Ag Today December 19, 2018

Farmers urged to support Trump rollback of water rules [Associated Press]

The Trump administration on Tuesday called on farmers to throw their support behind a proposal to withdraw federal protections for many of the country’s waterways and wetlands. Environmental Protection Agency acting administrator Andrew Wheeler and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue on Tuesday traveled to middle Tennessee to drum up support among the state’s agricultural community in their pursuit to replace the Obama-era water protections….Wheeler stressed he anticipates the new EPA’s plan will likely draw more than a million responses once it is up for public review in January….To counter potential negative feedback from environmental groups, Wheeler urged farmers to make sure their voices are heard.


Could Jeff Denham go from election loss to Trump’s cabinet? [Modesto Bee]

Outgoing Rep. Jeff Denham’s next job could be in President Donald Trump’s cabinet. The White House and various other leaders have approached Denham, R-Turlock, as a potential candidate to succeed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, said Bret Manley, Denham’s chief of staff….Denham, first elected in 2010, also is friendly with many members of the U.S. Senate, which confirms White House nominees; his 10th District is among western states, the Interior department’s focus; and he’s been a Trump loyalist….Other candidates include outgoing Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, Rep. Raúl Labrador of Idaho, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, and Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who may be named to the interim post.


In Trump’s America, bosses are accused of weaponizing the ICE crackdown [Bloomberg]

…Munger’s treatment of its guest workers in 2017 has drawn fines from regulators in California and Washington state, and a federal investigation by the Department of Labor that officials say is ongoing….In short, worker advocates say, Trump’s immigration crackdown has become the nasty boss’s best friend. Terrified of “la migra,” more workers are putting up with unpaid wages, untreated injuries and various forms of mental and physical abuse, says David Weil, the former director of the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage & Hour Division under President Barack Obama.


Big beef prepares for battle, as interest grows in plant-based and lab-grown meats [NPR]

…In fact, livestock producers face two big threats to market share: rapidly-improving plant-based meat substitutes, and meat grown from animal cells in laboratories. The meat industry is focused on shaping the regulatory environment for its new competitors, taking into account lessons learned from the rise of plant-based milks….Danielle Beck, director of Government Affairs for the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, says lax oversight helped plant-based milk….But the livestock industry is lobbying to try to stop plant-based meats from gaining market share with ambiguous labels.


Is there an optimal diet for humans? [New York Times]

Nutrition experts have long debated whether there is an optimal diet that humans evolved to eat. But a study published this month adds a twist. It found that there is likely no single natural diet that is best for human health….The findings suggest that there is no one “true” diet for humans, who “can be very healthy on a wide range of diets,” said the lead author of the study, Herman Pontzer, an associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University.


‘Dead skunk’ stench from marijuana farms outrages Californians [New York Times]

…When Californians voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016, there were debates about driving under the influence and keeping it away from children. But lawmakers did not anticipate the uproar that would be generated by the funk of millions of flowering cannabis plants….The ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana passed in 2016 with a comfortable majority of 57 percent. Many of those complaining about cannabis odors say they were among those who supported it. They just don’t want it stinking up their property, they say.