Can Genetically Modifying an Orange With a Spinach Gene Save Florida’s Crop?
- Tomorrow’s oranges might just have a little spinach in them. To battle the spread of a disease called citrus greening Tropicana (PEP) supplier Southern Gardens Citrus has been funding research to engineer an orange plant that resists greening through a spinach gene.
MIT Technology Review: Why We Will Need Genetically Modified Foods
- Blight-resistant potatoes would be one of the first major foods genetically engineered to incorporate defenses against plant diseases, which annually destroy some 15 percent of the world’s agricultural harvest.
Huffington Post: As Food Labels Get Closer Look, Ingredients Vanish
- The risk of damaging publicity has proven serious enough that some manufacturers have reformulated top-selling products to remove mysterious, unpronounceable components that could draw suspicion.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Seed industry takes theft charges seriously
- (Audio) As the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) concluded a conference in Chicago last week, news came that arrests had been made in two separate conspiracies to steal seed and trade secrets from U.S. companies. ASTA CEO Andy LaVigne said he was pleased with the quick action the U.S. government took to protect companies’ intellectual property.
Agri-Pulse: Obama nominates Vetter for USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator
- President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Darci Vetter as Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
Agri-Pulse: Donnelly, Grassley push for better market access for U.S. pork in TPP talks
- Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, recently sent a letter - signed by 31 senators - to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging them to push for broader market access for U.S. pork in countries that are part of the current Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks.
Agri-Pulse: Wetjen to serve as acting CFTC chairman
- The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced Monday that Commissioner Mark Wetjen will serve as acting chairman when current Chairman Gary Gensler leaves the agency at the end of the year.
Washington Post: Obama, to sell trade pacts, will outline the benefits of globalization
- After months of international negotiations over two new trade treaties, the Obama administration is planning a major push to make the case that the agreements will put Americans to work at a decent wage and not further winnow the country’s manufacturing base.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Science Daily: Lost Freshwater May Double Climate Change Effects On Agriculture
- A new analysis combining climate, agricultural, and hydrological models finds that shortages of freshwater used for irrigation could double the detrimental effects of climate change on agriculture.
MPR News: New ethanol plants to make fuel from 'biomass'
- After years of being on the drawing board, the first commercial cellulosic ethanol plants are scheduled to start operation next year.
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