Regulation by Retailers

From: National Review

Stupid-Strategy Sweepstakes: Home Depot vs. Lowe’s

by Jeff Stier & Henry I. Miller

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Determined not to lag in the Stupid-Strategy Sweepstakes, Lowe’s announced not only that it will follow Home Depot’s lead on phthalates, but also that it will phase out the sale of products that contain neonicotinoid pesticides — which are widely used on turf and ornamental products as well as on corn and soybean seeds — supposedly because of their adverse effects on pollinators. “Lowe’s will include greater organic and non-neonic product selections, work with growers to eliminate the use of neonic pesticides on bee-attractive plants it sells and educate customers and employees through in-store and online resources,” the company said.

Monsanto exec: Benefits of GM crops large, significant

From: Midwest Producer

By Barb Bierman Batie, Midwest Producer

LINCOLN, Neb. – Agriculture is at the center of a number of global trends and there are some key conversations going on in water, food security and energy, noted a World Food Prize winter April 21 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Innovation Campus.

Robert Fraley, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Monsanto, was the final speaker for the 2014-15 Heuermann Lecture series. “I can’t remember when there’s been a more interesting and challenging time regarding conversations about agriculture,” Fraley told his audience.

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Agritech firms must work together to overcome innovative challenges of the future, experts say

From: The Jerusalem Post

By SHARON UDASIN

Tackling the challenges of the ever-evolving agricultural technology field will  require companies large and small, as well as regulators, to work in  collaboration, experts agreed at a conference on Monday.

“A lot of  drivers force us to change – climate change, growing population,” said Oded  Distel, director of Israel NewTech.

“For all those good reasons, we must  change and do things differently from the ways we used to.”

University of Arkansas professor calls for EPA approval of neonicotinoid pesticides

From: EP News Wire

By Peter Gallanis

A University of Arkansas department of entomology professor says neonicotinoids do not harm pollinators, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should not delay approving new applications for using the pesticides.

“I’m extremely disappointed the EPA has chosen this path,” Gus Lorenz said this week. “We feel, based on our work, that neonicotinoid pesticides provide very little risk to pollinators, particularly honey bees. It’s a slap in the face to our research and other research as well.”

ResponsibleAg seeks leader for Fertilizer Stewardship Initiative

From: AgProfessional

ResponsibleAg, an independent nonprofit stewardship initiative that helps retail agribusinesses comply with federal fertilizer handling and storage rules, is seeking an executive director.

The executive director will act as the senior manager for this groundbreaking initiative. Since its formation in 2014, Congressional leaders and regulators have lauded ResponsibleAg, and its auditor training curriculum has been recognized by the Board of Environmental, Health & Safety Auditor Certifications. The executive director will report to the nine‐member Board of Directors, comprised of five representatives of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and four representatives of The Fertilizer Institute (TFI).

Agricultural venture capitalism takes off

From: FoodDIVE

By

Dive Brief:
  • Venture capitalism and other major investments in the food and agricultural industries are becoming an increasingly popular avenue for inspiring innovation. This includes major agribusinesses as well as the same investors that backed Silicon Valley companies.
  • According to Dow Jones VentureSource, venture-capital investments in these industries hit $486 million last year, an enormous 54% leap, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The investments circle around cutting-edge technologies that aim to improve the way food is grown, such as precision agriculture and indoor farming, food safety, alternative foods, and farm robots.

Ag Groups Support Non-GMO Label Bill

From: AgWired

Cindy Zimmerman

Agricultural organizations are voicing support for the bi-partisan Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act introduced in the U.S. House Wednesday by Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G. K. Butterfield (D-NC).

The bill includes a new provision to allow those who wish to label their products as GMO-free to do so by through an accredited certification process. “Our goal for this legislation remains to provide clarity and transparency in food labeling, support innovation, and keep food affordable,” said Pompeo.

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New technologies reduce physical strain for farmers

From: The Country Today

By Karyn Eckert, Regional Editor

MARSHFIELD — In­no­va­tions in farm equip­ment are al­low­ing farm­ers to keep the life they love, even af­ter a life-threat­en­ing in­jury.

Hor­tonville farmer Keith Pos­selt said his life changed Jan. 31, 1997. While chang­ing a silo door, he slipped and fell 35 feet down a silo chute. Pos­selt said he never lost con­scious­ness but laid at the bot­tom of the silo un­til a neigh­bor found him.

Pos­selt shat­tered his T7 ver­te­brae and learned he would never walk again.

“Be­fore I left the hos­pi­tal, I de­cided I wanted to con­tinue farm­ing,” he said.

EPA’s McCarthy pledges to make Wotus rule ‘reasonable’

Editor’s Note: Cross-posted from OIRA Watch

From: Agri-Pulse

By Philip Brasher

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2015 – The Obama administration is promising to rewrite its proposed Clean Water Act rule to ensure that farmers have clear guidance about what streams, ditches and ponds will be regulated.

Speaking to the National Farmers Union annual convention in Wichita, Kansas, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the final rule is being prepared for White House review, and that the administration still intends to complete it this spring.

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Bill introduced to exempt agribusiness from regulatory burden

From: The Ripon Advance

By 

On Wednesday, legislation supported by the agricultural industry that would eliminate a problematic regulation was introduced by Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Jerry Moran (R-KS).

The bipartisan bill would remove – for qualifying agricultural professionals – the current requirement to obtain a hazardous material endorsement before transporting diesel fuel, which is necessary for many farming and ranching operations.