News items related to ag tech, biotech, trade – and perhaps some other interesting topics 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).  Check the page during the week for updates.

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It goes without saying that the thoughts and support of everyone at GFN are with all those affected by Hurricane Harvey in the US, and of course from natural disasters wherever they may happen around the world.  The impact on agriculture and food security brought by natural disasters are profound.  Reliable trade and infrastructure routes are key components to not only daily life, but working through and past catastrophes.

Significant ag losses left in Harvey’s aftermath – Feedstuffs – By Krissa Welshans (Aug 30)

“The true cost of the disaster caused by Hurricane Harvey won’t be known for many years to come, but it’s going to be huge… State of Texas Agriculture Relief Fund activated to assist farmers and ranchers.” – Link

A Flying Cowboy Rides to Rescue Cattle Stranded in Harvey’s Floods – The New York Times –  (Sept 3)

“The devastating rain put thousands of animals at risk of drowning, but a cowpoke in a helicopter is helping drive them to higher ground.” – Link

And, Florida too…

Florida Farmers Brace as Irma Threatens $1.2 Billion of Crops – AgWeb/Bloomberg (Sept 7) – Link

 

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At times over the past years, GFN has written about how agriculture has played a unique diplomatic role at some key moments in history.  Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize, points this out in the current context of today:

Agriculture could be key to easing U.S.-North Korea tensions – The Des Moines Register – By Kenneth M. Quinn (Sept 1)

“With so few good options to defuse the current situation over North Korea’s enhanced strategic capabilities, including possible nuclear-weaponized long-range missiles, using agriculture as a vehicle to reduce tensions would seem worth a try.” – Link

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Again this week, GFN would also like to highlight the Golden Rice Project and its efforts to address severe vitamin A deficiency, which can lead to blindness and other health issues, primarily in children.

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have submitted an application for a biosafety permit to allow Vitamin A-biofortified (GR2E) rice to be used for food, feed, and processing in the Philippines. In addition, IRRI has also applied to include the rice in the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Code (FSANZ) to prevent any trade issues if small amounts of the rice inadvertently end up in shipments of other milled rice imported into Australia/New Zealand.

The governments are both accepting public comments until 14 September and we urge you to all provide comments of support for the applications prior to that deadline. Your comments in support can be directed to the Director of the Bureau of Plant Industry (Philippines) through e-mail at bpibiotechsecretariat@yahoo.com, and online at http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/code/changes/submission/Pages/SubmissionForm.aspx for FSANZ (Application Number A1138; Proposal for Food derived from Provitamin A Rice Line GR2E).

More information about the Golden Rice Project that you may find of use in supportive comments can be found online at http://irri.org/golden-rice – http://irri.org/goldenrice/faqs or http://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/goldenricemoving-forward-philippines.

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TRADE, TRADE RELATED, INFRASTRUCTURE:

Trump’s mutiny against trade has some countries worried about their national security – CNBC.com – By Leslie Shaffer (Sept 1)

“When President Donald Trump walked away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, he set off a series of geopolitical recalculations across Asia.” – Link

Trump hints at pulling out of free trade deal with South Korea – The Straits Times (Singapore) (Sept 4) – Link

Trump: US considering ‘stopping all trade’ with countries doing business with N. Korea – The Hill – By Rebecca Savransky (Sept 3) – Link

Trump’s tough trade tactics have negotiators looking at options – The Washington Times – By S.A. Miller (Aug 31)

“President Trump has rattled Mexico and Canada with his bare-knuckle negotiating style and threats to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement as they enter the second round of talks Friday to redo the three-way trade deal.” – Link

NAFTA envoys lay out proposals, try to block Trump noise – Reuters – By Dave Graham, Anthony Esposito (Sept 1)

“Teams from the three countries kicked off a second round of talks in Mexico…” – Link 

Russia to cancel lower duties on beef from Brazil and Paraguay – GlobalMeatNews.com – By Vladislav Vorotnikov (Sept 1)

Russia’s committee on customs and tariff regulation, headed by the Minister for Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin, has decided to start applying full customs duties on beef imported from Brazil and Paraguay “to get the price of importers in line with the price of domestic producers”.Link

Liam Fox: Britain does not have capacity to strike trade deals now – Politico EU – By Tom McTague (Sept 5)

“…Britain wants to adopt terms of existing EU trade agreements on temporary basis.” – Link

Japan, U.S. to set up working-level talks on trade, infrastructure – Japan Today (Sept 4)

“… will set up at least eight working-level groups this month in such areas as trade and infrastructure under the bilateral dialogue launched in response to President Donald Trump’s campaign vow to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with Japan…” – Link

Canada emerges as a tough negotiator in Nafta talks – Fox Business / Dow Jones Newswires – By William Mauldin, Paul Vieira, Dudley Althaus (Sept 4) 

“…Ottawa has introduced new provisions on labor and the environment that may struggle to gain traction in Washington, and the Canadian negotiators have balked at supporting some less-controversial language that they agreed to in Trans-Pacific Partnership…” – Link

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

Allow farmers to grow GM maize, scientists plead – Daily Nation (Kenya) – By Julius Sigei (Sept 1)

“…Why are we suffocating our economy by refusing to embrace technology?” – Link

Rajya Sabha panel on GM crops: Why there is more fault-finding than fact-finding despite ICAR evidence – Financial Express (India) – By Vivian Fernandes (Sept 2)

“It is said that for those who believe, no proof is needed, and for those who do not, no proof is possible. Into which category should one slot a parliamentary committee, chaired by Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury, on “genetically modified crops and their impact on environment”?” – Link

How big? A look at the size of beef operations – High Plains Journal – By David A. Widmar (Sept 4)

A historical overview of where beef operations have come from and are heading – Link

Hi-tech agriculture has to match specific needs – Viet Nam News (Sept 6)

Hi-tech agriculture has been riding a new wave of investment in recent years, with the Government viewing technology as key to restructuring the sector, achieving food security and improving produce quality.” – Link

POLICY, REGULATORY, ACTIVISM, OTHER:

NMPF spars with Dannon, Dean Foods, over ‘rampant fear-based marketing’ on GMOs – Food Navigator USA – By Elaine Watson (Sept 1)

“”Rampant fear-based food marketing” – most notably from brands touting their non-GMO credentials – is damaging consumer trust and “jeopardizing the safe, sustainable farming practices that have enhanced farm productivity over the last 20 years” says the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) in a new marketing campaign that’s been sharply criticized by leading dairy brands.” – Link

HSUS Seeks Calif. Cage-Free Status for Pork, Veal and Eggs – AgWeb.com – By Greg Henderson (Sept 2) – Link

GMA: GMO labeling should apply to highly refined oils, sweeteners – Food Navigator USA – By Elaine Watson (Sept 1)

“If consumers are to believe that the food industry is serious about transparency, highly refined oils and sweeteners derived from GM crops must be included in the new bioengineered food standard (the federal GMO labeling law), even if they are indistinguishable from their non-engineered counterparts, says the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).” – Link

The story behind the well-funded opposition to block AquaBounty’s sustainable GMO salmon – Genetic Literacy Project – By 

Gene-edited camelina cleared by USDA – Capital Press – By Mateusz Perkowski (Sept 5)

“The USDA has determined that a camelina variety that’s gene-edited to increased oil content doesn’t fall under its regulatory jurisdiction.” – Link