EU

To avert food shortage, U.S. and allies will boost food aid and grow more

Global food shortages are a real possibility as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Biden told reporters while meeting with allies in Brussels on Thursday. Western leaders, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, joined Biden in saying they would step up their hunger-relief programs and encourage their farmers to grow more food.

Europe to till fallow land to offset food shortages from war in Ukraine

Responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission approved a $550 million aid package for its farmers on Wednesday and said they could grow food and feed crops on fallowed land without losing any of their so-called greening payments.

Europe’s butterflies are vanishing along with small farms

Across Europe, butterfly populations are undergoing huge declines, with grassland butterfly abundance dropping by 39 percent between 1990 and 2017. Spain's Catalonia region offers an extreme example of this continent-wide wave of biodiversity loss: Over the past 25 years, populations of the most common grassland species have declined here by 71 percent, reports FERN's latest story, produced with National Geographic. (No paywall)

Opinion: Unlike the U.S., Europe is setting ambitious targets for producing more organic food

Recent polls show that a majority of Americans are concerned about climate change and willing to make lifestyle changes to address it. Other surveys show that many U.S. consumers are worried about possible health risks of eating food produced with pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones. One way to address all of these concerns is to expand organic agriculture. Organic production generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional farming, largely because it doesn’t use synthetic nitrogen fertilizer. And it prohibits using synthetic pesticides and giving hormones or antibiotics to livestock. (No paywall)

North America can lead the world on climate mitigation, says Vilsack

The agriculture ministers of Canada, Mexico, and the United States described national initiatives to boost productivity and slow global warming at the World Food Prize symposium on Thursday, with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack saying, "There's a tremendous opportunity for North America to lead the world." While he called for being tolerant of different approaches to climate mitigation, Vilsack was clear that in his view, the U.S. high-technology approach is the best.

International contest of ideas: Farm to Fork vs. productivity coalition

The United States will launch a "coalition for productivity growth" to promote the use of high-tech tools such as gene editing and precision agriculture to build a more sustainable food system, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday. The coalition would stand in contrast to the EU's Farm to Fork Strategy of greatly reducing the use of fertilizers and pesticides and putting 25 percent of European farmland into organic production.

Transatlantic truce on aircraft benefits U.S. farm exports

President Biden announced a breakthrough in the long-running U.S.-EU dispute over airliner subsidies on Tuesday: Suspension of retaliatory tariffs on each other's products for five years beginning in July. The overall $4 billion in EU tariffs included duties on $1.4 billion of U.S. ag exports from frozen seafood to cotton, wheat, tobacco and alcohol.

Economic recovery depends on ‘the path of the virus’ — Fed official

The U.S. recovery from the pandemic will depend in part on success in managing the coronavirus through steps such as therapeutics and a vaccine, the president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank told an agribusiness conference on Monday. Also at the meeting, two Trump administration …

U.S. and EU resolve lobster tensions

The EU will remove tariffs on imports of live lobsters and frozen lobster products from the United States under an agreement that calls for lower U.S. tariffs on a variety of European goods, including prepared meals. "These tariff reductions are the first U.S.-EU negotiated reductions in duties in more than two decades," said a joint statement by EU and U.S. trade officials.

EU dabbles in agricultural protectionism, says Perdue

European barriers to some U.S. food and ag exports — derided as "hormone beef," "chlorine chicken," and GMO "Frankenfoods" — smack of protectionism and could color already acrimonious U.S.-EU trade relations, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue during a trans-Atlantic discussion on Wednesday.

Trump offers aid to lobster industry and a tariff threat to China

President Trump told the USDA on Wednesday to provide trade war relief to U.S. lobster fishermen and producers and threatened retaliatory tariffs on seafood from China if Beijing fails to buy massive amounts of U.S. food, agricultural, and seafood products this year.

Despite coronavirus worries, Europe’s food system is stable

The coronavirus has upended most aspects of life in Europe, but after a spate of hoarding early in the pandemic, shopping has returned to normal as food producers and retailers work to keep supply chains flowing and shelves stocked. This could be instructive to the United States, which is behind Europe in the progression of the disease.(No paywall)

U.S. to see larger beef exports to Europe, while China threatens trade action

U.S. exports of hormone-free beef to Europe would triple under an agreement signed by President Trump and hailed by EU officials as a sign of tangible results for the strongest trade relationship in the world. Meanwhile, China said it “will have to take necessary counter-measures” if the United States expands the trade war on Sept. 1, as Trump says he plans to do.

Harvesting American forests for the EU’s ‘green’ electricity plants

Wood-processing plants around the South are turning trees into pellets and then exporting them to be burned in electricity plants in the EU. It's part of the EU's initiative to generate "green" electricity, but scientists question whether burning trees is really carbon neutral, according to FERN's latest story with The Weather Channel.(No paywall)

Trump tariff bailout may be sunlight ahead of storm clouds over farm sector

Crop and livestock producers are likely to learn on Monday how the Trump administration will allocate up to $12 billion in aid to offset the impact of retaliatory Chinese tariffs on the U.S. farm sector, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Perdue on the EU: ‘They need to step up and buy’

The United States expects Europe to follow through on a promise to buy more U.S. soybeans, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Monday. At the same time, he said that America will not respect EU claims to the exclusive use of such food names as Parma ham or Roquefort cheese.

‘Farmers are smart,’ won’t need more aid, says Perdue

U.S. farmers and ranchers were blindsided by the Trump trade war, but they will adapt quickly to lower commodity prices and disruptions in the export market, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday. “Farmers are smart,” he said, swatting down the idea that the White House will write another agriculture aid package after earmarking up to $12 billion for this year.

EU ruling: Gene editing is the same as ‘classical’ genetic modification

The relatively new field of gene editing is a form of genetic engineering, according to a European Court of Justice ruling that would make technology such as CRISPR subject to the same regulations as the “classical” genetic modification technology of the 1980s, reported BBC News.

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