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.


A little self-promotion is in order by highlighting this nice write-up about the Global Farmer Roundtable:

Roundtable brings farmers together from across the world – Iowa Farmer Today, By Gene Lucht (Feb 25)

Charles Chenza, a farmer from Tanzania, speaks during the roundtable.

“It began as a simple question: Why aren’t there any farmers in the room?

“That’s really how it started,” says Mary Boote, CEO of the Global Farmer Network, a Des Moines-based organization that connects farmers from around the world.” – Link

Nominations for the 2018 Global Farmer Roundatable are currently being accepted online (click here).  To learn more about the roundtable and past events visit the ‘Farmer Roundtable’ section of the website.



Republican senators urge Trump to rejoin Trans-Pacific Partnership – The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) – By David Crowe (Feb 19)

“Governors including Nevada’s Brian Sandoval, a Republican who chairs the National Governors Association, have also called for the US to join the TPP…” – Link

Iowa farmers, and all Iowans, need NAFTA and TPP – Des Moines Register – Opinion by Craig Hill (Feb 15)

“Agriculture accounts for one of every five jobs in the state…” – Link

Copa and Cogeca warn against ‘selling off agriculture’ in Mercosur deal – – By Aidan Fortune (Feb 16)

“Copa and Cogeca have written to EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, calling for agriculture not to be sold off in trade talks with Mercosur.” – Link

B.C. challenges Alberta wine ban under free trade rules – CBC News (Canada) – By Michelle Ghoussoub (Feb 19)

Hmm, Canadian versus Canadian skirmish that has nothing to do with hockey.  Just goes to show there are a number of trade squabbles out there not instigated by or can be blamed on NAFTA renegotiations, US President Trump, EU non-tariff trade barriers, and a long long list of  other examples… – Link

U.K. Warns EU It Won’t Pay Brexit Bill Without Good Trade Deal – Bloomberg – By Tim Ross (Feb 20) – Link
Central American nations to sign trade deal with South Korea – The Business Times (Feb 20)

“Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama will seal the pact…” – Link

As Trump trashes NAFTA, Mexico turns to Brazilian corn – Reuters – By PJ Huffstutter and Adriana Barrera (Feb 22) – Link
WTO chief Roberto Azevedo warns of increased risk of ‘trade wars’ – DW, Deutsche Welle (Feb 24)

“Amid mounting tensions between the US and China over tariffs, the WTO has warned that trade wars can happen “at any time.””- Link



One Fish, Two Fish, Strange Fish, New Fish – bioGraphic, Solutions – By Richard Martin (Feb 13)

AquaBounty’s GE salmon “could offer a way out of the deadly spiral of overfishing that is decimating wild fish stocks.” – Link

See also$40 Million Later, A Pioneering Plan To Boost Wild Fish Stocks Shows Little Success (NPR, Feb 15)

Herb resistant crops remain best way to control weeds – The Western Producers (Canada) – By Graham Scoles Pag (Feb 15)

“While engaging in an online debate around genetically modified organisms, I realized that few non-farmers understood the issues farmers have dealing with weeds.” – Link

Consumers want protein raised with same natural supplements humans use – Feedstuffs (Feb 13)
“Cargill survey indicates popularity of natural supplements to aid digestive health and animal well-being.” – Link
Can This Company Convince You to Love GMOs? – The Atlantic – By Sarah Zhang (Feb 12)

“I think people should love GMOs,” Gingko’s [Bioworks] CEO and cofounder, Jason Kelly, told me. “We’re super proud of them.” – Link

How the growth of cities changes farming – The Economist (Feb 15)

“Soaring demand for protein is driving small and medium-sized farms to professionalise” – Link

Know Ideas Media, Know GMO Vlog by Nick Saik 

“Bananas are a staple crop in Uganda. When staple crops are threatened by disease the consequences for farmers can be devastating. Farmers in Uganda are struggling to combat Bacterial Wilt, a disease that causes utter destruction to Banana (Matoke) plantations. Bacterial Wilt causes the bananas to rot on the tree, and when the infected tree is inevitably cut down, the freshly cut stocks begin to ooze a thick viscous yellow pus.

Dr. Jerome Kubiriba helps us understand why it’s impossible to breed a resistant banana variety using traditional breeding methods, and why the most direct solution to the problem (Genetic Engineering), is also the least popular solution.”

Why We Should Genetically Modify Coffee – RealClearScience – By Ross Pomeroy (Feb 22)

“To help lift hundreds of millions of people in the developing world out of poverty, GMO coffee resistant to disease is a humanitarian necessity.” – Link

Noble Research Institute creates soil health marketplace – Farm Press (Feb 21)
“Goal is to reward farmers and ranchers for protecting the environment.” – Link
Balancing consumer preferences with reality – Feedstuffs – By Jacqui Fatka (Feb 22)
Agricultural food chain needs to help consumers separate fact from fiction in today’s changing consumer-focused food markets.” – Link


Who are the donors taking on GMOs? – Devex – By Lisa Cornish (Feb 13)

In part 3 of the Devex series, they “look at what role GMOs are playing in development assistance — and why they attract support.” – Link (Part 1 and Part 2 of the series)

Glyphosate in the spotlight again as activists target Lipton, Skippy and other CPG brands over pesticide residues – Food Navigator USA – By Elaine Watson (Feb 19)

In yet another effort to get attention, anti-GMO activist group Moms Across America released test results suggesting trace levels of glyphosate… but all the levels were extremely low, well below thresholds. – Link

In GMO debate, Uganda seeks to balance hope and fear – The Christian Science Monitor – By Christopher Bendana (Feb 16)

“After publicly supporting a bill that would have legalized genetically modified crops, Uganda’s president is now calling for additional measures to address anti-GMO activists’ concerns.” – Link

GM ban re-think demanded as `fishy’ canola markets denied to SA growers – FarmOnline (Australia) – By Andrew Marshall (Feb 14)

“South Australian grain growers are loudly lamenting the cost of their state’s ban on genetically modified (GM) crops which threatens to stop them growing the revolutionary new omega-3 canola.” – Link


Viewpoint: How European activists lobby for a glyphosate ban despite findings of its safety – Genetic Literacy Project – By Bill Wirtz (Feb 20) 

“Most of these environmentalist NGOs all have different public faces but are interconnected, with common reports, events, membership and general funding. This provides the illusion of a ‘mass uprising of outrage’ by disparate groups but is actually an ideological collective that shares resources and has the same agenda. Many of these groups also receive grants from the European Union itself.” – Link

Anti-GMO articles tied to Russian sites, ISU research shows – Des Moines Register – By Donna Eller (Feb 25)

“Russia is funding articles shared online that question the safety of GMOs in an effort hurt U.S. agriculture interests and bolster its position as the “ecologically clean alternative” to genetically engineered food…” – Link

Judge: Monsanto Not Required to Place Warning Labels on Products – Courthouse News Service – By Nick Cahill (Feb 26)

“A federal judge on Monday halted California’s plan to require Monsanto to place warning labels on its Roundup products, saying scientists haven’t shown a clear connection between glyphosate and cancer.” – Link