USDA Outlook Forum still on track (FERN’s Ag Insider): The annual USDA extravaganza of speakers and statistics, the Agricultural Outlook Forum, is still set for Feb. 21 and 22, although the partial government shutdown may interfere with the preparation of income and export forecasts that are an important part of the event.
New House Ag roster includes an old hand (FERN’s Ag Insider): Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced 13 new Democratic members of the House Agriculture Committee: 12 first-termers who took office this month plus sixth-term Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine, who received a waiver to sit on Agriculture while keeping her seat on the Appropriations Committee.
Second try for USDA nominees (White House): A long list of administration nominations includes three USDA nominees who did not get a floor vote last session: Mindy Brashears for undersecretary for nutrition, Scott Hutchins for undersecretary for research, and Naomi Earp for assistant secretary for civil rights.
Soil scientist wins $450,000 prize (Japan Prize Foundation): Ohio State University soil scientist Rattan Lal was awarded the Japan Prize, one of the most prestigious honors in science and technology, for his work on no-till agriculture and carbon sequestration.
More and more food recalls (USA Today): The U.S. Public Interest Research Group says there has been a 10-percent increase in food recalls in the past five years, and is calling for more farm-to-fork prevention efforts.
Wake up and (don’t) smell the coffee (BBC): Sixty percent of the world’s 124 known species of coffee are at risk of extinction, and only half of them are preserved in seed banks.