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 (as the week progresses newly added items will be in green at bottom of sections).  Be sure to check in regularly!

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IR8: The miracle rice which saved millions of lives – BBC – By Justin Rowlatt (Dec 1)

“The Indian Agriculture Minister, Shri Sudarshan Bhagat, opened the event, describing the introduction of IR8 as “a great moment in India’s history”.”

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-38156350

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Ok, here’s an interesting news item to point out…

A radioactive berry-picking boom outside Chernobyl – CNBC.com – By Robert Ferris (Nov 30)

“[T]he berries can be labeled organic, since radioactivity is not covered under common organic designations.”

Link: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/30/a-radioactive-berry-picking-boom-outside-chernobyl.html

TRADE, TRADE RELATED ISSUES:

President-elect Trump proves a quick study — Now he needs a lesson on TPP – The Hill – By Evan Berquist (Nov 27)

Link: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/international-affairs/307474-as-president-elect-trump-proves-a-quick-study-now-he

China Cites ‘The Art of War’ as Trump Signals Trade Battle – Bloomberg (Nov 27)

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-28/china-turns-to-the-art-of-war-as-trump-signals-battle-on-trade 

Trump’s TPP withdrawal gives China chance to redraw trade map – Channel NewsAsia / AFP (Nov 24)

Link: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/trump-s-tpp-withdrawal-gives-china-chance-to-redraw-trade-map/3314676.html

Trump: US to Withdraw From Trans-Pacific Trade Deal – Voice of America (Nov 22)

Link: http://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/trump-withdraw-trans-pacific-trade-deal-obama-abe-japan/3607435.html

The collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – The Economist (Nov 23)

“Even if the TPP failed to live up to their lofty rhetoric, it did break new ground…”

Link: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/11/economist-explains-14

Rabobank says world dairy trade still has issues – Daily Reporter – By Jim Cornall (Nov 23)

“Rabobank says that the trade in dairy products has suffered some big blows in the past three years, and that there are still challenges ahead.”

Trade not so much about tariffs anymore, says NZ Trade Minister Todd McClay – Stuff (New Zealand) – By Tom Pullar-Strecker (Nov 27)

“Trade Minister Todd McClay is promising to bring a new more open style to trade policy as he attempts to press the case for free trade in the post-Trump and Brexit era.”

Link: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/86813745/trade-not-so-much-about-tariffs-anymore-says-trade-minister-todd-mcclay

Trump, China, And The ‘Deglobalization’ Trade – Forbes.com – By Kenneth Rapoza (Nov 23)

Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2016/11/23/trump-china-and-the-deglobalization-trade/#41928f8a2fe4

DG Azevêdo: “We must ensure that the gains of trade are better shared across society” – WTO, World Trade Organization (Nov 28)

Link: https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/spra_e/spra148_e.htm

Japan not ready to abandon TPP, waits to deal directly with Canada – The Global and Mail (Canada) – By Mike Blanchfield (Nov 28)

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/japan-not-ready-to-abandon-tpp-waits-to-deal-directly-with-canada/article33077632/

‘Modernize’ NAFTA, Mexico’s new ambassador to US says in Tucson – Arizona Daily Star – By Gabriela Rico (Nov 29)

Link: http://tucson.com/business/tucson/mexican-ambassador-to-us-says-modernizing-nafta-necessary/article_50042c97-9ded-50b1-86ba-12c76659ebdf.html

How to Get the Trans-Pacific Partnership Through the Lame-Duck – The National Interest – By John O’Brien (Nov 30)

“Leaving the harmed segments of society on their own while forsaking trade agreements benefits no one.”

Link: http://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-get-the-trans-pacific-partnership-through-the-lame-duck-18547

‘The Mother of All Deals’: Abe Could Gift Trump a Trade Pact – The Diplomat – By Anthony Fensom (Nov 3)

Link: http://thediplomat.com/2016/11/the-mother-of-all-deals-abe-could-gift-trump-a-trade-pact/

AG, AG TECH, PRODUCTION, RELATED ISSUES:

Drought-resistant grass to spur milk production – SciDevNet  – By Baraka Rateng’ (Nov 22)

“Struggling East African dairy farmers could benefit from new varieties of high-quality, drought-resistant forage grass known as Brachiaria that boosts milk production by 40 per cent”

Link: http://www.scidev.net/global/livestock/news/drought-resistant-grass-milk-production-CIAT.html

NZ Scientists Develop GE Ryegrass for Healthier Animals – Crop Biotech Update, ISAAA (Nov 23)

Link: http://www.isaaa.org/kc/cropbiotechupdate/article/default.asp?ID=14961

Can GMOs save the wild American chestnut tree? – North County Public Radio – By Ellen Abbott (Nov 24)

“This is going to be the first genetically modified organism that’s made for restoration of a natural ecosystem, as opposed to crop plants, or food production…”

Link: http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/32977/20161124/can-gmos-save-the-wild-american-chestnut-tree

Ethiopia to commercialize Bt cotton in two years – Africa Business Communities – By Bob Koigi (Nov 25)

Link: http://africabusinesscommunities.com/news/ethiopia-to-commercialize-bt-cotton-in-two-years.html

How Gene Editing Will Change Agriculture – Successful Farming – By Betsy Freese (Nov 22)

“Don’t want to have to dehorn your dairy cattle? There’s an option for that. In crops, the technology has the potential to improve drought tolerance, eliminate diseases, increase yields, and much more.”

Link:  http://www.agriculture.com/technology/how-gene-editing-will-change-agriculture

This is What a Climate-smart Farm Looks Like – National Geographic, Voices – By Tim McDonnell (Nov 23)

“How One Kenyan Farmer Went From ‘Nothing’ to the Envy of the Neighborhood”

Link: http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2016/11/23/this-is-what-a-climate-smart-farm-looks-like/

GMOs Have Had A Good 2016, But Teachable Moments Lie Ahead – Forbes.com – By Joseph Clayton (Nov 30)

Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/gmoanswers/2016/11/30/gmos-had-a-good-2016/#3a0ba9715ad1

Nestlé develops natural method to cut sugar in chocolate by 40% – Food Navigator USA – By Oliver Nieburg (Dec 1)

“Nestlé plans to introduce a faster-dissolving sugar across some of its confectionery range from 2018.”

The appliance of agricultural science – Financial Times (UK) – By Scheherazade Daneshkhu (Nov 29)

“Businesses are pushing futuristic schemes to help feed the world”

Link: https://www.ft.com/content/80bea758-a691-11e6-8898-79a99e2a4de6

Genetically Modified Pigs Could Ease Organ Shortage – Wall Street Journal – By Amy Dockser Marcus (Dec 1)

“Researchers breed animals whose organs may be compatible with humans”

Link: http://www.wsj.com/articles/potent-fix-for-transplant-shortage-genetically-modified-pigs-1480604400

REGULATORY, POLICY, ACTIVISM, RELATED ISSUES:

I’m A Liberal And I’m Sick Of Anti-GMO Groups Exploiting Fear Of Donald Trump – Forbes.com – By Kavin Senapathy (Nov 23)

“[U]sing fear of Donald Trump to get donors to pitch in $140 or more for an EWG gift box with organic dish towels and a “Modern Sprout self-watering basil herb kit (featured on Oprah’s ‘favorite things’ list last year!)” is, dare I say, deplorable.”

Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kavinsenapathy/2016/11/23/im-a-liberal-and-im-sick-of-anti-gmo-groups-exploiting-fear-of-donald-trump/#2c4046325b45

Overly Cautious and Unscientific – Slate.com –  

“[I]t becomes almost impossible for an ordinary citizen to distinguish truth from lies.”

Link: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2016/11/europe_s_cautious_regulations_are_not_based_on_science.html

What do GMO-free zones mean for farmers and food? – Food Dive – By Keith Loria (Nov 23)

“[GMO-free zones] are primarily a component of an orchestrated marketing campaign for organic foods and are intended to keep GMOs controversial and not accepted by some fraction of the consumer public.”

Link: http://www.fooddive.com/news/what-do-gmo-free-zones-mean-for-farmers-and-food/430790/

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on JCCT – USDA (Nov 25)

“Lack of progress on biotech issues will continue to add years to the process of commercializing them, will slow innovation and set back global efforts to address food security and climate change. The United States expects that China will fully implement its prior commitments and will work collaboratively with us to address these global challenges in the future.”

Link: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAOC/bulletins/1752d5b

China Balks at U.S. Biotechnology Proposals at Trade Forum – DTN/Progressive Farmer – Ag Policy Blog by Chris Clayton (Nov 27)

Link: https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/perspectives/blogs/ag-policy-blog/blog-post/2016/11/27/china-balks-u-s-biotechnology-trade

Dairy from cows fed GM feed is not ‘all-natural’, alleges lawsuit vs Dannon – but will it fly? – Food Navigator USA – By Elaine Watson (Nov 28)

“Has the FDA’s probe into ‘natural’ claims on food labels put a stop to the tidal wave of false advertising lawsuits engulfing food manufacturers? Not if a new complaint against Dannon is anything to go by, which also delves into the thorny issue of GMOs, another area currently being scrutinized by regulators.”

‘Honest food’ new buzzword in ag sector – Western Producer (Canada) – (Nov 24)

“The big supermarket chains are behind this, even though there’s not a scientific base for their actions. It’s more of a religion than science. Supermarkets are taking the initiative to prevent GMOs and other things they don’t like. It is not consumer driven. They hope the consumers eventually make those demands, but right now supermarkets are driving it.”

Link: http://www.producer.com/2016/11/honest-food-new-buzzword-in-ag-sector/

Editorial: County farm policy requires unbiased research – Boulder Daily Camera (Colorado) – (Nov 26)

We [Editorial Board] readily admit that, like the commissioners driving this bus, we are not farmers. That’s why we sit down and talk to local farmers each time we address these agricultural issues. Each time, it’s clear they feel largely ignored by city-based commissioners carrying water for the anti-GMO political movement, which is at odds with the scientific consensus that GMO foods are safe. Even President Barack Obama felt compelled to instruct comedian/activist Bill Maher in a recent interview to “follow the science” on GMOs, even if it doesn’t support the left’s preconceived political positions.”

Link: http://www.dailycamera.com/editorials/ci_30604901/editorial-county-farm-policy-requires-unbiased-research

Boulder County to proceed with phasing out GMO crops – Longmont Times-Call (Colorado) – By John Fryar (Dec 30)

Link: http://www.timescall.com/news-region-news/ci_30620144/boulder-county-proceed-phasing-out-gmo-crops

Activists destroy conventional rapeseed (canola) fields in France, claiming they are GMOs – Agence France-Presse, via Genetic Literacy Project (Nov 30)

California regulates cow farts – Fox 5 (Calif) / Associated Press (Nov 29)

“The bottom line is it’s going to negatively impact the economics of the California dairy industry,” Van Groningen said of the new law. “In the dairy business, the margins are so slim that something like this will force us out of state.”

Link: http://www.fox5ny.com/news/220448846-story

Putin’s Great Patriotic Pseudoscience – Foreign Policy – By Maria Antonova (Nov 29)

“Russia has a proud history of scientific inquiry and advancement. Now the Kremlin is investing in academic kooks and conspiracies.”

Link: http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/11/29/putins-great-patriotic-pseudoscience/

Agency accuses nonscientists of spreading rumours about GMO – The Nation (Nigeria) – (Dec 1)

“[T]he anti-GMO controversy in Nigeria was being fueled by bias from non scientists living in Nigeria.”

Link: http://thenationonlineng.net/agency-accuses-nonscientists-spreading-rumours-gmo/

Pew survey: Americans don’t trust scientists on GMOs, but are warming to GM foods – Genetic Literacy Project – By 

“But, overall most Americans do not feel strongly about the GM food issue as just 16 percent identified themselves to Pew as such—a fact that may surprise some people… when it comes to food, most Americans just don’t think much about GMOs—unless a survey prompts them to.”

Link: https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2016/12/01/pew-survey-americans-dont-trust-scientists-gmos-warming-gm-foods/