Daily Harvest -- 12/22/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Open Mic with Charlie O'Brien, Sr VP-Association of Equipment Manufacturers
- (Audio) Charlie O'Brien, Senior Vice President for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers says technology in the coming generations of farm machinery will lead to a more rapid turnover of equipment sales as producers strive to maximize both efficiency and production.
Agri-Pulse: Vilsack gives up on second beef checkoff
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, facing a congressional directive telling him not to implement a new beef checkoff, is dropping plans to create the program.
Agri-Pulse: Syngenta receives Chinese certificate for Viptera trait
- Syngenta announced today that it has received the safety certificate for its Agrisure Viptera® trait (event MIR162) from China's regulatory authorities, formally granting import approval.
Des Moines Register: Iowa farmland prices see biggest drop in 28 years
- Iowa farmland prices fell 8.9 percent in the past year, the largest annual decline in 28 years, according to a report released Thursday by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University.
Wall Street Journal: NY farmers lament lost opportunity for gas riches
- While environmental groups are doing a victory dance over New York's decision to ban fracking, farmers such as apple grower David Johnson are grieving for dashed hopes and dreams.
New York Times: Energy-Storage Plans Gain Ground in California
- In an unusual competition in California, proposals for energy storage systems beat out hundreds of bids to construct new power plants as a way to meet peak power needs.
Bloomberg View: Can Brazil Get Its Ethanol Mojo Back?
- Brazilian airline Gol set out earlier this year to launch the world's first commercial flight powered partly by renewable fuel made from sugar cane. Fermenting ordinary sugar into jet fuel ended up being the easy bit. Surviving Brazilian policy makers was another story.
Sacramento Bee: West Sacramento says no to ethanol trains
- The city of West Sacramento and a Texas-based gasoline company are battling over whether it’s riskier to ship large amounts of ethanol through city streets on trains or on tanker trucks – a dispute that last week spilled into court.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Politico: Obama labor board comes down hard on McDonald’s
- In a significant victory for fast-food demonstrators, the Obama administration filed 13 legal complaints on Friday against McDonald’s USA, LLC, alleging 78 instances in which it violated federal labor law by punishing workers for taking part in fast-food protests.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: New optimism for China trade expansion, improved U.S. exports
- For the last 13 months, most of the news coming out of China regarding the U.S. grain trade has been one of frustration and uncertainty, putting a damper on commodity prices that have already tumbled from historic highs.
New York Times: Raúl Castro Thanks U.S., but Reaffirms Communist Rule in Cuba
- President Raúl Castro declared victory for the Cuban Revolution on Saturday in a wide-ranging speech, thanking President Obama for “a new chapter” while also reaffirming that restored relations with the United States did not mean the end of Communist rule in Cuba.
Associated Press: US Agriculture Has Big Appetite for Cuba Trade
- U.S. agriculture has a big appetite for freer trade with Cuba. From wheat to rice to beans, the industry stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of President Barack Obama's plan to ease economic and travel restrictions imposed against the communist-ruled island.
Bloomberg: Obama Says Opening to Cuba Will Take Years to Bear Fruit
- President Barack Obama said the full opening of relations between Cuba and the U.S. may take years, even as he offered assurances the new U.S. stance will bring change to the island nation’s closed society.
Wall Street Journal: Japan’s Farmers Brace for Change
- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is planning to overhaul Japan’s powerful agricultural cooperatives, and that makes farmers nervous.
Wall Street Journal: A Marriage of Coffee and Conservation in Indonesia
- Farmers in search of increasingly scarce land have started infringing on forested areas and clearing them of trees to plant corn and other crops, say environmentalists, increasing the risk of fatal landslides like the one that killed dozens of villagers recently in Banjarnegara, Central Java.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Sacramento Bee: Sierra snow pack encouraging, but more storms needed to keep it deep
- For the first time in years, snowfall in the Sierras has left California’s annual average in its dust.
Wall Street Journal: Actually, Raising Beef Is Good for the Planet
- People who advocate eating less beef often argue that producing it hurts the environment. Cattle, we are told, have an outsize ecological footprint: They guzzle water, trample plants and soils, and consume precious grains that should be nourishing hungry humans. Lately, critics have blamed bovine burps, flatulence and even breath for climate change.
Los Angeles Times: California drought weakens, forecasters have 'cautious optimism' for future
- For the first time in five months, a majority of California is no longer considered to be in an exceptional drought, the most severe level possible under federal guidelines, the U.S. Drought Monitor announced Thursday.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Washington Post: Ariz. sheriff aims to halt Obama immigration order
- A gadfly attorney and an Arizona county sheriff want to halt President Barack Obama’s immigration order in the first courtroom battle over an initiative designed to spare nearly 5 million people from deportation.
Washington Times: Illegal immigration up, deportations down in 2014: DHS
- The number of illegal immigrants crossing the border rose in 2014, while deportations dropped, according to new statistics Homeland Security released Friday in a pre-holiday data dump that signaled potential problems on both sides of the immigration enforcement equation.
Agri-Pulse: NCGA names Jon Doggett executive vice president
- The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today announced the promotion of Jon Doggett to executive vice president, effective January 1
Politico: Leaked: Democrats' attack plan for Bush
- The Democratic National Committee wants surrogates to attack Jeb Bush as the Mitt Romney of 2016, an out-of-touch representative of the 1 percent who is more conservative than he lets on.
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