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Jun 25, 2014

USDA sees more rapid increases for U.S. dairy, fruit prices

WASHINGTON, June 25 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of
Agriculture on Wednesday maintained its forecast for U.S. food
prices to rise by 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent in 2014, in line
with historic norms, but raised its estimates of price increases
for dairy and fresh fruit.

The agency evaluated expected increases in overall food,
food-at-home and food-away-from-home prices.

Jun 20, 2014

U.S., stung by bee decline, sets plan to save pollinators

WASHINGTON, June 20 (Reuters) – The White House on Friday
announced a federal strategy to reverse a rapid decline in the
number of honey bees and other pollinators in the United States
that poses a threat to billions of dollars in crops.

In recent years, bees have died at a rate the U.S.
government says is economically unsustainable. Honey bees
pollinate plants that produce about a quarter of the food
consumed by Americans, including apples, lemons, broccoli,
avocados and carrots.

Jun 19, 2014

Daniel Poneman, deputy U.S. energy secretary, to step down

WASHINGTON, June 19 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of
Energy’s number two official, Daniel Poneman, will leave the
agency after more than five years, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
said on Thursday, the second senior U.S. energy official in a
week to announce his departure.

“Dan let me know he intends to step down this fall so that
he and his family can move on to their next adventure,” Moniz
said in an email to agency staff.

Jun 18, 2014

U.S. Senate panel votes to advance Bay, LaFleur at FERC

WASHINGTON, June 18 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Energy
Committee voted on Wednesday to advance the nominations of
Norman Bay to be a commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission and Cheryl LaFleur for a second term as commissioner
at the utility agency.

After a contentious hearing, Bay’s nomination was approved
by a 13-9 vote. The nomination of LaFleur, currently the acting
chair, advanced by a 21-1 vote.

Jun 18, 2014

U.S. Senate panel advances bill to force Keystone pipeline approval

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Energy Committee advanced a bill on Wednesday that would force congressional approval of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline project, but the measure seems unlikely to be taken up by the full Senate.

The bill, the latest effort by lawmakers to breathe life into the long-delayed pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, will languish without a commitment from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring it to a vote.

Jun 13, 2014

Dog treats, piglet virus focus of U.S. panel on China

WASHINGTON, June 13 (Reuters) – Incidents ranging from
Chinese dog treats pulled from U.S. pet stores to the virus that
has killed millions of American piglets has raised concerns
about the safety of food and feed imports from China, lawmakers
said on Friday.

The problems “have highlighted concerns over the
effectiveness of China’s food safety regulation, the
effectiveness of U.S. government regulation of imported foods
from China, and the overall safety of such foods,” said
Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Republican
Representative Christopher Smith of New Jersey.

Jun 12, 2014

U.S. goes into battle against deadly orange disease

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Thursday a total of $31.5 million in funding to combat a plant disease that threatens to devastate Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry and has driven up the cost of a glass of orange juice.

As many as 70 percent of Florida’s citrus trees are believed to be infected by citrus greening disease, or huanglongbing, which is caused by bacteria deposited on trees by an insect called the Asian citrus psyllid.

Jun 11, 2014

Abundant grain, soybean supplies on the way: USDA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is a month closer to bumper supplies of corn and soybeans, its major field crops, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Wednesday in a second look at the 2014/15 U.S. and world grain outlook.

Meanwhile, although the U.S. wheat crop is struggling, global supplies are on the rise. Following the report, Chicago wheat futures fell almost 2 percent to their lowest level since Feb. 28.

Jun 10, 2014

U.S. OK’s BP surveys of Alaskan oilfields; boosts drone maker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – BP has been authorized to use unmanned aircraft to conduct surveys of pipelines and other infrastructure on Alaska’s North Slope, the first commercial drone flights over U.S. land, government authorities said on Tuesday, giving a boost to the tiny aircraft’s manufacturer.

AeroVironment Inc. started flying its Puma AE drone to survey BP’s pipelines, roads and equipment at Prudhoe Bay, the largest U.S. oilfield, on Sunday, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

May 29, 2014

U.S. 2014 agricultural exports near record $150 billion

WASHINGTON, May 29 (Reuters) – U.S. agricultural exports for
fiscal 2014 will reach a record $149.5 billion, the Department
of Agriculture said on Thursday, higher than its earlier
forecast of $142.6 billion and up 6 percent on the year.

The forecast for the U.S. agricultural trade surplus in
fiscal 2014 is up $6.3 billion from the February estimate to $39
billion, its second highest ever. The fiscal year started on
Oct. 1 and will end on Sept. 30.

    • 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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