Daily Harvest -- 12/18/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Regulations keep ag retailers busy
- (Audio) 2015 has been a busy year on Capitol Hill for those who provide the inputs for farmers to grow crops.
Agri-Pulse: Meet the Lawmaker: Mike Bost, Illinois' 12th District
- (Video) After a 20-year career in the Illinois legislature, Mike Bost now represents southern Illinois in Washington. In this video, he talks with Agri-Pulse about his goals for his first term in Congress, including what he wants to do on the House Agriculture Committee.
Wall Street Journal: The New U.S. Digital Divide: Between the Haves and the Have-Mores
- Digitization has made little inroads in construction, health care and agriculture, all sectors where productivity growth has been negative between 2005 and 2014, according to a new McKinsey Global Institute report.
Washington Post: Fight against superbugs gets dramatic funding boost under congressional budget plan
- The budget blueprint would provide at least $375 million in new funds for the 2016 fiscal year – 57 percent more than fiscal 2015 – to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, one of the biggest health threats facing the United States and the rest of the world.
Agri-Pulse: Tax bill could leave biofuel subsidies more vulnerable
- (Subscriber only) Biofuel producers are breathing a sigh of relief that valuable tax subsidies are safe for another year, but they could face a tougher battle to keep them after that.
CleanTechnica: Solar & Wind Tax Credit Extensions Big Boost To Solar & Wind Growth
- After many long months of deliberations and lobbying, the US Congress has approved a five-year extension to the hugely successful Investment Tax Credit, which has buoyed the country’s solar industry for several years.
Washington Post: Obama just released the biggest energy efficiency rule in US history
- On Thursday, the Energy Department dumped what it is describing as the “largest energy-saving standard in history” – a standard governing commercial air conditioners and furnaces.
Harvard Business Review: The Internet Shouldn’t Run on Dirty Energy
- (Opinion) An internet powered by 100 percent renewable energy is within our reach. For business, this means more choices, lower costs, and greater reliability, all while meeting corporate and global climate goals.
FOOD & NUTRITION
NPR: How The Food Industry Helps Engineer Our Cravings
- It is no secret that the rise in obesity in America has something to do with food. But how much? And what role does the food industry as a whole play?
Washington Post: How synthetic biology could solve our banana problem
- This new, synthetically modified banana would look like a real banana and taste like a real banana and it would have almost exactly the same DNA as a real banana — except that it would be engineered in a bio-foundry by a team of technologists.
Food Dive: General Mills profit ticks up amid cost cuts — but earnings miss analyst expectations
- The company has been busy changing ingredients, cutting jobs, setting a deadline for its cage-free egg policy, reducing sodium, and making e-commerce a priority. The shift away from breakfast cereal continues to weigh on General Mills, too, and also competitor Kellogg.
Wall Street Journal: Sanderson Farms Profit Falls on Lower Chicken Prices
- Sanderson Farms Inc. on Thursday said profit dropped by more than two-thirds and revenue fell 11% in its fiscal fourth quarter, as the chicken company dealt with sharply lower market prices.
ABC News: Despite Lack of Eggs, Just Mayo Says It's Keeping Its Name
- After months of discussions, Just Mayo's maker Hampton Creek says it worked out an agreement with the Food and Drug Administration that lets the eggless spread keep its name, as long as a few changes are made to its label.
Popular Science: Chipotle: Our food is so fresh, it could make you sick
- As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has noted, it's kitchen cooks and other food handlers who typically spread gut-churning food-borne infections. So really, it has more to do with the restaurant staff than the food itself.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
AgriMoney.com: Rabobank, again, dampens hopes for dairy price revival
- Rabobank, citing "strong" European Union milk production, put back – again - expectations for the revival in dairy markets, forecasting that whole milk powder will not until late next year return to $3,000 a tonne.
Reuters: RPT-Advantage Brazil: Australian beef exports hit by sliding slaughter rate
- For three years, Australian cattle abattoirs have slaughtered record numbers of animals to supply to the world market, but now, some of the biggest plants have been idled with the national herd at its smallest in decades, heralding a sharp cut in sales.
Reuters: Exclusive: Philippine government to challenge ban on GMO imports ordered by top court
- The Philippine government said it will challenge a ban on GMO imports ordered by the country's top court, after the ruling rattled global markets this week over the threat of disruption to millions of tonnes of soybean meal shipments.
Global Meat News: Russia opens poultry exports to EU
- After a year-long break, Russia is re-establishing supplies of poultry to the European Union (EU), following agreement from the European Commission.
Wall Street Journal: U.S. Businesses Worry Stronger Dollar May Weigh on Growth and Exports
- American businesses fretted that the first interest rate increase in seven years came at a time when a strong U.S. dollar already is sapping demand for exports and low energy and commodity prices are weighing on growth in the industrial economy.
Wall Street Journal: Plunging Fuel Prices Buoy Shipping Lines, Trucking Firms
- A sharp drop in the price of oil is lowering fuel costs for container shipping lines, trucking companies and other transportation providers, a welcome development as they struggle with weak demand.
U.S. News & World Report: US-Cuba reach flight deal to jumpstart business ties lagging behind diplomatic progress
- The United States and Cuba have struck a deal to restore regular airline flights, jumpstarting economic relations that have languished despite a year of rapid progress on the diplomatic front, U.S. and Cuban officials said Thursday on the anniversary of detente between the Cold War foes.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Seattle Times: Congress may give conservation fund extended life
- A budget bill headed for congressional approval Friday revives the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund for three years.
KCRG Des Moines: Agribusiness Report: Survey Aims To Collect Conservation Data
- This week the USDA’s Natural Resources and Conservation Service announced it will work with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistic Service to survey the use of conservation practices nationwide.
Charlotte Observer: A farmer depends on pesticides. His son asks: Is there a better way?
- Jon dreams. His father, Bach, keeps Jon grounded. On Maple Edge Farm, as on many family farms around the country, this push and pull between idealism and realism is a point of contention at the supper table and in the fields.
Delta Farm Press: Buddy Allen: conservation brings acclaim in Tunica, Miss.
- Recently named “Champion of Change in Sustainable Agriculture” at a ceremony at the White House, Allen is an obvious advocate for adopting practices that will benefit farmland in the long-term.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Agri-Pulse: DOJ, Labor plan tougher enforcement of farm, mine safety laws
- The U.S. Departments of Justice and Labor say they plan to enforce environmental and worker safety laws more vigorously in the coming year, and agriculture is one area the agencies will be looking at closely.
Washington Post: How to find shrimp that’s not produced by slave labor in Thailand
- The AP’s investigation covered many companies and stores in all 50 states - know which brands and retailers’ supply chains are linked to labor abuses.
Agri-Pulse: Armstrong to retire as FFA CEO
- National FFA Chief Executive Officer W. Dwight Armstrong has announced he'll step down from the post at the end of June after seven years with the organization.
Agri-Pulse: John Block on the 2015 Cabinet Luncheon
- (Audio) Before Christmas, I hosted the annual Cabinet Secretaries lunch – which dates back to 1981 – at the famous Blair House.
Des Moines Register: Pioneer, Monsanto drop pledges to create 350 Iowa jobs
- Citing the downturn in the farm economy, the companies will forgo nearly $21 million in state tax incentives to avoid their goal of creating about 350 jobs.
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