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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There are a few news items below relating to Congressional passage of a bill that includes potential relief for the water woes of California agriculture.  For more background on the issues covering that, GFN Board member Ted Sheely farms in the San Joaquin Valley of California and authored this column a little over a year ago (Aug 2015) that first appeared in The Wall Street Journal and garnered a lot of attention and response.

TRADE, TRADE RELATED ISSUES:

Asian envoys urge Trump to reconsider on TPP trade pact – The Seattle Times – By Matthew Pennington, AP (Dec 13)

Link: http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/nation-politics/asian-envoys-urge-trump-to-reconsider-on-tpp-trade-pact/

Why did Japan’s Parliament ratify ‘dead’ TPP agreement? – The Business Times (Singapore) – By Anthony Rowley (Dec 12)

Link: http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/opinion/why-did-japans-parliament-ratify-dead-tpp-agreement

EU Takes on Trump in Final Push for Free-Trade Pact With Japan – Bloomberg – By Jonathan Stearns (Dec 11)

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-12/eu-takes-on-trump-in-final-push-for-free-trade-pact-with-japan

“Persistent” economic challenges continued to weigh on trade in 2016 – World Trade Organization (Dec 9)

“Director-General Roberto Azevêdo’s annual overview of developments in the international trading system highlights the “persistent” global economic challenges in 2016 that continue to weigh on international trade. The report, which was discussed at a 9 December meeting of the WTO’s Trade Policy Review Body, urges members to work together to ensure that the benefits of trade are more widely spread and better understood.”

Link: https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news16_e/trdev_09dec16_e.htm

U.S. Should Consider Trade Deals With China and Japan, Rob Portman Says – Wall Street Journal – By Bob Davis (Dec 13)

Link: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2016/12/13/u-s-should-consider-trade-deals-with-china-and-japan-rob-portman-says/

Asia-Pacific: Japan Ratifies TPP, RCEP Gears Up for 2017 – ICTSD Bridges (Dec 15)

Link: http://www.ictsd.org/bridges-news/bridges/news/asia-pacific-japan-ratifies-tpp-rcep-gears-up-for-2017

Free Trade Is Not Dead Under Donald Trump – Fortune – Commentary by Alan Wolff (Dec 15)

Link: http://fortune.com/2016/12/15/free-trade-donald-trump-tpp/

Obama administration files trade challenge against China – Austin American Statesman / Associated Press (Dec 15)

“The administration says it is trying to hold China to its commitment to allow set quantities of grain and corn to enter the country subject to a lower tariff rate. China agreed to the terms when it joined the WTO…”

Link: http://www.statesman.com/news/obama-administration-files-trade-challenge-against-china/oqZM5W686kAD8SDPVMTsbM/

AG, AG TECH, PRODUCTION, RELATED ISSUES:

Millennial To Millennial: Why GMOs Are An Option – Forbes.com – By Joanna Wavrunek (Dec 13)

Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/gmoanswers/2016/12/13/gmos-honest-answers/#2f5a7a981cee

Stine Seed gives U.S. soy farmers a rare chance to replant GMO seeds – Reuters – By Tom Polansek (Dec 13)

Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-seeds-saving-idUSKBN14118N

The Pluses and Minuses – What Genetically Engineered (GE) Crops Mean on Our Farm – Terry Daynard’s Blog (Canada) – By Terry Daynard (Dec 10)

Link: https://tdaynard.com/

Zimbabwe drought, hunger push farmers to seek greener pastures – Thomson Reuters Foundation – By Tonderayi Mukeredzi (Dec 13)

Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-zimbabwe-climate-migration-idUSKBN1420IN

How Can Pesticides Be Safe? – Putting Pesticides In Perspective – By Steve Savage (Dec 12)

“Many people may find it difficult to imagine how a pesticide could ever be safe. To understand how that is possible, it is helpful to make the comparison with something more familiar: electricity.”

Link: https://ppipblog.com/2016/12/12/how-can-pesticides-be-safe/

‘The world and our species need an Evergreen Revolution’ – Delta Farm Press – By Hembree Brandon (Dec 14)

“The world and our species need an ‘Evergreen Revolution’ that uses the science of the present and the future to feed us and our fellow humans.”

Is It Possible to Make a Less Allergenic Peanut? – New York Times Magazine – By Roxanne Khamsi (Dec 15)

Why scientists and startups are tinkering with our most popular legume.”

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/15/magazine/is-it-possible-to-make-a-less-allergenic-peanut.html

‘Shallow’ GM debate in Europe risks food security – Farmers Weekly (UK) – By Philip Case (Dec 14)

Link: http://www.fwi.co.uk/arable/shallow-gm-technology-debate-in-europe-risks-food-security.htm

Reduced lignin alfalfa could be game changer for yield, quality – Western Farm Press – By Dan Putnam (Dec 14)

“In the world of alfalfa, such game-changers are few but the reduced lignin genetic trait in alfalfa may be one such technology to the potential benefit of alfalfa and dairy producers.”

Chinese firm begins testing GMO corn seeds in U.S. greenhouse – Reuters (Dec 15)

Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-origin-agritech-gmo-usa-idUSKBN1442OP

POLICY, REGULATORY, ACTIVISTM, OTHER ISSUES:

After years of drama, farmers score a big win in California water battle – Sacramento Bee – By Michael Doyle, McClatchyDC (Dec 10)

“This water is for the tens of thousands of small farms that have gone bankrupt, like a melon farmer who sat in my office with tears in his eyes,” Feinstein said… Boxer, echoing environmentalists, countered that the real beneficiary will be “big agribusiness.”

Link: http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article120131528.html

California Drought Relief Bill Passes – Growing Produce – By David Eddy (Dec 12)

Link: http://www.growingproduce.com/vegetables/california-drought-relief-bill-passes/

Organic Crop Insurance Abuse Hides in Plain Sight – AgWeb – By Chris Bennett (Dec 9)

“A field of weeds can pay better than a field of corn, and costs almost nothing to produce. Plant seed, run a cultivator with a wink and a nod, and walk away. This is a skin-and-bones crop production formula where less means more. No inputs, no sweat equity, no management, no harvest, but plenty of profit in a scheme plucking millions from the pockets of U.S. taxpayers.”

Link: http://www.agweb.com/article/organic-crop-insurance-abuse-hides-in-plain-sight-naa-chris-bennett/

She Called Out Chipotle, and They Answered – Farm Journal, MILK – By Dairy Talk (Dec 9)

“…Facebook post caught Chipotle’s attention, which is still struggling to recover from its food-borne illness fiasco.”

Link: http://www.milkbusiness.com/blog/she-called-out-chipotle-and-they-answered

Council expected to discuss repealing GMO bill recently ruled invalid in federal court – The Garden Island (Kauai, Hawaii) – By Jenna Carpenter (Dec 12)

Link: http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/council-expected-to-discuss-repealing-gmo-bill-recently-ruled-invalid/article_b7f3ba3a-e34e-5b76-b0c3-bff34da9a2a3.html

Ag expects benefits from new administration – Southwest Farm Press – By Ron Smith (Dec 12)
“NAWG’s new CEO expects new administration will attempt to roll back some Obama Administration regulations but foresees challenge in rescinding WOTUS rule.”
Monsanto shareholders OK Bayer’s $57B takeover – Salt Lake Tribune – By Jim Salter, Associated Press (Dec 13)

Link: http://www.sltrib.com/home/4707693-155/monsanto-shareholders-ok-bayers-57b-takeover

FDA Concludes Consultation on Pink Flesh Pineapple – US Food & Drug Administration (Dec 14)

Link: http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm533075.htm

Deconstructing How Environmental Groups Mislead on Organics – Food and Farm Discussion Lab – By Øystein Heggdal (Dec 13)

Link: http://fafdl.org/blog/2016/12/13/deconstructing-how-environmental-groups-mislead-on-organics/

Punjab plans to buy more GM cotton seed varieties – Dawn (Pakistan) – By Faisal Ali Ghumman (Dec 15)

Link: http://www.dawn.com/news/1302383/punjab-plans-to-buy-more-gm-cotton-seed-varieties

EU organic farming regulation still proving divisive – Feed Navigator – By Jane Byrne (Dec 15)

“EU agriculture ministers have failed to reach a consensus on the proposal for organic regulation.”

How can we communicate science and technology in a social media world? – Western Farm Press – By Todd Fitchette (Dec 13)
Can agricultural technology and science be effectively communicated to policy makers in a social media-driven world?”
University students want government to issue licence of GMO maize – The Star (Kenya) – By Agatha Ngotho (Dec 9)

Link: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2016/12/09/university-students-want-government-to-issue-licence-of-gmo-maize_c1471014