Daily Harvest -- 12/24/2014
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Report says railroads improving service from last year's struggles
- A report shows railroads are demonstrating improvement in handling grain cargo, easing concerns that the struggles experienced with the 2013 grain harvest may carry over to this year's crop.
Agri-Pulse: Starbucks wants cage-free eggs, sets standards for meat, dairy
- Starbucks says it will to shift to cage-free eggs and pork raised without the use of sow gestation crates as the coffee chain upgrades requirements for its suppliers.
Agri-Pulse: DuPont, Monsanto settle patent-infringement legal battle
- (Subscriber only) DuPont and Monsanto Co. have agreed to settle and dismiss their respective patent infringement lawsuits pending in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, possibly ending a long and bitter legal battle between the world's two largest seed companies over patents related to seed technology.
Agri-Pulse: Bigger hog herd may reflect growing sow immunity to PEDv
- The U.S. hog and pig inventory totaled 66.1 million head as of Dec. 1, up 2 percent from a year earlier and up 1 percent from Sept. 1, USDA said today in a quarterly report.
Agri-Pulse: ResponsibleAg helps businesses with fertilizer handling regulations
- (Audio) ResponsibleAg is a nonprofit organization founded earlier this year to promote the public welfare by assisting agribusinesses as they seek to comply with federal environmental, health, safety and security rules regarding the safe handling and storage of fertilizer products.
Agri-Pulse: Feeding America and military families
- (Audio) Pork producers around the nation recently distributed pork meals to more than 1,800 military families and their children during the 2014 Snowball Express.
Bloomberg: Hens Living Larger as Farmers Rush to Meet California Standards
- Rising meat prices have made eggs a popular alternative and driven per-capita consumption to its highest level in decades. California’s law could push up grocery prices as farmers boost their use of costlier cage-free housing or reduce the number of birds in their cages.
Reuters: Veterinarians face conflicting allegiances to animals, farmers - and drug companies
- The FDA is counting on vets to curb antibiotic use, but not even the government knows which of the animal doctors has financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
Wall Street Journal: Opinion: Harvesting Crop Insurance Profits
- Bruce Babcock and Vincent Smith: Farmers have a sweet deal with crop insurance: Taxpayers currently cover all the administrative costs associated with marketing and managing the program and fund more than 60% of the premiums to cover anticipated crop-insurance payouts, according to annual data from the Agriculture Department’s Risk Management Agency.
Chicago Tribune: Recent sparks could power big changes for energy sector in 2015
- The energy landscape in Illinois is set to change in dramatic fashion in 2015. By year-end, the state could see an oil boom downstate, nuclear plants on the chopping block and forward momentum for a wind- power superhighway to carry wind-generated electricity from Iowa into Illinois.
KCRG: Corn farmers and ethanol producers eye gas prices
- Lower gas prices at the pump make it more difficult for ethanol alternatives to compete. Airy says the price plummet hasn’t been an issue yet, but ethanol producers and corn growers are monitoring the situation.
WBNG: The fight's not over - both sides of fracking debate remain vocal
- Last Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo ended a debate that's long gripped the Southern Tier, by implementing a ban on hydraulic fracturing across the state. In the wake of that decision, representatives from both sides of the issue have been speaking out.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: USDA lowers food inflation forecast
- Agriculture Department economists today lowered their estimate for food inflation this year despite big increases in the price of beef, pork and eggs.
NPR: Farm Fresh? Natural? Eggs Not Always What They're Cracked Up To Be
- You're in the supermarket gathering ingredients for eggnog and a Christmas Bundt cake, and you're staring at a wall of egg cartons. They're plastered with terms that all sound pretty wonderful: All-Natural, Cage-Free, Free-Range, Farm Fresh, Organic, No Hormones, Omega-3. And so on.
Financial Times: Food the new frontier for Italian luxury
- Cakes and fashion may seem an odd coupling, but despite appearances food is emerging as a new frontier for luxury goods.
Capital Press: Farm groups hope for clearer food safety regs
- Under the latest proposed revision to the food manufacturer regulations, the FDA considers drying to be part of the harvesting process, said Stephanie Page, food safety and animal health director at the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: Global sugar production persists despite low prices
- Abundant global sugar stocks continue to weigh on world market prices, according to a report from Rabobank, a major bank to the food, beverage and agribusiness industries in North America.
Christian Science Monitor: Why gender inequality and food security go hand-in-hand
- Addressing gender inequality in farming sector of developing countries could increase global food security, Paul writes. Women are more likely to adopt new techniques in farming practices to enhance household nutrition.
McClatchy Washington Bureau: Kansas senators open to lifting Cuban embargo for agriculture products
- Kansas’ two Republican senators say they’re in favor of lifting the embargo on Cuba to increase the sale of U.S. wheat and other agricultural products to the communist state – and they’re open to working with the administration of President Barack Obama to make it happen.
Reuters: Brazil's president names farmers' champion Abreu as agriculture minister
- Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff named Senator Katia Abreu, a high-profile politician who has vocally defended farmers from claims they cut down the rainforest, as the country's new agriculture minister on Tuesday.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
NBC: Christmas Twisters: Deadly Storms Threaten Holiday Travel
- An already hectic holiday travel week took a tragic turn Tuesday afternoon as at least four people were killed by tornadoes that swept through the south.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Agri-Pulse: Next Senate Judiciary chairman eyes moving farmworker bill
- The incoming chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, said today that he intends to take up an immigration bill to address the need for farmworkers in agriculture.
Washington Post: The switch to farming made our skeletons more fragile (because we got lazier)
- Life on the farm might sound awfully active, especially if you've got a job that allows you to read my blog in the middle of the day. But before the invention of agriculture, humans were hunting and gathering every morsel of food they ate -- which made for an even more active lifestyle.
Grand Forks Herald: White House hires former Keystone XL pipeline lobbyist as Senate liaison
- The Obama administration's new point person on White House-Senate relations previously worked as a lobbyist to promote the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
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