Daily Harvest -- 6/16/2015
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Agri-Pulse presents "The Rural Route to the White House"
- Agri-Pulse Communications plans to launch a new series, “The Rural Route to the White House,” designed to cover the 2016 presidential campaign with a special focus on issues important to agriculture and rural America. The American Farm Bureau Federation will be the exclusive sponsor of this project.
Agri-Pulse: Biosecurity lapses among factors in spread of bird flu, USDA finds
- USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) says initial indications are that the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) blamed for the deaths of millions of chickens and turkeys since December was being transmitted to new premises in a number of ways, including lapses in biosecurity practices and environmental factors.
Agri-Pulse: USDA opens enrollment for ARC, PLC
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that eligible producers may now formally enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for 2014 and 2015. The enrollment period begins June 17, 2015, and will end Sept. 30, 2015.
Agri-Pulse: USDA expands crop insurance options
- (Audio) USDA’s Risk Management Agency has expanded crop insurance options to provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including too much moisture and not enough.
Hawaii News Now: Maui GMO case judge focuses on county authority to regulate
- A federal judge says the key question before her in lawsuits related to a Maui County ban on the cultivation of genetically modified crops is whether federal and state law trumps county law.
Washington Times: Wet conditions slow wheat harvest, help other farm crops
- A new report shows that 2 percent of the Kansas winter wheat has been cut since harvest activity began last week in the state.
Des Moines Register: USDA says hundreds working on bird flu
- The Agriculture Department says that it has hundreds of veterinarians working "around the clock" to battle the bird flu outbreak that has resulted in the deaths of almost 50 million birds in Iowa and 14 other states the past six months.
The Hill: Feds eye small nuclear reactors for key role in U.S. energy policy
- Federal officials are preparing for a future in which small nuclear reactors are a key piece of the United States’ energy policy.
Reuters: U.S. buyers scoop up Brazilian ethanol amid RIN revival
- Oil traders are rushing to import ethanol from Brazil for the first time this year after U.S. regulators moved to increase use of advanced biofuel, opening a wide spread in the niche biofuel credits market.
FOOD & NUTRITION
The Hill: Consumer group asks lawmakers to kill revised GMO labeling bill
- The Center for Food Safety is calling on lawmakers to throw out a Republican-backed bill that keeps states from regulating food with genetically modified ingredients.
CBS News: FDA ban on harmful trans fats expected soon
- Harmful trans fats may soon be banished from America's food supply, following a U.S. Food and Drug Administration announcement expected any day now.
Reuters: Low-fat milk is scarce in poor neighborhoods
- Less than half of U.S. shops where milk is sold carry lower-fat or skim varieties, and this healthier option is most scarce in poor and minority communities that tend to have higher rates of obesity, a large study found.
Forbes: Opinion: Why Factory Farming Isn't What You Think
- It is therefore possible for a factory farm to both be profitable and be considerate towards the animals’ life-quality. Knowing the difference between factory farms treatment of animals, based on a foods label or packaging, is impossible for most consumers.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: GOP weighing options to pass fast-track trade bill
- House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Republicans are “very committed” to enacting a fast-track trade bill, but wouldn't tip his hand as to how they would overcome Democratic resistance that stalled a section of the measure.
USA Today: Nancy Pelosi: Trade promotion authority on its last legs
- Nancy Pelosi: The overwhelming vote last week to slow down "fast track" trade authority is a clear indication that it's time for Republicans and Democrats to work together to negotiate a better deal for the American people.
Reuters: Drought may hit rural Indian economy, aggravating poverty
- India's farm economy could contract this fiscal year for the first time in over a decade because of drought, threatening Prime Minister Narendra Modi's drive to lift millions in the countryside out of poverty and bolster his party's support.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
New York Times: California’s Water Czar, Part Empathetic Confessor and Part Friendly Scold
- It has fallen to Ms. Marcus to help manage the competing anxieties of Californians as the vise of regulations tightens — and in the process, presumably, deflect some of the political heat from Mr. Brown as enforcement begins. There will be surprise inspections of farms and penalties on water-wasting homeowners.
Bloomberg: As Tons of Bug-Infested Rice Rots, El Nino Threatens More Damage
- A rice glut that sent prices slumping more than a year ago is shrinking, just as El Nino arrives to parch paddies across Asia.
Los Angeles Times: Editorial: Want to help the bee populations? Grow a variety of flowers
- The European honey bee was brought to this continent in the early 1600s, but not to pollinate crops. Rather, early settlers sought beeswax to make candles. Native bees, which are mostly solitary ground-dwellers, were effective pollinators but did not provide significant quantities of wax or honey.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Wall Street Journal: Visa Glitch Stalls Workers, Straining U.S. Farms
- State Department hardware failure leaves legal farmworkers stranded in Mexico, threatening the harvest of some fruits and vegetables
Agri-Pulse: Stabenow announces changes in Ag Committee Democratic staff
- Sen. Debbie Stabenow, ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, is announcing key changes to the panel's Democratic staff, including the move of Staff Director Chris Adamo to the White House Council on Environmental Quality where he'll be Chief of Staff.
The Engineer: Robot broccoli harvester could cut cost of eating your greens
- The project, which is jointly funded by BBSRC and Innovate UK, will test whether 3D camera technology can be used to identify and select when broccoli is ready for harvesting. This will be a key step towards the development of a fully automatic robotic harvesting system for broccoli, which will significantly reduce production costs.
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