USDA embraces hemp as a crop, but many hurdles remain for growers
On Tuesday, the Department of Agriculture tempered optimism about hemp, a new, money-making crop for many farmers, with caution of obstacles for an emerging industry.
Lawmakers agree on bill offering path to legal status for farm workers
Farm-state lawmakers are to unveil today a “farm workforce modernization bill” that would update the U.S. guest worker program while providing a path to legal status for undocumented farm workers.
Colleges resort to ‘food scholarships,’ pantries to help hungry, homeless students
With Congress mired in partisan gridlock and the White House showing little interest, the nation’s colleges and universities are scrambling to address the growing crisis of hungry, homeless students, as Bridget Huber reports.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
Fire season is harvest time for wineries (ScienceBeta): Farmworkers in California wineries sometimes labor through heat and smoke, risking respiratory and heart diseases, harvesting grapes that mature at the same time as wildfires burn. Several wineries in the Alexander Valley of Sonoma County have been damaged or destroyed by wildfires and some wine grapes are likely to be lost.
China to miss on ethanol (Financial Times): Two years after unveiling a mandate to mix ethanol into the gasoline supply, China is likely to miss its deadline of nationwide use of a 10 percent blend in 2020.
Calls for transparency in RFS waivers (DTN/Progressive Farmer): Biofuel backers called for the EPA to provide more information to the public when it exempts small-volume refineries from the ethanol mandate.
Buying water rights from farmers (Seattle Times): In the southeast corner of Washington State, Crown Columbia Water Resources, backed by private-equity money, is buying water rights from farmers to build a huge private market for water in the Columbia basin, possibly locking up a public resource as the state’s population rises.