The unfortunate case of neighbor versus neighbor in Australia is now done as organic farmer Steve Marsh has lost his final effort with the Australian High Court with his so-called “GM contamination” case. ?The whole ugly episode could have been avoided as his former friend ?Michael Baxter said, “[w]e could have just had a chat over the fence”.

In addition to China perhaps starting to open the door more with ag biotech, Kenya is now open for biotech crop trials of maize (corn) according to reports this week.

Also, more news could be coming soon as Politco has reported that?Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts is said to be near introducing?federal food labeling bill to preempt a possible hodge podge of separate state laws.

Legal / Co-existence:

The West Australian – Feb 12 – Anti-GM farmer fails in legal bid

“Kojonup farmer Steve Marsh has failed in his bid to take his battle over genetically modified cropping in WA to the High Court.”

ABC News (Australia) – Feb 12 -?Organic farmer Steve Marsh loses bid for High Court review of genetic modification contamination case

“‘We could have had a chat over the fence’, Michael Baxter says”.

Manila Bulletin (Philippines) – Feb 11 – DA official says GM crops vital to food self-sufficiency, security

“A Department of Agriculture (DA) official on Wednesday highlighted the vital role that genetically modified (GM) seeds play in the country?s self-sufficiency and food security even as the agency intensifies its efforts to finish a new set of implementing rules and regulations and guidelines that would govern the country?s use and importation of biotechnology in local farms as early as next week.”

Biotech:

Daily Nation (Kenya) – Feb 11 – Agency approves cultivation trials for GMO maize

“NBA said that upon receiving NEMA?s consideration the field trials will be closely monitored and conducted by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service(KEPHIS) in collaboration with other relevant government regulatory agencies.”

SciDevNet – Feb 9 – Kenya approves limited GM maize release

Reuters – Feb 12 – Syngenta deal could pave way for biotech acceptance from China users

“ChemChina’s purchase of Syngenta (SYNN.VX) could remove some of the suspicion around genetically modified crops and ultimately lead to more rapid user acceptance of biotechnology in food production in China, Syngenta’s Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk told Reuters.”

Wall Street Journal, Review & Outlook – Feb 11-?China?s Biotech Play

“The deal for Syngenta could help Beijing?s IP protections.”

Western Farm Press – Feb 9 -?USDA awards $20 million in grants for HLB research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded $20.1 million in grants to university researchers for research and Extension projects to help citrus producers fight the disease Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening disease.

Infrastructure:?

Merco Press (Feb 11) -?Brazil reopens crucial waterway for transporting soy; water was used to generate power

“Brazil’s Tiete-Parana waterway, a key transport corridor for soybeans, corn, cellulose, fertilizer and other agricultural products, has reopened after a 20-month closure due to drought and the use of water for electricity, the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper reported this week.”

Trade:?

Voice of America – Feb 11 – Trade, Security on Agenda as US Hosts ASEAN Leaders

“Trade and Pacific security will be on the agenda when U.S. President Barack Obama meets next week in California with leaders of the 10 member states of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.”

Food/ Safety / Labeling:

The Hill – Feb 11 – Science and progress must win this food fight

“Lawmakers are now under a time crunch to settle the issue before the nation?s first GMO labeling law takes effect on July 1 in Vermont, home of anti-GMO presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.”

Food Navigator – Feb 10- – Organic growth set to double ? but it won?t feed the planet alone: Study

“Sales of organic food and drink are set to double by 2018 but this is not enough to feed the world ? a truly sustainable farming system is needed for future food and ecosystem security,?say researchers.”

Food Navigator USA – Feb 10 – If Mexico?s soda tax really works, why are tax revenues still rising?

“In January, the much respected British Medical Journal published a paper which aimed to test the success of the Mexican sugar excise tax, which had been levied on sugar-sweetened drinks.”