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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USDA doesn’t plan to regulate genome-edited plants – Farm Futures (Mar 28)

“Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says USDA wants to allow innovation… Under its biotechnology regulations, USDA does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques as long as they are not plant pests or developed using plant pests” – Link

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TRADE, TRADE RELATED, INFRASTRUCTURE:

Trump prepared to hit China with $60 billion in annual tariffs – Washington Post – By Damian Paletta, Josh Dawsey and Steven Mufson (Mar 19)

“President Trump is preparing to impose a package of $60 billion in annual tariffs against China, following through on a long-time threat that he says will punish China for intellectual property infringement and create more American jobs.” – Link

US farmers attack Trump over tit-for-tat trade war’s farm harm – FarmOnline (Australia) – By Colin Bettles (Mar 19)

“Farmers are increasingly worried about what they are seeing from Washington DC on trade,” Link (Note – includes GFNs Bill Horan)

U.S. soybeans would be China’s biggest weapon in a trade war – MarketWatch – By Myra P. Saefong (Mar 17)

“While China could pose the biggest threat to soybean prices, Canada and Mexico could target a broader array of agricultural products with tariffs.” – Link

Japan becomes biggest US export market – GlobalMeatNews.com – By Kathryn Wortley, in Tokyo (Mar 19)

“Japan is now the United States’ leading export market for beef, in value and volume, and largest market for pork exports in value, according to 2017 trade data released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).” – Link

Cabinet Members Testify on Infrastructure Needs – AgWired – By Cindy Zimmerman (Mar 15) – Link

‘Yeah, we can work with that’: Auto talks mark potential NAFTA breakthrough – Ottawa Citizen / The Canadian Press (Mar 21)

“… his newfound optimism was based on two developments in recent days: progress on the top U.S. priority of auto-parts rules, as well as a more general thawing of the frosty tone in earlier talks.” – Link

Africa is on the verge of forming the largest free trade area since the World Trade Organization – CNBC – By Justina Crabtree (Mar 20)

“African leaders are poised to sign a deal that would unite the 55 member countries of the African Union in tariff-free trade across the continent.” – Link

44 countries sign Africa’s trade pact – Daily Trust (Nigeria) – By Francis Arinze Iloani & Sunday Michael Ogwu (Mar 22)

“44 countries out of 55 member countries of the African Union (AU) have signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) pact” – Link

Trump officially requests Trade Promotion Authority extension – World Trade Online (Mar 20)

“President Trump on Tuesday asked Congress to extend his fast-track trade authority by three years.” – Link (subscription-based)

Mnuchin: US to consider TPP re-entry after other priorities – Fox News / AP (Mar 21) – Link

Trump moves to crack down on China trade with $60 billion in tariffs on imported products – Washington Post – By David J. Lynch (Mar 22)  – Link

The Trade Issue That Most Divides U.S. and China on Trade Isn’t Tariffs – New York Times – By Keith Bradsher 

“Chinese leaders contend that their country’s economy is still developing. They openly reject President Trump’s call for reciprocity in trade relations.” – Link

Ciobo backs ending trade distorting farm subsidies like EU’s CAP – FarmOnline (Australia) – By Colin Bettles (Mar 27)

“Speaking on a trade delegation this week to the UK… Mr Ciobo took aim at the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which is considered a stumbling block to competitive markets, by Australian farm leaders, just like the multi-trillion dollar US Farm Bill.” – Link

Mexico, U.S. sign accords on customs, border cooperation – Reuters (Mar 26)

“Mexico and the United States have signed three accords to improve bilateral customs procedures and expedite the flow of agricultural produce across their almost 2,000-mile (3,220-km) border…” – Link

Canadian Dairies Are Booming Amid Trump’s Trade Threats – Bloomberg – By Jen Skerritt (Mar 27)

“Trade threats not hampering processor expansion plans.” – Link

U.S., South Korea overhaul 6-year-old free-trade agreement – Seattle Times – By Paul Wiseman, Associated Press (Mar 28)

“The United States says South Korea has used nontariff barriers, such as rigorous customs inspections, to block U.S. products.” – Link

Brexit: UK hopes to roll over 40 EU trade deals, says Liam Fox – BBC News (Mar 29)

“The UK hopes to have 40 trade arrangements with 70 countries in place by the end of the Brexit transition period in 2020, the international trade secretary has said.” – Link

 


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

GMO Solutions Waiting in the Wings for Specialty Agriculture – Growing Produce – By Frank Giles (Mar 14)

“…anti-GMO attitudes being perpetuated by things like a Non-GMO project label are a concern because it potentially could impede the introduction of breakthroughs…” – Link

Kenya to test genetically-modified cotton in nine research stations – Standard – By Fredrick Obura (Mar 14) – Link

Guest Commentary – The Business of Farming – The Chicago Council on Global Affairs – By Jill Wheeler (Mar 14)

“Who wants a future of subsistence farming? From Africa to Asia, the answer from youth is “We don’t.”” – Link

Fraley: ‘Exciting times ahead in modern agriculture’ – Fort Dodge Messenger (Iowa) – By Karen Schwaller (Mar 18) – Link

Cornfields could play a role in recycling old electronics – Feedstuffs (Mar 16)

“Method converts corn stover into basic sugars that feed metal-mining bacteria that extract rare earth metals from waste materials.” – Link

CRISPR Will Make GMOs Ubiquitous – National Review – By By Blake Hurst (Mar 19)

“Broad access to these technologies is changing the world of research in ways that we can’t even begin to grasp.” – Link

Monsanto backs new company focused on gene editing, not GMOs – Reuters – Tom Polansek (Mar 20)

“Unlike traditional GMOs, in which a gene is added from another organism, gene-editing works like the find-and-replace function on a word processor. It finds a gene and then makes changes by amending or deleting it.” – Link

A new Monsanto-backed company is on the verge of producing the first fruit made with a blockbuster gene-editing tool that could revolutionize agriculture – Business Insider – By Erin Brodwin (Mar 27) – Link

Beer brewing genetic breakthrough with DNA editing – FarmOnline (Australia) – By Mike Foley (Mar 24)

“Beer is becoming a new frontier for genetic engineering, with a new study announcing a DNA breakthrough that could remove the need for hops in the brewing process.” – Link

Researchers turning to GMOs to solve food insecurity – Minnesota Daily (Univ. of Minnesota) – By Katrina Ross (Mar 20)

“University of Minnesota researchers are working with a team of experts from the U.S., Indonesia and Bangladesh to make a genetically-modified potato.” – Link

Hybrid seed to propel yields by 20%: AATF – NewsDay (Zimbabwe) – By Tatira Zwinoira (Mar 26)

“Small scale farmers using hybrid seed can increase crop yields by 20% and we have seen that being achieved in other countries in Africa such as Kenya and Tanzania…” – Link

That organic milk you’re drinking in Wisconsin might just be from Texas – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – By Rick Barrett (Mar 23)

“[O]rganic dairy has become big business, attracting mega-sized farms in places you wouldn’t think of having them…” – Link

 


POLICY, REGULATORY, ACTIVISM, OTHER:

Activists Warned Over ‘Interference’ in Scientific Research – Tanzania Daily News (By Fatma Abdu) (Mar 17)

“…called on people who oppose agricultural biotechnology to realize that without modern technology, farmers will continue to suffer from low income and hunger due to pests and continuous droughts.” – Link

Monsanto Judge Says Expert Testimony Against Roundup Is ‘Shaky’ – Bloomberg – By Joel Rosenblatt (Mar 14) – Link

GUEST ARTICLE: Earning trust in ag technology… the answer is in the palm of your hand – By Terry Fleck, executive director, The Center for Food Integrity (Mar 14)

“‘The block statement in JavaScript is often called a compound statement in other computer programming languages. Unlike C++ , JavaScript doesn’t consider a block to be a new scope.’ Does this make sense to you? I don’t know about you, but my head is spinning.” – Link

Kenyan pesticide makers attack use of GMO crops in Africa – Cornell Alliance for Science – By Joan Conrow (Mar 15)

“The organic industry’s economically-driven opposition to genetically modified crops has expanded to include a Kenya consortium that makes plant-based pesticides.” – Link

GMO crops create “halo effect” that benefits organic farmers, says new research – Cornell Alliance for Science – By Mark Lynas (Mar 13)

“This finding, published by University of Maryland researchers in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, effectively shreds the conventional anti-GMO narrative that GM crops result in more pesticide use and present a threat to organic growers.” – Link

Bayer Clears EU Hurdle for Monsanto Deal With Sale to BASF – Bloomberg – By Aoite White and Naomi Kresge (Mar 21) – Link

GM crops ‘kicked around like a political football’ in SA no more – FarmOnline (Australia) – By Colin Bettles (Mar 20)

“There is obviously confusion in the community around what the state’s role is and what the federal regulator’s role is…” – Link

Nigeria to use biotechnology to improve crops – News Agency of Nigeria – By Agbeja Gabriel (Mar 22) – Link

Far more toxic than glyphosate: Copper sulfate, used by organic and conventional farmers, cruises to European reauthorization – Genetic Literacy Project – By Andrew Porterfield (Mar 20) – Link

CAST: Excessive Barriers Stifle Biotech Progress – Drovers – By John Maday (Mar 22)

“… our current regulations are not based on product risk, but on spurious, undocu­mented risks posed by the process of genetic engineering.” – Link (Full CAST report available here)

Non-GMO labeled products cost US consumers 10 to 62% more, study finds – Food Policy via GLP – Jayson Lusk, Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, Alexandre Magnier (Mar 26)

“Perhaps the most important conclusion to be drawn from our results is that non-GM foods are more costly” Link

Regenerative certification meant to add to USDA Organic, not supplant it, developers say – Food Navigator USA – By Hank Schultz (Mar 7)

“A new Regenerative Organic Certification program launching this week at Expo West is a meaningful extension of the base USDA Organic certification rather than a symptom of the tensions within the movement, proponents say. However, some observers have taken a wait and see attitude about whether the idea has legs.” – Link

Chown claims Marsh v Baxter GM canola transfer a “fraudulent act” – FarmOnline (Australia) – By Colin Bettles (Mar 28)

“…the Agricultural Region MLC and former Dalwallinu farmer tabled a report compiled by the WA Agriculture Department examining how the GM canola transferred from one farm to the other.” – Link

USDA won’t regulate genome editing – Feedstuffs (Mar 28)

“Secretary Perdue said decision allows new breeding techniques to proceed if no risk is present.” – Link