News items related to ag biotech, trade – and perhaps some other interesting items out there related to agriculture – will be posted on this page throughout the week (newly added items will be in green at bottom of sections).  Be sure to check in regularly!

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On Tuesday, May 17 The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released an exhaustive report, Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects.  Below are several articles based on the report:

  • Distinction Between Genetic Engineering and Conventional Plant Breeding Becoming Less Clear, Says New Report on GE Crops, The National Academies of Sciences
  • Genetically Engineered Crops Are Safe, Analysis Finds, The New York Times
  • Are GMO crops safe? Focus on the plant, not the process, scientists say, Washington Post
  • Report: GMO crops not harmful to humans, but weed resistance is a problem, Chicago Tribune
  • Study finds no adverse heath effects from genetically engineered crops, The Hill
  • Modified Crops Not Seen Adding to Human Health Risks, Study Says, Bloomberg
  • U.S. panel releases consensus on genetically engineered crops, Science
  • National Academy of Sciences Report Finds no Food Safety or Human Health Impacts from GE Crops, CSPI
  • NAS GM crops report will ‘provide fodder for friends and foes of GE,’ says plant scientist, Food Navigator USA

TRADE:

Greece to block TTIP unless geographical indications are protected – EurActiv – By Sarantis Michalopoulos (May 13)

“The Greek government is ready to veto the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the EU unless it ensures increased protection for key agricultural geographical indicators.”

Link: http://www.euractiv.com/section/trade-society/news/greece-to-block-ttip-unless-geographical-indications-are-protected/

TTIP trade deal under threat over the Feta factor – euronews (May 16)

Link: http://www.euronews.com/2016/05/16/ttip-trade-deal-under-threat-over-the-feta-factor/

Farmers need support to adapt to the TPP, say experts – Viet Nam News (May 14)

Experts said the most important thing at present was raising awareness of farmers about the opportunities and challenges of the TPP, so that they will aim to increase productivity and product quality.

Link: http://vietnamnews.vn/society/296757/farmers-need-support-to-adapt-to-the-tpp-say-experts.html

Africa urged to dismantle trade, movement barriers to spur growth – Daily Mail (UK) / Reuters – By Duncan Miriri and Clement Uwiringiyimana (May 13)

Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-3589098/Africa-urged-dismantle-trade-movement-barriers-spur-growth.html

EU defends US free trade deal amid growing opposition – Livemint (India) / AFP (May 13)

A historic free trade deal between Europe and the US could be reached if members states endorse it, says EU trade chief Cecilia Malmstroem”

Link: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/A7L6FihRkBikBDrBJK0TmL/EU-defends-US-free-trade-deal-amid-growing-opposition.html

Obama’s Pivot to Asia Staggers as Trade Deal Stalls in Congress – Bloomberg – By Angela Greiling Keane (May 15)

“Defense Secretary Ash Carter has said he would prefer the trade agreement over another carrier battle group in the Pacific.”

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-05-15/obama-s-pivot-to-asia-staggers-as-trade-deal-stalls-in-congress

Trade policy issues are blurring old lines, turning politics in 2016 inside out – Kansas City Star – By Dave Helling (May 14)

“Candidates and voters in both major parties appear to be switching long-held positions on trade policy: Free-trade Republicans are becoming protectionist, while some Democrats are moving the opposite direction on exports and imports.”

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article77675362.html#storylink=cpy

Millennials Get Free Trade, Why Doesn’t Anyone Else? – Investor’s Business Daily, Editorial (May 13)

“A new survey shows that the so-called millennial generation is the only one that thinks free trade is a good thing. So why is it that both political parties are shunning this huge voting block?”

Link: http://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/millennials-get-free-trade-why-doesnt-anyone-else/

Imports work for America – The Hill (blog) – By Steve Lamar, contributor (May 13)

“Sadly, the American public knows little about U.S. imports — often overlooked in U.S. trade policy — and the important role they play in our lives. Rather, lots of attention is devoted to U.S. exports and the jobs and opportunities they create”

Link: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/finance/279788-imports-work-for-america

Why grain farmers support the TPP trade deal – National Post (Canada) – By Levi Wood and Jim Wickett (May 16)

“There might be protectionist rhetoric coming from both political parties in the U.S. today, but that’s no reason for Canada to not move forward and lead on this critical issue.”

Link: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/why-grain-farmers-support-the-tpp-trade-deal

**Note: Levi Wood is a member of the Global Farmer Network

Cloak of Secrecy Fuels Anxiety Over Trans-Atlantic Trade Talks – New York Times – By Celestine Bohlen (May 16)

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/17/world/europe/ttip-eu-us-trade-deal.html

US beef arrives in South Africa – GlobalMeatNews – By Oscar Rousseau (May 17)

“The first shipment of US beef has arrived in South Africa, after an “intense” and long-running trade dispute between both nations was resolved in January.”

Govt says domestic agriculture to ‘go on offensive’ under TPP – The Japan News / Jiji Press (May 17)

“Japan will go on the offensive in the fields of agriculture, forestry and fisheries by taking advantage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, a government white paper on agriculture said Tuesday.”

Link: http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002952327

Trade Is a National Security Imperative – Wall Street Journal – By Robert B. Zoellick (May 16)

“Abandoning the Pacific pact will tell America’s Asian allies that the U.S. is yielding to China. They will accommodate accordingly.”

Link: http://www.wsj.com/articles/trade-is-a-national-security-imperative-1463440063

Anti-trade rhetoric not denting U.S. trade chief’s hopes for TPP vote – Reuters – By Mitra Taj (May 17)

Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-trade-tpp-froman-idUSKCN0Y82PC

OTHER:

Marketing Ploy May Mean Moving Ag Backwards – AgInfo.net – By KayDee Gilkey (May 12)

“We make all of these amazing innovations and then we preclude them from being used. This is not helping with overall food productions’ footprint — it is going the wrong way.”

Link: http://www.aginfo.net/index.cfm/event/report/id/Open-Range-34051

The Meaninglessness of ‘Healthy’ Food: Six Ways Labels Need to Change – Bloomberg – By Deena Shanker (May 12)

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-12/the-meaninglessness-of-healthy-food-six-ways-labels-need-to-change

The Harm in Blindly ‘Going Gluten Free’ – The Atlantic – By James Hamblin (May 16)

Link: http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/05/celiac-vs-gluten/482676/

Zimbabwe Drought – Five Million Face Food Shortage – allAfrica / Al Jazeera (May 16)

Link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201605170129.html

Lessons from fighting a drought – Livemint (India) – By NS Ramnath (May 17)

“Seven learnings on how droughts can be managed to take the sting out of the phenomena”

Link: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/HrOM4GiBI0vQJpCDfejhkN/Lessons-from-fighting-a-drought.html

**Note: V. Ravichandran in the article is a member of the Global Farmer Network and recipient of the 2013 Kleckner Award.

REGULATORY, GOV’T:

EPA faces second U.S. lawmakers investigation into glyphosate review – Reuters – By P.J. Huffstutter (May 13)

“A second group of lawmakers is investigating the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its review of glyphosate, questioning why it withdrew a report that said the chemical in the world’s most widely used weed killer was likely not carcinogenic.”

Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-glyphosate-epa-idUSKCN0Y42GV

Congress Questions EPA on Glyphosate, Atrazine – AgWeb – By Alison Rice (May 13)

“Members are also frustrated by the pace of EPA’s process. “We are concerned that EPA has continually delayed its review of glyphosate,” the letter said.”

Link: http://www.agweb.com/article/congress-questions-epa-on-glyphosate-atrazine-naa-alison-rice/

Senate strengthens flood control, waterways infrastructure – Delta Farm Press – By Forrest Laws (May 13)

Link: http://deltafarmpress.com/government/senate-strengthens-flood-control-waterways-infrastsructure

Judge strikes down GMO ban in Oregon’s Josephine County – Capital Press – By Mateusz Perkowski (May 16)

Link: http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20160516/judge-strikes-down-gmo-ban-in-oregons-josephine-county

Glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer: WHO/FAO committee – Food Navigator – By Niamh Michail (May 17)

Monsanto Cancels Plan to Sell GMO Seed in Argentina – Wall Street Journal – By Jacob Bunge and Taos Turner (May 17)

“[T]he government’s actions were “not consistent” with its past promises to support intellectual property rights and private agreements.”

Link: http://www.wsj.com/articles/monsanto-cancels-plan-to-sell-gmo-seed-in-argentina-1463523453

Argentine farmers urge gov’t to clinch GMO deal with Monsanto – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – By Hugh Bronstein, Reuters (May 18)

Link: http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/article_04cdc8e2-ac23-550a-9315-6c6703106555.html

Errors, Bias And Conflicts Of Interest Make UN Agency Contender For Worst Regulator Ever – Forbes.com – By Henry I. Miller (May 18)

“Because of its [glyphosate] association with genetic engineering, activists hate it and have long tried to raise safety concerns about the chemical.”

Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/henrymiller/2016/05/18/bias-hidden-agendas-and-conflicts-of-interest-make-un-agency-contender-for-worst-regulator-ever/#565171bf609a

Stalemate at EU glyphosate talks, no vote taken – Feed Navigator – By Jane Byrne (May 19)

“The glyphosate dossier is to be handed over to the Commission, following on from the PAFF committee’s failure today to generate a vote on the controversial herbicide.”

Health Canada and Canadian Food Inspection Agency approve AquAdvantage Salmon – Government of Canada (May 19)

AquAdvantage Genetically Modified Salmon Found to be Safe as a Food and a Livestock Feed

Link: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?mthd=index&crtr.page=2&nid=1068309

BIOTECH:

Mysuru institute tests GM, disease-resistant silkworms – The Times of India (May 15)

“According to a textile ministry document, the genetically modified worms “can prevent the losses caused by the Grasserie disease, which is responsible for up to 20% crop loss in silkworm”.”

Link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/Mysuru-institute-tests-GM-disease-resistant-silkworms/articleshow/52274681.cms

Smart Farming report urges axing of biotech prohibitions – The Land (Australia) – By Colin Bettles (May 15)

“The House of Representatives Agriculture and Industry Committee’s ‘Smart Farming’ report has recommended cutting duplicative State laws that frighten potential agricultural biotechnology investments and hinder farm productivity, by undermining federal food safety regulators.”

Link: http://www.theland.com.au/story/3908272/smart-farming-report-urges-axing-of-biotech-prohibitions/

Failed Greenpeace anti-GM campaign exposed – The Land (Australia) – By Colin Bettles (May 15)

“The activist incident was outlined in detail in a report handed down by the House of Representatives Environment Committee last week which recommended sanctions against groups listed for tax deductions that break the law repeatedly.”

Link: http://www.theland.com.au/story/3907598/failed-greenpeace-anti-gm-campaign-exposed/

Are there GMOs in our moon dust? Gwyneth Paltrow demands to know! – Grist – By Eve Andrews (May 13)

Link: http://grist.org/living/are-there-gmos-in-our-moon-dust-gwyneth-paltrow-demands-to-know/

GM potato field trials get the go-ahead – Farmers Weekly (UK) – By Johann Tasker (May 12)

Link: http://www.fwi.co.uk/arable/gm-potato-field-trials-get-the-go-ahead.htm

National Academy of Sciences finds no evidence of GMO health effects – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – By Jacob Barker (May 17)

“One of the nation’s premier scientific bodies says it has found no evidence of adverse human health effects after 20 years of genetically-modified crop adoption.”

Link: http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/national-academy-of-sciences-finds-no-evidence-of-gmo-health/article_a7ffbe9a-5848-5826-aa28-6b75b3c947d2.html

Keeping My Farm Sustainable With GMO Crops – Forbes.com – By Gene Stoel (May 17)

“GMOs allow farmers to fight insects and weeds more effectively and enhance soil health.”

Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/gmoanswers/2016/05/17/keeping-my-farm-sustainable-with-gmo-crops/#2cf202362c5c

Bt cotton adoption creates more employment opportunities in female laborers in Pakistan – Crop Biotech Update, ISAAA (May 18)

Link:  http://www.isaaa.org/kc/cropbiotechupdate/article/default.asp?ID=14416

Taller, stronger rice plant – The Daily Star (Bangladesh) – By Reaz Ahmed (May 15)

“Bangladeshi scientists develop 2 modern, high-yielding varieties that can withstand tidal surge”

Link: http://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/taller-stronger-rice-plant-1224073

Mitch Daniels Takes on ‘Callous, Heartless and Cruel’ Anti-GMO Activists – National Review – By Julie Kelly (May 18)

“When you hold so many moral high cards on something that’s best for the environment and for humanity, you have to be willing to mix it up,” he told me. “People with a direct self-interest are actively misinforming the public. We need to counter that in a more forceful way.”

Link: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/435523/mitch-daniels-gmos-good

We must end our superstitious objections to genetically modified food – The Telegraph (UK) – By Juliet Samuel (May 18)

“Where does modern corn on the cob come from? Well-informed diners will know the answer: Latin America. But what they probably don’t know is that it never grew there naturally. Humans created it.”

Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2016/05/18/we-must-end-our-superstitious-objections-to-genetically-modified/

‘GM crops ideal for drought-hit TS’ – The Hindu (India) (May 19)

Link: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/gm-crops-ideal-for-droughthit-ts/article8618594.ece

Scientists refute the scaremongering about GMOs – Washington Post, Editorial (May 19)

“[T]he National Academies… authoritative report refutes the counterproductive scaremongering from the anti-genetically-engineered side.”

Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/scientists-refute-the-scaremongering-about-gmos/2016/05/19/47607924-1c7a-11e6-b6e0-c53b7ef63b45_story.html