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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The story below highlights the longtime work of Gordon Wassenaar.  Gordon has been kind enough to host multiple Global Farmer Roundtable group visits to his farm and was nominated this year’s Iowa Master Farmer class by Global Farmer Network member Pam Johnson (2010 Roundtable).

Gordon Wassenaar took time during a busy harvest for the Global Farmer Roundtable to visit his farm for a few hours near Prairie City, Iowa in October 2016.

Sharing his farm with the world – Wallaces Farmer – By Rod Swoboda (Mar 15)

“Gordon Wassenaar has hosted trade teams and other visitors from all over the world for the past 30 years.” – Link
Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2018 Global Farmer Roundtable this coming October in Des Moines.  More information and the online nomination form can be found HERE.

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TRADE, TRADE RELATED, INFRASTRUCTURE:

China hits back at Trump, slaps new tariffs on U.S. goods worth up to $3 billion – NBC News / AP – By Alice Tidey (Apr 2)

“”China would never submit if the U.S. launched a trade war,” declared an editorial in a newspaper published by the ruling Communist Party.” – Link

China imposes retaliatory tariffs on 128 US products – Nikkei Asian Review – By Issaku Harada (Apr 2)

“China’s imposition of tariffs, however, is not directly related to planned sanctions by the U.S. against China for its intellectual property theft…” – Link

U.S. Envoy Says China Retaliation on Soybeans Would Backfire – Bloomberg (Mar 29)

“U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad warned China against retaliatory measures… any effort to curb U.S. soybean imports would harm regular Chinese citizens more than American growers.” – Link

Abandon tariffs ‘before it’s too late’: MOFCOM – The Global Times (China) By Huang Ge (Mar 29) – Link

‘India’s share in world trade in agriculture is just 2 per cent’ – Times of India (Mar 28)

“The need of the hour is post-harvest management and food processing capabilities” – Link

Finance highlights importance of TPA – World Trade Online (Mar 30)

“The congressional committees with jurisdiction over trade, in separate releases this week, issued a reminder about their authority over trade negotiations and Capitol Hill’s priorities in those talks. The Senate Finance Committee on Friday blasted out an explainer on Trade Promotion Authority…” – Link (subscription-based)

NAFTA nations ‘moving forward in significant way’: Canada’s Trudeau – Reuters – By David Ljunggren (Apr 5)

“Trudeau’s remarks to reporters in Quebec City were the latest in a series of upbeat comments by officials in the three countries…” – Link

White House Defends Trade Policies as Trump Aims New Threat at China – New York Times – By Ana Swanson and Eileen Sullivan (Apr 6)

“Mr. Trump also defended his surprise announcement Thursday night that the United States would consider an additional $100 billion in tariffs on China, a total that would triple an earlier trade threat.” – Link

Argentina imports 120.000 tons of soy-beans from United States – MercoPress (Apr 11)

“The surprise move pushed Chicago soybean futures to a one-month high, in the latest development to upend global soy trading after top buyer China last week proposed tariffs on U.S. imports amid an intensifying Washington-Beijing trade dispute.” – Link

Trump directs top economic advisers to negotiate rejoining Trans-Pacific Partnership – Fox News – By Brooke Singman (Apr 12)

“The best thing the United States can do to push back against Chinese cheating now is to lead the other eleven Pacific nations that believe in free trade and the rule of law…” – Link

 


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

This Farmer Wants To Make Quinoa A ‘Thing’ In Rwanda – NPR – By Malaka Gharib (Mar 27)

“Since the crop is easy to grow and packed with protein, Habiyaremye hopes it can provide new nutritious food sources in the region.” – Link

GM crops that produce industrial products could be grown in Britain for first time  – The Telegraph (Mar 29) – Link

The Next Big Thing in Agriculture: Smart Collars for Cows – Wall Street Journal – By Mike Cherney (Apr 2)

“Some startups are betting that technology can replace fences and become the dominant way to herd livestock” – Link

In Defense Of An Important Example Of Food System Transparency – Applied Mythology – By Steve Savage (Mar 28) 

“It turns out that the whole idea that consumers should worry about foods that are “dirty” because of chemical residues is false.” – Link

Genetically engineered salmon farm in Albany underway – The Star Press (Indiana) – By Seth Slabaugh (Apr 3)

“A biotechnology company is upgrading a defunct fish farm where it plans to grow AquAdvantage Salmon…” – Link

Two very hungry caterpillars have created a hybrid mega-pest that threatens global food crops – ABC News (Australia) – By Dominique Schwartz (Apr

“…capable of stripping billions of dollars a year from the food and fibre industries…” – Link

Nema to approve trials of GM cotton by next month – The Star (Kenya) – By Agatha Ngotho (Apr 6)

“The National Environment Management Authority will approve performance trials for genetically modified cotton by next month.” – Link

Israeli agriculture and high-tech form a winning team – Globes (Israel) – By Yasmin Yablonko (Apr 5)

“From mushrooms that nourish other crops to mass production of edible grasshoppers, Israeli startups are impacting agriculture.” – Link

Deal brings Phytelligence fruit technology to India – Capital Press – By Dan Wheat (Apr 5)

“The Seattle agricultural biotechnology company Phytelligence will supply India with modern rootstocks and tree fruit, grape, nut and berry varieties.” – Link

New Gene Editing Tool May Yield Bigger Harvests – Voice of America – By Shelly Schlender (Apr 4) – Link

Kenya faces huge losses from armyworm, US warns – Daily Nation (Kenya) – By Kevin J. Kelly (Apr 10)

“Up to 50 per cent of an annual maize crop can be destroyed…” – Link

Gene Editing for Good – Foreign Affairs – By Bill Gates (Apr 10)

“Over the next decade, gene editing [CRISPR] could help humanity overcome some of the biggest and most persistent challenges in global health and development.” – Link

 


POLICY, REGULATORY, ACTIVISM, OTHER:

California judge rules coffee needs cancer warning label – Chicago Tribune – By Brian Melley, Associated Press (Mar 30)

“[California Prop 65] been widely criticized for abuses by lawyers shaking down businesses for quick settlements.” – Link

Attack of the Killer Cappuccino – Wall Street Journal, Editorial (Mar 30)

“Californians can look forward to cancer warnings on coffee…But however feeble the evidence, Prop. 65 encourages trial lawyers and their front groups to sue on behalf of the state by offering them a cut of the civil penalties. Last year Prop. 65 cases yielded $25.6 million in settlements, and more than three-fourths of that sum went to the lawyers.” – Link

Big Governments Go After Coffee — Bad News For Starbucks – Forbes.com – By Panos Mourdoukoutas (Apr 1)

“While big governments cannot kick apart a strong habit like coffee drinking, they can ignite fears that comes with a label that has the word ‘cancer’ on it.” – Link

I’ll take my Starbucks without that California cancer warning, thanks – Arizona Republic – By Abe Kwok (Mar 30) – Link

California needs to stop saying everything causes cancer – Popular Science – By Sara Chodosh (Apr 4)

“Adults with the highest consumption of acrylamide could consume 160 times as much and still only be at a level that toxicologists think unlikely to cause increased tumors in mice… The state has a history of taking one or two studies to inform their better-safe-than-sorry stance, even if the overall body of evidence contradicts those reports.” – Link

 

‘Boneless watermelons’? What this new ‘hot fruit’ can teach us about non-GMO labels and fear-based marketing – Genetic Literacy Project – By Kevin Folta (Mar 27)

“Exclusion labels actively seek to misinform consumers by reinforcing the hypothetical presence of a non-existent threat.” – Link

USDA Has No Plans to Regulate Gene Edited Plants – AgWired – By Cindy Zimmerman (Mar 29)

“USDA has no 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

Chown: anti-GM cropping activists equivalent of ISIS operatives – FarmOnline (Australia) – By Colin Bettles (Apr 2)

““It is now patently obvious that the anti-GM movement and its supporters are bereft of any morals and will take any action, whether it is legal or otherwise, to pursue its ideological stance…”” – Link

Technology crucial to high-value agriculture development: GMS – Viet Nam News (Mar 30) – Link

Organic can be promoted without scare tactics – New Vision (Uganda) – By Isaac Ongu (Mar 29)

“It is not surprising that the same tactic that was used to scare farmers away from my fertiliser demo is still being used to exclude African farmers from growing genetically modified crops because the price of organics must remain highest.” – Link

Refusing to accept GM food is safe is like climate change denial – New Scientist – By Mark Lynas (Apr 3)

“Environmentalist Mark Lynas, who once destroyed GM crops and then made headlines by ending his opposition, is stepping up his call for reason to triumph” – Link (subscription-based)

Chinese scientist gets 10 years in U.S. prison over theft of GMO rice – Reuters (Apr 4)

“Zhang was convicted in February 2017 on three counts, including conspiracy to steal trade secrets and interstate transportation of stolen property…” – Link

CFIA now says Non-GMO Project Verified doesn’t mean non-GMO – RealAgriculture (Canada) – By Andrew Campbell (Apr 5)

“If the CFIA [Canadian Food Inspection Agency] isn’t going to keep companies using the Non-GMO Project Verified label honest, it’s time people realize they’ve been duped and turn their backs on the companies ripping them off.” – Link

Sharing cash for farmers, one of the biggest post Brexit challenge, say experts – MercoPress (Apr 10)

“Failing to secure new ways to cooperate between the four governments [UK] will disrupt the economy and hit the environment…” – Link

U.S. to Allow Bayer’s Monsanto Takeover – Wall Street Journal – By Brent Kendall and Jacob Bunge (Apr 9) – Link

Delhi High Court dismisses Monsanto plea to enforce BT cotton seed patent – The Economic Times (India) – By Madhvi Sally (Apr 11) 

“…a finding that will likely have far-reaching consequences for the agriculture sector… The decision may imperil India’s cotton farmers, said one of the country’s foremost agricultural economists.” – Link