Daily Harvest -- 8/30/2013
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
Agri-Pulse: Confused about farm income limits? So are some at FSA
- Varying income limits for federal Farm Service Agency (FSA) payments and lack of oversight of procedures in state offices caused some improper payments to program participants in 2009 and 2010, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report published today.
Washington Post: Despite reports, no firm plan for farm bill in the House
- Aides to House Republican leaders said Wednesday that they are still considering how to proceed with legislation establishing federal farm and food aid policy after news reports suggested that top leadership had settled on a strategy.
New York Times: Behind the Big Increase in Food Stamps
- The food-stamp program spending grew primarily because of new program rules, and going back to 2007 program rules would yield significant savings for taxpayers, writes Casey Mulligan, an economics professor at the University of Chicago.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Bloomberg: Cheap Corn Deters Buyers in U.S. Sugar-for-Ethanol Plan
- A glut of corn has damped interest by biofuel makers in a U.S. government program to sell surplus sugar for ethanol, potentially decreasing its effectiveness in propping up sugar prices.
Reuters: GMO corn failing to protect fields from pest damage: report
- Researchers in the key corn-growing state of Illinois are finding significant damage from rootworms in farm fields planted in a rotation with a genetically modified corn that is supposed to protect the crop from the pests, according to a new report.
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Agri-Pulse: USDA sees lower agricultural exports in FY 2014
- The USDA's Economic Research Service is forecasting U.S. agricultural exports in FY 2014 to drop to $135 billion, down $5 billion from the projected record $140 billion in FY 2013.
Wall Street Journal: America's Fishy Trade Barriers
- The 2008 farm bill tried to erect a new trade barrier to Chinese catfish. The bill shifted regulation of catfish safety—alone among other seafood—to the U.S. Department of Agriculture from the Food and Drug Administration, which would continue to oversee all other fish safety.
Irish Independent: Protesters clash with police in Bogota
- Groups of masked youths backing a 10-day protest by small farmers have clashed with tear gas-firing riot police in Bogota as President Juan Manuel Santos acknowledged "a storm" is battering Colombia's agricultural sector.
Bloomberg: Indonesia With Malaysia to Support Palm Prices by More Biodiesel
- Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s top palm oil producers, will accelerate biodiesel programs to boost consumption after prices tumbled last month to the lowest level in more than three years.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: EPA announces July biodiesel production figures
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday reported 132 million gallons of biodiesel production for the month of July and year-to-date volume of more than 768 million gallons.
NPR: To Grow Sweeter Produce, California Farmers Turn Off The Water
- At Happy Boy Farms, near Santa Cruz, sales director Jen Lynne believes dry farming could be an important agricultural practice in the future, when water will likely be a less abundant resource.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Midwest hot, dry spell renews worries that drought conditions may cut corn, soybean harvest
- Temperatures soared to records in recent days in parts of the region, reaching nearly 100 degrees in some areas. The heat wave struck many farm states — from the Dakotas to Wisconsin, down through Missouri — that have seen too little rain this growing season.
Wall Street Journal: 'Flash Drought' Hits Parts of Midwest
- The federal Drought Monitor showed that one-quarter of the Midwest region, which includes the heart of the nation's Farm Belt, was in some level of drought as of Tuesday, up sharply from 7.9% the previous week
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Watertown Daily Times: U.S. Agriculture Secretary calls passage of immigration reform crucial for upstate NY dairy farms
- Because the state’s economy depends on support from the agriculture industry, Mr. Vilsack said, the business community at large has a stake in ensuring dairy farms have access to a sustainable labor force.
The Hill: Immigration advocates claim 'resounding win' in quiet August
- Advocates for comprehensive immigration reform are claiming victory in the August recess. Their argument? They won because they didn’t lose.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Former Iowa slaughterhouse manager signs plea deal admitting role in immigration conspiracy
- A former Iowa slaughterhouse manager has admitted to conspiring to harbor and recruit immigrants who entered the country illegally and then fleeing to Israel after the plant was raided in 2008, according to a plea agreement filed Thursday.
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