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.

 

TRADE, TRADE RELATED, INFRASTRUCTURE:

US stance on trade forces rest of G20 to wait – The Irish Times / The Financial Times (Mar 20)

“The question now is, if Mr Mnuchin could not be persuaded to adopt a more conciliatory tone on trade, then what chance do they have with his boss Donald Trump?” – Link

US breaks with allies over trade issues – Business Standard (India) – By Jack Ewing, New York Times (Mar 20)

“The United States broke with other large industrial nations over trade on Saturday as the Trump administration rejected concerns among allies about spreading protectionism and made clear that it would seek new approaches to managing global commerce.” – Link

China could retaliate to US posturing as trade crisis brews – Food Navigator Asia – By RJ Whitehead (Mar 20)

“A trade dispute hovering between China and America has the potential to become a fully fledged trade war, especially as western trade ministers grasp to find ways to ward off new Chinese regulations that they say amount a fresh barrier of trade.” – Link

Brazil meat scandal: Temer tries to reassure partners – BBC (Mar 20)

“Brazil’s President Michel Temer has sought to reassure foreign trade partners that the corruption scandal engulfing the country’s meat industry does not mean its products are unsafe.” – Link

Brazil meat scandal: trade hits back after police sting – GlobalMeatNews.com – By Mauro Fernandes (Mar 21)

“After a major investigation showed evidence of rotten meat being consumed in Brazil and exported over the last two years, Brazilian meatpacking industry associations have accused the police of exaggeration.” – Link

Japan’s Abe and Germany’s Merkel Say They Will Work Together on Free Trade – Wall Street Journal – By Zeke Turner (Mar 19)

“Leaders praise bonds between their countries and call on other nations to resist protectionist stances” – Link

China opposes trade protectionism, supports free trade: vice premier – Reuters (Mar 18)

“Beijing is struggling to cope with weak global demand and faces risks from growing U.S. trade protectionism” – Link

EU chief Juncker warns against EU-US trade war: Bild am Sonntag – Reuters (Mar 18)

“…necessary to take protectionist comments being made by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration seriously…” – Link

GROWING MARKETS, GROWING INCOMES: LEVERAGING TRADE FACILITATION FOR FARMERS – The Chicago Council on Global Affairs – By Andrea Durkin (Mar 13)

“Investment in trade capacity and facilitation can be a key driver of agricultural development and economic growth for small and medium-sized farmers around the globe.” – Link

China’s trading partners alarmed by food import controls – Japan Today – By Joe McDonald and Gillian Wong (Mar 21)

 “It could bring down food imports quite dramatically,” said the German ambassador to Beijing, Michael Clauss. “It often seems it is more about protecting Chinese producers than about food safety.” – Link

US-China trade war threat analysed – GlobalMeatNews – By Oscar Rousseau (Mar 22)

“The threat of a trade war between two of the world’s most powerful countries China and the United States is low, but analysts warn it could dramatically damage pork trade.” – Link

US envoy says US-EU trade deal still alive – Yahoo!News / AFP (Mar 21)

“Tuesday’s surprise twist came after the Trump administration ruffled feathers at G20 talks over the weekend by refusing to condemn protectionism in a final statement.” – Link

U.S. farm heartland lobbies to steer Trump away from Mexico trade war – Reuters – By Jason Lange and Alexandra Alper (Mar 22)

“We just keep pounding them on how critical trade is to us…” – Link

Peter Navarro Responds to His Trade Critics – Wall Street Journal – Letter by Peter Navarro (Mar 22)

“If India agrees to lower its tariffs on Harley Davidson motorcycles, Indian consumers will buy more Harleys and save less while Harley will sell more Harleys and invest more.” – Link

AG, AG TECH, PRODUCTION, PROTECTION, RELATED ISSUES:

Farms are not like Eden: The case for aggressive human intervention in agriculture – Genetic Literacy Project – By Andrew McGuire (Mar 20)

“There is no utopian state of nature, so we can stop trying to restore, recover, or regain any such state in agriculture.” – Link

Farmers in developing countries can’t adopt genetically-engineered crops till consumers in rich countries change their minds – The Financial Express (India) – By Vivian Fernandes (Mar 16)

“The area under GE crops has grown a hundred-fold since 1996, according to ISAAA, an advocacy, but the potential of the technology has not been fully realised despite farmers readily embracing it in the countries where it has been approved” – Link

How To Make Farmers Love Cover Crops? Pay Them – NPR, The Salt – By Dan Charles (Mar 16)

“The state of Maryland pays farmers for a whole range of practices… [but] admits that this may be more feasible for Maryland than for Iowa, because Maryland has a much smaller amount of crop land to protect, compared to its state budget.” – Link

Maize breeders benefit from using drones – SciDevNet – By Busani Bafana (Mar 17)

“With increased demand for better seeds to adapt to changing climate, breeders have turned to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) also known as drones for precise gathering of data from the field to enable more efficient maize breeding in most of Southern Africa.” – Link

Soy cultivation: What is the path to sustainable land use in Brazil? – Feed Navigator – By Jane Byrne (Mar 21)

“Expansion of soy production in the Brazilian Cerrado is possible but it needs to be managed to preserve areas of biodiversity, says an expert.” – Link

A GENETICALLY MODIFIED CORN COULD STOP A DEADLY FUNGAL POISON—IF WE LET IT – Newsweek – By Jessica Wapner (Mar 20)

“Aflatoxin threatens not only the health but also the economies of countries worldwide.” – Link

Farmers improve soil health, increase productivity – Southeast Farm Press – By John Hart (Mar 21)

“The Soil Health Institute was launched in 2013 in Morrisville, N.C. to help farmers improve soil health. The Institute emphasizes cover crops and no-tillage to help farmers improve the soil, increase productivity and help the environment.” – Link

 

POLICY, REGULATORY, ACTIVISM, OTHER:

Biofortification drive to reach 1bn dependent on consumer demand: Review – Nutraingredients.com – By Will Chu (Mar 16)

“Mainstreaming biofortification into plant breeding programs, integrating it into policies, programs and investments, and building consumer demand are needed to benefit one billion people by 2030.” – Link

Conventional Produce Is Not Dirty, But The Marketing Tactics Of Big Organic Are – Forbes.com – By Steve Savage (Mar 14)

For each of the last twenty years, an organization called the Environmental Working Group has issued what it calls a “Dirty Dozen List.” It names crops it claims to have high pesticide residues and recommends that consumers purchase organic versions of these crops… EWG persists in employing this strategy as a means of fund raising. Presumably it also serves the interests of their corporate funders in the organic food industry…”  – Link

How Organic Produce Can Make America Less Healthy – Bloomberg – By Deena Shanker (Mar 9) 
“Claims that everyday fruit and vegetables are tainted by pesticides are having unforeseen consequences.” – Link
Want more affordable and sustainable food? Invest in R&D. – The Hill – By Margaret M. Ziegler (Mar 16)

“Every public dollar invested in agricultural research in the U.S. provides at least $10 and up to $20 in economic benefits to society, a powerful return on investment that provides strong bang for the public agricultural research buck.” – Link

The land of plenty we take for granted – Delta Farm Press – By Hembree Brandon (Mar 13)

““Some people just don’t have enough to worry about,” my mother was wont to say when something in the wider world struck her as nonsensical or trivial… 98 percent of the population that is non-farm gives no thought to how it all comes about, the productive, progressive agriculture that makes it all possible. They just take it all for granted.” – Link

Q&A WITH ROB SAIK – Successful Farming – By Anna McConnell (Mar 20)
“If advocating for technology in agriculture means being called “radical,” he’ll take the personal attack.” – Link
5 Biotech Products U.S. Regulators Aren’t Ready For – MIT Technology Review – By Emily Mullin (Mar 17)

“New techniques being used to produce our food or shape the environment raise regulatory questions.” – Link

Future Biotechnology Products and Opportunities to Enhance Capabilities of the Biotechnology Regulatory System – The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) – Report release (Mar 9) – Link
Glyphosate not classified as a carcinogen by ECHA – European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), news release (Mar 15)

“ECHA’s Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) agrees to maintain the current harmonised classification of glyphosate as a substance causing serious eye damage and being toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects. RAC concluded that the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or as toxic for reproduction.” – Link

China approves fewer GMO crop imports, hampering trade: U.S. industry group – Reuters – By Dominic Patton (Mar 21)

“China has said it supports biotechnology to raise the efficiency of its agriculture sector and that it plans to commercialize new GMO varieties of corn and soybeans in coming years.” – Link

Kenya rules out open trials on genetically modified crops – Daily Nation (Kenya) – By Gerald Andae (Mar 20)

“The announcement comes just a month after the boards of the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) and the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) met to try and resolve the standoff.” – Link

Food nutrition reporting needs more science – Food Manufacture UK – By Noli Dinkovski (Mar 9, updated Mar 21)

“It is time for more responsible food nutrition reporting, says Professor Christine Williams.” – Link

Genetically-modified crops have benefits – Princess Anne – BBC (Mar 22)
California’s Central Valley Farmers Bemoan Water Allocation – Wall Street Journal – By Jim Carlton (Mar 22)

“Farmers note that reservoirs across the Golden State have been filled to overflowing; agency says drier forecast is a factor” – Link