EPA announces coal ash standards

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the first national regulations for the safe disposal of coal ash from power plants. The ash is categorized as a “nonhazardous waste”.  It does mean coal ash cannot be disposed in landfills and certain other facilities that do not properly protect groundwater.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the… Read more »

Vilsack won’t pursue second beef checkoff

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he is scrapping his proposal to create a second beef checkoff. Vilsack announced the plan in November, but a policy rider in the spending bill recently passed by Congress prevents him from proceeding with the rule. Several state cattle groups welcomed the withdrawal. The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association(ICA) says a second… Read more »

Lawmakers on Cuba deal’s impact

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President Obama’s announcement on relaxing trade and travel barriers with Cuba is met with both concern and optimism by various members of Congress. Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis says he’s one of the few members that has travelled to Cuba and he believes the decision “is a good first step in removing trade and travel barriers… Read more »

Good week for soybean, product, wheat exports

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  USDA reports corn export sales for the week ending December 11 were within pre-report estimates, while soybeans, soybean products, and wheat were all above analysts’ expectations. Physical shipments of soybeans were larger what’s needed weekly to meet USDA projections for the 2014/15 marketing year, but corn and wheat were both short of their respective… Read more »

U.S. to restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba

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  President Obama announced a change in U.S. relations with Cuba on Wednesday morning. For starters, the President has instructed the Secretary of State to immediately initiate discussions on the re-establishment of normal diplomatic relations with Cuba.  Those relations were cut in January of 1961.  The U.S. will move toward the establishment of an embassy… Read more »

Senate passes tax extenders package

The Senate has approved the tax extenders package on a 76-16 vote. It now heads for the White House for approval. The bill, which retroactively extends a package of expired tax breaks for 2014, holds key provisions for small businesses such as section 179 expensing and bonus depreciation. It also includes the dollar-per-gallon biodiesel tax… Read more »

GDT index increases 2.4%

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An increase in the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) Index this morning. The semi-monthly auction saw the overall index increase 2.4 percent from the December 2nd sale.  Other than a couple of “blips” in June and October, this is the first increase in the index price since February 4th.  During that time the index plunged by… Read more »

Spending bill impacts WOTUS, beef checkoff

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The omnibus spending bill approved by the Senate Saturday includes several provisions that impact agriculture. One of those provisions withdraws the Environmental Protection Agency’s interpretive rule on the Waters of the United States (WOTUS). Colin Woodall of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) says that, while it’s not a complete fix of the WOTUS issue,… Read more »

UAV usage for ag takes a step forward

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Trimble Navigation was one of four companies receiving an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this week, allowing limited commercial operation of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). Trimble says the exemption moves the company one step closer to being able to provide high-speed aerial imaging to agriculture. At the recent Nebraska Power Farming Show… Read more »

Six big school districts raise chicken standards

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Six of the largest school districts in the United States are setting new standards for chicken. New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami-Dade County and Orlando County combined to form the Urban School Food Alliance last year for collective buying power and to adopt certain policies. Now the six districts say they will only… Read more »