News items related to ag tech, 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 newest items will be in green at bottom of sections).  Be sure to check in regularly.

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* Need a few minutes of entertainment or quick laugh?  Take a peek at this and choose your favorite(s):

Artist Shows How To Repackage Junk Food So That Hipsters Would Buy It

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TRADE, TRADE RELATED, INFRASTRUCTURE:

‘None of these big quagmire deals’: Trump spells out historic shift in approach to trade – Washington Post, Wonk blog – By Ana Swanson (Feb 24)

“While the change could allow the United States to hammer out more favorable terms at the negotiating table, as Trump and others in his administration have argued, it’s also likely to greatly complicate the process of crafting deals and thus slow the advance of global trade, a change that could ultimately make the world poorer, economists said.” – Link

Trump Is Off to a Slow Start on Trade Promises – New York Times – By Binyamin Appelbaum (Feb 24)

“President Trump keeps firing verbal broadsides at Mexico and China, but so far his new administration has not acted to keep specific campaign promises about trade policy.” – Link

Amid Trump Attacks, Support Grows for Free Trade – Wall Street Journal – By Jacob M. Schlesinger (Feb 26)

“WSJ/NBC News poll finds Democrats, independents increasingly positive about free trade… Increasingly positive views of the net benefits of trade came mainly from Democrats—among whom those who said free trade helped more than hurt jumped to 57%, up from 34% over the past year—and among independents, whose support nearly doubled, with two in five now saying free trade has helped the country.” – Link

WTO members welcome entry into force of the Trade Facilitation Agreement – World Trade Organization (Feb 27)

“WTO members hailed the entry into force of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) as a historic achievement at a meeting of the General Council on 27 February. In welcoming this milestone, members pledged to advance work on implementing the TFA so that the full benefits of the Agreement can be reaped.” – Link

Asia Economies Hold Trade Pact Talks After Trump Dumps TPP – US News & World Report / AP (Feb 27)

“Negotiators from 16 Asian countries are meeting in the Japanese port city of Kobe this week for talks on a regional trade pact that could supplant the Trans-Pacific Partnership rejected by U.S. President Donald Trump.” – Link

India says UK free trade deal will take years – BBC – By Kamal Ahmed (Feb 27)

“India’s finance minister has said that a free trade deal with Britain will take a “long time” and that no negotiations will start until the Brexit process has been completed.” – Link

Trump’s six hidden trade weapons – Politico – By Danny Vinik (Feb 28)

“He can’t just pull out of the WTO, but a motivated White House can cause serious trouble for our trade partners.” – Link

Trump Trade Policy Expected to Seek Smaller WTO Role in the U.S. – Wall Street Journal – By Ian Talley and William Mauldin (Feb 28)

“Draft document says administration will champion U.S. law in effort to take on trading partners” – Link

India to speed up FTA with Eurasian Economic Union – The Hindu Business Line (Feb 28) – Link
EU to Reject Trump’s Protectionism at Summit, Draft Shows – Bloomberg – By Ian Wishart (Mar 1)

“…Their stance comes at a time “when protectionist tendencies are reappearing,” according to the draft.” – Link

Agricultural trade with Mexico and Canada tops $3 billion and supports more than 18k jobs – Southwest Farm Press – By Blair Fannin (Feb 28)
“NAFTA calls for the full-phased elimination of import tariffs and the elimination or fullest possible reduction on non-tariff trade barriers, such as import quotas, licensing schemes and technical barriers to trade.” – Link
Thousands of soy trucks stranded on swamped Amazon highway in Brazil – Reuters – By Gustavo Bonato (Mar 1)

“Trucks have become bogged down on an unpaved section of the BR-163 highway in southern Pará state…” – Link

China eyes global economic leadership as U.S. turns inward – USA Today – By Roger Yu (Mar 1)

“The railroad is one of a host of infrastructure projects China spearheads around the world in an ambitious quest to reinforce its emergence as the world’s next economic superpower…” – Link

AG, AG TECH, PRODUCTION, RELATED ISSUES:

GM ‘surrogate hens’ could lay eggs of rare chicken breeds, scientists say

“Radical plan to maintain diversity of gene pool proposes use of genetically modified chickens as surrogate mothers” – Link

Bird flu puts an end to free range eggs – Food Navigator – By Louis Gore-Langton (Mar 1)

“The avian influenza crisis in Europe has forced producers to house birds indoors for more than three months – meaning the loss of free range status.” – Link

Insect-Zapping Laser “Fence” Prepares for First Enemy Contact – MIT Technology Review – By Tom Simonite (Feb 28)

“A device that cooks unwanted flying bugs with a laser beam will be tested against an insect that has decimated Florida’s orange production.” – Link

Tanzania: Dar Scientists Out to Curb Aflatoxin Spread Soon – allAfrica / Tanzania Daily News (Mar 1)

“The toxic compounds produced by the green mold fungus, which can cause liver damage and cancer, occasions losses of up to 550bn/- annually” –  Link

Visiting Tanzania’s first-ever GMO crop trial – Cornell Alliance for Science – By Mark Lynas (Feb 22)

“…could be a game-changer in improving the resilience of smallholder farmers to droughts aggravated by climate change.” – Link

The sorghum plant that could tackle blindness – Devex – By Deb Carstoiu (Feb 27)

“The Africa Biofortified Sorghum, or ABS, project is a public-private partnership established to tackle chronic Vitamin A deficiency in children, as well as improve levels of zinc and iron. If it gets commercial approval, it will be the first-ever biotech sorghum on the market. Like Golden Rice, biofortified sorghum is a cutting-edge approach to food security and quality.” – Link

One farmer adds balance to the public discussion about GMOs by sharing their sustainability benefits – Food Navigator USA – By Elizabeth Crawford (Mar 2)

Contrary to what some may believe, farmers who grow genetically modified crops are “not the devil with horns,” and do have the planet’s and consumers’ health and best interests in mind when they select which seeds to plant and harvest, a Maryland farmer told attendees at USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum in Washington, DC, last month.” – Link

Grain traders prepping fish oil substitutes for aquaculture, health fads – Reuters – By Rod Nickel (Feb 28)

“It could be a kind of showstopper for growth in aquaculture if we can’t find other sources for these valuable Omega-3 fatty acids..” – Link

POLICY, REGULATORY, ACTIVISM, OTHER:

Farmers may be among the first to feel the effects of Brexit – The Economist (Feb 23)

“Agriculture is heavily reliant on foreign workers. They may not be around for long” – Link

California’s crumbling infrastructure evidence of poor priorities – Western Farm Press – By Todd Fitchette (Feb 20)

“That nobody in their right mind is betting on 100 percent water allocations from the Bureau of Reclamation (Central Valley Project) or California Department of Water Resources (State Water Project) this year suggests that the drought we just suffered was largely political.” – Link

Campaigners launch fresh attack on pesticide mixtures in EU food – Food Navigator – By Louis Gore-Langton (Feb 23)

“The allegations made by PAN Europe are inaccurate and unsubstantiated…” – Link

Amid the Downpour, California’s Regulatory Drought Continues – Wall Street Journal – By Jean Sagouspe (Feb 24)

“Dams are spilling over, but decades of meddling by green groups means the water can’t get to my farm.” – Link

POTUS Rolls Back WOTUS – Hoosier Ag Today – By Gary Truitt (Mar 1)

“President Trump issued an Executive Order today calling for the EPA to review and revise the Army Corps and EPA rule redefining “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) subject to federal control under the Clean Water Act.” – Link

NGO-driven EPA regulations based on bad science need reform – The Hill – By Henry Miller (Mar 1)

“The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, made it clear in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that his agency will be run differently than in years past: “This past administration didn’t bother with statutes. . . They displaced Congress, disregarded the law, and in general said they would act in their own way. That now ends,” he said.” – Link

Feds promise 100 percent surface water allocation to California farmers – Western Farm Press – By Todd Fitchette (Mar 1)
“California’s historic rain and snow leads Bureau of Reclamation to make first 100-percent water allocation in over a decade.” – Link
Farmers join forces to fight ‘false knowledge’ on glyphosate – Farmers Weekly (UK) – By Oliver Hill (Feb 27)

“Hundreds of farmers across Britain are coming together in a concerted effort to show politicians and the public why glyphosate is so critical to agriculture and the environment.” – Link

Campbell Soup Co. works with FDA, USDA to craft national GMO labeling – Food Navigator USA – By Elizabeth Crawford (Mar 2)

“Drawing on its experience as one of the first major food companies to voluntarily disclose on packages the presence of GMOs in its products, The Campbell Soup Co. is lending USDA a hand in creating the mandatory national bioengineering label standard, according to a company executive.” – Link

Ghana’s capacity to regulate GMOs receive major boost – Joy Online (Ghana) – By Joseph Opoku–Gakpo (Feb 27)

“The NBA is further putting in place measures to build the capacity needed to assess and make decisions on applications regarding general release of GMOs.” – Link

Kenya GMO Corn Trials Said to Face Obstacle Over Import Ban – Bloomberg – By Samuel Gebre (Mar 2)

“Kenya is withholding approval for field trials of genetically modified corn because some officials argue that a ban on GMO imports applies to controlled growing tests as well, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.” – Link