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.

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Congratulations to Jayson Lusk, the 2017 Borlaug CAST Communication Award recipient!  The news was announced on April 27 by The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) who will present him the award at the World Food Prize Symposium on October 18 in Des Moines, Iowa.

 

 

TRADE, TRADE RELATED, INFRASTRUCTURE:

 Trump signs two executive orders on trade – CNN – By Daniella Diaz and Eugene Scott (Apr 29)

“One of the orders directs a review of all existing trade agreements and the second establishes an Office of Trade and Manufacturing.” – Link

With Trump’s shifts on trade, unease and uncertainty north and south of the border – Washington Post – By Karen DeYoung and Philip Rucker (Apr 28)

“Since taking office, Trump has set out to unsettle and surprise his allies and adversaries alike, and by that measure he has succeeded.” – Link

Bilateral or Multilateral: Which Trade Partnerships Work Best? – Knowledge@Wharton, U. of Pennsylvania – (Apr 27)

“The new administration’s trade advisors, led by economist Peter Navarro, argue that greater dependence on bilateral — rather than multilateral — trade agreements will enable U.S. negotiators to craft provisions that provide maximum advantages for U.S. exporters and consumers. What are the arguments in favor of, and against, such an approach?” – Link

DG Azevêdo: Global trade challenges are best tackled through the multilateral system – WTO, Speech by DG Roberto Azevêdo (Apr 28)

“The WTO should seek to bolster global economic cooperation in order to leave a strong and well-functioning trading system for future generations, said Director-General Roberto Azevêdo at an event organized in Geneva by the ICTSD and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung on “the future of the WTO and the role of the G20 economies.” – Link

East Africa’s Trade Deal With Europe Buckles – allAfrica / Institute for Security Studies (Apr 27)

“… many African governments and industrialists still believe the EU is bullying them into opening their markets.” – Link

EU trade commissioner says bloc will do post-Brexit free trade deal with UK ‘for sure’ – The Telegraph (UK) – By Jack Maidment (Apr 27)

“Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU Commissioner for Trade, has now said the bloc will reach a free trade agreement with the UK after its divorce from Brussels.” – Link

Milk is sour issue in U.S.-Canada trade talks as Trump seeks Nafta renegotiation – USA Today By Roger Yu  (Apr 27)

“While much of the discussions about NAFTA’s long-term effects have focused on U.S.-Mexico trade, the milk dispute shows that “not everything on the U.S.-Canada side is rosy…” – Link

In or out of TPP, Washington’s pressure has Tokyo fretting – Nikkei Asian Review (Apr 28)

“Fears in Japan grow that US will want more concessions in bilateral deal” – Link

Exclusive: Trump vows to fix or scrap South Korea trade deal, wants missile system payment – Reuters (Apr 28)

“U.S. President Donald Trump told Reuters on Thursday he will either renegotiate or terminate what he called a “horrible” free trade deal with South Korea…” – Link

GOP growing frustrated with Trump’s trade threats – The Hill – By Alexander Bolton (May 1)

“They immediately registered their alarm with the administration after word leaked last week that Trump was considering an executive order to pull out of the trade pact [NAFTA].” – Link

2020 hopeful McAuliffe to Mexico to promote trade targeted by Trump – Washington Examiner – By Paul Bedard (May 1)

“Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, one of several Democrats considering a 2020 presidential bid, is on a trade mission to Mexico where he will push for the type of deals President Trump is targeting in his renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.” – Link

U.S. ends ban on importing Argentine lemons, angering California citrus growers – Los Angeles Times / AP (May 2)

““We see this as an achievement of more than 15 years to prove the phytosanitary conditions and their viability,” said Jose Carbonell, the president of the Argentine Citrus Federation.” – Link

Governments Worldwide Pursue Free Trade Agreements, With One Exception – The USA – Forbes.com – By John Brinkley (May 3)

“…other countries are racing ahead with agreements that exclude the United States.” – Link

Talks kick off on ‘TPP 11’ pact minus US – Nikkei Asian Review (May 3)

“New top dog Japan aims to keep deal’s terms intact” – Link

U.S., Canada Both Practice Protectionism – The Wall Street Journal – By Michael Taube (May 3)

“Trump is right about dairy supply management, but he’s wrong about the softwood-lumber dispute.” – Link

 

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

Healthier beer and drought-proof crops? Scientists crack barley’s genetic code – ABC News (Australia) – By Jake Sturmer and Bridget Fitzgerald (Apr 26)

“Scientists have cracked the genetic code of one of Australia’s most important grains — barley — opening up the potential for healthier beer and more importantly drought resistant crops.” – Link

You Want Better Beer? Good. Here’s a Better Barley Genome – WIRED – By Adam Rogers (Apr 26)

“This week, that work got a serious push forward—one that could turn out to be as significant the moment six millennia ago when farmers in the Fertile Crescent started trying to breed improvements into the tasty beer-making grass growing outside their huts.” – Link

Study: North Carolina’s lack of refuge acres putting Bt corn at risk – Southeast Farm Press – By Matt Shipman (Apr 24)
“A new study from North Carolina State University finds a significant shortfall in the amount of “refuge” cropland being planted in North Carolina – likely increasing the rate at which crop pests will evolve the ability to safely devour genetically engineered Bt crops.” – Link
Can You Innovate Your Way to Better Beef, Chicken, or Fish? – Fortune – By Beth Kowitt (Apr 24)

“A promising class of startups believes the solution is not to ask eaters to give up meat but instead to make actual meat more sustainable and alternatives more convincingly meatlike. And the companies are turning to cutting-edge food technology to do it.” – Link

Reliable weather data impacting on farmers’ yields – SciDevNet – By Alex Abutu (Apr 26)

“An expert says the project is helping farmers know when to plant crop” – Link

Advancements in agriculture, good for people and the planet – The Hill – By Tom Vilsack (Apr 27)

“Simply put, when a farmer transitions to a GMO crop, the environment benefits.” – Link

African youth take technology to agriculture – The East African – By Allan Olingo (Apr 29)

“The young people are quick in adapting to technology, bringing value addition to the current tertiary mode of farming…” – Link

Why your ‘organic’ milk may not be organic – The Washington Post – By Peter Whoriskey (May 1)

“The inspectors conducted the annual audit well after grazing season — in November. That means that during the annual audit, inspectors would not have seen whether the cows were grazing as required, a breach of USDA inspection policy.” – Link

Apple-Picking Robot Prepares to Compete for Farm Jobs – MIT Technology Review – By Tom Simonite (May 3)

“Orchard owners say they need automation because seasonal farm labor is getting harder to come by.” – Link

New GMO to Reduce Cases of Liver Cancer – AgWeb – By Sonja Begemann (May 3)

“Amid the GMO debate, one researcher is striving to use genetic modification to not just improve crop health, but potentially save consumer lives. Aspergillus, which creates carcinogenic aflatoxin, can now be controlled through genetic modification.” – Link

GM crops sow seeds of global growth – Financial Times (UK) – By Clive Cookson (May 3)
“Rise in planting nourished by commodity price recovery and enthusiasm among farmers” – Link

POLICY, REGULATORY, ACTIVISM, OTHER:

 

Give science a chance in Boulder County crop crackdown – The Denver Post – By Vincent Carroll (Apr 22)

“Boulder County has 25,000 acres of open space dedicated to agriculture and ranching, with 16,000 acres in cropland. And it has an active policy of favoring organic farming in an effort to reach a 2020 goal of 20 percent organic crops. To that end, organic operations enjoy drastically reduced rents, infrastructure assistance and even a “weed team” to help control weeds. And yet despite these advantages, 80 percent of organic operations still fail, the Daily Camera reported last year.” – Link

Farm Babe: The internet’s biggest culprits of fake news in agriculture – AgDaily – By Michelle Miller (Apr 25)

“So who’s saying they’re [GMOs] bad? The huge food corporations that want to sell organic foods made in China and charge a premium? Websites trying to sell you their “non-GMO” alternative product? Well of course GMOs are magically bad according to them — they’re selling a competitive product … sneaky.” – Link

How to Spot a Shockumentary: Food Edition – Farm and Food Discussion Lab – By Leah McGrath Apr 24)

“Here’s a quick way you can discern whether you are watching a shockumentary meant to spread fear about our food without having to watch the whole show.” – Link

Use of biotechnology must to attain food security: Bosan – Pakistan Today (Apr 26)

“Around 130 national and international academicians and scientists hailing from seven different countries including Turkey, Tunisia, Sudan, Iran, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan attended a workshop held here to promote the safe use of modern biotechnology to attain the goal of food security and defeating hunger and poverty.” – Link

Kenyan scientist calls for increased funding for biotechnology research – Xinhau (China) (Apr 27)

“Additional funding will help empower women’s participation in modern science especially Genetically Modified Organization that is the current innovation in agriculture…” – Link

Could the biotech disclosure law help shift perception of GMOs from good vs evil to simply a choice?  Food Navigator USA – By Elizabeth Crawford (11-May-2017)

“In many ways, the conversation about GMOs has been a debate about good versus evil, but ingredient supplier Cargill wants to shift the discussion to one simply about choice – a goal that one executive says can only achieved if manufacturers and suppliers start talking to consumers about the benefits GMOs offer.” – Link

CLEAN LABEL 2.0: Natural flavors and preservatives, pesticide residues, and Non-GMO in the spotlight – Food Navigator USA – By Elaine Watson (27-Apr-2017)

“Think ‘clean label’ just means ditching ‘artificial’ ingredients and avoiding anything attracting negative press (warranted or otherwise)? Think again. Today, brands are also questioning whether ‘natural’ flavors, preservatives and sweeteners are really ‘clean,’ whether Non-GMO claims should only apply to what’s in the final product, and whether pesticide residues – even at trace levels – belong in ‘natural’ or ‘clean label’ foods. So where will this all lead?” – Link

GMO protestor throws Molotov cocktails at Monsanto facility in Europe – St. Louis Business Journal – By Steph Kukuljan (Apr 27) – Link
After 55 years Silent Spring remains relevant – Southwest Farm Press – By Ron Smith (Apr 28)
“Some credit Silent Spring for creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, an organization that’s often condemned for regulatory overreach, but also praised for cleaning our water and air and protecting our soil.” – Link
China’s Appetite Pushes Fisheries to the Brink – The New York Times – By Andrew Jacobs (Apr 30)
“Having depleted the seas close to home, Chinese fishermen are sailing farther to exploit the waters of other countries… But as they press toward other countries, Chinese fishermen have become entangled in a growing number of maritime disputes.” – Link
How desperately poor Bangladesh emerged as world innovator in pest-resistant, nutritionally fortified GM crops – Genetic Literacy Project – By Steven Cerier (May 3)

““Agricultural technology has been central in “making the country self-sufficient in food production,” says Bangladesh’s Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhurry.” – Link

The government is going to counter ‘misinformation’ about GMO foods – Washington Post, Wonkblog – By Caitlin Dewey (May 3)

“More than 50 agriculture and food industry groups had signed on to an April 18 letter urging the funding to counter “a tremendous amount of misinformation about agricultural biotechnology in the public domain.” – Link