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Jul 17, 2013

Japan team wraps up USDA meeting on GM wheat situation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Japanese delegation is completing talks with the U.S. Department of Agriculture aimed at restarting purchases of U.S. western white wheat, which were halted after the discovery of an unapproved genetically modified strain growing in Oregon.

“USDA is hosting a team from Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for technical discussions in support of the resumption of trade of U.S. western wheat,” a USDA spokesman told Reuters.

Jul 15, 2013

Republicans stalling on finalizing farm bill: Senate’s Stabenow

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate is ready to start conference proceedings to finalize a new farm bill but the House of Representatives has not sent its version of the bill for consideration, the chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee said on Monday.

“I’m very concerned that the process start moving this week,” Senator Debbie Stabenow said, noting that there are just 24 scheduled legislative days in the Senate before the current bill expires.

Jun 27, 2013

Obama taps Ron Binz to lead energy regulatory body

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has tapped renewable energy advocate Ron Binz as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency that has made headlines in the past year with tough enforcement actions against Wall Street banks.

Binz, a Democrat, was named as a commissioner of the regulator and if confirmed by the U.S. Senate would be designated as chairman, the White House said. He would succeed Jon Wellinghoff, who announced his resignation in May.

Jun 5, 2013

U.S. lawmakers air concerns about Smithfield-Shuanghui deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Chinese meat company Shuanghui International’s plans to buy U.S.-based pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc (SFD.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has some lawmakers worried the deal could create food safety issues for U.S. consumers.

Mostly silent after the deal was announced a week ago during a Congressional recess, lawmakers are taking a closer look.

May 29, 2013

Safer mad cow rating could boost U.S. beef exports

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has upgraded the United States’ risk classification for mad cow disease to its safest level, which could increase U.S. beef exports, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday.

The decision to rank the United States’ risk as “negligible” instead of “controlled” came at the OIE’s annual meeting in Paris. Its scientific arm earlier recommended the upgrade after reviewing U.S. safeguards.

May 29, 2013

Chairman of U.S. energy regulatory commission to depart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, has submitted his resignation to President Barack Obama, an agency spokesman said on Wednesday.

Wellinghoff will remain at FERC and continue to vote on commission matters until a replacement is nominated and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, a process that could take several months.

May 22, 2013

U.S. House votes to force approval of Keystone pipeline

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives approved a bill as expected on Wednesday declaring that a presidential permit was not needed to approve the Canada-to-Nebraska leg of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a move that would take a decision on the project away from the Obama administration.

The Republican-controlled House voted 241-175 with support from some Democrats.

The bill faces an uphill battle because it would have to pass the Senate with enough votes to overcome a promised veto from President Barack Obama.

May 21, 2013

White House threatens veto of bill to bypass Obama on Keystone

WASHINGTON, May 21 (Reuters) – The White House has
threatened to veto legislation pending in the U.S House of
Representatives that could strip from President Barack Obama the
authority to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

The Republican-controlled House is expected on Wednesday to
vote on, and almost certainly approve, H.R. 3, the Northern
Route Approval Act.

May 18, 2013

Cyber experts fear escalation of attacks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Cybersecurity professionals know a myriad of ways hackers can try to wreak havoc on critical infrastructure or infiltrate corporations to steal or spy, but it is the fear of the unknown that some say keeps them up at night.

U.S. security officials and private sector experts wonder what kinds of time-bombs can be – or have been – embedded by malware into computer networks, just waiting to explode.

May 17, 2013

Virus found in Iowa hog population, possibly beyond

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PEDV), a virus associated with diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration in hogs, has been found in Iowa and possibly beyond, U.S. government and private industry officials said on Friday.

The outbreak, the severity of which is not yet known, is believed to be the first of PEDV in the western hemisphere, although the virus exists in much of the world.

    • About Ros

      "Ros Krasny is Boston Bureau Chief, leading coverage of the New England scene. She was previously a regional Federal Reserve correspondent based in Chicago, and spent many years writing about agricultural commodity markets with Bridge News and Knight-Ridder Financial news."
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