Daily Harvest -- 12/31/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Top ag stories from 2015
- (Audio) As 2015 comes to a close, we’ll take a look at some of the year’s top stories in agriculture.
Agri-Pulse: USDA to finalize rule expanding organic checkoff exemption
- Additional organic farmers and handlers will be exempt from paying into commodity checkoff programs under a rule being finalized by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service.
Reuters: Cargill to Sell Crop-Insurance Unit to Silveus
- Global commodities trader Cargill Inc. will sell its crop insurance business to the Silveus Insurance Group next month, the two companies said on Tuesday.
New York Times: Ted Cruz Finds Support for His Opposition to Corn Subsidies
- Senator Ted Cruz, already under attack in Iowa for opposing government support for ethanol, has won the support of an out-of-state conservative leader, Ken Cuccinelli II, who on Tuesday aimed an unusually blistering attack on “Big Corn” in Iowa.
San Francisco Chronicle: Farmland grants totaling $2M awarded to 6 Virginia locales
- The funding from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will be used to compensate property owners who agree to conservation easements to keep their farm acreage free of development.
Des Moines Register: Iowa ethanol production hit record 4 billion gallons
- The Iowa Renewable Fuel Association said the increase in production at the state’s 43 ethanol plants this year was the result of efficiency gains at existing facilities and production from cellulosic feedstocks, such as corn stover.
The Desert Sun: Top five energy stories to follow in 2016
- Here are five energy stories to follow in 2016, from controversial desert solar projects to the "keep it in the ground" movement.
Detroit News: Renewable energy hits technical, regulatory challenges
- Converting the wind and sun into electricity is increasingly affordable, but it can be difficult to get that electricity from distant plains and deserts to the places where it’s needed. The reasons range from technical to regulatory.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Blue Bell latest in food safety crackdown
- (Subscriber only) The Justice Department has reportedly launched a criminal investigation of Blue Bell Creameries over a deadly listeria outbreak, the latest example of the Obama administration's effort to turn up the heat on producers and processors over food safety failures.
Wall Street Journal: The March of Genetic Food Progress
- (Opinion) Despite what you may hear from the culinary elite, genetic engineering is winning the day and gradually overcoming their “Frankenfood” fear-mongering.
Indian Country: Frankenfish Fail: Yurok Ordinance Bans Genetically Engineered Organisms
- The Yurok Tribe has passed the first ever tribal ordinance banning genetically engineered organisms such as GMO corn or altered salmon from its territory.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Wall Street Journal: Sudan Arises as Sugar Hub
- Sudan is emerging as a regional sugar trading hub, with the commodity offering a bright spot for an economy ravaged by decades of conflict and the plunging price of oil. USDA says Sudan’s imports of refined sugar is helping to push the global sugar-price recovery, too.
International Business Times: Asean To Launch Trade Bloc To Integrate Southeast Asian Markets
- Ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will launch an ambitious trade pact Thursday to integrate their markets and allow unrestricted flow of labor, services and capital across the region.
LA Times: Mexican marijuana farmers see profits tumble as U.S. loosens laws
- The loosening of marijuana laws across much of the United States has increased competition from growers north of the border, apparently enough to drive down prices paid to Mexican farmers, leading to reduced marijuana production in Mexico and a drop in trafficking to the U.S.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: The battle between man and plant-sucking bugs
- (Opinion) You see, neonics, a fairly new class of insecticides, are being attacked as responsible for harming honey bee populations, even though there is much disagreement and even confusion about the cause of the malady.
New York Times: Farmers Try Political Force to Twist Open California’s Taps
- California has more than 81,000 farms, and farmers claim four-fifths of all the water its citizens consume. But no one in agriculture has shaped the debate over water more — or swung their elbows wider — than the few hundred owners of an arid, Rhode Island-size finger of farmland west of Fresno.
LA Times: Collapse of deal to remove Klamath dams is a bad omen for water progress
- (Opinion) It is a shame that the spirit of compromise that brought together so many interests that were so long at odds was scuttled by the exasperating no-deal congressional culture.
New York Times: Climate Chaos, Across the Map
- With tornado outbreaks in the South, Christmas temperatures that sent trees into bloom in Central Park, drought in parts of Africa and historic floods drowning the old industrial cities of England, 2015 is closing with a string of weather anomalies all over the world.
Reuters: Record flooding hits U.S. Midwest, threatens South
- Swollen rivers in the U.S. Midwest and other regions brought flood warnings for over 12 million Americans on Wednesday as scores of buildings were submerged after days of intense rain in which 24 people have died.
LA Times: War against feral hogs rages on in Texas
- The Caldwell County Feral Hog Task Force is at the forefront of Texas' patchwork effort to control the wild swine population boom that is hurting farmers, frustrating hunters and poisoning the water in some beloved Central Texas streams and creeks.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Capital Press: Washington farm employers group in flap over wage survey
- The Washington Employment Security Department says a farm employment group biased a wage survey. The group says the survey was biased to begin with.
The Tampa Tribune: Dover child-care center for migrant farmworkers to open $3 million expansion in spring
- The center in Dover has the longest waiting list of any of the nonprofit association’s 69 child-care centers around the state. It provides childcare November through May, when most farmworkers are in the area, and offers extended hours and Saturday childcare in peak strawberry season.
Washington Post: Activists protest plan to deport Central Americans with White House march
- A hundred or so demonstrators from around the region marched Wednesday from Capitol Hill to the White House to protest planned raids by the government to deport newly arrived immigrants who entered the country illegally.
Politico: Rubio claims none of his rivals 'understands immigration better than I do'
- Campaigning in Iowa on Wednesday, Marco Rubio proclaimed that no other candidate seeking the White House "understands immigration better than I do," while asserting that enforcing the United States' immigration laws does not constitute an anti-immigrant stance.
New York Times: Filling the Country With Drones
- In the last few days, perhaps one million small drones were given as Christmas gifts. Many prototype commercial drones, however, have been flying largely unnoticed for almost a year, and are preparing for a big takeoff of their own.
Washington Post: Styrofoam ban begins Friday in DC
- A ban on Styrofoam food and drink containers is set to go into effect in the District of Columbia of Friday.
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