Daily Harvest -- 12/30/2013
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Deadly pig disease trims supplies, drives pork prices higher
- Consumers can expect sharp increases in pork prices by summer as a viral disease that first appeared in U.S. swine herds earlier this year continues to ravage pig litters, according to analysts on a teleconference sponsored by U.S. pork producers.
Agri-Pulse: Senators asking Labor Secretary to reign in OSHA
- (Audio) Nearly half of the Senate signed on to a letter to the Secretary of Labor calling for an end to OSHA enforcement of rules dealing with grain storage on small farms.
Agri-Pulse: Senators criticize science-related provision in House farm bill
- Thirteen senators recently wrote a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee leaders expressing concerns about the potential impacts of an “anti-science provision” in the House version of the farm bill.
Financial Times: US farmers face difficult 2014 after reaping record year
- A twin threat of sagging grain prices and a retreat on biofuels policy in Washington has prompted warnings that some farm operations could struggle to break even in 2014, a stark shift from the nominal record $131bn they earned this year.
The Hill: Regulatory fights loom large in 2014
- The EPA has started the process of declaring that it has the power to regulate streams, brooks and small ponds. The agency says that issuing a new rule is necessary to clear up uncertainty about its powers under the Clean Water Act.
Washington Post: Attempts to reduce wasteful government spending show austerity is a hard nut to crack
- Republicans in Congress had forced a historic shift: Washington, for the first time in years, was focused on cutting, not growing, the budget. But then, politicians in both parties choked on the decisions that came next: Where to cut. Who to hurt. What to kill.
Associated Press: Defined by critics, big ag restarts conversation
- Slow to respond and often defensive, farmers and others in agribusiness have for several years let critics define the public debate and influence consumers. Now, the industry is trying to push farmers and businesses to fight back.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
The Hill: US trade push threatens China
- The administration is worried the U.S. could lose influence to China, particularly in Asia, as trading partners fight for access to the region’s largest economy, which is growing at a 7 percent clip.
Washington Post: Chinese official: Soil pollution hurts farming
- More than 8 million acres of China’s farmland is too polluted with heavy metals and other chemicals to use for growing food, a Cabinet official said Monday, highlighting a problem that is causing growing public concern.
Wall Street Journal: Junk Food Feels the Heat in Latin America
- From a Mexican tax on sugary drinks to legislation banning Happy Meal toys in Chile and Peru, Latin America is becoming a laboratory for public policies meant to steer consumers away from processed food.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: USDA official honored by rice producers for conservation work
- Dave White, former chief of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, has been honored by U.S. rice producers for his innovative conservation achievements.
New York Times: 2,500 Pigs Join Debate Over Farms vs. Scenery
- A farm that could house as many as 6,500 hogs is being built within the scenic watershed of the Buffalo River. Since then, the operation, C&H Hog Farms — which began producing piglets for the agricultural giant Cargill in the spring — has divided the community.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Kansas City Star: New Calif. Laws try to help employees, immigrants
- As California's economy recovers, the Democrats who control the state Legislature put a priority on assisting more vulnerable workers with some of the laws taking effect in the new year.
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