Daily Harvest -- 12/30/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Ruling on Vermont biotech label case may be imminent
- (Subscriber only) The next step in the food industry's challenge to a Vermont law requiring labeling of some foods made from genetically engineered ingredients likely will be a decision by a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City.
Agri-Pulse: Trump, national security garner most interest among farmers in Agri-Pulse poll
- With national security, terrorism and renewable energy topping their list of election-related concerns, a majority of Iowa farmers say their preference for president is businessman and self-acclaimed Washington outsider Donald Trump.
Agri-Pulse: PED recovery seen in higher hogs and pigs numbers
- (Audio) 2015 has been a year of recovery for the nation's hog farmers, according to USDA.
Des Moines Register: Bird flu could come back, ag chief warns
- It's been more than six months since the last case of avian influenza was found in a commercial flock — in Iowa's Wright County in June – but Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says there are concerns that the arrival of spring will present the greatest risk for recurrence.
ABC News: Judge Questions Wyoming Ban on Open Lands Data Collection
- A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit contesting two new Wyoming laws barring people from gathering information about agriculture and other industries on private and public lands.
North American Wind Power: Gov. To Attorney General: 'Use Every Tool' To Stop The Clean Power Plan
- Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael has petitioned the EPA to reconsider the final Clean Power Plan rulemaking, arguing that the final rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Washington Post: How the polluter-backed National Black Chamber misleads minorities
- (Opinion) For months now, the National Black Chamber of Commerce has been warning communities of color that the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan will cause job losses and generate higher energy bills. In fact, the opposite is true, writes Martin Luther King III.
MIT Technology Review: Renewable Energy Trading Launched in Germany
- The German company Sonnenbatterie has launched a trading platform for distributed renewable energy by offering a way for owners of small solar and wind generation capacity to buy and sell power across the utility grid.
Reuters: China sees energy consumption rising in 2016: Xinhua
- China's demand for crude oil is expected to reach 550 million tonnes (11 million barrels per day); for natural gas, 205 billion cubic meters; for electricity consumption, 5.7 trillion kilowatt-hours; and for coal consumption, 3.96 billion tonnes.
FOOD & NUTRITION
NPR: The Year In Food: Artificial Out, Innovation In (And 2 More Trends)
- Many of the world's biggest food companies announced major changes this year — in what they purchase and how they manufacture their food, bringing more transparency to their supply chain.
Huffington Post: Supermarkets Are The 'Final Frontier' Of The Cage-Free Egg Movement
- (Opinion) Ridding grocers of eggs from caged hens will be more difficult than removing the eggs from certain food chains, because food providers can buy a specific type of egg in bulk as ingredients on their menus, whereas supermarkets offer consumers choice.
The Hill: FDA gives food industry more time to define 'natural'
- Although the FDA has not yet engaged in a formal rulemaking to define the term “natural,” the agency said it has long considered it to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic, including color additives, was used in producing the food. The public now has until May 10 to submit comments.
The Packer: Gerawan Farming pulls out of table grapes
- Fresno, Calif.-based Gerawan Farming is closing its table grape operation and will focus on tree fruit, a move that will bring about layoffs for 2,551 workers, most of them represented by United Farm Workers.
MarketWatch: Good news for meat eaters in 2016
- The price of beef and veal rose 6.75% to 7.75% in 2015, compared with a historical average rise of 4.1%. But in 2016, prices for red meat are expected to drop.
Associated Press: End of meat? Startups seek meat alternatives for the masses
- Impossible Foods is part of a wave of startups aiming to wean Americans off foods like burgers and eggs, and their efforts are attracting tens of millions of dollars from investors.
Wall Street Journal: Whole Foods Settles N.Y. Overpricing Allegations
- Whole Foods Market Inc. has agreed to pay $500,000 and enforce certain policies to settle allegations that its city stores were overcharging customers for prepackaged foods, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs said Monday.
Washington Post: Keep your canned goods. There are better ways to help feed the poor.
- (Opinion) Feeding the hungry is unquestionably a meaningful charitable endeavor, but the customary canned and packaged goods are largely loaded with excess sodium, sugar and other chemicals to maintain flavor and longevity.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
New York Times: A New Chapter for Saffron
- Several scientists and saffron experts have banded together to improve saffron production and marketing, to determine its purity and place of origin, and to impose order on an unregulated market.
New York Times: Town Where the Tomato Is King Rallies to Save Its Heinz Plant
- Residents of Leamington, Ontario have long depended on local industry: a tomato plant that up until recently was owned by Heinz. Thanks to a 54-year-old Canadian ban on using tomato paste to make tomato juice, the plant will stay in business under its new ownership, saving 740 jobs.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Fox News: California's drought is proving deadly to the state's trees
- A newly released Stanford University study found that up to 888 million large trees (about 41,000 square miles) lost significant canopy water storage between 2011 and 2015 due to the state's historic drought. Up to 58 million of those large trees experienced life threatening water loss.
Associated Press: Northern part of Great Salt Lake hits historic low level
- Drought has caused water levels in the northern portion of Utah's Great Salt Lake to drop to a historic low for the second year in a row, according to state and federal officials.
ABC News: 19 Levees in Illinois, Missouri Monitored for Flooding
- Federal officials are monitoring 19 vulnerable levees on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and projecting hundreds of homes in Illinois and Missouri could be threatened by a rare winter flood that already forced the partial closure of interstate highways and widespread evacuations.
Washington Post: As planet warms, the world’s lakes are heating up even faster
- Lakes around the world are growing rapidly warmer, according to a new scientific study that warns of potential consequences ranging from depleted fisheries to harmful algae blooms that kill fish and contaminate water supplies for cities large and small.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Capital Press: Farm managers need license to hire workers, Washington agency says
- The Washington Department of Labor and Industries has asked the state Supreme Court to require farm management companies to obtain a separate license to hire workers.
Bangor Daily News: Student helps state understand migrant farm workforce
- Treva deMaynadier, a college student from central Maine, spent last summer meeting some of the estimated 2,700 migrant and seasonal farm workers who come to the state each year to harvest blueberries, broccoli and other crops.
Delaware Online: DuPont to cut 1,700 jobs in Delaware
- DuPont will eliminate 1,700 jobs in Delaware by the end of March 2016. The impeding job cuts are part of DuPont’s $700 million global cost savings and restructuring plan announced Dec. 11.
Omaha.com: ConAgra Foods' upcoming switch to Conagra Brands has some asking, what's in a name?
- The coming switch from “ConAgra Foods” to “Conagra Brands,” announced last month, won’t matter to consumers in the grocery store, branding experts say, but it does signal to investors, employees and retailers how the company will change its focus.
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