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Jun 10, 2013

U.S. Senate passes farm bill; food stamp fight looms in House

WASHINGTON, June 10 (Reuters) – The Democratic-run U.S.
Senate passed a $500 billion, five-year farm bill on Monday that
expands a taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance program and rejects
sweeping cuts in food stamps for the poor being pursued in the
House of Representatives.

The bill passed easily, 66 to 27, and now goes to the
Republican-controlled House.

Jun 5, 2013

House panel echoes Senate, rejects Obama’s food aid reform

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives panel in charge of agricultural funding rejected on Wednesday the Obama administration’s request for a sweeping change to food aid programs that have been in place since the Cold War.

It was the second defeat in three days for the White House budget proposal to use up to 45 percent of funding for “Food for Peace,” the major U.S. food aid program, to buy food from nations near hunger zones instead of American-grown food.

Jun 4, 2013

U.S. seeks fast test to settle GM wheat scare -Vilsack

WASHINGTON, June 4 (Reuters) – The U.S. government is
working with private companies to develop a rapid test for
genetically modified wheat in response to fears about an
unapproved wheat strain, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
on Tuesday.

Buyers in Asia and Europe have shunned U.S. wheat since USDA
announced last week that a strain of wheat, modified by Monsanto
Co for herbicide tolerance, was found in an Oregon
field. Genetically modified wheat is not approved for
cultivation anywhere in the world.

Jun 4, 2013

Senate largely rebuffs Obama plan for food-aid reform

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate voted on Monday to make only a minor change in the main U.S. global food aid program, rebuffing President Barack Obama’s call for the biggest reform of the hunger relief program since the Cold War.

Senators agreed in a voice vote to allocate only $60 million a year for the purchase of food aid under the Food for Peace program in or near the country for which it is destined.

Jun 3, 2013

U.S. expands search team in GMO wheat investigation

WASHINGTON, SEOUL June 3 (Reuters) – The United States has
expanded its search team in Oregon as it hunts for the source of
unapproved genetically modified wheat found growing wild on a
farm there in April.

An Agriculture Department spokesman told Reuters on Monday
that a team of 15 is now collecting evidence and information,
versus nine investigators on the ground last week. He said there
are “no indications that there is any GE (genetically
engineered) wheat in commerce.”

Jun 1, 2013

U.S. probes source of GMO wheat in Oregon; importers suspend orders

WASHINGTON/SEOUL, May 31 (Reuters) – Two days after news
that genetically modified wheat had been found growing in
Oregon, U.S. officials said they were no closer to knowing how
it appeared, while South Korea joined Japan in suspending some
U.S. wheat purchases.

A top official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture said
Friday that investigators were “pursuing many avenues” to
determine how the wheat – which carries a gene making it
resistant to herbicide – popped up in late April.

May 31, 2013

U.S. seeks source of errant gene altered wheat as importers flee

WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) – The United States is still racing to determine how unapproved genetically modified wheat was found growing in an Oregon field, a discovery that continued to roil global wheat markets on Friday as South Korean buyers stepped aside.

A top official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture said investigators are “pursuing many avenues” to determine how the wheat – which carries a gene making it resistant to herbicide applications – popped up in late April.

May 31, 2013

USDA goes sleuthing to crack biotech wheat mystery

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After an alert a month ago, a team of U.S. plant detectives methodically began to gather evidence for what would lead to a jarring announcement for the farm world – that genetically modified wheat, not approved for cultivation anywhere in the world, was growing in Oregon.

The rogue wheat turned out to be a strain developed by biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. (MON.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) more than a decade ago and abandoned in the face of worldwide opposition to genetically modified (GM) wheat. Final field tests on the strain had concluded in 2005.

May 30, 2013

Roiled by mystery GMO wheat, US races to reassure buyers

CHICAGO/WASHINGTON, May 30 (Reuters) – U.S. officials raced
to quell global alarm on Thursday over the first-ever discovery
of an unapproved strain of genetically modified wheat, working
to figure out how the rogue grain escaped from a field trial a
decade ago.

In the wake of news that a strain developed by biotech giant
Monsanto Co had been found in an Oregon field late last
month, major buyer Japan cancelled plans to buy U.S. wheat while
the Europe Union said it would step up testing. Worried U.S.
farmers wondered if their own fields had been contaminated.

May 30, 2013

After GMO wheat discovery, US races to reassure global buyers

WASHINGTON/BRUSSELS, May 30 (Reuters) – Major global
importers expressed alarm over U.S. wheat supplies on Thursday
after the first-ever discovery of an unapproved strain of
genetically modified grain in Oregon, as U.S. officials raced to
contain the fallout.

Japan cancelled a tender offer to buy U.S. western white
wheat and the European Union said it would test incoming U.S.
shipments and block any containing genetically modified wheat.
U.S. wheat merchants did not report any cancellations of
purchases on Thursday, but some analysts feared a potentially
damaging blow to the $8 billion export business.