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 come back and check the page during the week.

___

This week’s title took inspiration from the news items further down the page (in the section “Policy, Regulatory, Activism, Other, etc.”) regarding “fake news”, activist NGOs, and also a recent bomb attack against an agricultural research facility in Italy.

In recent years, a number of different factors have been involved in bringing interest in food and agriculture to a broader audience, but much of what has driven the discussion as been sown by activists with an agenda.  They’ve proven adept at using social media, and traditional media messaging.  In order to understand much of what is going on, it’s important to have an understanding of the broader agenda, how they go about operating, and the ramifications that come from it – including a number of things from creating public and consumer mistrust, to it being used as barriers to international trade – by the EU, or China for example.  Sadly, it’s even lead to violence with destruction of field trial research in a number of places – or even escalated events such as explosive devices damaging a research facility in Italy per the story included below.  Take a few minutes to link to and read the pieces below, that should help you get a little better overview for some of what and why things are happening.

 

TRADE, TRADE RELATED, INFRASTRUCTURE:

Finance leaders downplay differences with Donald Trump over trade  – Indian Express / AP (Apr 22)

“Global finance leaders are downplaying differences over free trade with President Donald Trump, saying there is wide agreement that globalization delivers stronger economic growth. But officials…warn repeatedly that too many people have been left behind at a time when low-wage competition and automation have reduced factory jobs in the world’s wealthy economies.” – Link

Donald Trump believes in ‘reciprocal’ free trade: Steven Mnuchin – The Economic Times (India) / AFP (Apr 24) – Link
US reopens door to reviving EU trade talks – Financial Times (UK) – By Shawn Donnan and Arthur Beesley (Apr 23)
“Wilbur Ross says EU, Japan and China in competition to show willingness for deal” – Link
China, under pressure at WTO, suggests revamp of dumping rules – Reuters – By Tom Miles (Apr 24)

“The proposal, which trade diplomats had anticipated for months, may seek to divert attention from Chinese fishing subsidies, which are under fire in negotiations at the same WTO committee.” – Link

The big job stealer hasn’t been trade – Delta Farm Press – By Hembree Brandon (Apr 25)
Of the 5.6 million U.S. manufacturing jobs lost between 2000 and 2010, 85 percent were due to technology. Only about 13 percent were lost due to international trade.” – Link
Lawrence Solomon: Trump just might make us put on our big-boy pants and make Canada great again – National Post (Canada) – By Lawrence Solomon (Apr 22)

““Let’s not pretend we’re in a global free market when it comes to agriculture,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally told a persistent John Micklethwait, Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief, in an interview Thursday. Trudeau had been bafflegabbing Micklethwait’s inquiry into Canada’s position on NAFTA and free trade, in an attempt to avoid admitting Canadian hypocrisy in preaching free trade while practicing protectionism.” – Link

Moving beyond China and Mexico, Trump targets Canada trade – The Washington Post – By Paul Wiseman, Associated Press (Apr 25)
“The two countries are suddenly sparring openly over inexpensive Canadian timber and Canada’s barriers to U.S. dairy products — disputes that go back years but rarely get such a public airing.” – Link
White House readies order on withdrawing from NAFTA – Politico – By Tara Palmeri (Apr 26)
“The approach appears designed to extract better terms with Canada and Mexico.” – Link
Trump Rules Out Swift Nafta Exit in Favor of Renegotiation – Bloomberg – By Jennifer Jacobs and Andrew Mayeda (Apr 27)

““Both conversations were pleasant and productive. President Trump agreed not to terminate Nafta at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the Nafta deal to the benefit of all three countries,” the White House said in a statement late Wednesday.” – Link

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

Electronic monitoring helps breeder work out which bulls are efficient feeders – ABC News (Australia) – By Michael Cavanagh (Apr 24)

“It is a trait that can be passed on from generation to generation. Find a good feed-converting bull and his progeny will be as well.” – Link

Agriculture’s biotechnology has a bright future – Farm & Ranch Guide – By Dale Hildebrant (Apr 22)

“…approximately 4,000 entities, both private and public, from around the world are working on a wide range of subjects ranging from the planting phase to the harvest phase of the industry.” – Link

Malawi progresses in GM crop trials – Cornell Alliance for Science – By Katherine Chaweza (Apr 21)

“…Malawi is one of the few countries in Africa poised to move forward in commercializing genetically modified crops, with cotton, cowpea and banana now in field trials.” – Link

Genetics to boost sugarcane production – SciDevNet (Apr 20)

“Scientists in Brazil are taking steps towards genetically modifying sugar cane so it produces more sucrose naturally, looking to eventually boost the productivity and economic benefits of the tropical grass.” – Link

Farmers return to BT cotton after experiment with desi variety fails – The Tribune (India) – By Deepender Deswal (Apr 23)

“The farmers say due to high demand, BT cotton varieties were being sold at premium rate by the private seed sellers in the open market. On the other hand, they said, there were no takers for the desi varieties.” – Link

 

POLICY, REGULATORY, ACTIVISM, OTHER:

Deceptive Publishing is the “Fake News” of the Science World – The Huffington Post – By Dr. Robert T. Fraley (Apr 17)

“Fake news is not new to science. For years, scientists have watched trusted media outlets – along with junk websites posing as trusted media or experts – distribute misleading or false information disguised as science that creates unwarranted public fear of beneficial scientific advances such as vaccines and GMOs.” – Link

How US NGOs are exploiting Europe’s precautionary chemophobia to ban glyphosate and GMOs – Genetic Literacy Project – By David Zaruck (Apr 24)

“There is only one logical reason why anyone would want to ban glyphosate. It is used in combination with herbicide-resistant GMO seed varieties. So if NGOs want to ban GMOs, the first step is to ban glyphosate. But most European farmers don’t grow GMOs. Glyphosate is an American activist campaign run from Brussels.” – Link

*Note – First appeared at Risk-Monger blog as Carpetbagers: American NGO Activists in Brussels

Bomb attack damages Monsanto research center in Italy – Science Magazine – By Marta Paterlini (Apr 21)

“The attacker launched four incendiary devices in total… and fled after spray painting a wall with “Bayer criminal marriage. No GMO.”” – Link

Most Chinese ‘fake news’ stories involve food safety – Food Navigator Asia – By RJ Whitehead (Apr 24)

“Most fake news stories in China concern food safety, according to a online verification team…”Link

Clash of science and politics “dangerous”-EU food safety chief – Reuters – By Kate Kelland (Apr 21)

“Opposition in the European Union has been driven by the European Parliament’s Greens-European Free Alliance and by others, including Greenpeace and a group of scientists led by Christopher Portier from the U.S.-based non-governmental organisation, the Environmental Defense Fund… Attempts to discredit his agency over its assessment were “unacceptable and short-sighted”, he told Reuters in a rare interview, accusing his critics of undermining science to pursue a “political agenda”.” – Link

Syngenta Defends GMO Corn as Merger Shifts Blame to China – Bloomberg – By Jef Feeley and Margaret Cronin Fisk (Apr 24)

“Syngenta merger means Chinese may own seeds they rejected” – Link

Need for new innovation in Agribusiness – New Delhi Times – By Dr. Ankit Srivastava, Editor – in – Chief (Apr 24) – Link
SPECIAL REPORT: Consumers and ‘clean’ food: Where is the clean label trend going next? – Food Navigator USA – By Elaine Watson (Apr 26)

“To the casual observer, ‘cleaning up’ our food sounds like an eminently sensible thing to do. But where is the clean label trend going, and is ditching every ingredient you can’t pronounce really the key to fixing the ‘broken’ food system (as Panera implies in a recent ad) or improving the health of people and the planet?” – Link

Op-Ed – No, California, Roundup won’t give you cancer – Los Angeles Times – By Julie Kelly and Henry I. Miller (Apr 27)

“Ultimately, glyphosate will be exonerated. It is not carcinogenic, and it is lower in overall toxicity than many other weed killers. (According to New York State’s Integrated Pest Management program, it has about the same Environmental Impact Quotient as vinegar.)” – Link