Daily Harvest -- 6/6/2013
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FARM & RURAL POLICY
New York Times: Welfare for the Wealthy
- In this opinion piece, Mark Bittman says the farm bill pits the ability of poor people to eat against the production of agricultural commodities. He mentions sources David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, and Craig Cox, a senior vice president at the Environmental Working Group. Bittman also believes this year’s farm bill will likely be extended, as in 2012.
Politico: Senate farm bill stall will be felt across Capitol
- The Senate’s farm bill cloture vote Thursday morning poses a critical test for the Agriculture Committee leadership, which needs a strong showing to clear the way for passage Monday and begin to heal the breach sparked by revisions in the commodity title.
Denver Post: Hickenlooper signs bill to double rural renewable-energy requirement
- In a move to boost renewable-energy generation in Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday signed a controversial bill doubling the renewable-energy target for rural electric cooperatives.
Agri-Pulse: House Judiciary Committee votes to put dairy program under APA, CRA
- The House Judiciary Committee voted to amend the farm bill to place the Dairy Market Stabilization Program under the purview of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s, R-Va., amendment was approved by voice vote with little Democratic dissent. Ranking Member John Conyers, D-Mich., said it requires the agriculture secretary to study the effects of the dairy program.
Agri-Pulse: House lawmakers introduce conservation compliance agreement
- Reps. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., introduced The Crop Insurance Accountability Act of 2013 in the House. Under the legislation, in order for farmers to qualify for taxpayer subsidies of crop insurance, they must meet conservation requirements that minimize the impact of farming in highly erodible lands and wetlands.
Agri-Pulse: House Subcommittee OKs agriculture funds bill on split vote
- The House Appropriations Committee’s agriculture subcommittee today approved its fiscal 2014 spending bill for USDA and related agencies despite Democrats’ objections to its cuts in nutrition and food aid programs.
FOOD & NUTRITION
Agri-Pulse: Monsanto says GE wheat incident is isolated
- (Subscription only) Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley told reporters that the company’s investigation indicates the presence of glysophate-tolerant wheat in Oregon is very likely the result of “accidental or purposeful mixing” of seeds. Secretary Vilsack also weighs in during a speech at the National Press Club.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: World bodies say global food prices to rise
- Rising global food demand will push up prices 10 to 40 percent over the coming decade and governments need to boost investment to increase farm production, a forecast by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Thursday.
Agri-Pulse: What you need to know about prevented planting
- (Subscription only) Weeks of heavy rains across the Corn Belt could lead many producers to turn to prevented planting assistance. Ruth Gerdes of Auburn Agency Inc. in Nebraska said rule changes for prevented planting assistance include requirements that second-crop planting must now be postponed until after the late plant period has passed. She said the biggest change involves the actual production history (APH).
TRADE & INTERNATIONAL
Reuters: U.S. lawmakers air concerns about Smithfield-Shuanghui deal
- Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said that federal agencies considering the merger "must take China's and Shuanghui's troubling track record on food safety into account."
Financial Times: China’s appetite for food imports to fuel agribusiness M&A
- (Subscription only) China is set to become more dependent on imported grains, oilseeds and meat during the next 10 years, a development that is likely to support prices and fuel further dealmaking in the global agribusiness industry.
Financial Times: Paris threatens EU-US talks as China trade war looms
- (Subscription only) Paris is threatening to block EU-US trade talks that Britain wants to launch at this month’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland if French demands to exclude cultural industries such as music and film are not met.
CONSERVATION, ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE
Agri-Pulse: USDA announces new programs aimed at environmental challenges
- The creation of regional climate hubs, giving tools to producers to help sequester carbon and more uniform cover crop guidelines, were announced as part of USDA’s Climate Anticipation Plans. These plans are an effort to be proactive against climate change, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the urgency of the matter calls for action.
FARM LABOR & IMMIGRATION
Wall Street Journal: The Farm Worker Shortage
- The Journal’s editorial board praises the Senate’s Gang of Eight immigration bill for replacing the H-2A visa with a more flexible "W" visa, but says the labor unions demanded a cap on new guest workers of 337,000 over five years that will not fill the needs of the agriculture industry, in which labor shortages run as high as 20 percent.
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