Daily Harvest -- 12/29/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Seed industry wins victory in omnibus
- (Audio) In a small, but significant victory, the seed industry was successful in preventing an omnibus bill rider that would have extended the plant variety protection rights for Marshall ryegrass.
AgWeek: Year in review: Poor crop prices are top 2015 ag story
- This year began and ended with poor crop prices, but also brought record-high cattle prices. Here’s a quick look back at some of the most notable trends, issues and developments in agriculture.
New York Times: Lawmakers Urge U.S.D.A. to Discuss Bias Complaints
- The USDA, which is currently up against civil rights complaints from Latino farmers and ranchers, is embarking on a partnership with universities across the country in hopes of infusing its ranks with more diversity. But some members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus aren’t impressed.
Mass Live: Mass. farm bills would allow raw milk delivery, protect honeybees, and boost slaughterhouses
- The new measures would remove roadblocks to opening slaughterhouses, rein in local boards of health, create a farm-friendly plumbing code, move toward state standards for the humane treatment of livestock, allow farmers to deliver raw milk, and establish a committee to protect honeybees.
Syracuse.com: Taxpayers will subsidize indoor farm for Syracuse suburbs, but what exactly is it?
- The idea imagines 100 acres of crops inside high-tech buildings, where tomatoes and lettuce grow year-round, even during blizzards. Several branches of government are lining up to help an Ohio startup with tax breaks and other public help.
Sacramento Bee: Asian citrus psyllid detected in Northern California town
- State officials have expanded a quarantine in Northern California to try to contain a tiny pest that is potentially fatal to citrus trees.
The Desert Sun: From Keystone to Paris: Top 10 energy stories of 2015
- Here's a breakdown of the year's top energy stories, from California's rooftop solar battles to the Paris climate deal reached by 195 nations in December.
Forbes: U.S. Energy Policy Now Reflects Our Energy Reality
- (Opinion) Congress answered the need for adaptable, environmentally conscious policy changes in its year-end omnibus deal by including language lifting the restrictions on crude oil exports from the U.S.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Quartz: After months of pressure, Costco commits to a cage-free egg supply
- The superstore chain says that it has already made major strides toward a cage-free egg supply: In 2006, only 2% of the eggs it sold were cage-free, now 26% are. “In calendar 2016 we expect to sell over one billion cage free eggs,” said the company’s statement on its policy change.
Wall Street Journal: Subway Begins Move Toward Cage-Free Eggs
- Subway said Monday that it has started its transition to serving only cage-free eggs in North American restaurants (affecting 30,000 locations), and that it expects to complete the change by 2025.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Hershey dumps sugar beets because of GM concerns
- For decades, the Hershey Co. has used sugar made from both sugar beets and sugar cane, but it decided earlier this year to stop buying beet sugar because it comes from genetically modified, or GM, seeds that some consumers don’t like.
Washington Post: 10 things we should do to fix our broken food system
- (Opinion) Making the changes necessary to fix the problems in our agriculture (pollution, greenhouse gases, soil erosion) and in our diets (too few vegetables, too many calories) requires a fundamental shift in attitude.
LA Times: How the meat industry marks the land – in pictures
- (Opinion) These pictures were made by stitching together hundreds of high-resolution screen shots from publicly accessible satellite imaging software. The results are prints of great clarity and detail that capture the effects of feedlots on the land.
WKTV New York: Grants awarded to 6 NY farm-to-school food programs
- The programs serve the Buffalo School District; Cooperative Extension in Schoharie and Otsego Counties; Rensselaer County schools; Saranac Lake schools; Seneca County Cooperative Extension; and Broome-Delaware-Tioga BOCES.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
NPR: Lahore's Food Safety Czar Declares 'War' On Unhygienic Food
- Taking on Punjab, India's food industry is a monumental task. Mumtaz seems undeterred. She views access to safe food as "a basic human right" — her mission is to secure this for the public, she says.
Consumer Goods Technology: General Mills Announces Acquisition Of Brazilian Yogurt Maker Carolina
- General Mills said it has acquired Brazilian yogurt maker Carolina Administracao e Participacoes Societarias Ltda., a privately-held dairy products company headquartered in Ribeirao Claro, Parana, Brazil.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: EPA overreached in Ches. Bay pollution plan, states, lawmakers say in briefs
- (Subscriber only) Twenty-two states and 92 members of Congress - all but one a Republican -- want the Supreme Court to overturn a federal appeals court decision upholding the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), an EPA-approved plan to reduce nonpoint source pollution flowing into America's largest estuary.
Enid News: Expansion could impact Enid, Oklahoma residents’ air quality for the better
- (Opinion) We’re pleased the Enid Koch Fertilizer plant’s $1.3 billion expansion project is moving along as planned during this lull in the energy industry. Many construction workers have been hired to help build a new urea fertilizer plant and storage facility.
LA Times: EPA wants to declare abandoned Nevada copper mine a Superfund site
- Fifteen years after U.S. regulators started assessing damage and health risks at an abandoned Nevada copper mine, the Environmental Protection Agency is moving to designate the contaminated land a Superfund site, a step the state could still oppose.
Seattle Times: New England lobstermen still fishing thanks to mild winter
- Many New England lobstermen are still fishing deep into December this year because of unseasonably warm weather and an abundance of the critters, but Maine’s beloved scallops are a little harder to come by as a result.
Washington Post: This model gives us the best look yet at how Amazon forests will react to climate change
- A new paper says past models used to study the Amazon aren’t very accurate, but a new model, called the Ecosystem Demography Biosphere model, allows scientists to take individual plants’ responses to climate change into account.
Associated Press: Most Helicopters Unprotected as Bird Strikes Rise, FAA Warns
- Dangerous bird strikes are on the rise, and there are still no safety standards to protect 90 percent of the nation's helicopters from birds crashing through windshields and disabling pilots.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
NPR: Bright, Young, In Limbo: Film Sees Migrant Farm Life Through A Child's Eyes
- East of Salinas, a documentary premiering Monday on PBS's Independent Lens, is a story we rarely hear about the families who are helping to put vegetables on our dinner plates.
Visalia Times-Delta: Grads gravitate to farm living
- A lot of recent college graduates are taking their degrees to the farm, where they are finding satisfying, good paying and fulfilling jobs. It looks like many of their classmates can be expected to follow them.
Columbia Missourian: Scarce, expensive land makes it hard for young farmers to get started
- Ninety-seven percent of farms in the United States are already family-owned, according to the USDA. In other words, if you want to get into farming when you're young, your family better have some land.
Modern Farmer: The Amazing New Way To Grow Tomatoes: In Tomato Waste
- Closed-loop systems, in which waste is used as a nutrient (usually), could well be one of the futures of farming according to new research out of New Zealand that reused green waste in a hydroponic system.
LA Times: The year in beer: A look back at the big craft-beer boom in L.A.
- With a surge of new breweries and retailers opening, 2015 was a watershed year for craft beer in Los Angeles. Here's a look back at the year in beer.
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