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ag take --- news and policy insights on the agricultural economy

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TUESDAY: via Red River Farm Network, VERBATIM: “The Minnesota House Environment, Natural Resources and Agricultural Finance Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday morning in St. Paul on Roundup Ready resistance. Representative Dan Fabian, from District 1A, says farmers should be concerned.”  READ: http://bit.ly/1cbAKyc
 
FARMBILL: via Erik Wasson at The Hill, VERBATIM: “As it stands, the best shot for passage appears to be filing the bill on Monday night and setting up a quick Wednesday vote in the House, sources said. The House breaks for recess on Wednesday for the annual Republican retreat. The timeline would mirror exactly the blitz vote on the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill earlier this month.”  READ: http://bit.ly/LRtHQI
 
MORE: via Mikkel Pates at Agweek, VERBATIM: “Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, announced at a meeting in Comstock, Minn., on Jan. 23, that the farm bill had hit another snag late in the day. Payment limits are the current hang-up in passing the farm bill, and have been for the past week, Peterson said. “The biggest problem is the ‘actively engaged’ language,” Peterson told Agweek, blaming the issue on language that Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is insisting on… “It says that unless you put 1,000 hours on a tractor you can’t get any payments from the government.” Asked whether there’s something else that Grassley wants, Peterson said, “Who the hell knows?” In the farm bill is a new regional partnership system that Peterson crafted, which might pay for some water retention work that could contribute to solving spring flooding. In the new regional partnership there are five priority areas, including the Red River of the North.”  READ: http://bit.ly/1l6o7dq
 
SNACKS: via AP, VERBATIM: “A Minnesota snack food company has bought the former Troyer Farms potato chip plant in northwestern Pennsylvania, and plans to hire up to 100 workers soon, and up to 300 if the company's growth projections come true. Officials with KLN Family Brands, of Perham, Minn., tell the Erie Times-News they hoped to be making kettle-cooked potato chips, popcorn and other snacks at the Waterford Township plant by this spring.”  READ: http://bit.ly/M4tsTk
 
SUGAR: via Jane Wells at CNBC, VERBATIM: “The battle between sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has gone into the fifth (sixth?) inning. Which will win is anybody's guess. The two sides have been in court for three years, suing each other for false advertising. The Western Sugar Cooperative filed the first lawsuit in 2011, accusing the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) and backers such as Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland of misleading the public with an educational campaign promoting HFCS as nutritionally identical to sugar… Both agricultural industry groups benefit from taxpayer subsidies and protections. Corn is the most highly subsidized crop in the U.S., with the federal government paying an estimated $10 billion or more in various forms of aid between 2010 and 2012, according to the Environmental Working Group's database. And while Congress cannot agree on a farm bill, it did agree to renew a controversial safety net for the sugar industry that inflates prices.”  READ: http://cnb.cx/1ejY09Y
 
RFS: via Minnesota Cornerstone, VERBATIM: “A wave of farmers, business owners and renewable fuels supporters made the trek to Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday to take a stand against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to slash the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and cut the amount of ethanol blended in gasoline… Minnesota was well-represented at the event by staff from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson, Clarks Grove farmer Brad Nelson and others. Nelson, Frederickson and Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Poster provided testimony… “Hearing in the Heartland” was organized by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstadt after EPA refused to hold a public hearing on its RFS proposal in Iowa, the largest ethanol producing state in the U.S.”  READ: http://bit.ly/1bmPciA
 
LETTER: via Iowa Ag Connection, VERBATIM: “U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin Thursday were among a bipartisan group of 31 Senators who sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy. The letter is part of an ongoing effort to urge the agency to make changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) 2014 rule. The Senators share concerns that the EPA's proposed rule will discourage investment and hurt job growth and rural communities across the country.”  COSIGNERS: Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Max Baucus (D-MT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mark Udall (D-CO), Ed Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Thune (R-SD), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)  READ: http://bit.ly/19SEo0F
 
CEREAL: via General Mills at PR Newswire, VERBATIM: “Just as New Year's resolutions begin to wane for the majority of Americans, Fiber One® is introducing a new cereal option that will help consumers keep their intentions by incorporating more protein and fiber into their morning routine.  Today, Fiber One® is launching the all new Fiber One® Protein, a granola cereal that provides the great taste and fiber you love and expect from Fiber One, with protein.  Available in two flavors – Maple Brown Sugar and Cranberry Almond – each serving of Fiber One Protein has 10 grams of protein when served with milk, as well as 20 percent of the daily value of fiber.”  READ: http://prn.to/1mRvwLV
 
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FARMBILL: via PoliticoVERBATIM: “Yards from the finish line, farm bill negotiators are struggling with two final issues — dairy and payment limits — each of which takes Congress back full circle to the question asked when the whole debate began two years ago…How far should government go to protect farmers from bad times — and, sometimes, themselves?.. In dairy’s case, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is adamant that he won’t accept the hands-on approach espoused in the Senate bill to manage future milk supplies to protect farmers’ margins. Corporate giants like Kraft Foods and Nestle back the speaker. And this puts House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) in the hellish position of having to go against the man who’s been his best friend and ally in the whole tortured farm bill debate: Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.)… Meeting that schedule is a major challenge. Meatpackers and ranchers have their own scores to settle first over labeling rules for livestock. But real progress appears to have been made in crafting a revised dairy program that can break the deadlock between Boehner and Peterson, Lucas’s ranking Democrat.”  READhttp://politi.co/1d0O587
 
NUTRITION: via Leslie Dyste at KSTP, VERBATIM: “Nutrition labels on the back of food packages may soon become easier to read. The FDA says knowledge about nutrition has evolved over the last 10 years, and the labels need to reflect that. The agency is considering revisions, and nutritionists have their own wish lists of changes… University of Minnesota Food Science and Nutrition Professor Ted Labuza stopped by the KSTP-TV studio to talk about some of the requests and the reasons behind them.”  WATCH: http://bit.ly/1mRT0Ax
 
MORE: via Mary Clare Jalonick at AP, VERBATIM: “The number of calories should be more prominent, they say, and the amount of added sugar and percentage of whole wheat in the food should be included. They also want more clarity on serving sizes… Tracy Fox, a Washington-based nutrition consultant, says clearer information is needed to balance the billions of dollars a year that the food industry spends on food marketing.”  READ: http://yhoo.it/1dBC8G5
 
FOLLOW: ag take partner/sponsor, Minnesota Agri-Growth Council, is on Twitter at @mn_agrigrowth
 
WISCONSIN: via Wisconsin Ag Connection, VERBATIM: “Gov. Scott Walker's annual address to the state legislature emphasized Wisconsin's growing economy and major tax reform proposals, but the topic of agriculture also took up a major part of his remarks. In his fourth State of the State address on Wednesday, Walker stressed that manufacturing and agriculture are two of the core industries that are moving the Badger State forward.”  READ: http://bit.ly/1ek4be9
 
GMO: via Agrimoney, VERBATIM: “Two US grain industry groups, whose members include the likes of Bunge and Cargill, called on Syngenta to mothball two genetically modified corn seed varieties, for fear of "serious economic harm" stemming from further trade hiccups with China. The National Grain and Feed Association and North American Export Grain Association said they had sent a joint letter to Syngenta asking the company "to immediately halt commercialisation" in the US of its Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade corn seed. The request follows the rejection by Chinese authorities, which have yet to give either variety the all clear, of more than 600,000 tonnes in imports of US corn containing Viptera, on grounds that it is as yet unapproved… Some elevators have declined to accept Viptera corn, because of the China trade hiccups.”  READ: http://bit.ly/1mDlw6d
 
MORE: via Huffington Post, VERBATIM: “Syngenta CEO Mike Mack joined HuffPost Live at Davos, defending the use of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in crop growing. "There is very little about farming that's natural," Mack said. "Farming's been around for 10,000 years and a lot of farming has been trying to keep the pests, however you do that, off the farm," Mack continued… Mack called GMOs ‘a tool from the tool box, it is progressive.’”  WATCH: http://huff.to/1fc9ct9
 
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PRECISIONAG: via Red River Farm Network, VERBATIM: “True North Equipment has opened the doors of its new Grand Forks resource center. Co-owner John Oncken says the center will serve as a classroom for training sessions for farmers, related to precision agriculture.”  READ: http://bit.ly/1hT5fK8
 
PORK: via Meredith Davis at Reuters, VERBATIM: “Concern among the top U.S. hog-producing states over a virus that is killing millions of baby pigs has reached such an extent that officials at an industry gathering in Minnesota this week swabbed the trade floor to test for the virus… At the Minnesota Pork Congress in Minneapolis earlier this month, the trade show floor was swabbed during set up and on each of the two meeting days then tested for the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv). The tests did not detect any evidence of the virus and pork producers were notified of results after the meeting.”  READ: http://reut.rs/1figz0j
 
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About Morning Take- In the era of Twitter, Facebook and the 24-hour, minute by minute news cycle morning take is designed to be a short, quick read for Minnesota insiders. morning take the radio version is every morning M-F at 6:20 AM on WCCO-AM with Dave Lee.   The goal of morning take is not to aggregate much news of the day, but rather preview the day ahead and help crystallize or foreshadow items on the horizon  I will be transparent about when clients are included, or if I am involved in some event.   Please provide tips and constructive feedback. thanks - blois

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