Daily Harvest -- 12/23/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Disaster assistance costs soar as audit cites payment errors
- The cost of a livestock disaster program has soared to more than $4 billion this year - far beyond what Congress expected - even as auditors are finding that earlier payments under the program were rife with errors.
Agri-Pulse: Global fertilizer supplies to outweigh demand, Rabobank says
- While global fertilizer supplies appear set to outweigh demand, the forecast for pricing for the first quarter of 2015 “looks rather cloudy,” according to a new report on the global fertilizer industry by Rabobank's Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group.
Agri-Pulse: USDA cattle on feed and milk production reports
- (Audio) The new cattle on feed report from USDA out last week showed lower placements and marketings, but higher actual cattle on feed numbers.
The Press Democrat: New state law upends egg industry, affecting supplies and cost
- Ten days before a groundbreaking animal welfare law takes effect in California, the price of conventional, “caged” chicken eggs has climbed so high that Sonoma County shoppers can pay less for cage-free brands.
Sacramento Bee: California’s egg laws hatch uncertainty
- While Proposition 2 only applied to eggs produced in California, the Legislature subsequently passed a law covering all eggs sold in the state. The combined measures dictate that, come Jan. 1, every egg laid or offered at a grocery store in California must meet the new standards.
Wall Street Journal: Moran’s Support of Cuba Thaw May Signal Broader Farm-State Support
- Sen. Jerry Moran (R., Kan.) on Monday said he backed the Obama administration’s push to normalize relations with Cuba, an endorsement that could signal more support from lawmakers hailing from farm states.
Bloomberg: Cargill Abandons Race for Feed Supplier, Leaving Field to SHV
- Cargill Inc. pulled out of the chase to acquire Nutreco NV (NUO), leaving the target’s largest shareholder the last man standing with a bid valuing the Dutch animal-feed supplier at 2.99 billion euros ($3.7 billion).
Michigan Live: Dispute over 'organic' label pits Michigan's largest egg producer against family farm advocates
- Based on aerial photographs taken on Aug. 15, 2014, the group claims Herbruck’s egg production facilities fail to meet USDA standards that are supposed to allow the birds outdoor access. Although there are outdoor porches, the photos show few hens using them, the group said.
Ad Age: Fields of Data: Monsanto and Others Use Agri-Data to Upsell Farmers
- The acquisition of data companies isn't just a trend in Silicon Valley and Madison Avenue. It's happening out on the plains as well. Agribusiness colossus Monsanto bought a data and analytics firm last year for $930 million.
Agri-Pulse: RFS marks 7th anniversary
- (Audio) Friday marked the seventh anniversary of the Renewable Fuel Standard. RFS CEO Bob Dinneen explains that one of the major goals of RFS was to see cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels come into production.
New York Times: Natural Gas Glut Isn’t Deterring Southwestern Energy
- Virtually all of the few remaining rig and frack crews belong to one survivor: Southwestern Energy, a stubborn believer in the future profitability of natural gas.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Sweetener Users say sugar deal will raise prices for U.S. consumers
- (Subscriber only) The Sweetener Users Association (SUA), a trade group representing U.S. candy and food makers, says the deal announced late last week that suspends the U.S. government's antidumping and countervailing investigations into Mexican sugar imports undermines free trade and will result in higher sugar prices for consumers and businesses.
New York Times: Why Cafeteria Food Is the Best
- Many parents undoubtedly think they are doing the best for their children by having them bring lunch from home instead of eating the lunches served in school. But recent studies clearly prove them wrong.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Fox News: South Korea halts US poultry imports due to bird flu
- South Korea has suspended imports of U.S. poultry and poultry products because of an outbreak of bird flu in the United States, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Cuba trade a lure to Georgia poultry business
- The normalization of relations with Cuba is great news for Georgia agriculture – mainly companies that produce poultry and eggs.
Financial Times: China’s GM crops fail to bear fruit
- After waves of state funding, researchers have developed a number of crops and are now just waiting for the green light to commercialise them. But approval will be slow in coming as long as public opinion — and more importantly, officialdom — remains firmly anti-GM.
Reuters: China approves imports of DuPont Pioneer soybean variety -DuPont
- China has approved imports of a genetically modified DuPont Pioneer soybean variety, the company said on Monday, confirming the last of three expected approvals of biotech U.S. crops from different seed companies.
Reuters: U.N. warns Ebola-linked farm losses could threaten banking in West Africa
- The Ebola epidemic threatens rural banking in three West African countries with the potential to disrupt agriculture next year as farmers won’t have access to credit to buy seeds and fertilizer, two UN officials warned on Monday.
Bloomberg: Russia Adds to Decade of Grain-Price Flux With Intervention
- Russia plans to introduce grain export duties, reinforcing a willingness by the fourth-biggest wheat supplier to protect domestic interests that helped bring about a decade of food-cost turmoil.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: Opinion: 2015: The Year of Soils
- Marshall Matz: USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service published an interim rule on December 12, 2014, which outlines how it will improve the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), one of USDA's largest conservation programs. The interim final rule includes program changes authorized by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill.
Reuters: Court upholds cutback in California water drawdown to protect fish
- Federal officials acted properly when they curtailed water extraction from California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect fish and orca species at the expense of farmers and other water users in central California, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday.
Los Angeles Times: Editorial: Putting a lid on methane from cattle
- The $1.1-trillion omnibus spending bill signed by President Obama contains many giveaways to Wall Street, casinos and the coal industry. But the ones that might do the most severe damage long-term have to do with, of all things, the digestive systems of cattle.
Science Insider: Judge returns Great Lakes wolves to endangered species list
- Gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region are once again protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), following a federal court ruling.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Politico: Suit against immigration action doesn’t get warm hearing
- A federal judge considering a lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration gave no sign Monday that she’s prepared to block the effort through which the administration plans to offer quasi-legal status to as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants.
Washington Post: Drones for Christmas worry the FAA
- Santa Claus may travel on a reindeer-powered sleigh, but he’s expected to deliver a ton of high-flying drones this week to teenagers and other amateur aviators, which is making for an anxious yuletide season at the Federal Aviation Administration.
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