WASHINGTON, April 6, 2016 - A contested Republican convention is more likely today after Ted Cruz’ big victory in yesterday’s Wisconsin primary over Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, but he still has a steep hill to climb to deny her the nomination. The next big contest is in New York on April 19. 

According to exit poll results, there is more skepticism about trade among GOP voters than among Democrats in Wisconsin. More than half of the Republican voters believe that trade kills American jobs, while about one-third of the GOP voters said trade creates jobs. Democratic voters are more closely divided on the issue.

Around 60 percent of Republicans said they favored giving illegal immigrants a path to legal status. 

Sanders pledges to renegotiate ‘all’ trade deals. Sanders is leaving no daylight between himself and Trump when it comes to trade. In an interview with the New York Daily News editorial board, Sanders pledged to renegotiate all existing trade agreements. 

Sanders also set a high bar for what he considers fair trade. It means he says that other countries must have “roughly equivalent” wages and environmental standards as the United States.

Trump, meanwhile, has laid out his plan for forcing Mexico to pay for a border wall and it includes threatening to impose tariffs on Mexican exports. He also says in a 2-page memo to the The Washington Post that he would block remittances to Mexico, a move that could have obvious implications for U.S. farmworkers who have families live there. 

Stabenow counters on biotech labeling. The top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Debbie Stabenow, says she hoped to have a new proposal ready by today on the biotech labeling issue, but she’s not discussing any details. “This is all negotiating at this point. We’re not releasing anything publicly.”

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, has been pressuring Stabenow to offer a possible compromise plan. There’s no sign that Democrats are backing away from their insistence on a requirement for on-package labeling. Stabenow says that after talking to food companies she doesn’t think labeling will harm biotechnology.

Meanwhile, hundreds of activist groups, small businesses and others have sent a letter to the Senate opposing any legislation that would preempt state labeling laws. “We should allow Vermont to lead the way by carrying out the will of the people,” the letter says. The national groups on the letter include Food and Water Watch and Friends of the Earth

For more on Stabenow’s comments on the issue, be sure and read this week’s Agri-Pulse e-newsletter.

FDA’s next food safety chief headlines CFA conference. Stephen Ostroff, who takes over as FDA’s top food safety official this spring, is the keynote speaker this morning as the Consumer Federation of America opens its annual food policy conference. Ostroff will become deputy commissioner for foods when Michael Taylor leaves the post at the end of May. 

Controversial author Nina Teicholz, who was recently disinvited from being on a panel at the conference today, says that USDA and Department of Health and Human Services need to overhaul the way the dietary guidelines are prepared to better fight the nation’s problems with obesity and diabetes. 

Teicholz claims the government agencies and their scientific advisers have been relying on outdated science about the risk of fat in the diet, reports Agri-Pulse’s Bill Tomson. “Clearly, there’s something that’s not working,” said Teichnolz.

Rural programs get Senate focus. USDA’s undersecretary for rural development, Lisa Mensah, is the lead witness at a Senate Agriculture subcommittee hearing today that will have a heavy focus on renewable energy and the energy title in the 2014 farm bill. Other witnesses will include representatives of Iowa’s biofuel industry and a North Dakota company that manufactures wind turbines.

Senate chairmen demand probe of EPA billboard funding. Roberts has joined the chairman of the Senate Environment Works Committee, Jim Inhofe, in asking the EPA’s inspector general to investigate an agency grant that funded what they consider an anti-agriculture advertising campaign.

The message on the ads in Washington state is that “Unregulated agriculture is putting our waterways at risk.” In a letter to the IG, the committee chairmen say that “unfairly targets and demonizes farmers and ranchers.”

In a statement to Agri-Pulse, EPA says that the grant money was improperly spent by a consortium that received the funding for endangered salmon recovery efforts. “The tone and content of this outside campaign does not represent the views of EPA,” the agency says.

She said it. “Our thought was that if you know where your food comes from, you might be a little more interested in eating your vegetables if you know what they look like.” - First Lady Michelle Obama, speaking to a group of students yesterday on why she started the White House Kitchen Garden.


For more news, go to: www.Agri-Pulse.com