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EU open to discussing cars, not farming in U.S. trade talks

Reuters | Posted on January 22, 2019 in Federal News

The European Union is willing to discuss car tariffs but will not remove duties on farm products in trade talks with the United States, its trade chief said on Friday, setting it on a possible collision course with Washington. The European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the 28 member European Union, published two negotiating mandates on Friday, which were notable more for what they left out than for what they included.The EU proposal on tariffs falls far short of the wide-ranging wish-list, including comprehensive agricultural market access, set out by U.S.

Trump trade policy: Playing a game of chicken with American agriculture

The Hill | Posted on January 22, 2019 in Agriculture, Federal News

Not withstanding, the president’s rhetoric, after 14 months of what appeared to be stressful negotiations, the new NAFTA (the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA) ended up looking a lot like the old NAFTA with relatively small changes in the agricultural provisions. The good news was not really that that there was promise of additional access to Canada’s dairy, poultry and eggs sectors (the benefits from which have been estimated to be small, increasing NAFTA exports by about 1 percent).

Farms, More Productive Than Ever, Are Poisoning Drinking Water in Rural America

The Wall Street Journal | Posted on January 22, 2019 in Agriculture News

Chuck Wagner has given up on drawing clean water from his faucets. When he moved, 23 years ago, to 80 acres situated between dairy farms in northeastern Wisconsin, he built a home and drilled a 123-foot well. The water tested clean, and his family drank it. Five years later, tests showed it was contaminated with bacteria and nitrates, potentially harmful and often derived from nitrogen in manure and fertilizer.One in seven Americans drink from private wells, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

SARL Members and Alumni News

With Iowa's ag-gag law ruled unconstitutional, animal rights group seeks undercover investigator

Des Moines Register | Posted on January 22, 2019

About a week after Iowa's ag-gag law was struck down over free speech violations, a national animal rights group is advertising for an investigator to work undercover in Iowa livestock and meat processing facilities.

How Commerce Secretary Ross got the science behind the census so wrong—and why it matters

Science Magazine | Posted on January 22, 2019

A decision this week by a federal court to block the U.S. government’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census is more than a political setback for Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and President Donald Trump. It also represents a strong vote of confidence in the U.S. statistical community and the value of research. On 15 January, U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman of the Southern District of New York declared that Ross had been “arbitrary and capricious” in deciding last year to add the citizenship question.

Environmental groups win lawsuit to overturn Wisconsin settlement with dairy group

Edairy News | Posted on January 22, 2019

Four environmental groups have won a lawsuit to overturn part of a settlement between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and a dairy organization.The 2017 settlement ended a legal challenge from the Dairy Business Association over new state guidance for how concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, can manage runoff.

Arkansas considers bill allowing vet techs to provide service without vet presence

Arkansas On Line | Posted on January 22, 2019

Veterinary technicians and technologists would be able to perform their services away from the physical presence of a veterinarian under a bill that a House committee on Wednesday recommended for approval. House Bill 1124 -- sponsored by Reps. DeAnn Vaught, R-Horatio, and David Hillman, R-Almyra, and Sen. Bruce Maloch, D-Magnolia -- would create certifications for veterinary technologist and technician specialist; the state now has a certification for veterinary technician.

Florida Governor asks legislature to drop former governors ban on medical marijuana

Miami Herald | Posted on January 22, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that he has asked the Legislature to change Florida law to allow smoking medical marijuana. If lawmakers don’t comply by mid March, he’ll drop the state’s appeal of a court decision that says banning it violates a constitutional amendment.

Agriculture News

Trump trade policy: Playing a game of chicken with American agriculture

The Hill | Posted on January 22, 2019

Not withstanding, the president’s rhetoric, after 14 months of what appeared to be stressful negotiations, the new NAFTA (the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA) ended up looking a lot like the old NAFTA with relatively small changes in the agricultural provisions. The good news was not really that that there was promise of additional access to Canada’s dairy, poultry and eggs sectors (the benefits from which have been estimated to be small, increasing NAFTA exports by about 1 percent).

Farms, More Productive Than Ever, Are Poisoning Drinking Water in Rural America

The Wall Street Journal | Posted on January 22, 2019

Chuck Wagner has given up on drawing clean water from his faucets. When he moved, 23 years ago, to 80 acres situated between dairy farms in northeastern Wisconsin, he built a home and drilled a 123-foot well. The water tested clean, and his family drank it. Five years later, tests showed it was contaminated with bacteria and nitrates, potentially harmful and often derived from nitrogen in manure and fertilizer.One in seven Americans drink from private wells, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Cornell professor shares 2019 dairy economy predictions

Edairy News | Posted on January 22, 2019

Famers’ earnings for their milk, determined by milk prices, have remained relatively low in recent years, and as production costs continue rising, several struggle to keep up with their expenses. Many have widely blamed low milk prices on an international oversupply of dairy goods.The average milk price is expected to rise slightly this year from $16.20 per hundredweight in 2018 to $16.80, but could rise as much as one or two dollars.Mr.

Trump: US agriculture industry needs immigrants

Watt AgNet | Posted on January 22, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump told members of the American Farm Bureau Federation that the agriculture industry needs immigrant workers, but those workers need to be in the country legally. Trump on January 14 addressed the AFBF national convention.

Dairy- Descending prices and a monstrous amount of cheese

Edairy News | Posted on January 22, 2019

Last year started off on a promising note for dairy exports and was projected to possibly set new records. Tariff wars with China and Mexico along with a drop in cheese consumption, however, weighed heavy on prices. Milk sales were down 2.2% over the first 10 months of 2018. As for exports, during the first 10 months, the U.S. exported 16.3% of milk solids, most of which occurred before the tariffs. Experts say there were 30,000 few cows on average during August through October.

Federal News

EU open to discussing cars, not farming in U.S. trade talks

Reuters | Posted on January 22, 2019

The European Union is willing to discuss car tariffs but will not remove duties on farm products in trade talks with the United States, its trade chief said on Friday, setting it on a possible collision course with Washington. The European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the 28 member European Union, published two negotiating mandates on Friday, which were notable more for what they left out than for what they included.The EU proposal on tariffs falls far short of the wide-ranging wish-list, including comprehensive agricultural market access, set out by U.S.

Trump trade policy: Playing a game of chicken with American agriculture

The Hill | Posted on January 22, 2019

Not withstanding, the president’s rhetoric, after 14 months of what appeared to be stressful negotiations, the new NAFTA (the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA) ended up looking a lot like the old NAFTA with relatively small changes in the agricultural provisions. The good news was not really that that there was promise of additional access to Canada’s dairy, poultry and eggs sectors (the benefits from which have been estimated to be small, increasing NAFTA exports by about 1 percent).

How the shutdown will inflict lasting damage

Politico | Posted on January 22, 2019

The longest government shutdown in U.S. history will scar the federal bureaucracy and U.S. economy long after the doors are unlocked and workers return. The feds will struggle to dig out of a backlog of hiring and training that’s essential to pushing out tax refunds, protecting U.S. borders and guiding air traffic.

Trump: US agriculture industry needs immigrants

Watt AgNet | Posted on January 22, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump told members of the American Farm Bureau Federation that the agriculture industry needs immigrant workers, but those workers need to be in the country legally. Trump on January 14 addressed the AFBF national convention.

US Forest Service builds pen for possible horse slaughter

Capital Press | Posted on January 20, 2019

The U.S. Forest Service has built its first corral for wild horses, which could allow it to bypass federal restrictions and sell the animals for slaughter. The agency acknowledged in court filings in a potentially precedent-setting legal battle that it built the new pen in Northern California for mustangs gathered this fall on national forest land along the Nevada border because of restrictions on such sales at other federal holding facilities.The agency denies claims by horse advocates it has made up its mind to sell the more than 250 horses for slaughter.

Rural News

Why bulldoze one of the wildest places on Earth?

High Country News | Posted on January 22, 2019

For six decades, the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, tucked along the coast of the Bering Sea, has been protected as one of the wildest nature spots on Earth, remote enough to escape development. But that isolation has been shattered. Seven noisy helicopters swooped down 80 times over two days in July to land on the narrow isthmus where animals nest, feed and migrate.

More animal species under threat of extinction, new method shows

Science Daily | Posted on January 22, 2019

Currently approximately 600 species might be inaccurately assessed as non-threatened on the Red List of Threatened Species. More than a hundred others that couldn't be assessed before, also appear to be threatened. A new more efficient, systematic and comprehensive approach to assess the extinction risk of animals has shown this.

How Commerce Secretary Ross got the science behind the census so wrong—and why it matters

Science Magazine | Posted on January 22, 2019

A decision this week by a federal court to block the U.S. government’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census is more than a political setback for Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and President Donald Trump. It also represents a strong vote of confidence in the U.S. statistical community and the value of research. On 15 January, U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman of the Southern District of New York declared that Ross had been “arbitrary and capricious” in deciding last year to add the citizenship question.

Federal judge links PG&E's uninsulated power lines to California wildfires

Utility Dive | Posted on January 22, 2019

The federal judge overseeing Pacific Gas & Electric's probation related to the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion issued a preliminary finding on Thursday concluding the utility's equipment was a factor in sparking wildfires in 2017 and 2018 that devastated parts of Northern California.The ruling could lead to additional scrutiny or oversight for the utility, which announced Jan. 14 that it would file for bankruptcy protection due to mounting wildfire liabilities. U.S. District Judge William Alsup gave PG&E and the U.S. Justice Department until Jan.

In Puerto Rico, time measured before and after Maria

AVMA | Posted on January 22, 2019

Veterinarians adjusting to post-hurricane life face serious pet overpopulation problem.  People and their pets fill the lobby waiting their turn to be called into a back area. There, teams of veterinarians and veterinary technicians studiously probe and examine the nervous cats and dogs. They then take the animals to another room where they are sedated and prepped for surgery by one of five veterinarians operating in assembly line–like fashion.

Energy News

California governor, lawmakers confront utility bankruptcy

Capital Press | Posted on January 22, 2019

The announcement by the nation's largest utility that it is filing for bankruptcy puts Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s problems squarely in the hands of Gov.

Idaho’s new governor: ‘Climate change is real’

High Country News | Posted on January 22, 2019

Less than two weeks after being sworn in as the 33rd governor of Idaho, Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, has broken with national party leaders on climate change, declaring unequivocally that the phenomenon is real.In an address Jan.

Vineyard Wind offers $6.2M to compensate R.I. fishermen

Providence Journal | Posted on January 22, 2019

Vineyard Wind is offering to pay Rhode Island fishermen $6.2 million in compensation for lost access to fishing grounds as part of a mitigation plan for its proposed offshore wind farm that also includes the creation of a $23-million fund to research new gear and technology to support safe fishing in and around wind turbines.

Coal Ash Is Contaminating Groundwater in at least 22 States, Utility Reports Show

Inside Climate News | Posted on January 22, 2019

The clearest picture yet of coal ash contamination in the United States is emerging, with utilities reporting serious groundwater contamination in at least 22 states. At dozens of power plants across the country, including many in the Southeast, utilities have found coal-ash pollution severe enough to force them to propose cleanup plans. Those plans will likely become the next front in a decades-long battle over how to manage one of the nation's largest industrial waste streams—one tainted by toxic heavy metals.

Texas regulators defer to legislature on utility ownership of energy storage

Utility Dive | Posted on January 22, 2019

The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) on Thursday deferred a decision on outstanding questions regarding the ownership of energy storage devices, leaving the matter for consideration by the state's legislature.In a report to the legislature earlier this month, the PUCT said ownership of energy storage devices has "emerged as an issue that would benefit from legislative clarity."The legislature's session runs from Jan. 8 until May 27. If the legislature does not act, the PUCT would revisit the issue, Chairman DeAnn Walker said.

Food News

The Pain and Politics of Soy, Almond, Oat, and Cow’s Milks

Vine Pair | Posted on January 22, 2019

Last year, demand for Oatly, a Swedish oat milk popular at third-wave American coffee shops, outpaced supply. National shortages ensued. Oatly superfans were devastated, and apparently willing to spend $25 per 32-ounce carton on Amazon. It’s tempting to write this off as a fluke or embarrassing display of disposable income.

Report urges 'radical changes' to world's diet -- less meat, more veggies

USA Today | Posted on January 20, 2019

Around the world, people eat far too much red meat and sugar, and nowhere near enough nuts, fruits and vegetables, according to a report released Wednesday.

Poll: Consumers want FDA to end mislabeling of fake milks

Feedstuffs | Posted on January 17, 2019

New national survey data released Jan. 10 found that consumers – by a nearly three-to-one margin – want the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to enforce existing regulations and prohibit non-dairy beverage companies from using the term “milk” on their product labels. FDA is currently soliciting public comment regarding front-of-package dairy labeling regulations through Jan. 28.

New Pork Board Research Reveals How Americans Are Eating Tonight

Pork | Posted on January 17, 2019

Today, the National Pork Board released the first report from its ambitious and comprehensive Insight to Action research program. The report, Dinner at Home in America, examines the contextual occasions in which Americans are eating dinner in the home. The research identifies areas of growth opportunity for pork, serving up a bold new challenge to the pork industry: innovate or risk losing relevance with today’s  and more importantly tomorrow’s consumer.

Industry wary of alternatives tries to protect a word: meat

WREG | Posted on January 17, 2019

More than four months after Missouri became the first U.S. state to regulate the term “meat” on product labels, Nebraska’s powerful farm groups are pushing for similar protection from veggie burgers, tofu dogs and other items that look and taste like real meat.